Austin Pennington of car sticker company Never Content approached us to create a 'day in the life' video of his mascot Box Cat to thank his fans and customers at the end of 2019.
As a stand-in for Austin himself, we see Box Cat on a coffee-fuelled trip through a neon-lit Tokyo, sending his customers their orders, coveting car parts, and designing merchandise.
Story & Script
Austin provided an outline, setting the template for Box Cat's 'average day' excursion.
In the script phase we added a dream sequence to bookend the loop, and elements of humour like Box Cat getting wired on coffee and the overworked Post Office employee. With the script approved, it was time to get animating!
Character Sheet
Box Cat is an established character - We love Austin's designs, and really wanted to do them justice while fleshing out the world. As the character had never been fully animated, we created a 'character sheet', showing him from all angles to ensure consistency.
Storyboards & Animatic
It's important to start the animation process with a rough 'animatic' (moving storyboard), to lock down the beats of the script and make sure the timing and comedy works. Speed over cleanliness is important, to try out different approaches quickly.
After feedback, we revised a couple of shots to improve the flow, and were set for full animation.
Background Art
The brief called for 'a Neo-Tokyo' setting. Starting with reference photographs of the key areas we wanted the character to visit, we painted a vibrant world awash with neon lights and colours.
Animation & Compositing
The established character's Yuru-chara (Japanese mascot) style lent itself to a bold, cartoony animation style influenced by anime.
We opted for a combination of hand-drawn and digital animation, depending on the scene in question. More complicated details such as the Kanji on Box Cat's helmet were digitally composited in After Effects, along with lighting effects.
With the addition of a music track ("Crossing Paths" by Brock Berrigan), it was finished!
Just a few of the many replies to the video on Instagram:

"this is honest to god no exaggeration the cutest thing i’ve ever seen in my life"
"I loved watching this animation this is too awesome 🖤😱"
"Where can i watch this whole anime? Is the manga available online?"
"This animation is soooooooo coooooooooooool I wish someone made like a photo frame that plays videos so I can put it in my room and have this playing over and over
"I can't stop watching🖤🖤🖤"
"This is legit one of the coolest things I've ever seen"
"This is sooo clean 🔥 had to watch this at least twice"
"I have no words for how f**king awesome this is 😍"
"Why is this little video so dope"
"Hollleee sh*t! 🖤🖤 This is wild! need to make a full movie of this!"
"This is my favorite video of 2019 lol"
"This just makes me want to buy more stuff"
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