G.I. Joe: The Movie Animation art – Terror Drome Background Key

GI Joe: The Movie Background Key TerrorDrome Hallway detail by Robert Schaefer

I know you toy types want the toy dope.  But I’m an animation type first, so I’m always pleased to show you something cartoon-related.  Like this background key from 1987’s G.I. Joe: The Movie.  Background keys are not used in the final animation.  They can be without color, or fully painted, and are an overview of what a location — interior or exterior — looks like.  Generally they come before the storyboarding stage, so that storyboard artists know what a location looks like before planning (and drawing) scenes and shots in and around that location.  Keys are used as a reference, too, for background artists and background painters, who will fully realize in line and in color the specific backgrounds needed in every angle called for by the storyboards.

GI Joe: The Movie Background Key TerrorDrome Hallway by Robert Schaefer

This one’s by Robert Schaefer.  His credit in G.I. Joe: The Movie is “Background Art Direction.”  The whole background unit on that production is one BG Supervisor, another three on BG Art Direction, one BG Designer, nine BG painters, and one BG Coordinator.  Some of these folks were in the States at Marvel Productions, others were in Japan at Toei.  (A few uncredited ones may have been elsewhere in Japan or Korea, subcontracted, which I would never be able to track down.)  Schaefer has worked on BGs for Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears, Universal, and Disney Television Animation.  And, probably of most interest to readers of this blog, Marvel Productions, where he also drew and painted on G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Jem.

Here’s how this key was used — for Pythona’s infiltration of the Cobra Terror Drome — note most of all the first shot.

GI Joe: The Movie screencaps for Robert SchaeferAn additional key or two may have been painted to describe these places.  And it’s worth noting that the Terror Drome, both inside and out, had already been visualized in Season 2.  I don’t have information on why any of that was revised or redone for The Movie, but presumably because here Cobra HQ is bigger and more labyrinthine.  But imagine a show like The Simpsons, where a key for the Simpsons’ living room reflects a “standing set” and isn’t often redone.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Animation, G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes

2 responses to “G.I. Joe: The Movie Animation art – Terror Drome Background Key

  1. Clutch

    This is a highly informative post. Nice stuff!

    Robert Schaefer’s key looks very Giger-ish. I’d wager that the Terror Drome’s interiors were revisited for the movie to better differentiate it from the regular TV series in terms of overall scope. It certainly looks spiffier in those Pythona stills. (Did she just ice a Crimson Guard there? That’s hardcore.)

  2. Nate

    We want the book!
    Give us the book!
    We want the book!
    Give us the book!

    What do we want?!
    The book!
    When do we want it?!
    Now!

    All chanting and rabble-rousing aside, thanks for the update. I enjoyed gaining not only some interesting “background” information on the movie development/production (see what I did there?), but also just some familiarity with the process of movie production in general. Nice update!

    Now what was I chanting? Oh yeah…

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