27 May, 2019

Coffee & TV were commissioned by McCann Velocity (the dedicated, specialist agency created for Vauxhall Motors by McCann Worldgroup) to produce an animated short for the latest Vauxhall campaign. The studio’s team of artists and animators, were tasked with realising an original script from McCann Velocity, which plays on the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale by telling it backwards, to highlight the benefits of Vauxhall’s reverse camera functionality. The work is one third of “Backwards Stories”, a pan-international series of three 50-second films for Vauxhall in which Cinderella is retold by a Brazilian production team and The Ugly Duckling recreated by a studio in Spain.

Storyboarding, character development and a pre-vis was devised by Creative Director, Martin Allan. Jonny Grew, Senior CG Artist, directed and led the project. The inspiration for the sequence was a traditional fairy tale book-style animation with added contemporary elements. The characters, such as Jack, his mother and the goose, were designed to look cartoon-like but maintain a modern and intricate appearance.

Josh George, Senior CG Artist and Animator was responsible for further development and design of the characters, sets and props. After sketching initial ideas, Josh sculpted and modelled figures in ZBrush, finessing details and textures – including hair, skin, feathers and shaders. The sequence was brought to life by a team of skilled animators including Catherine Elvidge, Amy Heyes, Jonny Grew and Martin Allan. Look-development, lighting and rendering was completed by Adam Lindsey and Adrian Russell. Other crucial elements, including explosions, destruction of rock and animating complex movements of the characters clothing, were produced in Houdini by Richard Costin.

Art direction and compositing was crafted by Creative Director, Steve Waugh. This process, completed in Adobe After Effects, bonded certain camera moves to form continuous and seamless sequences within the film. The rich colour palette helped to tell the backwards fairy tale; happier scenes were accentuated with beautiful and light tones in contrast to other sections of the film which were greyer and dank, inspired by the images of the Great Depression.

Colourist George Neave worked closely with the studio’s animators to further enhance and finish the spot.

Jonny Grew said: “We’d like to thank McCann Velocity for giving us the utmost freedom on this project to realise their vision. It’s been a wonderful opportunity for the team to collaborate on such a fun project that’s allowed us to utilise all of our skills and flex some creativity.”

Watch the animation here.