centregalilee.com | iWorld—the annual Mac conference—has taken on more than a brand-new name this year, as it move its emphasis to the society that Apple’s commodities have helped foster. Possibly it’s fitting, then, that some of the an imaginative team behind South Park headlined the speak at Moscone center West ~ above Thursday.

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If you’re wondering what the connection to to apologize is, consider this: every episode of the long-running animated series is created practically entirely top top Macs.


In a discussion moderated through Chicago sun Times columnist (and centregalilee.com senior contributor) Andy Ihnatko, three representatives from South Park’s animation studio—Eric Stough, David Lenna, and Ryan Quincy—talked about the unique animation processes that go into making among the many iconic, controversial, and hilarious reflects on television.


Maya maniacs

South Park began out together a series of comedic construction-paper-stop-motion-animation projects by Trey Parker and also Matt Stone. Eric Stough, computer animation director and also producer at southern Park Studios, describes that the initial pilot for the display took three months to do. Stough has been component of southern Park Studios due to the fact that the beginning, having grown up with Trey Parker; once Parker to be 13 and also Stough to be 11, Parker called him “Butters”—a surname Stough shares with a series regular.

Despite the show’s top paper-cutout appearance, south Park’s animators have actually been utilizing computer animation techniques because that years. “We use progressed modeling to do it look 2-D,” described David Lenna, southern Park’s chief modern technology officer. The biggest tool in the animation team’s box? Autodesk Maya. Ryan Quincy, animation director and also producer of south Park Studios, admitted that “We we’re utilizing movement for a while. But we shot to keep it in Maya.” Now, every illustration is created primarily making use of Maya, 50 Mac workstations, and also 40 Xserves. “Even Windows-based software program is done through VM software on a Mac,” Lenna said.

Stough attributed Maya’s versatility as one factor the display has been able to execute some the its bigger, an ext memorable episodes: “We deserve to do flames and also sparks and also cars. We have the right to do various styles the animation.” though South Park is most known for a specific type of animation, show creators Trey Parker and Matt rock collaborate through the computer animation team to venture into new territory to accomplish the parodies and satires inquiry by the show.


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While southern Park Studios to represent talked around the duty of the Mac in creating their man TV series, centregalilee.com | iWorld attendees could likewise visit the art of south Park exhibition in Moscone West.

To show that point, Slough presented a collection of clips because that the assembled audience the highlighted the countless different styles the southern Park employee was able to develop using Maya. The satirical civilization of Warcraft episode is maybe the many famous example of southern Park Studios’ advertise its brand into brand-new artistic territory. Like various other episodes, that was produced primarily with Maya. Human being of Warcraft developer Blizzard operated with southern Park Studios to develop the machinima scenes using in-game footage, and the personalities were re-created in Maya.

Stough and also Lenna additionally walked the audience through some of the more animation-intensive segment of the “Heavy Metal” tribute episode, explaining that the imagery in Kenny’s hallucination was every done in Maya. The episode also incorporated live-action actors to use as models, combining v the 2-D personalities in Maya to produce a smooth whole.

Six-day cycle

Unlike various other animated tv shows, South Park has an exceptionally rapid production cycle. Stough said that when Parker first wanted come a show with a two-week cycle, world thought the couldn’t be done. South Park now operates top top a six-day cycle. “We re-invented exactly how you execute an man show.”


After the writer’s meeting, animators storyboard the scene while rock and Parker edit them. Climate there’s voice recordings, continuous script rewrites, and the actual animation process.


Speed is crucial to the south Park Studios staff, together they only have actually six work to produce 22 minutes of animation—a feat unthinkable only a few years ago. According to Lenna, they’re constantly experimenting with ways to trim the process but also if something “does something really cool, if the takes 20 seconds longer to carry out also long.”

Due to the brutal schedule and little staff, it’s not inexplicable to watch the animation staff work-related from 11 a.m. ~ above Tuesday come 11 a.m. ~ above Wednesday to make that evening’s 10 p.m. Waiting date. Animators will regularly sleep under their workdesks in resting bags. Stough related an incident five years earlier where the staff did a “pajama day” on a brutal Tuesday: “Trey’s pacing around and we’re put on pajamas…yeah, we quit doing pajama job after that.”


Despite the chop deadline, Lenna admits the the staff constantly animates 24 come 25 minutes of content, around two or 3 minutes that never make it on the air. “We reduced stuff every the time, George Lucas raping Indiana Jones . Us did four or 5 other scenes” that never made the onto the air.

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What’s next

The south Park Studios representatives were cagey ~ above details around what’s following for the show, however they did say the both a new video game and also a new season were in the works.

During the Q&A session, audience members asked around the company’s connection with Apple and what the animators would choose to see following from the hardware and also software maker. “We’re all hoping new workstation spec comes out soon,” David Lenna said with a laugh. “Oh, and I desire to eliminate the Radeons .”


Lenna, together with the rest of the south Park Studios staff, professed come a love because that Xserve line and also wants to check out them return to Apple’s lineup. (Apple discontinued the server in 2010.) yet when request by Ihnatko if they believed Apple considers southern Park Studios a major Apple installation, anyone on phase laughingly admitted, “no.”