Client: Virgin Experience Days

Christmas Advert 2015

  • 3D Design
  • animation
  • Video Editing

Ruby and Ralph - Make Something Wonderful Happen This Christmas

Ruby and Ralph is the story of two inseparable robin friends. Ralph's hasn't quite got the hang of flying yet, but Ruby knows that she can get a flying lesson from Virgin Experience Days.

For this project I did all the creative, from 3D modelling, to animation, through to final editing.

Character Sketches

The process started off with storyboarding. Then main message we wanted to get across with this was the anticipation of having the perfect gift. Having shots like the calendar shot we're put in for this reason. We also wanted people to feel sorry for Ralph with the crying scene.

I then move onto character design. One thing I really love is Pixar, so I took inspiration from their work, trying to get lots of character across in a simplistic form.

One of the main things we wanted with the characters was the big bulging eyes. Eyes are always a great focal point, and you can get across great emotion just using them.

Character Models

One of the key features of the robins, so I started with them. Starting with a really rough block model, I then refined using MODO's sculpting tools. Once I had a shape i was fairly happy with i used the topology tool to redraw the mesh.

To compliment the model and style I was trying to achieve, with a more cartoony feel, the texturing was kept fairly minimal.

Modelling and texturing was done in MODO.

Next up was rigging. I've used a couple of seperate rigs for different parts of the bird, with the main body using a standard skeleton rig and the beak using a morph map hooked to a custom controller. There was a seperate model / rig used for the flying shots, which had both wings tied to a single controller, to speed up the animation.

This was my first animation based project, so I had to learn fast and through experimentation. I planned the animation to shots I knew i could achieve good looking results, and didn't go too crazy!

Below is a quick demo of the character rig.

I produced various different cuts of the video for the different uses of the video. I even created extra assets that would be used with these, such as the below pecking shot that was used at the beginning of some of the TrueView adverts to really grab your attention and hopefully stop you skipping after 5 seconds!

There was also lots of other assets created to support the campaign, including various stills, the birds in isolation to use in different places, and large scale renders for print.

It was a great project to work on and I feel that I not only learnt a great deal about 3D and animation, but also skills in large project managment.

Thanks for looking at this project

Have any questions about it? Feel free to contact me via twitter or email


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