When starting work on our latest film for media bureau Frantz, we set about creating a set of characters to populate the film and help create a fun and friendly tone. We needed a create a hero for us to follow and his co-workers. Pencil and paper was our starting point, here are a few of our initial sketches:
The next step was to create vector based sketches with a Wacom tablet and the brush tool in Adobe Illustrator. The brush tool combined with the Wacom gives a freedom to create dynamic strokes that really capture the movement and energy of freehand drawing. These initial vector sketches were then refined and joined together before being coloured. The characters are then split into layers, rigged and animated in After Effects.
Once the characters were finished, we could illustrate the key scenes from the script, adding texture and colour and setting the ‘look’ for the film. We created style frames for all key scenes in the film, which became our storyboard and reference for animating.
2D vs. 3D
The majority of the film was created in 2D inside of After Effects, with a few key scenes realised in 3D in Cinema 4D. The 3D scenes were rendered with flat colours and textured to match the other scenes within the film to blend the two styles together as seamlessly as possible. This technique helps make animation that would be time consuming in 2D much more time effective, as well as adding another dimension to the film. Literally!
The breakdown below illustrates this technique. Left side from the final film, right from inside of Cinema 4D:
Stills from the final film
Below are a selection of stills from the final film. Watch it here.