Recess Rita on the Monkey Bars!

A new creative way to use the Character Animator Walk behavior.

Girl holding up 2 boys.

Image created by Konee Rok.

by Erica Schisler

posted on 04-20-2020

The Recess Rita puppet loves showing off her skill on the monkey bars. She’s inspired by a scene from the music video for “The City” by DJ Aktive. The song “The City” features multiple artists including DJ Aktive, Freeway, Common, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Bri Steves. Each artist is featured as an animated character in their cities.

The Recess Rita puppet and the music video were created by director, documentarian, and animator Konee Rok. He’s produced projects featuring Grammy-winning, Oscar-winning, and multi-platinum acts such as Kanye West, Common, Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Rhymefest, and A Tribe Called Quest, just to name a few. Premiering at Cannes last year, he created 10 animated segments using an Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe Character Animator workflow for the documentary “Beyond Driven: Lella Lombardi & the Women of Formula One.” Using that same workflow, Konee Rok animated “The City” music video by himself in only two months. Konee Rok explains,

“In the opening of the The City, we see DJ Aktive take a record off of his turntable and flip it over to reveal an upside down Philadelphia skyline. Rapper Freeway kicks off the first verse reminiscing about the places where he grew up in Philly. While hearing his lyrics, we are watching Freeway perform a monkey bar style ‘walk’ using his arms, hanging from the skyscrapers of the upside down city.

“The visual of ‘Freeway’s Skywalk’ was inspired by an interview I listened to where Freeway spoke about how he felt on top of the world, almost ‘floating’, before falling seriously ill to kidney failure; which eventually lead to a transplant and his role as an advocate for healthy life styles and fighting kidney disease for both the people of his city and beyond.

“Knowing how meaningful this arm walk was, I began considering the most effective way to approach animating this movement; the import thing was having the walk be clear, but at the same time original and appealing to watch. Discovering that Character Animator had a Character Walk Feature normally applied to a character’s legs, I started exploring to see if it could be subverted to make someone’s arms move the way the legs normally would.

“It was actually hilarious to see the effect it had on the Character in the early stages when inverting the appendages, but after spending some time applying adjustments, doing some ‘hackin’ and mixing components of hand drawn cycle animations, I felt like ‘Freeway’s Skywalk’ ended up being exactly what it needed to be; especially for the opening visual of the video.”

Like the character in the video and using the walk behavior, Recess Rita “walks” on the monkey bars. Additionally she has automatic lip-sync, she blinks, and she has left and right profiles for when she walks. An animation cycle was created in Photoshop so that her legs swing as she moves.

Take a recess with Rita on the monkey bars!


Get Recess Rita and other free puppets.

Learn more about The City video.

There are more fun free puppets at Okay Samurai’s page.

Want to learn more about using Character Animator? Here you go!

Topics: Video & Audio, Media & Entertainment

Products: Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Creative Cloud