This was one of the most complex and involved films we’ve made to date. HyperX requested the film to be seasonal and to pull on the heartstrings, so they asked us to tell a story about a grandpa who was still an avid gamer without the knowledge of his family. Design involved not only the endearing style of the characters but also the interior sets and all of the props and tiny details that give this film its magic.
The characters were initially designed as 2D illustrations. Once we decided on designs with HyperX’s input we began the involved process of turning them into fully fleshed out 3D designs!
Storyboarding was a time for us to understand the layout of the character’s house and how each would move around the complex set and interact with each other. A key moment in the storyboard was when Grandpa pulls back the bookshelf to reveal his gaming den!
Alongside the animatic, we had our lead animator James and assistant editor Lillian physically act out the scenes we had planned in the storyboard. This was so that we had the best possible understanding of how the characters would move together in 3D space.
The puppets were made of a complex mechanical armature which allowed for the eyes and eyelids to be posed independently with 3D printed features and moulded silicon hands. The set involved lots of ‘practicals’ — on-set lighting — the most complex of which was the pulsing RGB lights in Grandpa’s den. The colour of the lights was linked to the track the camera was on so that it would change automatically with each frame, creating the illusion of pulsing lights!
‘Once a Gamer, Always a Gamer’ is one of our favourite projects. There was a huge amount of effort and iteration involved in designing the characters, not to mention the detailed sets and puppets. The whole process took around 10 weeks from start to finish, and we’re proud of the result!