Devil Doll tosses AM/PM coffee to Radiskull

“Radiskull & Devil Doll Go Commercial” by Joe Sparks

AM/PM was the highest-paying sponsor of my Radiskull & Devil Doll show, back in its early days. I made a special commercial just for them as part of the deal. In this video you will see it “remastered” to 1080p and much higher quality sound (of course I made some punky music to go along with it). I include the original at the end for Q comparison.

And never seen/heard before: an alternate “#evil” script that I recorded at the same time. I wrote it quickly as kind of “joke” that nobody shared with AM/PM or any of my other sponsors! In this little skit, Devil Doll tries to convince #Radiskull that they should go into advertising “for big #corporations.” Little did I know at the time, that I would soon spend many years as a creative in advertising, at #agencies and at #Google. I talk about my transition into #advertising in “The Making of Dicky & Jackie

Part 1 of 3: AM/PM Commercial Remastered 2019
Part 2 of 3: Alternative Evil Script. Devil Doll sells Radiskull on Advertising
Part 3 of 3: The original AM/PM advertisement from 2001 (for comparison)

More Radiskull & Devil Doll Stuff

"Coffee with Friends" mugs
“Coffee with Friends” mugs

Return of Radiskull & Devil Doll Coffee mugs available here:

Radiskull & Devil Doll animation/song “Coffee with Friends”

I’m searching for those millions of Radiskull & Devil Doll fans from 2001. If you know one, please let them know about my YouTube channel. I really appreciate your help! I will need to bring that audience back in order to finish episode 9 and continue this work.

Radiskull & Devil Doll Live
A Dramatic Reading of Radiskull and Devil Doll Episodes

If you are interested in making animation and music video, please visit my tools page

Thank you so much for your likes, subscribes, and comments (I read every single one)!

Joe Sparks
2019 @joesparks on Twitter and Instagram

Please support my work as an artist: buy my recent song “Chief Disco Investigator” for your library, or simply stream it often (for your friends!) on any streaming music service you subscribe to. And THANK YOU!







For the first time ever, a song of mine is available on all major music streaming services and online music vendors. is a music publisher. URLs for streaming & downloading are posted below or simply search for “Chief Disco Investigator” on your favorite music services.

In this post, I write about my current music tools and remember the horns in my computer game hits “Spaceship Warlock Theme” and “You Are Dead.”

Chief Disco Investigator” sounds like disco 70’s, synthpop 80’s, and typical Joe Sparks.

Take a listen, and you’ll hear Radiskull & Devil Doll style beats & strings, and hints of my music from TOTAL DISTORTION and SPACESHIP WARLOCK.

“CDI” Golden Trombones & Studio One

I love the horns in my new music Put Your Headphones On. I thought “horns are pretty new for me” but then I remembered that sweet sax solo I played in the “You Are Dead” song in Total Distortion. I also used horns in my theme song for Spaceship Warlock. (more on that, below)

Presonus Studio One Professional is my DAW since 2017 (DAW = music recording software/UI where I make music), and I highly recommend it (Previously: Apple Logic Pro and many others). For the actual horns, I used the Presence XT brass instruments (bundled with S1): “Trumpet Full” and “Golden Trombone” instruments, unmodified. All the string instruments are also from Presence XT.

“Golden Trombone” Instrument bundled with Studio One Professional from Presonus

Read more of my musical tool notes after this:

Hear “Chief Disco” Everywhere Online

This is the first time I published a song to all commercial music streaming & downloaders. If this goes well, I will release my entire catalog (that I can find or recreate), from Radiskull to my Game Music, and all of my new songs. Click & Listen to my song on the links below and help make this experiment worthwhile:








Click & Listen Above! It’s an easy way to support my work. Buy for 99 cents, or simply stream it often (While you have Coffee with Friends!) on any streaming music service you subscribe to. And THANK YOU!

