Polyester Takes A Trip With Deadly Class
In the age of book to movie phenomenons comes a graphic novel to television show that stands out from the rest. The live action TV show, Deadly Class, is based on the graphic novels of the same name. The plot focuses on a teen named Marcus who is recruited into a private Dark Arts academy where he and his peers are trained to be assassins. In the series' first major nod back to its original form, Deadly Class creator tapped Polyester, animation and production studio, to create a piece that combines different styles and dimensions to bring Marcus’s acid trip sequence to life.
“Originally the show creator, Rick Remender came to us based on a spot we did called “Memento Mori” and it involved jumping through four to seven different styles from 3D to 2D. He wanted to do something similar for the acid trip sequence that he had in the show which was amazing because we assumed that internal, promotional spot we did was kind of not commercially applicable in any way shape or form. But it’s an excellent starting point for where we ended up on Deadly Class,” explains founder of the studio, Jeremy Dimmock, laughing. “We broke down the script into eight different styles, eight different sections, so it allowed us to put together a mood board for each of the sections. We did style frames for those sections to determine what the look was going to be. As we went forward, some sections would be 2D, 3D, and Cel Animation so each one had its own unique look and feel. We wanted to start out very happy, like the trip is going really well and then it kind of hits a dark point where it goes into Marcus’s history and then it starts getting really dark. It gets super dark because of his past and his history intertwining so, it also references what’s going to happen in in future seasons subtly. There’s definitely that climax where it goes dark.”
When the show creator originally approached the studio for the project, the show hadn’t launched yet, so the team had ample time to execute their vision. Robyn Smale, the producer on the project, revealed that there was most definitely a “hunger for creative awesomeness” throughout the layers of the project. The studio got to working on the spot well before the show started production, and continued working and making changes once filming began. There were a lot of changes we had to keep up with based on what the live-action director was doing.” The opening sequence was changed a number of times, switching out characters in the car in each cut.
“Everything started with the script breakdown. When we broke it down into eight different scenes, we researched different styles. Each scene also had its own unique color palette and it became a road map for establishing the look as we jumped into creating production art and style frames. We actually wanted to establish a consistent palette but they insisted that each scene is as separate as possible. So we made sure that we broke up the 3D so you can see the distinct styles and distinct techniques that we used,” Jeremy explained, before giving a disclaimer that he was about to get animated (pun intended). “Then we broke it down. Scene 1 was done 3D Maya and was rendered in Redshift, modeling in Zbrush, surface texture and substance design. Scenes 2 and 3 used ToonBoom Cel animation, where the rest of the scenes go on to feature 3-4D, painted textures frame by frame, Adobe Animate, Flash and Photoshop with everything finally being comped in After Effects.”
Although exclusively created for the television series, the two-minute acid trip sequence stands on it’s own. The spot transports the viewer into a world of visual pleasure, using different styles to evoke emotion and colors that elevate those abstract depictions. The episode featuring the acid trip premiered on SYFY in February, but the excitement has yet to die down, with the network’s Youtube clip having more than ten thousand views. As for Polyester, they’re excited about the future. “Fortunately, their ratings continue to get better so hopefully we’ll be talking about doing something for Season 2 soon.”
Polyester Studio Draws a Line Between Converse and History
Thomas Hancock was so fascinated by the rubber plant that he devoted his professional life to discovering as many uses as possible for it. One of the major contributions that Hancock offered us was the idea to combine rubber with sulfur, vulcanizing it thus making it much stronger and more resilient. This opened the door for many more uses, not least of which was creating sneaker soles. Thomas Hancock lived in the 19th century, but his legacy goes on in the rubber company that shares his name. Converse’s All Star sneaker famously uses vulcanized rubber and is the basis for Hancock and Converse’s yearly collaboration, playing on the relationship that these brands have over this crucial material. This time, Polyester Studio was brought on to create the perfect animated visualization for how the two brands come together.
In the spot, rubber plants unfurl and bloom on the edges of the video like we’re passing through a grove. The illustrations are unique and special in that they’re taken from original drawings that Hancock sketched in his own notebooks. As we travel through this illustrated grove, suddenly everything clears away and we see the Jack Purcell High, a Converse sneakers whose DNA is rooted in Converse’s classic designs. As the sneaker spins in a 3D space, the same rubber plants begin to appear on surface of the sneakers, growing in the same way. The sneakers themselves have been waterproofed using rubber-bonded canvas, creating a sort of meta representation with the drawings of rubber on a coating of rubber.
