Welcome to the second instalment of our ‘My Favourite Project’ series of blog posts!
We love every client we work with and every project we tackle here at Stone’s Throw, but for our team there are usually one or two projects which stand out above the rest as personal favourites.
In this series, we’ll be asking each member of Team STM to share with you their favourite project to date, and reveal why it’s their Number One.
This time around we’re hearing from our Professional Doodler, Jamie!
One of the most interesting parts of this job is that we get to work with clients from a variety of different backgrounds and professions.
Having said that, I think my favourite projects have come from the medical and educational sectors, as I get to study and learn about those industries as research to make our animations.
If I had to choose my favourite project so far, it’s a tough choice, but I think it would have to be a typography animation we made for HeadStart Wolverhampton – an educational initiative made to help youngsters cope emotionally through any hardships they may be facing in life.
The initial brief for this one asked for us to show an animated story of a group of young teens coping with the hardships of coming out as gay or transsexual.
The client provided us with a video recording that they had made of the teenagers sharing their own personal stories in a group discussion.
Their one requirement was that they wanted to keep the youngsters anonymous but relatable visually on screen.
The very first task was to listen to the discussion, make notes and then trim the audio, singling out the most important parts which could create a coherent narrative for our animation.
Then it became a matter of research – what is relatable to kids these days? Computer games and social media came to mind!
I toyed with the idea of making something similar to Creature Comforts (an animated series by Aardman Animations which used animals to narrate a story) but quickly fell out of love with this direction due to not wanting to potentially offend anyone in the community.
It’s already a sensitive subject, last thing I want is to be accused of making someone look like a turtle or a frog!
I browsed social media, and looked for how people like to show themselves through things like Instagram and Facebook.
The one thing that ultimately came up was Emojis. These little yellow faces are so synonymous with our culture today, heck, Sony Pictures even made an entire movie about them!
(Concept art on choosing which Emoji style to work with)
After deciding on the Emoji approach, it was a case of matching up the many expressions that they have to a rough version of how the students looked – picking up on key characteristics and Emoji-fying them (is that a term?) in the process.
Finally, the animation! We ultimately decided on a typography animation, and I really wanted to go crazy with it.
I love typography animation when it has a constant pace, as if the text is a character itself to move and play with. I made sure to interact the characters with the text as much as possible, with the movements reflecting what was being said.
(Concept art of the typography idea with the Emojis)
I think this is my favourite project because I haven’t had much chance to do a full character acted, typography animation before with complete free reign.
The customer was very happy to just let me be free with my style, so that allowed me to direct the animation how I felt it could work best.
I enjoyed making the Emoji characters and animating them from pose to pose whilst the typography explodes around them!
On top of having fun with making it, it was also insightful learning about how difficult it can be to deal with your sexuality.
It’s something some people consider so “normal”, but you don’t realise how hard it can be for others – especially kids. As we all know, children can be harsh. I enjoyed listening to their stories whilst animating them.
So all in all, this project was a fine balance between a nice customer, free direction, an interesting topic, and a visually pleasing outcome. Groovy!
Want to find out more about our typography animation for Headstart? If so, why not read our portfolio piece all about it right here!