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Case Studies

What is STAX - A 2D Animation Case Study

Aug 23, 2022

Stax, a cloud management platform, approached Jumbla to create a clever 2D animation advertising all the company has to offer. Purpose-built for AWS, Stax is the only native cloud management platform with a rich and robust feature set to help you migrate, build, operate and support a thriving AWS ecosystem.

Using a smart pastel colour palette and a quirky lead character, the video 'What is Stax?' appeals to the tech savvy millennial, the entrepreneur, the everyday internet user. With 2D animation firmly in Jumbla's wheelhouse of expertise, the team thrived in creating an engaging narrative, clear execution of information and a refined, youthful design language. From initial storyboards and styleframes through to animation and sound design, the team worked hand in hand with Stax to ensure their company ethos was well-represented in their animated explainer video.

To produce animations, Jumbla uses Adobe Creative Cloud suite, which consists of a variety of programs essential for creatives. For STAX, illustrations were created using Adobe Illustrator, a vector based graphic program. Vectors are a type of graphic format that can be resized without loss of quality or pixelation, and for this reason are most commonly associated with logo design.

The opposite of a vector image is called a raster image (for example a JPEG), which is often created in Photoshop or similar software, and when scaled up becomes pixelated and loses resolution. Think of a photo taken off your phone for example, it has more detail, colour and texture, but it loses quality when resized.

Vector graphics are suitable for limited colour artwork with a more simplistic design style, allowing for more flexibility, scalability, faster design work, and faster render times opposed to images with more complex colours or textures.

Explainer video animations often use vector graphics for their assets for these exact reasons. When animation begins, the designer may need to scale up certain assets to better suit the composition, so instead of having to re-draw the asset, with vector images you ca simply scale it up without loss of quality.

In addition, vector asserts created in Adobe can also be used in other ways, such as for print media or online images for a website.

Once images are created in Illustrator, Jumbla uses Adobe After Effects to animate. Adobe After Effects is a program originally designed for visual effects purposes but evolved quickly to become the most prominent 2D motion design software.

After Effects is very powerful due to its longevity and community of users that help develop third-party plugins to enhance the user experience within the software.

For STAX, Jumbla used a third-party plugin called DUIK to create basic rigs for characters. The rigging process means essentially connected the characters limbs together so it’s easier for the animator to make them move accurately. If an animated character was not rigged, the animator would need to animate every part of a character’s arm separately (eg. The shoulder, the forearm, the hand etc.), as opposed to just dragging the hand, and having the rest of the arm automatically follow.

For more simple animations such as STAX animators would often use basic rigs for parts of the body to give them accurate movement, while keeping the overall animation of the character simple, for example no walk cycles or time-consuming movements. This is often more than enough to communicate the key messages required without blowing the budget, while not being completely static.


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