Text reads: The Mysteries of Life with Tim and Moby

A boy, Tim, is typing at his desktop computer. An e-mail message appears on his screen. He reads it aloud.

TIM: Dear Tim and Moby, How do you make a BrainPOP movie? From, Stacy.

TIM: Oh, good question. We get this a lot. Making a BrainPOP movie is a pretty complicated process, but it all starts with your e-mails.

A hard copy of Stacy's letter comes out of Tim's desktop printer.

TIM: Once I get a question, I start researching the answer. Sometimes I get help from other writers.

An image shows a room full of cubicles with people working in them.

MOBY: Beep.

Moby carries a cup of coffee to the desk where Tim is working. The coffee spills on some of Tim's books.

TIM: I said help.

Tim gives Moby an angry look.

TIM: Once all the research is done and everything's written and edited, we actually get to start making the movie. First, Moby and I sit down to record the script.

Moby and Tim each hold a microphone. Tim holds a script.

VOICE OFFSCREEN: Cut. I'm going to need you to say that again, this time with more feeling.

TIM: Next, the animators sketch a rough kind of comic strip called a storyboard, which guides them as they animate the movie.

An image shows a storyboard. It contains sketches of the movie they are preparing to make.

TIM: BrainPOP movies are created with digital animation. Digital animation uses computers to create moving images. To give the impression that figures are moving, slightly different images are put together in sequence. When the sequence is sped up, you get animation.

An animation shows a computer screen with Moby and Tim on it. The screen then displays an image of a bouncing red ball.

TIM: There are lots of different kinds of digital animation. One popular type that you may have heard of is called computer-generated imagery, or CGI.

An animation shows a crowd in a movie theater. An animated space ship moves across the movie screen.

TIM: That's what you often see in movies with really cool three-D effects.

Tim and Moby are in the theater audience, watching the film. Moby is eating popcorn. A woman in front of Tim and Moby makes a shushing sound.

MOBY: Beep.


Something in the film explodes. Tim and Moby jump.

TIM: BrainPOP movies are in good old two-D. That's two dimensions.

A large jumble of images appear from various Tim and Moby movies.

TIM: We use a program called Flash.

An image shows the emblem of the Flash program.

TIM: Lots of websites use Flash to animate advertisements, interactive features, and even short videos. Flash is great, because it lets you reuse stuff over and over without having to redraw it.

The backdrop behind Tim and Moby keeps changing as Tim speaks. Moby looks nervous.

TIM: The computer window where animators make the movie is called a stage.

An animation shows an animator at his computer.

TIM: As with other two-D animation programs, the illusion of depth is created by drawing background and foreground objects on different transparent layers.

An animation shows a grassy background on one layer and a flower and bee on different layers.

TIM: Each layer is made up of one or more still images called keyframes. The digital animator connects keyframes together with movement, often with a process called tweening.

An image shows a computer screen. The screen displays data from an animation program.

TIM: In tweening, the animator picks a start point and an end point for each object, and the computer figures out the logical intermediate steps.

An animation shows the process Tim describes.

TIM: When the animation's done, the audio files that Moby and I recorded are synchronized to the movement.

Tim is interrupted by loud farm animal noises.

TIM: Hey.

The noises stop.

TIM: That's better.

MOBY: Beep.

TIM: Yeah. All the BrainPOP features are created in Flash, too. Turns out it's a halfway-decent drawing program.

An animation shows an animator creating an image of a rat. She is drawing on a tablet as her drawing appears on the computer screen.

TIM: Finally, we upload the files to the all-powerful BrainPOP server.

An image shows the BrainPOP server.

TIM: And there you have it. The new BrainPOP movie is available to view on the Internet.

Tim stands by a computer screen. The screen displays the BrainPOP homepage.

MOBY: Beep.

Moby, holding a bucket of popcorn, joins Tim.

TIM: Well, to watch the movie, you need a Flash-enabled web browser, and I'm pretty sure you already have that.

Tim and Moby settle in to watch a BrainPop movie. Tim reaches for some of Moby's popcorn.

MOBY: Beep.

Moby pulls the popcorn away from Tim.

TIM: Whatever. I hate watching myself act anyway. It makes me feel so self-conscious.

Tim puts on sunglasses.

TIM: Besides, I have a massage I need to get to, and a twelve-thirty with my agent. Ciao, buddy.

Tim leaves. Moby smiles and moves closer to the computer screen. He presses "enter" on the computer's keyboard and starts the Tim and Moby movie. A boy, Tim, is typing at his desktop computer. Text reads: The Mysteries of Life with Tim and Moby.

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