John Lewis's Christmas ad, The Bear & The Hare, mixes stop-motion and 2D animation that has been widely praised across both traditional and social media. Alonside the spot (below), its creators have released a making-of-video (above) that provides a wonderful insight into how the spot was created under directors Elliot Dear and Yves Geleyn.
Alongside the spot itself, the team also created an illustrated ebook and paper book, plus an interactive iPad app.
Elliot and Yves took two traditional animation processes – stop-motion and traditional hand-drawn 2D animation – and combined them to create something innovative and unique. Their aim was to do almost everything in camera, using real lighting, lens and film craft to build a world where the audience can see and feel the painstaking work behind it.
The 2D animation’s physical interaction with the set and the human imperfections inherent in the process are designed create a hand-crafted piece "full of heart and integrity".
The animation process involved constant shifts between 2D and 3D worlds. In order to achieve this complicated combination the whole film was first created in Blinkink Studios as a 3D previsualisation animatic with all the sets and characters built to scale. This allowed everything to be developed and planned alongside the modelmakers and animators, thus integrating the different disciplines and processes before the set was built or the characters were printed.
Aaron Blaise – whose credits include Brother Bear, The Lion King and Mulan – and a team of veteran Disney animators at Premise Entertainment in Orlando, Florida, designed and animated the characters. The 2D-animation frames were printed onto mounted paper and cut with a laser.
Each frame – nearly 4,000 in total – was then individually hand-labelled before going on set. Feature-film stop-frame animators then spent six weeks bringing the world to life.
The set was built by our production designer John Lee (Aliens, Fantastic Mr Fox, Frankenweenie) and his team at Shepperton Studios before being transported to Clapham Road Studios ready for the stop-motion shoot.
Post-production was done in-house in Blinkink’s animation studio, and the final grade was completed at MPC.