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Jun 20, 2012 | 1:38 PM EDT
  • Daily 2nd Place June 21, 2012
  • Weekly 3rd Place June 27, 2012

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Update the first: Thanks everyone for helping us get daily second. And thanks to the Newgrounds staff for the front page! Leave a review and let us know what you thought of the episode, we like reading them!

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The Wonders of the Universe is ready to launch! But as fate would have it, Quintin Quasar gets caught up in a depressed Cleaning Bot's plans to flee the ship. Can they survive the barren world they're stranded on?

Episode 3, 'Shanghai Dune' completes the 3 episode Maiden Voyage arc where we introduce you to the world and characters of 'Wonders of the Universe.' The highlight of this episode is no doubt RUT.2, an eccentric Cleaning Robot who finds a little too much joy in his work.

We all pitched in animation in this one, so you might notice a little bit of a change in animation styles throughout the cartoon. We hope it's not too jarring. Most future episodes will be made with one main animator.

We hope you all enjoy! And you'll be happy to know that Episode 4 is already well into the animation stage of production!

- The Toonwerks Crew

Voices:

Xander Mobus (Motley-Fool)
Chris Niosi (Kirbopher)
Miranda Gauvin (dellaciel)
Deven Mack (D-Mac-Double)
Edward Bosco (Darkwolf)
Edwyn Tiong (Omahdon)
Chris Boe (BOE)
Mickey "8-Bit Mickey" Paradis

Production:

Mark Schneider (th1rt3en)
Joseph Blanchette (Legendary Frog)
Casey McDonald (Xiphon)
Chris Boe (BOE)

Reviews


GerkinmanGerkinman

Rated 3 / 5 stars June 23, 2012

Ive already had a chat with Mark about this, but im going to write it again anyways because im drinking and coffee and I have nothing better to do.

Im going to say that it all feels rather disjointed, and I know you would all be aware of this seeing as you all worked on the animation and you are all at different skill levels, with Mark being the only one I would consider to be truly "competent".

I found the same problem with the writing, it just didn't have the same wit to it that the previous 2 episodes had, this could have largely been due to the new character, the cleaning robot... whats his name again? I just didn't find him engaging at all, and as an older guy on his way to his 30's I actually found him rather annoying, with both his voice and general personality. He reminded me a lot of Jar Jar Binks actually, just really obnoxious and off putting (I know this might have been a deliberate choice, but when a character is so annoying it makes people want to stop watching then you have yourself a problem), but then again maybe the kids on this site will like that.

I could also go into detail about the inconsistent use of the line tool, its been completely removed on some characters (and I realise its been this way since episode 01) but still sits on others and on the nose's and mouths (and the sandworm looked like it was taken directly from someone else's cartoon, with a completely inconsistent art style to the rest of the series) which i find really distracting, but that could be a stylistic choice so whatever.

The backgrounds are beautiful as always, but the general direction (outside of the lovely sandworm sequence) felt rather flat and boring compared to previous episodes as well, which is strange since this episode has had the most action to date.

Point is, this episode felt like a half assed experiment when compared to the two that came before it, so it might be worth going back to 1 animator per episode from here on in. It was okay, could have been a lot better, SHOULD have been a lot better with the amount of talent involved.

kthnxbai



skilless-newbskilless-newb

Rated 5 / 5 stars June 23, 2012

I love everything about this series, art work, characters, voice acting. Please keep it up!


People find this review helpful!

blank0000blank0000

Rated 5 / 5 stars June 22, 2012

Really nice stuff =) happy to see things like this on Newgrounds, its what keeps me coming back.

The ending was cute, congratulations, the whole team should be proud.



Morph94Morph94

Rated 4.5 / 5 stars June 22, 2012

Very fluid animation, just like the previous ones. I liked it a lot. And unlike last episode, the recording quality of each actor's lines was quite good. Keep it up.

Oh, and uh... where's Legend of Blackbook 2?



Twisted4000Twisted4000

Rated 2.5 / 5 stars June 22, 2012

Well all I can really say was that I really didn't enjoy this too much.