I made this streaming-services “album art” thumb using elements from my music video “Be My Barbie”

More Music Production notes for “CDI”

For my very punchy main synth BASS (easy to hear throughout) I used Studio One instrument Mojito. I started with the Gummi bass preset and modified it thusly:

Later in the song I bring in an Upright Bass, just like I used to do on Radiskull & Devil Doll. The drums are mostly played by me on my own custom drum machine (Built in Impact XT, including samples I recorded from the Alesis SR-16), and also, the “Natural Kit” on Presense XT. With some faint disco RX library loops recorded in the 70’s.

For my recent vocoder vocals (“Headphones,” “Tank,” “Barbie,” I’ve been using this masterpiece:
Izotope Vocalsynth 2

My favorite bunch of synths on the planet these days is: Arturia V-Series
I used the VOX organ and the CMI Fairlight Taped Pad.

I do some simple lines on the The VOX Continental-V and I love it
Most of my recent songs of have the CMI V Taped Pad playing somewhere in the mix

Total Distortion “U-R-DED” Saxophone

Melt into my “totally realistic” saxophone (video queued up to the sax solo) from “You Are Dead” song in Total Distortion:

I played the sax solo on my KORG M1 sax preset, which was astonishingly realistic to me at the time.

My main instruments on my Total Distortion music: Korg O1, Korg M1, Roland D110, Roland Juno 2, Yamaha DX11, G&L SC-1 Electric Guitar, Chorus, Distortion, & Octaver Pedals. Kent Carmical had another set of instruments) for his songs, but both of us had an O1!

Here’s a great Total Distortion walkthrough by Jerma985

Another great Total Distortion walkthrough by Vinesauce Joel on Vargskelethor Uncut: Full Joel Streams

Spaceship Warlock Theme Song with Horns

I also used horns in the theme song I made for my first game SPACESHIP WARLOCK. When someone talks about Spaceship Warlock, they often sing it: “AAAAH.. AAAHHH… SPAAAAAAACE SHIIIIIP… WARLOCK!.”

This video is queued up to the theme song. Horns played on the ~1988 Roland D110

I used my rack-mount Roland D110 synth for the theme song’s military horns & drums. Horns preset instrument). I used all 3 synths I bought in 1988 on Warlock music: the Roland D-110 and Juno 2 (I still have both instruments in my office) and the Yamaha DX11 (after 3rd key broke I gave it away). The DX was great for making robot noises for the game’s robot characters.

While looking around for Spaceship Warlock Theme Song mentions, I came across this music featuring a sample of the them song: NegaRen – Spaceship Warlock

Two young guys (including me) came up with this hugely-influential smash-hit Spaceship Warlock in just 9 months with 2 computers and not much money. I gave an interview about it in 2015 to Phil “Shadsy” Salvador at The Obscuritory:

Obscurity walkthrough of Spaceship Warlock

In glorious 8-bit 11k: The Spaceship Warlock theme song I recorded on a Tascam 4-track 1991

A word about Daft Punk

My recent “Computery” songs remind people of Daft Punk. It is a compliment – I love Daft Punk. Just remember, I’ve been using the same chord progressions since the 80’s and I did Vocoder voices (like hundreds of other musicians), long before the GREAT Daft Punk arrived.

still frame from video
Song video thumbnail I made with the still frame

Thanks for reading my article about my song “Chief Disco Investigator”

~Joe Sparks 2019

Devil Doll in France & Basque Country + Dad, Max, & Sam.

I recently returned to France and Basque Country for 2nd time this year. I brought my sons Max & Sam this time. I also took a little red friend named Devil Doll. He stayed hidden in my backpack for most of the trip, but he came out for a few photos along the way!


Notre Dame is getting repaired. Devil Doll smiles inappropriately.
What could go wrong with Radiskull & Devil Doll @ #NotreDame in #Paris #France

Watch out, Devil Doll! Archangel Michael is very dangerous! How do you think Radiskull LOST his baby skull-bat wings all those years ago? Devil Doll at Fontaine Saint-Michel #Paris #France



Bordeaux Intercontinental Hotel

Bordeaux France is a magical, beautiful city. People just live and have fun in this wonderful place. Very lively, historic, and incredible food, produce, wine, cheese, everywhere!

