Case Study: Monster High

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Monster High is a collection of kids’ dolls by Mattel. Think Barbie, but with funky, freaky features (e.g. fangs and fierce fashion). Recently, the franchise created a 70-minute feature film to reboot the brand. It’s described it as a “bright, colourful, scary-cute world”, primarily geared towards young girls. Check out the trailer below: 

Jumbla was thrilled to take part in this project, by creating assets to be used throughout the film. These included things like animating a castle, creating content to be shown on computer screens in the film, designing banners and more.

‘We were firstly asked to do one sequence called ‘Under the Stars’, which involved illustrating the Monster High school and versions of the characters made out of stars,’ says Oz, the creative manager who worked on the project. ‘Then we stitched the moves together, including comets and stardust. We ended up using Trapcode Form to create the stars as well as flat Illustrator artwork.

‘Off the back of this project, we were tasked to do a lot more of the graphics in the movie. We did the title sequence, which was a 3D ‘time-lapse’ of the school being built. We had to make each frame of the school being built in each stage, with shadows from the sun and moon as they span faster and faster to show time travelling quickly. We drew up individual elements of the school being built, like piles of materials and wood.

‘Another graphic design job we were given was to create all the content for the Monster High girls’ computer and phone screens, which we rendered out into the 3D screens and delivered in place to be composited by Axis.’  

Ultimately, Jumbla was given a fair amount of flexibility when it came to concept sketches, but we had to work to a particular look. Our animators took a good look at the already-produced material and made a specific effort to ensure our assets would fit in well.

Part of this was ensuring our colours were appropriate. The program generally opted for colours more at the extreme end of spectrum and saturation. To help, we were supplied a very specific set of accent colour swatches. As a general rule we were encouraged to use a base of muted colour, with accents of really saturated colours. Black, however, remains the main brand colour, so we were encouraged to make use of it throughout to maintain the punky/edgy look of Monster High.

The client was great to work with. We were able to flex some creative muscle, while producing entertaining material that slipped seamlessly into “scary-cute” context.

‘Axis are always great to work with as they understand the process on every level, and are open to as much input as we can provide,’ says Oz. ‘We love having a creative role in projects – so to work collaboratively with Axis is always a pleasure.’

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