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Web Animation Watch: Critical Role

Welcome back, animation lovers to another edition of our longest-running feature Web Animation Watch. In each installment, we bring you some of the best in online animation, whether it's new, or not so new.

If you're an animator wanting to feature in a future edition, or just a fan who has seen something cool, don't hesitate to get in touch.

If you're a fan of the classic table top RPG, Dungeons and Dragons, there is a good chance you have seen or at least heard of the web series, Critical Role. This show, produced by Geek and Sundry, consists of live D&D sessions played by several well known voice actors (Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Sam Riegal, Liam O'Brien, Marisha Ray, Ashley Johnson and Taliesin Jaffe). The show is hosted by Matthew Mercer (voice actor and Dungeon Master extraordinaire) who guides the players and their characters through each chapter of a much larger campaign. Even if you are not as familiar with the rules of D&D it is a great way to watch and learn on top of getting to see great actors doing what they love.

Whether it is officially funded, kickstarted, or fan made animatics, animation has also had a hand in bringing Critical Role's adventures to life. And today we celebrate a few special mentions for longtime fans and newcomers alike.

The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Intro - Titmouse

Thanks to the show's loyal fans (or Critters) Critical Role is expecting to release an animated special, chronicling the very first adventure of the original campaign. The opening features the cast in what feels like a classic 90's animated series opening complete with a rocking theme song. The song itself was composed by Critical Role cast member Sam Riegal (with vocals provided by Travis, Laura, and Ashley!). The animation was put together by the talented team at Titmouse! The expected release for the series (for Kickstarter Backers) is expected to be Fall of 2020.

- Check the Youtube page to see the full credits list!

"Hi I'm Jester!" Animatic - Danica Dickison

Believe it or not, it was largely part due to this cute, yet short animatic that encouraged me to seek out Critical Role and become familiar with its ongoing second campaign, following the rag tag team of adventurers that have come to call themselves "The Mighty Nein". Danica has done an amazing job capturing the character's personalities just through body language. Leading to one of my all time favorite depictions of the character's first interactions with each other.

"Nott Steals from the Party" - Isabel Silva

Physical comedy can be tricky to animate, even more so if you're trying to get more detailed mouth movements. Isabel's loose animation of Nott (played by Sam Riegal) and Mollymauk (Taliesin Jaffe) really sells the energy of these scenes. Capturing all the right details that helps the scene flow from start to finish. Making this little encounter all the more hilarious.

"Claudia" - DeeGoo

Though Critical Role gets a lot of 2D love, there was one little 3D animated gem I that I felt was worth sharing. The most recent animated piece created by DeeGoo, follows fan favorite Jester (Laura Bailey) as she pesters the local inkeep, Claudia. What impresses me the most about DeeGoo's animations is the phenomenal character acting. Lots of classic cartoon energy in the movement and expressions that perfectly matches Laura's vocal performance.

Support DeeGoo on KoFi

"Ninja Warrior Beau" - Mel Wah

Though the shortest of the bunch, I cannot stress enough how impressed I am by the few videos put together and animated by Mel Wah. Who has created several high quality animations of different iconic moments of the second campaign. However, it can be fun to just animate the characters on their on, as is the case with this short piece. Beauregard, (or just Beau) the monk, takes on the trials of Ninja warrior with her companions rooting her on. Mel Wah has great eye for detail and some of the more completed animations are really something to behold. Unfortunately they have been unable to continue for the time being due to the time constraints Which is a shame since the work put into these clips is definitely worth supporting.

If you would like to support Mel Wah and their work on Critical Role inspired animations check out their Patreon account!

We hope you enjoyed this edition of Web Animation Watch! You can find the link to the Critical Role website and stay up to date of their latest videos, podcasts and events. You can watch the latest episodes streaming on twitch.tv or catch episodes on their Youtube Channel.

...Is it Thursday yet?