The first problem was obviously in the visuals themselves, and that's practically the biggest thing in a cartoon. The characters, backgrounds and just the artwork in general looked incredibly flat and two-dimensional, I could barely sense any depth in anything. The characters were all line-tooled and when they moved around it was extremely stiff and the motions just seemed awkward. Occasionally it looked okay and had a nice flowy look to it when you used easing on the tweens, but the rest of the time it just looked cheap and off, it was simply unpleasant to me.

This issue showed especially when the characters were running, there was no bouncing motion or really anything to show that force was being put behind the movements. Sometimes the perspective got all distorted, like when the camera was zooming out of the two on the planet for one example. Also the lip-syncing, it matched with the words they were saying, but it was just one picture for each sound, their mouths kept blinking to different frames. It beats mouth-flapping, but it still wasn't so great.

The colors weren't really interesting, just boring, dull shades and muddy-looking half of the time. I didn't find them appealing.

When they were running from that monster, at some parts when it zoomed in on them it looked pretty good since you put eases on the tweens, but the lack of music, ambiance and overall sound effects in general made it so dead. It was just boring.

Writing was okay but again, kinda boring, everything was so slow-moving and I just wished the whole thing would hurry up and end already throughout the whole thing. Voicing was alright, the robot guy sounded good, the other characters were kinda bland though.

Overall I found it stiff, flat, slow-moving and lifeless, could've been so much better.


Toonwerks responds:

Casey, the background artist ~ as an artist, I know that the biggest rule to making anything is that you simply aren't going to please everybody, and that's fair. The beauty of creative media is that it's better for the diverse input it gets.

I can actually agree with you on a few things here. We had a bit of a marathon putting this episode together. I don't know how you felt about the other episodes if you've seen them, but we brought in a new animator and were trying some new things on this one. A lot of 'real life' got in the way and we were cycling the file around a lot of hands. I'd be lying if I said it didn't suffer from this.
That being said however, in a professional atmosphere, you HAVE to learn how to work fluidly with multiple artists, animators, composers, etc. If you can't deal with it, than you're just not going anywhere.
In our case, I'm glad we had this episode to learn our own strengths and weaknesses, and to be honest, I don't think it came out that badly, and I'm glad we had the experience that we could learn from.

That being said, I think it's a silly thing to criticize someone for using the line tool. I could use that logic to say that anyone's work is bad for using the paint bucket tool or hell, even flash itself. Why don't we really get down to business and hand-draw everything on paper like a REAL animator.

Plus, I'll be honest, personally I COULD draw a lot of the environments by hand, (in fact I usually do in concept art, I have notebooks overflowing with art and drawings) but it's really only a stylistic change. When I use the pencil or do things with a tablet, I tend to put more gritty details into it, I use a lot of lines to bring out the shading and such. It has a totally different feel and vibe to it. If I'd done things in that style, than I doubt it'd match very well to the characters or animation. Wonders is supposed to feel very clean and smooth, and yes, simple. We actually agreed on the style in the beginning before episode 1 was ever finished, so that we could sync up our work with one-another easier. We keep to basic shapes and stuff on purpose. Some people don't like that or see it as lazy, but again, we understand that not EVERYONE is going to just fall in love with it, and that's fine.

In the animation, I can't argue with you a whole lot. Me and Joseph animated large parts of this, and neither of us have animated something on this scale in years, so that was a bit ambitious, but we had to if we wanted the episode to get done, because Chris Boe was being bombarded with work, and Mark was busy making episode 4. Like I said before, it was a learning experience, and I believe we're planning on updating the character models in some way after ep4.

I don't know what to say about your sound effects comment, because if you take ANY frame of that sand worm scene, there's at least 2 or 3 sound effects playing weather it be wind, roaring, or explosions.

In the end, I could see us changing up how we work with one another in the future to have a more streamlined result. But we don't have an office where we can easily trade these files, it's all done online between people who never see each other and sometimes rarely hear from each other. On top of that, we want to try to get this stuff out fairly quickly so that there's not a lot of dead space between releases. It's a great experience and I like working with these guys and I'm sure we'll improve over the coming months.

I wish I could give you a better response other than "oh, well oh well, /shrug" but that's really all I can think to say. Thanks for the lengthy review though, I do enjoy reading through all of them.