“The story of an Origami Man, trying to survive in an overloaded business world! Watch him tackle hordes of paperwork, armies of mismanaged documents, and badly managed administrative demons, all with the help of his friend Spindle.”
Created in partnership with ‘Adam + Evie Video Marketing,’ MIC experienced a new kind of challenge whilst working on Draycir. We had to bring to life not one, but three animation’s. This meant we needed to devise a consistent art direction, animation style, and an over arching theme to use throughout all three films.
‘Draycir’ are an internationally renowned award winning software company, there work is used around the globe. This meant the visuals had to tell a story that would translate easily to an international audience by just changing the voice over … without updating the visuals. As a result all three animations became rather abstract, focusing heavily on metaphorical representations of the problems that Draycir’s products solve.
One of MIC’s early tests for the geometric world.
SPINDLE DOCUMENT CAPTURE
The first animation in the series, we join an origami man (who is present in all three films), on his business adventure, and we see how he overcomes the obstacles and problems he experiences with help from the Spindle Document Capture Software, which begins to make his life significantly easier. MIC and Adam & Evie worked together during Pre-Production to make sure the art direction, script, and storyboard for film matched with the clients vision, after which all animation was created by the team at MIC. The visuals were heavily inspired by visuals found in games such as ‘Monument Valley.’
There were two key issues we found with the first animation: Firstly, as we’ve mentioned before, character animation is quite tricky. An early run cycle test for the character can be seen in the gif on the left. To find out more about how we go about rigging up a character like this read our previous post ‘From Paper to Performance – Creating a Character Rig’. In long animations a rig like this can bog the scene down. The issue we experienced, was creating a 150 second animation that was essentially one long shot … no camera transitions, cuts, fades etc. We had to find a way to break up the animation so our pipeline could be as efficient as possible.
The animation transitions between environment by panning up into the sky, and back down again. We used this to our advantage, ultimately we created the entire animation, without any sky. The background was left completely transparent. This would allows us to make all the scenes individually, pull them together and add the sky so the animation becomes seamless. See the difference in the gif on the right.
SPINDLE DOCUMENT DISTRIBUTION
Here we intended to continue with the same themes, however a decision was made to alter the environment slightly so it didn’t look exactly like the first.
After the first animation had been created, the process was a lot more straightforward. We knew how to transition, the background was in place, the character was rigged.
The main issue posed with the second film was the business ‘sphere’. The character had to interact with a sphere, pushing it and lifting it, this meant the sphere had to be manually animated with the character. It needed to look as a sphere would in that situation. One of the hardest things to do in animation, is to create a sense of ‘weight,’ to make something that is weightless appear heavy as the character pushes it. The ball would have to rotate independently from the character, the exact amount it moves as to not appear false.
The tactic we adopted, was to animate the origami man first rather than animating them both together. This way we could create the sense of weight in the character’s movement and then put the sphere in place afterwards to react to the timings of that movement. In this way the sphere would adope the sense of weight from the character. See the result in the gif on the right.
The hardest part for this animation, you guessed it, animating the hound!
As the Hound is a quadruped the rig had to be approached completely differently the bipedal human character. The biggest issue was making the joints appear seamless. Compared to a human arm which would have three moving bone components; the upper arm, forearm and hand. The dog would have four main bones; the shoulder blade, upper arm, forearm and then the paw. The arch in the body means more body shapes have to be present, as well as the joints animating the tail. The result is a significantly more complex rig and animation process when compared to the origami man. Our Creative Director started out by doing visual research, looking at the bones structures and how a dog would move, then creating a test rig and animating this at a basic level. With some final tweaks and visual adjustment, we have the resulting run cycle as seen in the gif on the right.
All three animations can now be viewed on Draycir’s website or on the MIC Portfolio Page. The result was a series of abstract yet visually enchanting animations. Each with their own flourishes and unique story. A great example of how animation can be used to bring a brand to life, each in its own unique way.
Thanks for reading, if you have any comments or questions, be sure to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on the LinkedIn post page. To keep up to date with all things ‘Moving Image Creations’, be sure the follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.Posted by Anthony Green on Wed 23rd March 2016