Bing Case Study
I’ve been working as the sole 3D Marketing Artist for Acamar Films for the past 2 years. During this time I’ve established the basis for how to present the assets from Brown Bag Films, to best replicate the tone and character of the children's animated show "Bing".
My goal was to give designers both internal and external a wide range of assets that could be repurposed for different situations without the need to re-render. I took a simplified compositing approach reminiscent of a vfx pipeline. Not as deep as multi pass composite but splitting up key assets in the scene and changing lighting and shadow to deliver rendered stills for a wide array of merchandise opportunities.
I took the approach of studio style soft even lighting with a subtle key light. This allowed for a soft spot shadow for characters in the scene which lent itself perfectly for the graphic design elements. Grounding the character in the flat vector design but inserting seamlessly into scene environments. Bing’s world has a very soft lighting feel with not to many directional shadows which in themselves are very soft in nature. As there’s no clear directional shadow this allowed for the omission of directional shadows on character renders.
This was important as now characters could be used universally across almost any situation. Group poses could be created from renders from different scenes all together. Characters could be taken from one scene a planted in another. Giving as much flexibility to designers was paramount.
As it stands I’ve contributed 1800 plus individual rendered assets over the last 2 years. 90% or more are fully separated for multi-purpose. The majority of these assets are rendered at A2 300dpi. With occasional special requests at up to or above A0 300dpi.
Life In A Still Frame
Early in the development it was decided to shy away from iconic key poses. The general feeling was that it was lifeless and didn’t help to tell the stories we wanted to do especially in publishing. A strong pursuit was not for Bing to seem cartoon like early key poses leaned towards.
What we discovered was that poses need to be natural which went against classic animation. Strong key poses and in-between poses synonymous with animation didn’t look right. I decided to draw from my experience working on set with actors and commercial talent in order to catch subtleties that conveyed to the audience what had just happened or what was going to. This helped push the Narrative forward and made for better poses that seemed more in line with the show.
This blended with paring back the articulation and dexterity to better capture a small child helped define the characters in a way that separates Bing from other market competitors.
The Bing animated show employs common use of bokeh (depth of field blur effect) to bring focus to characters or to a specific point for story. For publishing means this was dropped to allow new audiences to appreciate the detail that had gone in to crafting the world of Bing.
To combat the lack of bokeh the main character Bing nearly always looks out to the audience drawing your focus to him. Then the supporting cast and their interaction with Bing or what he’s doing before they scan around the background scene elements. This also helped with posing Bing and his friends as it immediately calls out to a parent taking pictures of their children. Calling for their attention with the kid looking up just as the photo is taken. This immediately made images relate, must amateur family photos don’t have shallow Bokeh.
Expanding The World
During the production of Bing various ideas were dropped due to time constraints and technicalities. These issues arose again at merchandise stage, retail love seasonal tie ins especially Christmas and Easter in the UK. This lead to the creation of new assets outside of what was present in the show. Easter related assets were created in house specifically for a Harper Collins Bing book, as well as three Snow filled environments. These were a mixture of CGi and Photoshop Matte painting. A set of Christmas CGi decorations where also created in conjunction. All new CG assets were carefully made to closely match with the pre-existing assets from the show.