For years we’ve done all sorts of different types of Holiday cards, from dancing mariachi bands, to rocking head bangers, to singing elves. One of our older eCards, SnowBall Fight, remains a favorite, so to help bring that element back we figured what better winter-way to compete again your loved ones than with a good ole fashion sled race?!
As with many of our cards, one of the most important choices is figuring out what song to use. It not only sets the pacing but also the overall tone of the short. The Hall Of The Mountain King seemed like the PERFECT overly-epic track to depict the intensity of a high-speed race and with such a strong musical backing the animatic practically made itself!
After Jeff created the animatic, Alex, did a great job designing the color script, which sets the visual tone of the piece…
In addition to knowing that this card should be some sort of “team vs. team type” card, we wanted to do something stop motion. We had so much fun with last year’s first attempt, ‘The Buttcracker,’ that we wanted to try it again, but this time the card would need to be modular to allow for multiple castings (1-5 people). The first step was to make sure it was even possible, so Jeff made some quick color-tests using 2D and 3D mock-ups to make sure that the specific color regions would be easy enough to manipulate in After Effects.
Once we proved that the technique would work, Jeff proceeded to sculpt and create both characters and props. The character was made using a process of foam-laytex, which involved sculpting a clay version that resulted in a mold that was injected with the foam. The sled was just a series of coffee stirrers that were twisted and glued together, snow was sheets of styrofoam and trees were bought at a local train shop.
Once everything was built we ran some quick tests then it was time to get animatin’!
Each character was filmed on blue using just one rig, so that we could later composite and color correct to make scenes bigger/smaller as needed. In total, Jeff ended up taking 2157 photos in all that were pieced together into the final short. (That’s a LOT of photos!) You can check out some behind the scenes footage here…
And if you want to see the finished product, put your family & friends in Sled Race today!