DBG – The power of data

Paper craft puppet animation

Christmas animation

London branding agency, Monk, turned to us to help them deliver DBG’s Christmas message visually through animation.

A magical journey

As DBG own several of the world’s largest stock markets we thought it would be fitting if our story was based around the journey of typical stock market data from DBG’s head quarters to a cosy living room environment, where it fills the home with Christmas magic.

Let there be light

We knew that lighting would play a vital role in the success of this project and so we decided rather than simply doing line art to storyboard this project we would create fully shaded drawings that would use the interplay of light and shadow to tell the story. The hero of our story, the data, would light up everything on its journey.

Paper-cut shadow puppets

We worked with Monk to develop an original style for the animation. Taking inspiration from ‘Wayang Kulit’ Indonesian shadow puppets, we chose to light everything in silhouette but gave it a modern twist by making it more 3D, as if it were actually made from cut, folded and glued paper. Everyone loved the idea early on, so we knew we were onto a winner.

A film noir influence

Film noir classics, such as The Third Man, inspired our shot design with a restrained colour palette, maximum contrast and clearly defined silhouettes.

Model development

We could have modelled everything digitally straight away but knew that if we actually made the paper models we would be able to create more informed work, with the charming design details that would give a warm and authentic look that much modern CGI can lack.

Cut, cut, cut

We quickly assembled a team of 4 paper artists who worked for two weeks crafting a full range of objects we required for the animation in painstaking detail.

Lets do that all again!

Now we had the paper models done, we took a variety of photos from every angle and recreated each model on our computers. We had the best of both worlds; a lovingly hand crafted look but with the creative control and flexibility offered by the latest computer animation technology.

A great atmosphere

We realised early on that with our 3D approach we would have trouble overlapping different elements, as a black silhouette over a black silhouette is just one giant silhouette! So we hit upon the idea of flooding our scenes with a thick fog, which would give a sense of depth and mean that distant objects would appear lighter than closer ones.

Painting with light

The best thing about the fog was the way that it allowed us to cast shadows through the air, giving a complex volume to even the larger, empty spaces surrounding our models and a soft, diffused light reminiscent of a Turner painting.

The spirit of the times

With its wonderful and quirky animation style the final product was extremely well received.