Paper Chicken

We’ve had a great response to our recent paper-craft animation for British Airways, so we wanted to talk about our passion for paper. Paper-craft has become increasingly popular in stop-frame animation over the last few years, and for good reason.

The desire to see detailed, textured craft within advertising has helped increase its prominence. With so many different elements such as origami, paper-art, scrap-booking and layering making up the medium, there is a wide variety of options for audiences to enjoy.

Here at A+C, we feel there is a certain quality to paper-craft that makes it completely unique. As well as the tactile, physical aspect that comes with stop-motion, paper-craft additionally offers a whole new set of aesthetic qualities that set it apart from the rest.

For the British Airways Check-in Guide, we wanted to adhere to a strict set of rules for the visual design. We opted for everything to be made using a flat, layered 2D approach with geometric sides or origami style folds. While this was a challenge for our model team it also made the world feel more consistent and visually striking.

Our Happy Egg Co. film presented a mixture of real items and paper-craft creations (both 2D and 3D elements). The animation production crew had the task of building, lighting and animating these elements seamlessly, making the product and characters look beautiful. With complexities including shooting the action in reverse, a motion controlled camera movement, and pulling camera focus throughout, it was a film which presented a number of challenges. 

Paper Chicken

While often viewed as a negative in relation to other forms of animation, it’s the imperfections that you get from using paper that help make it stand out. When working on our advert for Shepherd Neame we used pages from old books to create the environments. The effect of the different coloured pages, contrasting font types, and general signs of ageing gave the film a rustic, authentic feel that fit perfectly with the Shepherd Neame brand, Britain’s oldest brewery.

Paper animation set

The striking effect of light and shadow that can be achieved with paper-craft animation is also a key feature of the medium. When animating for Virgin, we built an office environment in our studio and then added geometric paper-craft characters to the scene. To create contrast and variation with these paper models, light was used to transform the red of the paper and make it pop from the background.

Geometric paper craft

Texture may seem like a small element to consider, but it is something that really helps create contrast, even in a seemly simple scene. When working on our project for Key Travel, we created contrast by using paper of different textures. From documents to coloured card, each paper aspect of the scene was easily distinguishable, maintaining the bespoke feel that we were aiming to achieve.

Paper city

So there it is, hopefully now you can see why paper-craft is one of our favourite approaches here at A+C. With its beautiful texture, imperfections, relationship with light, and ease of use, it is a technique we’re always drawn back to. The defining element of paper is that if it can be imagined, it most likely can be cut, folded and created.


Also published on Medium.