Checking in to our Bordeaux Apartment.
Très chic! Arty Place!
Holding Devil Doll over the streets of Bordeaux, like the reincarnation of Michael Jackson!
I really loved this perch above Saint Paul neighborhood of Bordeaux. I look forward to returning over and over again.

Gallery of Bordeaux Photos

Biarritz, France

The 2019 G7 meeting (of the most powerful people in the western world) was held here, just a couple weeks before we arrived. For about a week in Biarritz, France (officially in real Basque Country) I forgot to photo Devil Doll. I know! I gave him a good view though, so he was happy.

View from our apartment deck, Villa le Goéland peeking up over all the buildings.
3 of the best beaches in the world are just outside

Here’s about 10% of the photos I took in Biarritz, Bayonne, and Bidart France:

Donostia * San Sebastian * Cultural Capital Pays Basque

Devil Doll loves seeing himself on the big screen! This is from our apartment in San Sebastian.
Now you can see my reflection, as I take a photo with my amazing Google Pixel 3A (my only camera on this trip).
On our outdoor deck in San Sebastian, you can see the tower on the highest nearby peak: Torreon Monte Igeldo!
Here’s the view from the top of that tower, looking back on our place in San Sebastian!

On top of Monte Igeldo is an amusement park build in 1912. Read more. It has a roller coaster and this amazing tower. Here’s some of my photos from there:

Gare Hendaye: to Catch a Train back to Paris!

The high-speed train awaits. We’ll be back in Paris before we know it!

A Few More Days in Paris

Our lovely perch above Rue Guisarde and Rue Princess, one of the GREAT party spots of all Paris!
On the weekend nights, this whole street is packed with hard-partying Parisiens drinking/smoking until 6AM

Thanks for looking at my travel photos!

Please join me on YouTube and subscribe to my channel (totally free of course):

you can also simply remember:


I worked all NEW YEAR’S EVE on this music and video. This is the fastest I have ever worked on a complete music video (including the song!) Does this mean I am getting faster?

I’m in a band with myselves

This video also features JJ Sparks, go see her on Instagram @j.j.sparks

Wish your friends HAPPY NEW YEAR with “New Year’s Toast,” a Retro Holiday Song by Joe Sparks.

I think this animation is 90% ready, but I had to wrap it up to make New Year’s Day!

newyearseve #nye #nye2018 #happynewyear #newmusic #health #wealth #happiness #love #toast #joesparks #original #happynewyears


16 years after I announced it, I PUBLISHED DICKY & JACKIE

Dicky & Jackie Pilot Episode Thumbnail

See it on YouTube: “Dicky & Jackie Pilot Episode

MEET Dicky, a psi-pilot for the US Space Command! SEE veggies that WANT to be eaten! CRINGE at an over-eager Robot! FEAR an alien plot to conquer Earth!

Dicky working on his pet Robot creation “Bleebot”

A fascinating musical cartoon from Joe Sparks (creator of Radiskull & Devil Doll, Total Distortion, and more). Art, story voices, animation, music by Joe Sparks

Pinned YouTube comment: AA writes “Yo Joe It’s me again, I gotta say I’ve never seen my son more engaged into an animation like this one! We are both eagerly awaiting episode 2, and I just know he’ll love R & DD just like his Dad! Haha big ups thanks for the quality animations & Original content!!”

Jackie at work on a painting

There’s a long long history behind this cartoon I covered in “The Making of Dicky & Jackie”) I made a very rough flash version of this in 2002 and 2004 but I never published it.

In 2018, I began work on a professional, modern production of Dicky and Jackie. I spent most of September and October reworking all of the animation and sound, upgrading everything, fixing things. I recorded some parts over again. It is done, I posted it:

Thank you for viewing Dicky & Jackie. If you do enjoy it, I hope you will leave me a comment on YouTube.

Happy New Year!

