Responses by Marco Galmacci, director/animator, Hello Savants
Background: The brief was to represent an episode in the early life of ASICS founder Kihachiro Onitsuka. With help from agency Saatchi &Saatchi LA and production company Not To Scale LA, the short, one minute-sixteen second film “A Shot At the Title” told the story of how Onitsuka discovered the inspiration from a home cooked meal that made his first basketball shoe a success. The challenge was to create a visual style that would recall classic Japanese watercolors and illustrations, while bringing it to life with animated sequences.
Reasoning: The idea was to create a crossover technique between traditional frame- by-frame, ink footage, live action sequences, digital 2-D and 3-D elements. After building a solid structure for the animated elements and setting the rhythm of the animation, we started animating basic shapes and outline drawings. At the final stage, we added coloring and inserted the inked transitions, which defined the style of the film.
Challenges: Figuring out how to animate, in order to create a dynamic throughout the film that would be both entertaining and modern, while maintaining the traditional Japanese vibe and respect the rhythm of the storytelling.
Favorite details: We can surely say that this film represents our ability to blend different techniques together into one look, creating a style that is at the same time fresh and unique.
Visual influences: We first researched traditional and modern Japanese visual culture and then we started illustrating. The process came quite naturally because we have backgrounds in painting and traditional illustration. We started hand-drawing the most important figurative elements and creating a range of watercolor textures and splats, creating our own proper customized assets.