Mixing, Matching: Combining Animation Media
June 8, 2022
‘Hybrid Animation,’ or blending 2D and 3D animation media, has quickly become one of the most effective tools of engaging with audiences through video. Combined with live-action footage, a video is primed to immerse the viewer in the story you are telling with cutting-edge appeal. Moreover, viewers can experience an accurate, but exciting, representation of your brand’s personality.
With ‘Little Hibboux,’ a video we produced for bedding company ‘Hibboux,’ we open with a simple (live-action) clip of a girl asleep. A 2D-rendered owl hops over her shoulder, and swoops us into a 3D fantasy world, designed to evoke the comfort and joy of Hibboux’s product line. The effect of this transition has a breathtaking effect, but making the sequence is not without its complexity.
In beginning to realize the video’s central concept, storyboarding is vital. Alongside being a great tool for sequencing the narrative, storyboards allow you to identify which sections you need to animate using different means, and their timings across the narrative.
From these basic storyboards, we can also pull a set of isolated ‘style frames,’ which are fully-designed still shots of several key design concepts. For Hibboux, we created style frames for the owl mascot and several of the environments as they would look in their final form. Next to this, our animators create ‘animatics,’ which are basic images edited together in a sequence, using Photoshop and After Effects.
Blending 2D & 3D
While our main asset is 2D-animated, we then also look at the 3D environments through which our owl character flies. For this process, we use Blender and Maya to model and light our initial landscape concepts from the storyboards. One additional benefit of utilizing a 3D environment is a greater versatility of digital camera movement. The illusion of depth is far more enhanced with 3D renders, and the viewer’s impression of this world is more realistic.
Incorporating 2D models realistically onto a 3D environment also opens the door for playfulness, as was the case with Hibboux. Realistic effects on the 3D plane can be transferred onto the 2D model, allowing you to play with the physics of the animation. A good example is when we see our mascot pacing through a laboratory, passing by a 3D-rendered glass container which morphs the owl’s body as it would in reality.
What It Achieves
These are tonal elements which are always specific to the client and their project. But where there’s an opportunity to combine innovative techniques with the appropriate expression of the brand’s personality, it should be taken. By combining 2D and 3D assets into a cohesive narrative, and throwing in a little live-action footage on top, you give your viewer a fully-realized, immersive experience of your product’s story.
Igloo Creative House is a part of Magic Media, an international group specialising in entertainment and gaming industry services. Our interest lies in your success, and clear, open communication is paramount to that. If you are looking for an innovative blend of 2D and 3D animation for your video, check out the range of video styles we provide from our reels, and get in contact with us today!