We can’t say much about this project beyond that it was commissioned, then sadly cancelled late into production.
We can tell you it was a Christmas campaign. Although, that is probably obvious!
With permission, we are presenting it here repurposed, and despite the lack of context, we hope you enjoy it!
Made at breakneck speed, our north star was the Rankin Bass stop-motion films from the 60’s and 70’s.
It was important to have a nostalgic warmth shine through and to wrong-foot the audience into thinking this was a classic Christmas tale. We wanted that emotional twist to be a surprise.
Throughout production we embraced a rougher style of animating, forgoing smooth movement for carefully constructed keyframes and poses. We animated the characters without the use of 'squash or stretch' which kept them feeling like actual models in a real space.
The technique kept it feeling authentic to the reference while also being a handy time-saving device.
One of our main challenges was using this technique but to make sure our characters stayed relatable and emotive. We looked at how we could push emotions through simple face shapes for eyes and mouths, and rely on the lighting to dramatise specific moments.
We used real textures at a slightly enlarged scale to make the characters and sets seem miniature. This helped keep the cosy, stop-motion feeling to our 3D world.
For music, we felt it appropriate that we leaned into something from the era we were referencing. Box of Toys crafted something that felt distinctly warm and nostalgic that hit the key mood changes of the film.
It was a joy to flesh out our Christmas world with elves, gingerbread men and of course, Rudolph. As you can see, wooden toys and felt textures were happily researched!