Joe Sparks

#joesparks #dickyandjackie #cartoon #song #motiongraphics #adobe #motiondesign #aftereffects #flash #animatecc #studioone #animation #documentary #artist #songwriter #blender3d #songwriter #youtuber #animator #independent #artist #radiskull #devildoll

Dicky & Jackie characters, animation, photography, music, and lyrics COPYRIGHT 2018 by Joe Sparks of JOESPARKS.COM ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Return of Radiskull & Devil Doll Coffee mugs available here:

Written, designed, animated, voiced, composed, performed, edited, and entirely owned by Joe Sparks

“Performing Radiskull & Devil Doll Live” new vid posted

Recorded live at LeapFrog headquarters in Emeryville California. I was an game developer/designer there. I was enlisted (by rad-friendly fans) to perform at the LeapFrog Talent Show + Bring your Kids to Work Day. (!!!) Thank you so much for your likes, subscribes and comments!

RDD Live

Radiskull & Devil Doll Live Video Thumbnail

A Dramatic Reading of Selected Radiskull and Devil Doll Episodes! I wrapped up with some modern commentary and remastered music. I hope you enjoy it! Read the comments: people seem into it!

Joe Sparks performs live

Joe Sparks performs Radiskull and Devil Doll live at LeapFrog.

While working on a new studio tour video, I started cleaning, organizing, opening old boxes. I came across many old artifacts in the past week or two. I turned this one into a new video on my YouTube channel:

Where are you, Millions of Radiskull & Devil Doll fans?

I’m searching for those millions of Radiskull & Devil Doll fans from 2001. (I used to get more than a million unique visitors a month, years before YouTube existed!) If you know some, please let them know that I am BACK AT IT? I really appreciate your help to bring that audience back. An audience will make it possible for me to finish R&DD episode 9 (BIG PLANS!!).

amazing Radiskull Devil Doll fan art at tattoos

Tiny sample of the amazing Radiskull Devil Doll fan art and tattoos out there!

See more amazing art by search Google Images:

Special Thanks to Gabriel Turk for giving me the CD-ROM with his edited version of my performance video. Otherwise, I would not be able to share this with you!

Joe Sparks at LeapFrog

From way back: Standing over my work space at LeapFrog in Emeryville California

Just for fun, I’ve included some post-it note art I made at LeapFrog and posted in my cubicle, from back in those days. I was developing my “Dicky & Jackie” enhanced-stick-figure style back in that time zone shortly after collapsed in the great crash.

Return of Radiskull & Devil Doll Coffee mugs available here:

"Coffee with Friends" mugs

“Coffee with Friends” mugs

NEW: 2018 Radiskull & Devil Doll cameo in the animated music video “Coffee with Friends”

If you are interested in making animation and music video, please visit my tools page:

Joe Sparks’ Creative Tools 2018

I will be adding many more tools to that page soon, to accompany my studio tour video.

Thank you so much for your likes, subscribes and comments!

Joe Sparks

I worked on games that shipped with LeapFrog’s first Leapster device (like a game boy). I made the dancing robot game. I pushed really hard to create new characters for LeapFrog, but they explained it was much safer to invest in their Disney Licenses. What could have been?

P.S. #2
While I am best known for Total Distortion and Spaceship Warlock, I also worked on many other games for more companies (stories for another day!)

P.S. #3
I used to do this R&DD act at poetry slams, it always worked live! I killed!

“Coffee with Friends” featuring Radiskull and Devil Doll by Joe Sparks

Radiskull & Devil Doll are together again for the FIRST TIME in 17 YEARS! I’m proud to announce my latest all-original, all-independent, animated music video! Radiskull and Devil Doll make a hard-rockin’ cameo  in the middle of Coffee with Friends

Coffee with Friends

“Coffee with Friends” featuring Radiskull and Devil Doll created by Joe Sparks

This is the first time I have animated and voiced these two since the year 2001. I really hope you will enjoy this, and encourage me to continue with your likes and subscribes!

Look how GOOD they LOOK in 2018:

When I started Radiskull and Devil Doll, everyone was on dial-up modems! I had to be very careful to compress everything, keep window sizes small, frames rates way down, limit the quality of audio and everything else. Today in our Sci-Fi reality, high-definition audio and video flow through the world like a raging river! Now I can really let loose with fog, smoke, lights, shadows, camera work and more. And best of all, the audio is pristine. I hope you view on a nice big monitor, and listen on good speakers!

