Performance Communications agency came to Other Brother Studios with an exciting but challenging brief:
'Nissan would like to take a look back at a decade of innovative design to celebrate 10 years of the Nissan Qashqai.
By combining the best features of an efficient family hatchback with the high seating position and strength of an SUV, Nissan created an entirely new kind of car in 2007 - the crossover. Ten years on, Nissan still leads the crossover market, with Qashqai, Juke and X-Trail.
We would like to see the story of Qashqai's development, showing the original Qashqai, Qashqai+2, the 2010 update, and the 2014 Qashqai second-generation model, including the Qashqai Black Edition.'
A hugely exciting brief for Other Brother Studios to receive, the main challenge was that we could not shoot any of the footage for the video and it had to be told through existing design sketches and photography, not exactly an easy task. However, always ready for a challenge, Other Brother Studios set to work designing storyboards which we believed would be best presented as animations. Animation would allow movement within these flat images and we were hoping that we could get hold of some of Nissan's technical CAD drawings and bring them to life. We pitched with the following images, which displayed timelines to specify and highlight the 10-year journey, as well as strikingly-bold key images for each milestone Qashqai car model, as well as further smaller images around the outside of the frame, which were highlighted as animated segments. These would be animated in a manner that would indicate the images being sketched out, like a time-lapse of development of each sketch, almost as if you were seeing the artist sketch it out in real life!
We also explored the option of creating a 'blueprint' style background to the piece, in order to relate more closely to the engineer's drawings and sketches that were to be incorporated in the piece. These were images that we pitched this idea within our mood boards:
We also looked at options of bespoke text, related to the overall look of the film, which ultimately were not used but would be great for another Other Brother Studios project:
Other Brother Studios were also asked by Nissan to create a large mosaic incorporating hundreds of images of the Nissan Qashqai over the 10 year period. There are a whopping 896 images within this larger mosaic:
Onto the animation itself; the key animator and editor on this project was the very talented Chloe Rodham and animation assistant Maxine Davies. Chloe did a marvellous job animating all of the segments and made many great suggestions along the way, including adding more movement to the still key images. Over to Chloe, to explain the technical aspects of the project:
'The animation for the Nissan brief utilises a combination of Adobe applications to achieve the visuals. Existing promotional photography is brought to life by splitting it into numerous different layers in Photoshop to replicate depth planes. Foreground elements are separated from background elements with gaps created in the process filled in using a combination of cloning and content-aware filling. This allows the layers to be placed in a 3D environment in After Effects in order to create a parallax when combined with a camera move.'
'The concept sketches are animated with help from a drawing script that converts individual brush strokes into Alpha Track Mattes. Each line was drawn over by hand in AE so that the line work, shading and colouring could be animated to appear over time, making it look like the blueprint sketches, concept art or wireframes are actually being drawn.'
'Getting each mosaic tile to change opacity for the 2016 image made use of expressions and a variety of different colourful layers to create a flickering effect without animating each tile individually.'
All in all, it was a superb project for Other Brother Studios to work on. A challenging brief but one that Other Brother Studios relished. Here's to another 10 years of the Nissan Qashqai! And here is the video, premiered on Nissan Europe's YouTube channel: