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Meet The Animator Behind The World Cup's Most Viral Reaction GIF

This animator turned El Tri's manager into a Super Saiyan GIF that's been viewed over 7 million times already.

This article originally appeared on The Creators Project Mexico, which can be viewed here.

On Monday, Mexico beat Croatia 3–1 in the World Cup and Miguel Herrera, El Tri's manager, was (obviously) excited. Besides the game itself, the sideline action may have been the zenith of the event's entertainment value. 

Herrera's passion can be overwhelming, and the Internet has taken notice. His uncontrollable, ecstatic response to the game's final results (this one, when Club America miraculously became LigaMX's Champions) have since been transformed into a GIF that has already reached legendary status. Or, well, Super Saiyan status. 

Adam Philips, aka Chluaid, an Australian freelance animator who does storyboarding for Bob's Burgers, made a GIF that turned Herrera into a power-surging, Dragon Ball Z hero with electric shockwaves emanating from his body, plus a head full of flaming hair. Though there have been many GIFs of Herrera in the past week, Philips' maybe be the la crème de la crème, as the Goku-nodding GIF has been viewed more that 7 million times on imgur and has been covered all across the web. 

The Creators Project talked to Philips about the process behind this now-iconic GIF, as well as how he feels about Australia being out of the World Cup.

Another Herrera GIF via @cjzero

The Creators Project: There are a lot of animators exploring GIF-making, what do you like about this format?

Adam Philips: I think perhaps it's a combination of things: easy access to software and the popularity of micro-content (like Twitter, Vine and of course, animated gifs) because it can be created and consumed very quickly. As recently as the late 1990's it was prohibitively expensive for hobbyists to create animation. Thanks to technology and the internet, it's much easier for hobbyists and artists to create and publish their own films, music, books and games.

Can you tell us about your creation process? 

Depending on the size of the project, I will usually write some ideas down and do some rough sketches, before starting on the rough animation. When I'm happy with the rough animation, I begin cleaning it up and colouring it.
 

What type of tech tools do you use to make GIFs? 

For hardware, I use a Wacom graphics tablet to do my animation. And for software, I started off using Flash in the early 2000's, but I've been using Toon Boom for about 9 years now.

Please tell us the story behind the creation of the already-famous Miguel Herrera GIF?

Someone paged me on Reddit, requesting that I give Miguel Herrera a Saiyan transformation. Right at that time I was feeling burned out from work so it was the excuse I needed to stop working and have some fun.


Your GIF has more than 7 million views in Imgur. DId this suprise you at all? 

Because it was an impromptu project that only took me a couple of hours, yes it really surprised me when I woke up the next morning and learned that it had gone viral.


There are a lot of GIFs of Herrera celebrating at the World Cup, but do you think there’s an opportunity to make a new epic GIF with him?

He's such a lively character, I think he could star in his own series of animated web shorts!


Do you like soccer? And do you think Mexico can win with a Saiyan on its side?

Soccer is really one of just a few sports I enjoy watching. I always look forward to the World Cup.

Definitely! I hope Mexico continues to be successful so we can all enjoy Miguel Herrera's reactions. I especially hope Mexico defeats The Netherlands (because I am Australian and our WC campaign was ended by The Netherlands).

What can people find at your site, bitey.com?

On my website I host all of my personal and freelance animation projects, as well as online courses where you can learn animation and animation software.


Can you tell us about your upcoming projects? 

I feel very lucky to be busy right now with many separate projects. I'm a freelance storyboard artist for Bob's Burgers, but I've also just finished writing a book about how to use Toon Boom animation software. And I'm doing some FX concept work for Riot Games. After that, I'll be creating the opening cinematic for an upcoming independent game. I'm looking forward to finding some time to work on some new personal projects.


Any advice to anybody who would like to become an animator?

Whether you want to play football or become an animator, experience and practise are what separates amateur from expert. If you want to be an animator, practise drawing and animation every day.


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