To commemorate the 2018 return of Radiskull & Devil Doll in “Coffee with Friends,” this:

"Coffee with Friends" mugs

“Coffee with Friends” mugs

Return of Radiskull & Devil Doll Coffee mugs available here:

For most of my life, I’ve been told coffee was bad for me. I never believed it. Not for a minute! Turns out I was right, and we now know coffee is one of the healthiest things you can drink. It is rich in antioxidants. It is delicious.

It makes friends more friendly. You should have some coffee with friends every day!


Sun Moon Coffee

Cosmic Coffee break in “Coffee with Friends”

I started drinking coffee when I was 4 years old. My next-door neighbor made it for me, and we would sit on her front lawn in lawn chairs and sip coffee. I loved it. I also loved coffee candy and coffee ice cream as a kid.

I encourage you to give your children coffee as early as possible and as much as they can drink. And maybe, just maybe, your kids might turn out like (see video for more info)

After the music video plays I engage in a little bit of story-telling and horseplay:Some parts I create with Adobe Animate CC (formally known as Flash). I export layers of high-resolution vector animation as alpha-channel video, and bring it in into Adobe After Effects. After Effects has a beautiful 3D camera system. I’ve been animating the camera to the beat of the music and it brings the scenes to life in a unique way.

Coffee with Friends Title v3c

Coffee with Friends Title v3c


I will do a follow-up article on the tools and techniques. Meanwhile: my TOOLS PAGE

Radiskull and Devil Doll inside After Effects

Radiskull and Devil Doll inside After Effects

I hope you will subscribe to my YouTube channel and revisit

Thanks again for watching, sharing, subscribing, and leaving comments. Thank you for being here. With you in the audience I will be able make more music videos. I want to create musical art that stands the test of time.

Thanks again, and “be excellent to each other!”

Joe Sparks
August 2018


“Coffee with Friends” featuring Radiskull and Devil created by Joe Sparks
All characters, animation, photography, music, and lyrics COPYRIGHT 2018 by Joe Sparks of JOESPARKS.COM ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
“Radiskull & Devil Doll” are the trademarks and intellectual property of Joe Sparks

New Radiskull and Devil Doll animation coming soon.

My new Radiskull and Devil Doll work is looking (and sounding) SO GOOD. Can’t wait to share this with you. (SOON). These stars of the early internet will be sharing the stage for the FIRST TIME in 17 YEARS  in the middle of my next music video “Coffee with Friends” #joesparks #radiskullanddevildoll #radiskull

I’m working in both Flash/Animate CC and After Effects and the combination is really something. (See my Tools Page)

Radiskull and Devil Doll AfterEffects 1

Radiskull and Devil Doll AfterEffects 1

Radiskull and Devil Doll AfterEffects 2

Radiskull and Devil Doll AfterEffects 2

Radiskull and Devil Doll AfterEffects 3

Radiskull and Devil Doll AfterEffects 3

Radiskull's Cave

Radiskull and Devil Doll from “Coffee with Friends”

Coffee with Friends Title v3c

Coffee with Friends Title v3c


Get notified when I launch “Coffee with Friends” by joining my private list below:

Subscribe to my Private Email List

So thankful to everyone who adds their email to my private email announcements. Subscribers will be first to know of my new works, including Radiskull & Devil Doll shows. THANK YOU. ~Joe Sparks


Sincere thanks to you for signing up for my announcement emails! ~ Joe Sparks


How I made “Too Much” with Puppet Crafts and Digital Animation

I explain the hows & whys behind my music video story “Too Much” using elaborate photo illustrations. Please enjoy!

"Too Much" Music Video Story by Joe Sparks

This music video story makes young people and old people smile at similar high intensities.

For the first time in more than 10 years, I was going out on my own as a indy creative publisher.

“You’re brave,” said fellow Googlers. “You’re insane,” said their faces (eyes a fraction too wide, smiles tightened).

