MYTH OF THE MAYAN BALLGAME
(The twins who tricked the gods of death)

Our second collaboration with TED-Ed brings life to the ancient Mayan myth of the twins who tricked the gods of death. The film is produced in hand-drawn frame by frame 2D animation, using fluid transitions with a textured feel.


The story follows the two hero twins, Ixb'alanke and Junahpu as they find their father's ballgame equipment, and avenge their father by descending into the underworld to play the gods in a ballgame. Being a myth video, we had a great time exploring different treatments and visual directions for this piece!

CREDITS:

Client : TED-Ed
Production House: Totem Creative
Sound Design: 
Bamm Bamm Wolgang 

Educator: Ilan Stavans

Music by: Adam Alexander

TEAM TOTEM:
Creative Direction: Arvind Singh Jeena, Nikhita Prabhudesai
Storyboards & Animatic: Nikhita Prabhudesai
Visual Development: Ashish Phadke, Nikhita Prabhudesai

Background design: Nikhita Prabhudesai
2D Animation: Gaurav Dhaimodkar, Ashish Phadke, Elisha Bansode, Arnav Gaikwad
Cleanup & Colourists: Ashish, Gaurav, Nikhita, Arvind, Elisha
Compositor: Arvind Singh Jeena

RESEARCH

Since the story of the myth takes place in the ancient Mayan civilization, we thought to look into the art, architecture and culture of the time. We looked at the 'chunky' motifs used in their ancient texts, artefacts and murals and tried to incorporate that in small ways in our film. 

Since the story is a myth and not a historical piece, we had a lot of liberty to stylize the characters and world. The idea was to explore a 'pop' and graphic treatment for the film, considering it's quirky and humourous tonality. 

VISUAL DEVELOPMENT

Initially, we planned on giving the piece an authentic Mayan look, but it since we had already seen so much art with that approach, we decided to try something more stylized and graphic. 

explorations by Ashish Phadke

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Styleframes by Ashish Phadke

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explorations by Nikhita Prabhudesai

explorations by Gaurav Dhaimodkar

Initial 'Mayan' colour palette explored for the film, using earthy colours and natural dyes.

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Going in a completely different direction with 'pop' graphic colours. We definitely liked these more, but realized it would be too much on the eyes for the lengthy duration of the film. 

CHARACTER DESIGN

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Top - Character Explorations for the twins by
Nikhita Prabhudesai & Gaurav Dhaimodkar

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Gods character explorations by Arvind S. Jeena

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Since the film is fully done in frame by frame 2D hand drawn animation, model sheets and turn arounds were designed to keep the characters consistent across the film.

Model sheets by Gaurav Dhaimodkar

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COLOURSCRIPTS

Colourscripts are developed to inform the mood and lighting of each portion of the film, and to maintain visual continuity across scenes. Below is the final treatment developed for the film.

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Colourscripts by Nikhita Prabhudesai

ANIMATION TESTS