Leftchannel Flexes Character Animation Muscles With Whimsical Original “Under The Big Top”

Motion Graphics Studio Crafts Eye-Catching Short Inspired By Target Branding
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COLUMBUS, OH – Looking to showcase their deep character animation talents coupled with their motion design capabilities, award-winning design/animation studio leftchannel has created Under The Big Top.” This lively animated short highlights their broad range of creative skills, while deftly capturing the design-focused branding style of retailer Target. 
“A lot of people know us for our motion design and animation work, but we’ve been wanting to sink our teeth into a project that shows how deep we are with pure character animation,” Alberto Scirocco, leftchannel’s Creative Director says. 
Scirocco explained how he felt leftchannel was a good fit with Target’s branding, with its clean, design-centric look and playful tone, which aligns well with the strengths of leftchannel. The piece combines sophisticated 3D animation with organic hand-drawn 2D animation and motion graphics.
“The biggest aspect for us was to not just showcase our style and technique with character animation, but how well we integrate all of these various techniques and make it work together,” Scirocco adds.
Much of the project focused on the work of leftchannel’s character animation team lead by Jenna Jaillet and Taehee Lee.
Set to a pumped-up 1920s jazz groove, the fast-paced “Under The Big Top” takes viewers on roller-coaster ride around a fun circus world. A complex camera move zips throughout the space introducing us to a smiling, unicycling lion, a plunging hippo and dancing elephant.
Lee explained that maintaining the consistency of the Target look was crucial.
 
“What makes this project special is the marriage between animation styles,” Lee notes, “and in order to keep the branding consistent, which is monochromatic red, we had to carefully plan the use of positive and negative space. We wanted to create a constant sense of surprise where everything is defined by the elements that surround the characters. Finding the perfect balance between the two was the goal.”
For Jaillet -- who joined leftchannel following three years at Sony Image Works, Los Angeles, where she worked on 3D animation for the feature films “Arthur Christmas” and "Jack the Giant Slayer" (she also received a 2011 Student Academy Award for Best Animated Short for her film “Departure of Love”) -- the challenge behind “Under The Big Top” was making sure all the characters move in a fluid way.
“With a camera move as complicated as this you need a lot of communication between the different departments involved,” Jaillet says. “We have some very talented artists here, and the end product of ‘Under The Big Top’ effectively melds hand-drawn animation with 3D and graphic design seamlessly.”
About leftchannel: 
Established in 2003 and headed by Alberto Scirocco, leftchannel is a motion design studio comprised of multidisciplinary graphic design artists specializing in motion graphics, TV spots, music videos, broadcast identities, program titles and opens, animation and graphic design, advertising and broadcast graphics. Scirocco began his career in design and art in Italy before moving to the U.S., where he helped establish leftchannel in Columbus. An adjunct professor and head of the CCAD Motion Design program, Scirocco’s passion for computer animation and motion graphics is a driving force behind the firm’s decisively individualistic and pioneering capabilities adaptable in a multitude of fields including film, advertising, broadcast graphics, architecture, retail planning, digital installation, projection mapping and environmental design.

Creative Credits:
Project: “Under The Big Top”
Animation/Design: leftchannel, Columbus, OH
 
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