The spot is only 15 seconds but rolls all that information and history into a short period of time. The ability to condense all that information is a skill that Polyester has been honing for years with the work they’ve created for all of their clients. By successfully distilling information, or even a feeling or tradition, into such a brief series of moments, Polyester is able to give a full circle to Hancock, Converse, and Jack Purcell providing their audience with the content needed to understand and appreciate this collaboration.
Polyester Keeps Your Tummy Happy with Family Flora
Today, the mystery of the human body is the brain. It’s a world that our scientific reach has yet to understand, but not too long ago the same mystery cast a shadow over the human gut. It wasn’t until 1822 when a freak hunting accident left one of Dr. William Beaumont’s patients with a window to the stomach that we started to understand what happens inside our tummies. Over the intervening years we’ve learned how what we eat becomes us, and how those choices can change our lives. One of the most surprising discoveries has been how strongly the microbiome of our digestive tract, the microorganisms that work 24/7, change how we feel and sometimes even think. Family Flora works to make that information accessible and usable, and the new brand tapped Polyester Studios to debut their products to the world. “They were looking for a introductory brand film to show their products and how they benefit the consumer,” Jeremy Dimmock and Bob Zagorskis of Polyester explain. “We wanted to create a polished refined spot that would balance the importance of the message while being fun and optimistic.”
Making gastrointestinal science cheerful and accessible could be a challenge, but Polyester’s creative partners helped them hit the perfect balance. Together with VANS General Store NY, they were able to strike just the right tone to speak honestly about the issues at hand while remaining accessible. “The final style had to work with the Probiotic characters and we where delighted to work with VANS on establishing the palette, and support graphics to create a wonderfully appealing informational driven animation that feels more like a lifestyle spot,” explain Bob and Jeremy. “The success of the final spot is in large part to the client and agency who made sure we hit all the necessary points but still gave us the freedom to have a clean sophisticated animation with some nice subtle transitions and clever visual cues.” Everything came together to send the message they needed their audience to understand.
When VANS teamed up with Polyester, they knew they were getting the creative partner they needed to execute very specific needs to a unique customer base. “Unlike other brands, Family Flora's extraordinary products target specific needs, so we had a unique opportunity to explain to consumers how probiotics and prebiotics work,” says Nadine Cheung, Creative Director at VANS General Store. “Friendly, feel-good imagery is a big part of this campaign, and Polyester came through with beautiful animated graphics to complement our script. The team handled the process with unparalleled patience and professionalism, and we are thrilled with the final cuts.” When all those creative energies come together the results are perfect balance, just like a happy tummy!
Polyester Makes Limitations an Asset for Smile Train
Every year more than 170-thousand children are born with cleft lips or cleft palates. These conditions make it difficult or impossible for them to eat, breathe, or speak properly. And, as non-profit Smile Train points out, it also hinders their smiles. Smile Train uses their donations to provide surgeries for as many of these children as possible enabling them to lead rich and productive lives without being encumbered by the disability they were born with.
Just recently, Smile Train teamed up with Polyester Studio to help get their message out there. That message? That Smile Train makes more smiles possible. As they tell it, every child smiles as much as 400 times a day so they should look and feel their best. Every dollar that Smile Train receives helps them reach out to as many kids as possible. The themes of Smile Train’s work is neither easy nor cheerful, but when the non-profit is successful it can be a celebration. That’s where they started with Polyester: to bring a piece that highlighted the joy and hope of their work. It is a short and condensed piece, but full of bright imagery. A delightful deluge of smiling children one after another flash over the screen in a very limited color palate. It is a celebration of joy and laughter in a short amount of time, and a reminder of the benefits of Smile Train’s work.
Limits, like the narrow color palette of the spot, are rarely considered a blessing when we think about placing boundaries on art. But Jeremy Dimmock from Polyester says that they can actually help an artist reach potential. “The more restrictions you put on creative people, the more it allows them to push further in other areas,” he explains. Polyester was limited in the amount of time they had for the final piece, but also by the color palate. They were only allowed white, and two blues. But because of these limitations it makes the piece communicate better. By excising the excess, it clarifies the message. “It doesn’t seem totally chaotic because it’s such a wonderfully limited palette and it is so nicely graphic,” says Jeremy. “The limitations kind of give direction, letting us know what we have to do and go for it.”
This spot is just one of a collection of pieces they're completing for the non-profit. We've included another one of the fruits of this ongoing collaboration.
