Advertising, Web, TV

“What is MATRIXX?” Anthem Animation

MATRIXX Software is one of our biggest clients and it’s always fun when they ask us to think outside the box. That’s just what they did for this Business-To-Business branding spot that defines “What is MATRIXX?”

We got to work after a quick discussion with the client and a rough draft of a script. Our initial direction was to incorporate anime elements like speed lines, limited animation and split screens. Beyond that, they had no firm creative requirements. But heck, that’s why they hired us!


From there, we put together an initial rough animatic of 30 seconds of the script. We didn’t want to go too far without getting feedback. Here’s what we initially came up with.

Internally we were concerned that trying to tell the “story” of the script in such a literal, beat for beat manner would end up being confusing and feeling dissonant. The spot needed a consistent through line. The client agreed and loved the metaphors of keys, tumblers and unlocking things. With that, we reconceived the spot to use those metaphors to tie everything together.

Art Direction

At the same time we were putting together an initial animatic, we were also exploring the visual language of the piece. We like to start by putting together a deck of images we find on the web. It’s a great way to quickly explore various art styles with a minimal amount of work. And sometimes, we come across things we like that the client hadn’t considered. In this case, we found some art deco inspired works that we thought would work well in the spot. Here, here, and here are a few images that really resonated with Matrixx.

So now we had some ideas to work with. Locks, tumblers, a general art direction style and permission to modify the script so that we could have a consistent theme running throughout. We were off to the races.


First, we came up with the idea of 3D locks and tumblers that we thought would make awesome transition elements and serve as simple backgrounds. Even better, we made the tumblers from elements taken from the MATRIXX logo itself. The client loved this natural way to incorporate theme with their corporate branding.

Next, we came up with a couple of different character designs that were both on-brand, corporate and somewhat art deco.

We always listen carefully to each client’s needs and preferences. In this case, the client had a clear character design favorite. So, we took their choice and created style frames. And even though they had backed off their initial anime ideas, we wanted to see if we could do it all anyway. The following image really nailed it for us and them. The frame is dynamic, uses speed lines and split screens and does it all by incorporating the tumblers as the mechanism to divide the screen. Check out the final piece to see how our tumbler mechanism transforms into a split screen in motion!


While we were doing our visual development, we created an animatic. But because of the 3D tumblers, we used a hybrid approach for this step. Our AfterEffects animator and editor led the effort — blocking in the tumblers and rough timing. Then our board artist drew on top of these essentially 3D layouts. After a few rounds of back and forth, our combo 2D/3D animatic looked like this:

The rest was straightforward. Design our elements, animate, find the perfect voice over talent… and put it all together!

Need to think outside the box for your next commercial or piece of branded content? Give us a holler and let us over deliver for you!