September 10, 2009

Production Design: Cut Paper Style!

Following up on yesterday’s post about the release of Colgate’s How To Have A Bright Smile video, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the cut paper style 2A! used in the short.

It was important to Colgate that while this short would feature Dr. Rabbit, that his look be different from previous animated incarnations. They sent us some pamphlets that featured very cute and simple, cut-paper-styled illustrations that they wanted to replicate for the look of the characters. Our task was to find a way to create a look in Flash that would mimic cut paper.

I was excited to solve this problem since it goes back to my first thoughts of Flash puppets when I started working in the program… it was exactly like creating a cut paper puppet for stop-motion animation. So I came up with three ideas which would translate into this type of look. The first was making the characters look textured. Second, was shaping the cut paper pieces as if they were done with wide-edged scissors and leaving sharp points. Third, was the addition of a drop shadow that would make the pieces look like they weren't sitting completely flat against the backgrounds.

I applied these three techniques to the symbols when I built the character's puppets. I drew each puppet piece with childlike edges, giving them that "snipped with scissors" look.

I then scanned some watercolor paper and layered that with a slight transparency and mask into each symbol for texture.

Lastly, I painted a drop shadow on specific edges to give it that raised look.

We then had to apply this style to the backgrounds as well. I used each of the techniques on different elements of the background so it didn't come across as too busy. I overlaid texture on the walls, then used the drop shadows on furniture to give it that nice raised look.

There you have it! A pretty convincing cut paper style in Flash... if I do say so myself. I really love design challenges like this and it's very rewarding to see the final outcome.

Copyright © Colgate - Palmolive Company

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