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Plimoth Patuxet Museums: The Winds of Change

The Plimoth Patuxet Museums asked us to create a special animation to help commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower landing. First, we needed to come up with the look and feel for the animation. We knew Plimoth loved the 2.5d style of animation we used for projects like Rodents of Unusual Size and The Lincoln Project “Fairy Tale” spot. But we also knew they wanted a unique art direction that fit their corporate image.

Art Direction:

First, we talked to them about what they liked from the print reference materials they gave us.

They identified traits like bold colors, simple shapes, minimal stroke lines and an almost child like simplicity in their designs. Based on that direction, we came up with our own spin.

The museum loved this direction, and we actually started animating scenes and creating more art based on their greenlight. But hold the presses! The creative process is rarely without speed bumps. And as this project drew more interest, the client decided that their initial creative direction didn’t match the magnitude of the occasion they were commemorating. We agreed. And got to work on an art direction that was a little more sophisticated but still retained the simplicity Plimoth wanted.

Check out some of the images below. Do you think we nailed it?


Animating this beast was a real challenge. The raster art was very heavy and created with many layers so that we could get the parallax we needed to achieve the 2.5d look. And because the client wanted one seamless shot, our scene files were huge. Plus, we needed to take care breaking up the animation into sections and hiding any seams.

And while most studios would probably use AfterEffects to animate pieces like this, we prefer to use Toon Boom Harmony as our main application. Why? Mainly because we have a better selection of animators at our disposal that understand character and animation principals. Even though the client wanted very little movement beyond the slow moving camera, what is there needed to feel natural.

Oh! And just because we did the bulk of our animation in Harmony, doesn’t mean we didn’t use AfterEffects. It’s still our goto compositor to add additional elements and sweetening to shots! For this video we used a variety of software packages including PhotoShop, StoryBoard Pro, ToonBoom, AfterEffects and Premiere.

If you like what we did for Plimoth or any of our other awesome clients, give us a holler and see what we can do for you!