Thursday, May 06, 2021

First Look at 'Meet the Voxels', Nickelodeon's New Live-Action Animated Comedy Series

Chris Young, who most recently served as Senior Vice President of Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab, has unveiled a super first look at the pilot of Nickelodeon's upcoming live-action animated comedy series, Meet the Voxels!

Nickelodeon originally announced the development of Meet the Voxels (working title), an original TV, virtual reality and augmented reality series conceived by Young in August 2018. The series follows an African-American and Latinx family where everyone is from a different video game.

Meet the Voxels takes kids behind the scenes of a video game world and follows a family of video-game characters, the Voxels, on their adventures on-and-off-duty. When the project was first announced, the family members were named: Hunter, the 13-year-old star of a laser-tag video game; Maude, a 16-year-old girl fighting to pop as many bubbles as she can; their younger brother Cody who has not found his video game calling yet; Mom, a popular street fighter in her game; and Dad, a 90’s-era classic console game character who quit the business years ago. There are also characters named Dune and Pyra. It's currently unknown whether any of these details have changed since the property was originally announced. Surprisingly, the pilot features a laugh track.

The animated sitcom, created in a game engine, marks a first for Nickelodeon in its use of cutting-edge virtual cinema technology, including real-time full body and facial performance capture, bringing an innovative approach to immersive storytelling. Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab is the network’s division established to spearhead long-range research and development around emerging platforms and new technology. Meet the Voxels is being developed to air across Nickelodeon’s channels globally.

The pilot for Meet the Voxels was executive produced by Young and written by Jana Petrosini (Henry Danger, Kid Danger, Game Shakers) and Sean Gill (Henry Danger, Kid Danger, Game Shakers).

The 22-minute pilot of Meet the Voxels was a first of its kind. To produce the episode, Young utilized Unreal Engine and rendered real-time using full body and facial performance capture.  From creation of the IP to design and implementation of all aspects of the workflow, this project also included a vertical slice for a multiplayer battle royale game that leveraged production assets. This show and it’s innovative animation process delivered a full creative stack that moved the needle on Nickelodeon’s development and production requirements.

In addition to images, Young has also unveiled a behind-the-scenes video clip from the making of the pilot episode of Meet the Voxels, which gives viewers a glimpse on how actors used motion capture suits for the animation, as well as footage from a game based on the property titled "Zero Chill". The video clips can be watched on Chris Young's official website,

At Nickelodeon, Young was behind many of Nickelodeon's new-gen entertainment experiences for kids including: SlimeZone, a multi-player social VR experience that allows kids and families the opportunity to interact in a Nickelodeon-designed virtual world; The Loud House 360, an original video where viewers can explore the madness of the Loud family household from all angles; and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LIVE VR Interview Experience, a virtual reality experience that immerses users in the Turtles’ iconic New York City world and allows them to have a conversation with Mikey or Donnie, voiced on the scene by the actors who play the roles. The Turtles experience debuted at San Diego Comic Con 2018. In addition to overseeing a team of artists and engineers focused on real-time animation technologies, Young also designed, built and managed a state-of-the-art virtual stage equipped for full-body motion capture and location-based virtual reality development, and conceived the concept and produced the prototype for Nickelodeon's top-rated Do Not Touch AR app.

Young also designed the animation pipeline and supervised real-time facial performance capture, clean-up, retargeting and key-frame animation for Project85, Nickelodeon’s first attempt at producing real-time animation in Unreal Engine. He also identified, hired and managed animation service providers, led design reviews, communicated updates to development and production teams, created and produced VR & AR companion story experiences. Project '85 was shown by Epic Games CEO and Founder, Tim Sweeney at GDC during his keynote speech.

Originally published: Thursday, May 06, 2021.

H/T: @Dylangalaz1@ManPalisades1; Special thanks to @NicktoonFan!

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