Feel the Burn

Fully animated short

About this project

I animated this for the first round of the Newgrounds Summer animation Jams in 2021. This poor lad is just trying to charge a battery. Can he manage to stay awake? Will he ever be free of his eternal suffering?


Thia animation jam was split into rounds, and each round had a theme or prompt. The prompt for this animation was "stay awake" or something like that. It's a bit longer but I don't have the time to go and look for it as I'm writing this. The first thing that came to my mind upon hearing this was the image of big buldging bloodshot eyes. I think my first idea was something to do with crypto mining? Or investing? It was a big topic on my mind at the time and I wanted to complain about it. Anyways, none of that matters because I scrapped that idea for something better.

I don't remember how exactly I came up with the concept for this, but I definitely started working on it before figuring out the specifics. I knew what I wanted for the character so I had enough to start making something. The character is mainly inspired by the human nervous system.

Initial reference board
a conscious nervous system with eyes
First character sketch

The sketch also shows something close to my final concept. Originally, the battery was also going to power a lightbulb. The purpose of the light would be to show that energy was being generated, but I realized I could do that with just the battery by making it light up. In the final animation, you can notice that the entire scene becomes darker when the character stops pedaling. This is basically left over from the lightbulb thing, but its left in because it still helps the viewer to understand what's going on.

a conscious nervous system with eyes but 3d
First character render

The model was very quick and dirty but I didn't need anything that good. Although, I did want to make it look more like a nervous system. I just couldn't make it work in time. I modeled this with curves and gave it depth. The model for the battery was more complex.

a battery with two large cables pertruding
Large battery model

I guess the battery is still pretty simple all things considered. What makes it interesting is the materials. I made a shader that shows the battery charging up. It's controlled with a slider and can be easily animated.

I rigged the main model shortly after this and made animation tests. The second test is from when I failed to add more nerve endings to the rig. I hope you enjoy.

There's actually a lot more going on in this than I feel is useful to explain in text, so I'm just going to show a labeled viewport screenshot. I'd like to make more in depth behind the scenes videos on my projects someday, so I'll leave the gritty details for when I make that.

viewport screenshot
I'm sorry I thought this could be helpful at all

Most of the audio was done by me. I did the breathing recording and recorded an air compressor for the battery. The shock was free online somewhere, and I gave most of the sounds a reverb effect to help sell the weird dark setting. After re-rendering some broken frames, this is what the final timeline looked like:

editing timeline
Final edit timeline

Overall a very simple concept and animation, but still so lovable. I'll update this page slightly If I ever make that more detailed behind the scenes video.

Related Links

Places to watch the animated short:

YouTube Version

Newgrounds Version