Joe, you’ve had a “Real Job” for too long

I’d been cranking out ads on daily deadlines for over 10 years, ~80 hours a week, with very few vacations. Aside from meetings, my work was on computer only, and split between software engineering and animation. I was a creative at Google, but I was not doing the things I’m chiefly known for (games, cartoons, animation, and music). Instead, I would massage the creative assets of outside agencies into compliant interactive ads and YouTube video ads. I started and managed a creative team inside Google to do this at scale. The work takes skill and patience, pays well, but it uses a narrow focus of rapid creative execution. I’m not dissing the work —this was real work, valuable work and challenging as a designer and a software engineer. A great way to earn a living in between masterpieces! But I wasn’t making beloved cartoons or cult classics, shall we say.

I’d been doing this kind work for more than TEN YEARS. How was I going to resurrect that unique weird artist side, locked away for so long?

Could I break out of my corporate mentality, wake up my creativity, and shake off a decade of the nerdy side of advertising? Probably not, but I would try.

Step away from the computer

I decided to do some non-digital arts and crafts. I’ve read that working with natural materials (that you can hold in your hands), can activate a different part of our brain and bring to life some unused talents.

Working on Old Babette

Detail work on my puppet-doll “Babette Bleu”

I was also interested performing on camera (I am a former Theater and Music Major). I used to be in bands and music theater productions. I’m also the primary voice actor on Total Distortion, Radiskull and Devil Doll, and most other things I’ve done.

If I combined the arts and crafts with performance on-camera, I might get a Hipster Mr. Rogers thing going on!


I could become a hipster Mr. Rogers with my own neighborhood!

Meanwhile, let’s do a simple music video!

Let me back up a bit. When I started work on “Too Much,” I thought I would make a quick live-action video for our anniversary (notice that my charming, beautiful, and remarkably supportive wife JJ Sparks has been a part of all my recent videos). I had a strong idea in mind: we should dance through a park, while people looked on, and some of those people would give us dirty looks. We started up the project by shooting ourselves (using a tripod with no camera operator) on location in Huntington Park and Club Deluxe in San Francisco.

JJ Sparks in Huntington Park

JJ Sparks preparing to shoot in Huntington Park, San Francisco.

But I couldn’t work up the nerve to ask strangers to let us shoot them giving us dirty looks and disapproving head shakes. This might not seem important, but this is why I eventually wanted to use puppets.

We also shot ourselves lip syncing to my song “Too Much ” against a studio green screen.

Joe and JJ Sparks

Joe and JJ Sparks performing in front of a green screen.

We also shot at Club Deluxe in the Upper Haight. There, we got some dirty looks!

club deluxe shots

Finally got some “gross-out” looks at Club Deluxe!

I thought this material would be more than enough video to get me through a 2 minute song. But when I started editing it together, I wasn’t happy with the end result. There’s wasn’t enough interesting material to fill the whole song. I wanted more reactions, of people being “grossed out.” I could only pull about a worthwhile minute out of our shots. I really wanted this video to be decent. This was my first public thing in forever. Maybe I could do some animation?

Then I started playing around with clay one night and thought: “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if I added puppet versions of ourselves…”

Puppet Time

I imagined puppets on video would be faster than straight-up animation. I was wrong. Not the way I was doing it anyway. I’d never attempted anything quite like this before.

Here’s an example of a type of challenge I encountered over and over. I wanted to make sunglasses for “Puppet Joe Sparks.”

Puppet Sunglasses

Finding the right size sunglasses for JS puppet

I tried clay, paper, and wire..

Failed attempt to make sunglasses

One of many blind alleys I traveled, only to find I was attempting something beyond my skill level.

In the end, I animated a photo on top of my puppet video, because it was too hard for me to make actual sunglasses at this size (I tried). Who cares anyway? I’ll just use my much-better skills in computer animation to make up it.