On the Go with Josie Portillo and Polyester Studio
The way you start your day sets the tone for everything else. That’s why it’s important to get solid rest, a healthy breakfast, and try not to spill your coffee all over yourself. The morning can be a trial, rushing around, getting everything in order before a long day at work, so anything that can help and streamline the process is a bonus. Illustrator Josie Portillo and animation studio Polyester Studio teamed up to bring Coffee-mate’s newest product, Coffee-mate 2GO, to life in their own imaginings of how their portable creamer can help their customers. By making access to coffee flavors a no brainer, customers don’t have to juggle with milk jugs and pumps of sweetener. Coffee-mate 2GO makes the whole process much simpler.
To start, Josie Portillo began by illustrating scenes and advertisements that could ultimately become the animations. The first thing you may notice about what she does is the unique style she brings to the table. For her, the style is all inspired by the art she loves. “I’m very interested in mid-century style,” she says. “And one of the reasons that the art director reached out to me was because they were looking to emulate a retro feel. When I first got into illustration I was looking at a lot of mid-century cartoon illustration styles, and a lot of that stuck with me.” You can recognize that style in her characters and staging of the scenes where she exaggerates certain elements, making them slightly cartoonish while remaining relatable. In fact, for one of the ads, Josie drew directly from her own life. “They wanted me to show a messy desk and I basically just illustrated my own desk here at my office,” she says with a laugh. She admitted that her desk is a little more chaotic than what made it into the final ad because, after all, it was an advertisement.
For Polyester, it was all about editing. When they first received the scripts, Polyester knew that they could apply their expertise to the project immediately. Bob Zagorskis explains: “Our initial scripts were really long, so we worked with them to distill it down to each scene. To get the idea across about what happening in the spot. "We had to really figure out what the key idea was in the spot and then just hit it hard.” In order to condense the stories into 15-second spots it was crucial that they get clear on what the heart of each piece was. “For us it was just really paring back everything that was extraneous and getting down to what mattered.” By working with Coffee-mate, they were able to clarify and concentrate each story making them as clear and focused as possible. With Josie, they made sure that the images told as rich a story as possible while still keeping them within the strict time limits.
In all, it was a seamless collaboration, with Josie adding, “It was really great working with Polyester.” They leaned on one another to tell the stories Coffee-mate needed, while keeping everything clear and giving the audience a laugh. Cheers.
Polyester Studio Gets Engaging with Deloitte
Talking about retirement isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but in many ways that’s the problem. Since few are that excited to talk about it, as a culture we are increasingly ill prepared for that era of our lives. It doesn’t have to be that way. Not only can we start making plans for our later life chapters, but we can talk about it in engaging ways. The financial powerhouse Deloitte is sensitive to this under employed financial sector and wanted to engage with customers on the topic of retirement. They teamed up with Polyester Studio to create an animated spot about retirement that was both informative and engaging.
Polyester makes their work character based whenever they can, drawing out all aspects of their creations from a narrative, ensuring a cohesive product. It is the small hints that they gain from developing those characters that end up casting a light over the rest of the project, keeping it in line with what the client requires. For this latest project with Deloitte, that’s exactly how the process went. “We’ll usually develop characters, and then from there we use the style of character to flush the rest of the spot for the backgrounds and everything else,” explains Jeremy Dimmock, Co-Founder of Polyester Studio. “From there we went crazy with the blue color palate for the corporate colors and accented it with some nice touches.”
When it comes to developing these characters, Polyester looks over all the materials that the clients give them. But a lot of times, the clients have something in mind when they come to the studio in the first place. “Usually clients have seen stuff that we’ve done before that they liked and we use that as a basis,” says Jeremy. “A lot of it also comes from the script and what’s appropriate for the client. Deloitte wanted to humanize it as much as possible.” By bringing in the human element for Deloitte’s spot, viewers are able to see themselves in the figures on screen, relating to these situations that may not be the most exciting, but are very important.
All of this development, character work, and color balancing is in service to the message. By creating a cohesive aesthetic environment, Polyester has built a platform on which to entertain their viewers, even when talking about retirement planning. “When you’re doing something that is for information instead of entertainment, if you can make that information as entertaining as possible then you’ve succeeded,” explains Jeremy. “You can actually help viewers remember what’s in that information by doing a great job on the animation and visuals.” Whether it’s the friendly characters, the dynamic animations, or clever composition, Polyester is able to use their skills to draw us in. And without even noticing we’ve begun to think about our own financial futures.
