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Case Studies

Case Study: Scottish Water

Mar 17, 2016

Scottish Water, a company that (unsurprisingly) provides water and sewerage services across Scotland, were in need of a new TVC.

Axis Animation – a animation agency, who has worked with Scottish Water in the past, were looking for a studio who could execute the different disciplines of hand drawn frame animation, 3D and a technical compositing job all under the same roof. They found us. 

Due to our focus on having ‘all-rounder’ animators and our emphasis on hot housing illustrators, we have a few artists who were excited by the opportunity to hand draw a frame by frame animation.

It was an interesting and original mix of styles using Flash along with 3D motion graphics. We were keen to develop the look of the previous spots further while keeping them in the same family.


A fitting animation

Scottish Water provides drinking water to 2.46 million households and 150,000 business customers in Scotland. Every day it supplies 1.34 billion litres of drinking water and takes away 847 million litres of waste water from customers’ properties and treats it before returning it to the environment. Given these stats, it needed a serious animation to live up to this great work!

We worked closely with the team at Axis who were keen to share their experiences from previous spots, mainly getting a seamless transition from full frame animation to the layered planes rotating around the 3D ‘Machine’. With some testing we came up with a protracted method to get it to work.


The creative process

The process went like this; hand animations in Flash were composited in After Effects on 6 layers. Those 6 layers were then rendered out in 5K comps to make them wide enough to wrap around the Machine, the shadows were rendered out as another 6 comps to act as alpha channels. Then they were re rendered from 3D on the planes of the Machine in Cinema 4D.

They were then re-composited in After Effects. So with each change there were several steps and lots of rendering to do. Once we had the system sorted out it was just a case of getting the animation right and Axis trusted us to roll with it and develop the style.

Okay – we know that was confusing, but let’s face it, in the end we were really happy with how it turned out and enjoyed working on something unique with some juicy technical issues to overcome.

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