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Stash Classic: METHOD “WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER”

Back in 2011 the creative force known as Three Legged Legs (Casey Hunt, Greg Gunn and Reza Rasoli) shut the doors after a six-year run. Before they parted ways, the trio directed and animated this impossibly infectious anthem for Method Cleaners shown on Virgin America flights.

You can read the full piece we ran in Stash 80 (May 2011) below.

METHOD “WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER”
Brand film :60

Client:
METHOD

Agency:
DROGA5

Director:
THREE LEGGED LEGS

Production:
GREEN DOT FILMS

Animation:
THREE LEGGED LEGS
www.threeleggedlegs.com

Santa Monica creative force Three Legged Legs casts a host of vibrant eccentrics and stuffs them into wide-bodied mayhem in this spot for Method Cleaners seen exclusively aboard Virgin America flights.

3LL: “The agency had a pretty awesome script; there were a ton of wacky characters and personalities. We knew the key to this thing was going to be nailing those exaggerated stereotypes so that each character could make a huge impact without needing a lot of screen time.

Droga5 Method | STASH MAGAZINE

“We felt pretty confident with our character control, but nailing the overall look and vibe turned out to be a little bit more challenging. Our initial exploration proved to be a little bit too candy-colored and over the top. A quick readjustment and we were more on the money. Taking aesthetic cues from the Method website gave us a minimal grey and blue backdrop over which was sprinkled the occasional splash of vibrant color.

“With the overall design aesthetic looking good and temp track in hand, we set about crafting the story. It was important there be a sense of building momentum within the cabin. The ‘we’re all in this together’ message needs to spread willingly from person to person, until everyone is unified in the end. We went from a super quick, shitty-thumbnail doodle-fest, to a more elaborate After Effects animatic.

Droga5 Method | STASH MAGAZINE

“Around the same time, we started bringing the animation muscle on board. We knew this thing needed a whopping dose of traditional animation, but the schedule and budget didn’t allow for full on, straight-ahead goodness. We had to improvise…and improvise we did.

“The plan was to take one shot to final by the time we sent off the first pass animatic. The Loud Talkers shot seemed to have a little bit of everything needed to round out a typical shot. Here’s how we broke it down :

Layout: Every shot needs a multi-planed background to nestle all the characters in their seats.

BG characters: The focus of this shot is the FG characters, so BG characters just need a still.

The loud talker ladies: Each character would need a traditionally animated head. For their bodies, we’d create a layered PSD to build a parented AE rig for the character.

Droga5 Method | STASH MAGAZINE

The middle dude: A simple traditionally animated facial take would be animated. That’s just the eyes and mouth, to save on drawing time. The entire body and nose would be a single piece of artwork.

Droga5 Method | STASH MAGAZINE

“Our original plan: traditional animation in Flash, still art in Illustrator. Boy did that change. As we went through look development, everyone was feeling the wonkier hand-drawn feel. Goodbye Illustrator. As we talked through the pipeline process with our new animator buddy Ben, he suggests, ‘Just do it ALL in Photoshop.’ With a flurry of keystrokes, the animation timeline was opened, and we were animating – right there – all in one program. ZOMG.

“It was a little slow at first, and the PS timeline is super NOT intuitive. But once you get over the obvious missing features, it’s pretty sweet. It definitely simplified our lives.

“Not to spoil any secrets here, but we’re not doing anything particularly fancy in this project. The puppet tool was our greatest ally. As an extra bit of stylistic whiz bang (mostly to hide our limitations), we created a ‘2line’ asset for every piece of art that was to be animated.

Droga5 Method | STASH MAGAZINE

“That means, tracing every piece of flat work twice so there’s a little bit of wobble in the line work. We held these alternating drawings on 4’s so it didn’t get too flashy. As we animated our parent/puppet tool rigs, we de-smoothed the animation so it held on 2’s to give it more of a limited animation look and feel.

“Everyone loved the look. Success! At the end of the day, we think we netted out with a nice simplified animation style that combined the best qualities of traditional animation with the best qualities of AE character animation, without sacrificing anything. That’s just our humble opinion. As with any project, once all of this was figured out, it was just a matter of plugging away and knocking out shot after shot.”

Schedule: “Roughly seven weeks from the award date to delivery.”

For Method
VP Brand Experience: Matthew Loyd
Communication manager: Lauren Hesse

For Droga5
Creative chairman: David Droga
ECD: Ted Royer
Head of integrated production: Sally-Ann Dale
AD: Amanda Clelland
Copy: Tim Gordon
Producer: Ben Davies

For Green Dot Films
Managing director: Rick Fishbein
EPs: Darren Foldes, Rich Pring

For Three Legged Legs
Post producer: Tobin Kirk
CDs: Casey Hunt, Greg Gunn, Reza Rasoli
Character design: Ashkahn Shahparnia, Chuck BB
Layout design: Alex Preston
Print design: Tuna Bora
Animators: Ben Bury, Dylan Spears, Rachel Yonda
Additional cleanup: Sam Bachman
Interns: Melissa Douglas, Kiara Zhao, Wade Wilson

Music: Human Music

For Sound Lounge
Sound mixer: Keith Reynaud
Assistant sound mixer: Sasha Awn

Toolkit
paper, pencil, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere

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