Joe Sparks Puppet Shades

To develop my modeling skills, I began to watch crafting videos on YouTube, and l learned more about paper clays from Japan, armature wire, and artistic techniques. I started visiting art supplies stores (including Blick’s, Mendel’s on Haight Street, dollar stores in the Mission, and costume shops) in search of new materials. I bought fabric samples, synthetic fur, pipe cleaners, poms, glue sticks for my glue gun.

Craft supplies

Assorted crafting supplies on my Singer plastic cutting board.

I started working on clay puppet heads. I started with small styrofoam balls, and applied a coating of “Hearty” Japanese paper clay, and sculpted into tiny simple faces. I attached plastic googly eyes.

Clay mouth detail.

Working on a tiny clay mouth for JJ’s puppet.

Puppet heads

JJ and Joe Sparks Puppet heads

I made little leather jackets out of black felt:

JS JJ puppets

Joe and JJ puppets with clothing made from pipe cleaners, felt, faux fur, and paper cloth.

Time to build a park for my puppets

I wanted to build a clay-model park for my puppets to act in. I started in, making plants and walls.

Clay plants

Clay park plants on rotation table

After a day or two of working on this, I realized it was taking too much time to make the park I wanted. I estimated at least 3 weeks and a ton of clay to pull it off.

Hmm. After some long thoughts I decided to build this park on the computer. I was a world-class 3D modeler early in my career, but I was out of practice. I started up again with Blender 3D, an amazing open-source 3D animation, rendering and modeling program.

I had a specific idea of a park at dusk/twilight. I searched Google Images for “park at dusk,”  and I came upon these photos on a cute blog called “Passengers on a Little Spaceship:”

Joseph Wood Hill Park

Joseph Wood Hill Park at dusk 1

I really wanted some stone walls and lamps along these lines.

trees in Blender 3D

Rebuilding my clay models in Blender 3D. I love strings of electric lights in trees, so I added some.

I tried to emulate my clay modeling style into the digital 3D world. I couldn’t really do it, but it does have a toy-like feel to it.

Park Modeling in Blender

Modeling my Park in Blender 3D

After I had the basics of my 3D park together, I added some 2D elements for distant sky and mountains:

Animated Sky

I made a distant background animated sky using simple elements

Put them together and we have a park at dusk:

Park 3D Sky 2D

Putting the 2D sky animation together with the 3D park models. Not exactly what I was looking for, but I was pretty happy with this!

I wanted reaction shots in the park, remember? Now I had to get my puppet animation into this 3D world.

These are more fragile dolls than real puppets. You can’t even really pose them, express them, or do any substantial stop-motion with them. All I could do was shake them, rotate them, maybe bend a pipe-cleaner arm. Any extra animation would be done after the fact, in software, on top of my video material.

I shot the puppets against a green screen with my new camera, the Panasonic GH5.

handmade puppets for video animation

Shooting puppets on Green Screen with my Panasonic GH5

park puppets

Shooting the park puppets, learning lighting and camera techniques on the job (I’m not a pro camera person)

I took my camera shots into After Effects and animated eye blinks, head turns, painting small expressions, and compositing it all together.

I exported these animations as PNG sequences and brought into Blender to anchor inside of the 3D world.

Placing video shots into the 3D world in Blender 3D

And here’s what it looks like in the final music video:

Still frame from the final “Too Much” music video

I was able to put my green-screened puppets into the 3D world, and fly cameras through it.

Please have a look at my first attempt at using these techniques to make a Music video. It is titled “Too Much” and hosted at my Joe Sparks channel on YouTube. There’s much more to this story, the music, and other materials used. I will follow up with more posts about the works as I go.

I hope you enjoy the music video! If you do, I appreciate your like, subscribes, and friendly comments over on YouTube. Really helps us to get discovered over there. I plan to get much better at this over time. Please subscribe if you want to see more as I go!

Thank you!

~ Joe Sparks, San Francisco July 2018

Subscribe to my Private Email List

So thankful to everyone who adds their email to my private email announcements. Subscribers will be first to know of my new works, including Radiskull & Devil Doll shows. THANK YOU. ~Joe Sparks


Sincere thanks to you for signing up for my announcement emails! ~ Joe Sparks