We often like to share the best of fan-made creations here on Nintendo Life, whether it's artwork, music, live-action videos or animations. One YouTube channel that's had a bit of love from us is Channy & Kimberly, which emerged this year and achieved some success with its 'Anime Openings', which deliver flashy and entertaining sequences based on iconic Nintendo franchises.
To date the channel has featured IPs such as Star Fox, Pokémon GO, Splatoon, and memorably produced an awesome tribute to the Nintendo Switch. It's now launched a Pokémon Sun and Moon video, which is included in this article.
We wanted to get to know these animators a bit better, so we caught up with them to learn more about their backgrounds and first year on YouTube.
First of all, can you introduce yourselves to our readers?
Channy: Hello! Nice to meet you! Well, where can I start, my name is Channy and I studied 3D Animation in Angoulême in France. After studies I went to Denmark and United Kingdom to work on several animation projects as producer. Finally, I went to Germany for a temporary project.
Kimberly: Hey! My name is Kimberly, also went to Angoulême, met this crazy mate during my animation studies. I went to England to work as 3D animator and (really by accident) we meet again in Berlin! Sharing the flat with someone who always forgets to bring their plates back makes me mad, but well, without her I would die tryin'!
Channy: Okay, plates, my fault, what about your dumb couch which you have not pulled out from the cardboard and still stays in the entrance...for 1 year???
Can you talk about how the channel started, and what motivated you to produce these animations?
Kimberly: I think the greatest impact was just great videogames in childhood, like Zelda, Metroid and Animal Crossing (I just started to play Animal Crossing on Nintendo DS, shame on me...).
I don't think there were any characters from Nintendo that I didn't try to draw on paper.
In terms of drawings, I don't think there were any characters from Nintendo that I didn't try to draw on paper. Drawing, cereals for breakfast (and I mean the unhealthy one with sugar) and playing the whole summer holidays, this was just great. After a few years in the 3D animation industry, I realized that I had no time any more for some sketches or drawings, the real thing why I wanted to be was an animator...
Channy: So one night, struggling to work at home, putting some Shadow of the Colossus on, we realized how overworked we were and it will not be better in the next few months until we finished the temporary project. I think Kimberly started to cry like 'Buhuu, why do I start to work buhuu.'
Kimberly: No, it was you.
Channy: No, it was you.
Channy: No, you!
Kimberly: Whatever.... So we both realized, 3D animation is a great thing, but our backgrounds are in simple 2D animation and drawings. Although we know we're gonna work over 12 hours a day, it will be still refreshing to do work on 2D projects, for us, for our pleasure, to go back to something what was fun, not business any more.
Channy: It was a dumb idea, after industrial 3D work to go to "private industrial 2D" work. But now we're finally seeing what we can achieve. It's really refreshing.
Your first video, Star Fox Anime Opening, naturally attracted a lot of attention. Can you share the thought processes that led to that being your debut video on the channel?
Channy: Oh, it was a huge amount of work, the first project was also the most stressful project so far, because we did not know how to start. It was not about how, more about where the hell shall we take the time to do something like that? But Nintendo gave us the answer, and the power...and the idea for our first project. Kimberly and me waited for years, I think everyone waited for a new Star Fox, and we loved Star Fox, not the multiplayer part, because I sucked in it, but the fluid and addictive controls and the fast and easy campaign; it's just having fun in a short time, you can play it within 45 minutes, it's great when you have not enough time.
Kimberly: We had great expectations for the new Star Fox and we wanted to bring back good old times. So we combined the 80s/90s style with the world of Star Fox, and tadaaah....!
Channy: Yes, and tadaaah...! Not even knowing that Nintendo already planned a COMPLETE ANIME MOVIE with Starfox, we uploaded the video after the announcement of the anime and before it aired.
Kimberly: We rushed and, unfortunately, we had the same pressure as like in the business, we had to start before the real anime.
Channy: Summarized, chaos brought us to the final opening of Star Fox!
Can you walk us through the main techniques you use when planning and producing animations like this?
Channy: Of course, it starts every time with gaming.
Kimberly: Yes, gaming, after gaming we try to brainstorm, and we then start to play again.
Channy: Haha, yes! After the 2nd time of playing, we have only 1 or 2 weeks left, so we continue to play, haha!
Kimberly: So, driven by panic we choose a theme of what we actually like and start to storyboard. After storyboarding we put all the panels together to a first animatic, to edit timing and pacing. After the animatic one creates the animations, while the other one creates the backgrounds. One night before airing, we call our musician,...of course he gets mad, to create the music and sounds, but yeah, he can understand us! (Sorry duuude!)
We usually work with Toonboom and the complete Creative Cloud Softwares like Photoshop and Premiere CC. Our first rule: No 3D.
Channy: Pas de 3D, non non, Nein, no, nada!
The music plays a big part, can you tell us more about collaborations and sourcing these tracks?
Channy: Kromosohn, our main music designer, also works in the industry. He's like Batman, in broad daylight he works for commercials like laundry detergent and mid-class cars. At night he remixes the best videogame soundtracks. So a big thank you to "Kromosohn", who also shares the passion to do stuff like this.
Kimberly: Music is also very important, no image works fluently without audio, it's almost 50% / 50%. We choose everytime the catchy songs which chase us the whole day.
After Star Fox you continued the Nintendo theme with videos for Splatoon, Yoshi's Island and Pokémon GO. What were the highlights of producing those videos?
Channy: It's always great to see and read the reactions of the viewers, this is our greatest goal to inspire people to do some creative stuff about things that they like.
Did you see continual momentum for your channel from those videos? Was there a key point where you saw your audience increase in a significant way?
Kimberly: It was definitely the Switch Opening which gave us a big push forward! It's fun to create fictional Anime Openings, but we're gonna go into more directions (and our latest project will show which way we wanna go now!
In terms of that Switch video (above), what inspired the concept for that one?
Channy: I accidentally went on Spotify to 80s Greatest Hits, and they played "The Touch from the Transformers Movie."
Kimberly: It was so great, after Nintendo released the Switch Video, we already knew what to do....Consoles in Disguise! So you can say, a catchy tune is the first way to create a C&K video.
Have you encountered any copyright issues with Nintendo, or has the nature of your videos and content helped you to avoid that?
Kimberly: Dear Mister/Misses Nintendo, please do not sue us. We love your games and how you did not give us a new Pikmin. Please bring us a new Virtual Boy. Please do not sue us, we have no money, please do not take my beloved 3DS!!
Channy: Eww, what Kimberly tries to say is, although we use IPs from Nintendo, every single drawing, and every sound and music part, is created by us, so we hope we do not discredit the image of Nintendo. It's only a homage to videogames which inspires us to work in the animation industry. And we don't monetize and try to benefit commercially from our videos. We work really hard to keep the essence and the soul of the games and bring our interpretations of their souls to your screens.
Do you aspire to perhaps collaborate with Nintendo or other game makers in the future?
Kimberly: We hope that our work will reach people who see our creative work as a chance. We already gained several project requests, we're very honoured.
What's next for your channel, do you have big plans for 2017?
Channy: Oh hell yeah, of course! be prepared for some great stuff!
C&K: We wanna also thank André Vidros, Kromosohn, Miketendo 64 and of course Nintendo Life and Thomas for the great oppurtunity to write about our latest work! So feel free to enjoy our next project for Pokémon Sun and Moon!
We'd like to thank Channy and Kimberly for their time. Let us know what you think of this latest Pokémon Sun and Moon video in the comments!