Polyester Gets Personal with Mass Mutual
Insurance is about protecting those you love. We spend a great deal of our lives providing for those we care about and the idea of leaving them with nothing is unbearable for many. Life Insurance acts as a protection for the people we leave behind, along with other financial apparatus to provide for any other contingency. These are constructs created for financial security, but at heart are about the relationships and feelings for those whose futures they secure. For their latest campaign, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, decided to get at the heart of these issues to communicate all the different products and services they provide. The issues are serious, and deserve the respect of time and focus, getting at the heart of actual experiences. They created a campaign, in conjunction with Mullen, called “In Their Words.” Using audio culled from years of in-person interviews with actual Mass Mutual customers, Brian Rea created illustrations around these stories that Polyester Studio animated into narratives.
To make sure the spots hit the right tone, Polyester had to balance between aesthetic and story telling. Since they were developing animated pieces with audio captured from real life, the calibration had to be right on. “The agency, Mullen, wanted to make sure the animation was pretty restrained and subtle and not over the top,” explains Jeremy Dimmock, Polyester co-founder. Bringing to life the illustrations of Brian Rea meant fusing styles into pieces that communicated these powerful ideas. “They’re all really emotional and some pretty heavy subjects, but I think they’re all handled really well, really deftly, and they all tell a really nice story,” says Bob Zagorskis, the other co-founder of Polyester.
Polyester typically uses their talents on spots that are shorter in length and quicker in pacing. The Mass Mutual pieces, because of their emotionality, needed more room to breathe, so they constructed much longer narratives. “Doing commercials, and stuff like that, you don’t get a chance to work on pieces like this that are longer and more film-like,” says Bob. “I think that was most interesting, actually telling stories over an extended period of time.” Since the pieces are given the time to tell the whole story, we get involved in the teller’s life and experience. And we see how the products that Mass Mutual offers actually affects these peoples’ lives. By shirking traditional advertising, they actually tell the full and truest story, relying only on honesty and plain telling.
Polyester and Crime Stoppers Protect You With UFOs, Bears
Crime Stoppers Canada asked Polyester Studio to imagine the precautions the group takes to keep a person anonymous when he or she sends in a tip. "In terms of direction, we were told to make up our own series of events ... we worked with the DDB team on what would happen in the different scenes and the many humorous ways of destroying the identity of the tipster," explained Polyester's Bob Zagorskis and Jeremy Dimmock.
For Polyester, Crime Stoppers' process involves a UFO, a belching bear, and an axe-wielding chef, packed into a minute-long clip mostly done with traditional claymation and fabricated props. "I think the biggest challenge was knowing how far we could push the gross/humor factor for the audience and still be true to the message," Dimmock added. By the time that the bear's guts are catapulted into outer space, it becomes clear: When you leave a tip, you leave no trace.
Agency: DDB Canada
Client: Crimestoppers Canada
Music and sound design: Grayson Matthews
Polyester's Meeting of the Minds for Todd Street
Todd Street Productions turned to Polyester Studio to present the New York-based marketing agency's story to current and prospective clients.
Polyester devised a cast of characters for a 2-D spot including Isaac Newton, a Rubik's Cube-solving savant, and a pair of Trekkies. The voiceover explains that the commonality is all minds have become harder to engage when it comes to marketing due to the digital evolution ... but Todd Street specializes in developing and executing big-engagement ideas for all minds – even the Trekkies.
"It was great to partner with Polyester as [the studio] really understood how to help bring our ideas to life in an innovative and engaging way, said Rebecca McGuire, Director of Strategy at Todd Street Productions. "We had a very tight production schedule and Polyester was fantastic in helping us meet our deadline without compromising on creative."
Enjoy both the in-market version and the director's cut.
Animation house: Polyester Studios
Art director/copywriter: Shiraz Gani
Agency producer: Rebecca McGuire
Polyester Asks: 'What Makes You Happy?'
Polyester Studio interrupted its regularly scheduled programming to create an animated short called "What Makes You Happy?"
Jeremy Dimmock, Bob Zagorskis, and their crew, first figured out what makes them smile before developing the sixteen characters in the clip, who are: swimming, bike-riding, swinging, belching, going for a walk with friends, blowing bubbles, hanging out with pets, hanging out solo, bouncing around, catching a lift with a buddy, having a surprise visitor, strumming an air guitar, making a mess, dancing, eating, and making love.
"My personal favorite is the last one – they're 'making love,' but they just have hearts coming out of their heads," Dimmock said. "I guess it all depends on what you like to do ... if you enjoy burping, then you might like the burping one best."
Polyester devoted two weeks to the project and each cartoon scene also works as a GIF.
Music: Roger Lima of whitenoiselab.com