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National Museum of African American Music

A Passion Project

In the world of advertising, there never seems to be enough time to sharpen a pencil let alone hand draw every frame of a :60 second animation. But this project for The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM for short) was a unique opportunity to drive the timeline and take a lead on the visual approach. Joining together with our friends at Tombras, we set out to spread the word of this new Nashville based museum experience and help give back to an organization focused on celebrating and preserving the influence African Americans have had on the American soundtrack. The finished animation is the culmination of a total team effort over several months and we have lots to share. So crank up some music and let’s kick it for a while.

From Robert Johnson to Rhianna

Crossing several genres and spanning several decades, our research and exploration process helped to dial in the final illustration style and set the tone for the final piece. Before Animation began, our team spent several weeks researching the history of African American music and then created character studies focused on prominent black artists of the twentieth century.

Roughing It In

With script in hand, rough storyboards were developed and soon after, we moved into blocking utilizing our 3D workflow to provide loose guidance for our traditional animation artists to reference along the way.

Layers on Layers

Using the 3D blocking animation as reference, our animators progresses from rough pencil sketches  to amore refined line pass. As color, light and shadow passes are applied, the line pass ultimately fades away revealing the finished animation.


Once the traditional animation was completed we added in the final motion graphics to highlight the museum offerings and their mission statement as well as the final logo resolve.

Cut Down Versions

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