We had an amazing opportunity to work closely with DDB Tribal, Finch and Yippee Ki-Yay to build and animate a huge interactive Christmas tree for the new Telstra flagship store. A suite of 8 quirky characters was born, each having their own 6 second animation that appeared on an 8 metre high screen as well as in multiple Christmas window displays.
During our research for this project we stumbled upon traditional folk art ornaments sold at European Christmas markets. These beautiful objects are hand turned and painted with bold flat colours, they offered a perfect foundation for our animated characters. We were concerned that Sydney’s sweltering Christmas felt a little at odds with these wintery characters though, so we set out to design a distinctly Australian Christmas version. We carefully chose a pallet of bright sunny colours and made stories that were set around some iconic summer imagery. We even got 2 separate budgie smugglers in there!
Old meets new
We wanted to bring a little Christmas magic to the Telstra store so, with DDB Tribal, we helped develop a story of a magical Christmas tree and a cast of living ornaments that call it home.
One of the exciting parts of this project was combining our love of storytelling with audience interaction. We wanted to create a world for the characters that expanded outward into the audience’s world. We built 8 stories for our cast of characters, taking advantage of of the 8 meter tall screen. The audience could choose from these stories using on a physical Christmas Tree display in the centre of the store. We also designed a window display with hand made versions of the characters that transitioned into an animated world, coming to life in front of people’s eyes.
Christmas comes to life
While designing the characters we made a set of rules for ourselves. We were strict about the fine details staying true to their real-life counterparts – wood could not bend, rope limbs would be floppy and loose. We were also careful to keep the shapes simple, replicating the shapes wood workers would be able to achieve with real tools. This meant that when the we started working with the model makers at Yipee-Ki-Yay we were able to put together some fantastic real-life, wooden versions of the characters for the window display.
CG SupervisorJeremy Howdin
3D ModellingGreg Petchkovsky
3D AnimationBen Hubbard
2D AnimationBen Ommundson
3D into wood