Imagine this: 450m of wall in a hot desert, clad with 150 illustrated frames, each one printed out 3m by 2m in size. Nissan’s all-electric ARIYA drives past, camera attached to the bonnet, capturing footage as it goes. The result? A larger-than-life Zoetrope. (In its traditional form, an optical cylinder, which, when spun, gives the illusion of continuous motion.)
When Christine Peters, Lead Animator at Blind Pig, first got eyes on the brief, her initial reaction was excitement… mixed with intrigue.
“I remember thinking: how were they going to achieve all of this in camera? How will they match the speed of the car and the shutter speed of the camera?” But the talent involved already had some incredible experiential work under their belts, most notably G Active’s epic droplet animation which depicts an athlete through an automated rain rig.
Tasked with designing the 150 illustrations, Christine began by storyboarding and sketching out concept frames of the car and the kanji (a system of Japanese writing), which remains constant throughout and roughly translates to ‘chic, stylish’.
“We had a couple of iterations of the storyboard. Initially, it featured skylines, but ultimately, we felt this detracted from the impact. The final narrative really streamlines focus onto the car, whilst the black and white aesthetic adds impact.”
Brush textures were imperative to the consistency of Nissan’s brand aesthetic, so Christine designed her own paint brushes (and executed the drawings) within TVPaint, a 2D software for frame-by-frame animation.
“I also used Cinema4D to build the previs”, she adds. “We were supplied with 3D car models, which assisted me in working out the base of the animation.”
The final step was bringing the hand-drawn sequences together, which was completed within After Effects.
The brand’s tagline, ‘Designed to make you feel electric’, features at the end of the film, but it’s a sentiment which also echoes through the entire animation process. “This was an exhilarating campaign to work on. I’ve never worked on something quite of this scale before, so to be involved and watch my brush strokes come to life was a truly electrifying experience.”
Agency: Dark Horses
Executive Creative Director: Steve Howell
Chief Strategy Officer: Matt Readman
Creative Directors: Adam Burns, Paco Lopez
Business Director: Max Arkell
Account Director: Alex Fearn
Account Manager: Leah Wattley
Senior Strategist: Simon Halnley
Head of Production: Andy Walsh
Production Company: UNIT9 Films
Director: James Medcraft
Creative Director: Sean Pruen
DOP: Carl Burke
Technical Lead: Justin Pentecost
Executive Producer: Greg Hemes
Producer: Geoff Stickler
Edit: UNIT9 Films
Editor: Alex Burt
Service Company: Blur Films
Executive Producer: Zico Judge
Producer: Laureana Ferrucci
Animation Studio: Blind Pig
Lead Animator: Christine Peters
Colour: Juliette Wileman
Producer: Ollie Ireland
Sound Design: Sounds Good Audio
About Blind Pig:
Blind Pig is an award-winning, tight-knit collective of animators, designers, creative directors and composers, helping leading brands engage audiences through captivating craft.