Everyone focuses on what’s blowing up on TikTok, but here’s something that’s been getting a bit of attention over on Byte: some playful little skeletons.
Over the past month, designer Andre Zimmermann has been posting short looping clips of meddlesome skeletons getting into low-stakes hijinks, like running off with food from a table or knocking a plant off a ledge. “They sort of became these jerks,” Zimmermann said. “Like a cat.”
They’re the furthest thing from spooky, but their mischievous antics feel a bit more comforting during what’s already a high-stress Halloween.
My favorite of Zimmermann’s not-quite-spooky animations shows a humanoid collection of skulls dancing to a looping disco track. To make it, Zimmermann said he imported a motion-capture file of someone dancing, then set the skulls to follow their movements. “It’s just a man basically with skulls stuck to him,” Zimmermann said.
Zimmermann has only been working with 3D art for three years. He started making icons and customizations for Android home screens, then moved on to illustrations and animations. His projects all come together in his free time after work and take a day or two each.
The quick turnarounds are intentional, Zimmermann said, because it’s too easy for any given post to go unnoticed on social platforms. “Putting a lot of time into these long hard complex works doesn’t really pay off,” he said. He’d like to build up an audience — recently, he had some success on Instagram, where one of his skeleton posts got 1.6 million views. On Byte, the view count is far lower, but the animations have been surfacing as part of the app’s “Spooky Season” section.
One element of Zimmermann’s animations that really pulls them together is the music. That selection actually comes last in the process, he said. Once the video is exported, he looks around to see what fits and what will loop properly, since he wants the clips to seem endless.
“The length has to fit,” he said. “And getting that right away is not really something you can plan.”