How Those Weird Animorph Book Covers Were Made

Gif: LGR (YouTube)

Does anyone else remember those book fairs that would stop at your school? I remember being so excited to buy books, even though I probably only read like half of the books I bought. The Animorph books always caught my eye, mainly because of those weird and unique covers.

The popular YouTube channel LGR made a great video showing how these covers were made. The process was both more simple and more complicated than I expected.

The covers were created by artist David B. Mattingly using a $995 computer program called Elastic Reality. This software allowed users to stretch, modify and transform photos and video. In the 1990s and early 2000s the software was widely used in Hollywood for creating different visual effects in TV shows and movies.


Mattingly would use the software to help him figure out what the faces in the transformation would look like, but then he would often paint them himself using the program’s creation as a guide.

According to the artist, while Elastic Reality was a powerful tool, it wasn’t always good enough to use directly on the cover. But it did help him save time and better figure out how to make a kid look like they were transforming into a rhino.

The whole video is a really interesting look at a piece of important 90s era entertainment software and a nice nostalgic dip into the history of Animorphs.

Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.

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I finished a read of the entire Animorphs series in September and DAMN does that saga get real and dark by its end. Holy shit, talk about your deconstructions. If I had finished them in grade school I would have come out a little traumatized.

Highly recommended though. They read quickly and they’re super 90s but they’re not of the same quality as Goosebumps and other book fair trash. They’re legit sci-fi. And it has no chill.