The project began with a lot of meetings at the JWT office in Knightsbridge, London and Skype calls with the co-directors Major Briggs as they were in Stockholm. This was my first commercial directing job so I was really thrown in at the deep end, but timings and schedule were very much agency driven. We were lucky to have a really strong team at Blink Ink who we worked with to create weekly WIP (work in progress) images with a bunch of CGI specialists, model makers and 2D animators.
The creatives at JWT had a very clear vision and aesthetic in mind, which was heavily inspired by the 1950s illustrated cutaways of Frank Soltesz. I enjoyed doing quite a lot of research into cutaway illustration; it came quite easily to me, and I loved this part of the process. It was up to us to really think about the transitions and movements – not only of the tiny workers within the sweets but the transitions between the sweets themselves. The mechanisms and machinery in Fritz Kahn’s work were a strong reference for this, and something that I had to bear in mind when designing the factories with Major Briggs. The difficult thing here was that each sweet would only feature on screen for approximately six seconds which made us realise how important it was for the factories to be both intricate and bold, so that our audience could follow the juice production line flowing around the sweets.
It also became apparent to us at this stage that the Frank Soltsez shaded aesthetic that the client wanted could not be achieved by my illustration alone, so we commissioned the help of Michael Shorten, a very talented matte painter, to mix a combination of my art direction style with the desired 1950s approach. It was so exciting for us to see this after only a couple of days work. Both the agency and client were extremely happy, but we then had to establish an efficient way to animate these more realistically shaded character designs in a way that wasn't incredibly time consuming. Luckily one of the animators, Joe Sparrow, came up with an ingenuous way of separating the character layers which worked perfectly.