(Fully animated trailer, audio is not yet complete)
Diamond Entertainment approached me to design and animate a trailer for their new IP 'Leo & Helen: The Lost City of the Americas', which is being pitched as a full animated series.
Leo & Helen are average twins dealing with the ups and downs of school life, until they discover a mysterious mirror that transports them back into the ancient Inca empire.
The series is designed to give mixed-race children role-models to look up to in popular media, through exciting, adventure-driven episodes.
Story & Script
The client supplied an episode script, along with supplementary material and visual references.
Using these, and with some research into Machu Piccu and the Inca Empire, I wrote a trailer treatment to try and cover the main story beats of the first episode in a way that was intriguing and digestible, while still leaving plenty to the imagination.
With contributions from the team, we arrived at a script we were happy with, and I set to work.
Starting with some previous concepts commissioned by the studio, I re-imagined the characters from the trailer in a fresh visual style that would appeal to the core audience.
Of utmost importance was capturing the mixed-race heritage of our titular heroes.
Storyboards & Animatic
With the character designs approved, I sketched out storyboards and edited rough 'animatics' to decide on shot angles, pacing, and editing of the final trailer.
After a first pass, the client realised that the trailer was tonally too dark for the target audience, so we discussed key changes to the script, and I updated the animatic.
This is exactly what an animatic is for - making sure everyone is happy with the content before embarking on the time consuming process of animation.
With the animatic complete, I painted layout frames to lock down angles and compositions fully, laying the table for the final animation.
Sticking closely to my approved layouts, I fleshed out the backgrounds in a fun, colourful and chunky style. To emphasise the contrast between the present and past, I made the colour palette of the present muted, while the old world Leo & Helen discovers is vibrant and bold.
I decided early on to approach the trailer using purely digital 'puppet' animation.
However, I wanted the quality to be on par with hand-drawn animation, so I spent time creating highly flexible and complex character rigs in After Effects.
These would allow me to animate dimensional and realistic head movements and expressions from scene to scene.
Animation & Compositing
I animated every character throughout the trailer, and then added visual effects such as character lighting, water droplets, and reflections.
I had painted the background images in separate layers, allowing me to create a subtle depth effect as the camera moves through each scene.
With the entire trailer animated and approved, it was handed over to Diamond Entertainment, who will be working with external sources on the sound and music.
Want Something Like This?
If you're after a music video, promotional piece, or shareable loop, don't hesitate to get in touch for more examples or a quote.