Development of the animation style was worked out while the other departments were still nailing down the designs of the characters and the exact story of the film. We knew who the characters were internally, so progress was made where possible.
For Harold, the boss character, we knew basically that he was short and fat and not the happiest guy in the world.
We wanted Gabe to really contrast Harold in not just every shape, but in every movement. He was taller, more awkward, energetic, and flexible.
For Dan it was important that he be really oblivious to everything so we could get away with having him pulled around so violently without him catching on.
Working with the idea that every character has things specific to how they move and stand, a generic rig (Goon) was used to explore that concept.
Being a cg film a big part of preproduction was finding a good auto rigger to use. We wanted it to be versatile enough but also something we could add controls to as needed. A quick test was done to test to get familiar with the rig
Once we had our models in place model sheets were made because we were using a joint based facial system as opposed to the typical blend shape facial set up that would keep the characters more 'on model'
Lastly, to set in place a workflow that would keep us on schedule, two tests were done to show the different steps we would take for each shot that would be both methodical but break down each shot in completable steps. We brought the film up in these levels. Once we had every shot in the film blocked out it became a process of polishing off each shot and if push came to shove we could hit spline and do a small amount of work to make the shot passable. Luckily we didn't have to do that.