‘Simpsons’ Pixel Art Fan Tribute Will Become The Show’s Next Opening

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There’s more than one way to achieve a goal. For example, let’s say you want to direct the opening couch gag for The Simpsons. You could:

1.) Spend decades becoming a famous figure in the animation world and hope that the producers of the show will one day invite you to work with them,

or

2.) Don’t ask for anybody’s permission—just animate your own damn couch gag, drop it on the Internet, watch it become an overnight hit, and let The Simpsons producers come to you.

Indie Australian animators Paul Robertson and Ivan Dixon chose the latter approach when they created this pixel-art fan tribute and posted it online on February 1st:

Within a day of uploading it to YouTube, Simpsons producers had contacted them to license the opening. The opening will air in front of this Sunday’s broadcast of The Simpsons, which was confirmed in a tweet yesterday by showrunner Al Jean:

The initial email that producers of the show sent to Ivan Dixon went to his spam folder. “I actually thought it was a hoax,” Dixon told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We secretly hoped they would pick it up, but it all came so fast.”

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  • Greg Sharp

    Well deserved success!

  • jonhanson

    I didn’t know it was fan-made at first and assumed it was commissioned by the Simpsons producers. Good decisions from everyone, this is one of the better couch gags I’ve seen.

  • Alex Dudley

    Fanart really does open doors for people!

    • Taco

      Or it creates plenty of free unpaid advertising & promotion for other peoples properties. Sad but true. (this one is a happy story though)

      • NAVORD

        Sad, ummm, why?! If you like something shouldn’t you be happy when other people check it out and it becomes more successful?

      • Bart

        Why should anyone pay them for their “free” advertising? If anything fan artists are generally up to illegal activity as they commission other peoples characters for money. In fact a lot of artists that troll cons or sell on Etsy, that is ALL they do and their whole business is based off of leeching.

  • Kirby

    Yeah absolutely guys, I loved your adult swim stuff, separately. Then saw it pixels trending. Originally, totally thought it was legit. Good work!

    • Richard

      “Originally, totally thought it was legit.”

      Me too.

  • Seni Oyewole

    Damn! If that’s all it takes, maybe I should do my own couch gag.

    Though, I doubt mine could possibly top this one. It’s just too well-done!

    • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

      I’d like to see someone tackle one in a Paul Glabicki-esque style.

  • Max C.

    It should be worth noting that it’s not the first time they used a custom intro not made for the show in the first place. Last time this happened, they used a live-action Sky advert.

  • wikcat

    EPIC WIN :D

  • http://www.mikescottanimation.com Mike Scott

    GREAT SUCCESS!!! :)

  • Khuzang

    Heh, Paul Robertson’s moving up. Good on him.

    The current intro was a huge pile tosh anyway. Time to for a better intro.

    Maybe they’d redo the official intro while this pixel version is on.

  • Billy C.

    This is simply amazing! It’s phenomenal for a fan to have his or her work to be officially recognized. The Simpsons always had great couch gags over the years, and this has to be one of the best. Congrats to those who worked on it.

    By the way, the second numbered item Amid listed at the top of this article is similar to Rebecca Sugar’s philosophy of becoming noticed in the animation industry.

    • Khuzang

      Do it now, apologize later.

  • starss

    To be fair to Paul, he’s already did a bit of #1. He worked on pixel animation FOR YEARS, and even collaborated with professional directors in movies and TV shows.

    • http://robertkohr.com/ Robert Kohr

      Yea he is basically the super start of pixel art animation. He also is doing a lot of work for CN right now.

  • Someone

    Happy to see the animation industry isn’t completely rotten yet. That said it was a crazy good couch gag, getting it licensed and used is really well deserved.

    • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

      I’m just glad these guys didn’t get a C&D notice instead. They were pretty lucky here.

      • http://redbladestudios.com/ Alex Krumwiede

        I think it comes down to who sees it first, good types or legal goons.

      • Mermaid Warrior

        If they’re not making money off it, it’s unlikely that a studio would try to take it down.

        • Steini Pé

          Well you can earn money of youtube by running it through traffic and advertisement so, they are just lucky it caught the eye of Matt Groening not the legal team, but even so Matt Groening was fascinated by this and James L Brooks so even if they faced some legal dilemma Im pretty sure the show creators can overwrite that with a happy hello we would like to use it instead.

  • Mario

    Most of this was taken from the Simpson’s arcade game back in the day the Simpson’s logo intro is totally from the arcade game and then when Maggie gets scanned and the diamond is in front of her is from the arcade as well. Not completely original.

    • Gagaman

      Um..no? Have you watched the arcade game intro recently? They’re completely different and the diamond is probably a reference to the game, but not a sprite directly from the game.

      • GS

        It can’t be completely original. It’s a simpsons intro. Not that it has to be original to be worthy of respect.

        • Gagaman

          of course not, just mario made it sound like they directly ripped assets from the old video game, which they did not.

      • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

        It’s certainly a reference, but nothing more. I just saw this, and loved how it was rendered, it certainly calls some attention to the nostalgia I had for that game but also goes a little further.

  • joebluhm

    HELL YES. GREAT job. :)

  • Taco

    Nice Job Melbourne Boys! Australia Represent!

  • http://tresportfolio.tumblr.com/ Tres Swygert

    Very well deserved to be showcased by the actual show! I do hope they were compensated. Again, huge congrats to all involved in this project, hope more doors open up!

  • John

    I really hope they are getting seriously compensated for their awesome work on this. (And by compensated I mean big $$$!)

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Good for them. This opening they made is an amazing piece of art with beautiful animation. It looks gorgeous and the animation flows so well, (looks much better than modern episodes, ha ha) and I love the references to classic episodes.

  • Bobby Bickert

    I wonder if the Jetsons homage that followed the opening credits of last night’s episode was the original couch gag for that episode, replaced by this fan-made one?