Tootle Stop Motion Animation Advert
Tootle.co.uk is an online platform helping customers find a buyer for their car from a network of hundreds of competing dealers and car buying services. Normally when you sell a car, you’re the one chasing the buyers. Tootle.co.uk turns that idea on its head. Toast’s stop motion animation TV commercial underpins this concept in a fun, quirky way. Set in an everyday living room, toy cars career around the room in a race to bid for the seller’s car.
The stop motion animation was created by a team of animators whose philosophy is simply to make well-crafted stories. The process threw us deep into the world of miniatures; from carefully selecting model cars to 3D printing hundreds of figures, which were then individually hand painted. Rigs were used to achieve car stunts, which were subsequently rotoscoped out in post-production.
The music was composed by Tim Arnold, a London based composer known most recently as the first music artist to release a concept album about Soho, London. This TV campaign is accompanied by a series of radio commercials. Both the radio and TV adverts were brought to life by the brilliant voice of Tony Gardner.
CMO of tootle.co.uk, Cara Whitehouse said: “tootle.co.uk is disrupting a market with deeply ingrained behaviours, and Toast’s creative stop motion animation concept brings the unique benefits of using our platform to life in a clever, engaging and simple way.”
The stop motion animation process
Stop motion animation involves an enormous amount of time and patience, a scene is built, in this case the scenery mainly involved working around pieces of furniture. The cast of characters are assembled and the lighting is worked out before any animation can begin. To make the workflow process smoother and to iron out any kinks in the animation flow a pre-vis animation was produced using 3D animation software, from this test the client could see how the stop motion animation would look once complete. The actual filming process uses a high-end stills camera rigged to take thousands of stills which when played back form the animated advert. Once one picture has been taken animators move onto the set and make micro-adjustments to the location of figures and props to simulate them moving around the scene.
In many stop motion animations the cast of animated characters are made from a flexible material which can be adjusted slightly between each frame to make them appear to move. For the Tootle advert we employed a more modern technique of 3D printing to build all the characters from a hard plastic, instead of moving body parts the animators just replaced the entire character. Once 3D printed each hard plastic figure had to be hand painted with each character having their own set of clothes painted on. The cast was then taken to the set with the different character poses being swapped in and out as needed.
The main action sequence featured in the advert takes place in a sitting room with the stop motion animated cars racing around the furniture. The joy of the advert is the interaction between the toy cars and the environment, animation is a great medium for using fun to portray brand values or to soften a brand message. The pre-vis stage helped hugely in working out the flow of the animation and allowed for the fun moments to be worked out before having to start recording images.
Once all the frames of the animation have been recorded the editing process is where the interaction is honed and the pace of the TV advert is set. The stop motion animation process often involves a lot of rigging to keep objects steady or in this case to make the cars magically fly. This rigging must be removed in post production. At this stage sound effects and music were also added, giving the 3D printed characters real voices really brought them to life. The final process was to grade the colours of the final piece to make sure the cars and set looked vibrant making for a fun advert.