We were approached by BabyTV - a Disney channel - to create a proposal for the look and feel of a road-based TV show. Following the pilot, we were commissioned to design and develop the full 10 x 4" episodes. BabyTV loved the show, resulting in a commission of two more series.
Seeing the project through from initial design to full animation, the challenge was to create a world that is readable and yet creatively stimulating for a very young audience.
The style needed to be distinctive but uncluttered, so we used clean lines and block colours to keep it simple. We wanted our characters to take centre stage so we gave them plenty of expression and lots of fluid movement to stimulate and open the imaginations of younger audiences.
It was really important for our characters to have a varied set of facial expressions and strong body language to be able to create easy to read emotions for the under-4 audience.
Using 2D facial expressions allowed us to explore a full range of moods, whilst also remaining within our fixed budget.
Trucky is the kind of truck that is polished clean and always has a full tank. He's a bit of a hero among the three friends and is usually the one to get them out of trouble. To reflect this in the design we gave him a sturdy, robust look and used visual signifiers such as the lights above his head and his crate as tell-tale signs he's a reliable truck.
Trucky always has a trick up his sleeve. His extendable crane has endless attachments: whether it's a brush, a propeller or even a hand! We had a lot of fun designing these.
Voom Vam is the energetic, fearless younger sister of Trucky. She is always seeking adventure but rarely considers the consequences.
To achieve her cute, playful look, we kept her shape small, round and almost bubble-like. Whilst her bow accessory is pretty adorable, her plaster is a give-away that she's a bit mischievous too.
Roady is the worried, cautious one of the group so we needed to get his facial expressions just right.
We wanted to give him floppy, flexible movements so that he could travel fluidly through scenes. This was crucial as he is also a key feature of the environment too. It's not often we design a road that is a character as well as a setting!
We wanted to give our environment a 'toy-town' tangibility to it. We opted for chunky, simple shapes that are reminiscent of the kind of playsets the audiences might have at home.
Although our setting is simple, we wanted to make it feel vast and endless - with one 'Roady' that leads anywhere and everywhere. We achieved that by creating sweeping plains with rolling hills and all kinds of weather.