Amazing Advertising: The Bear & The Hare (for John Lewis)

The Bear & The Hare is an amazing TV spot for John Lewis that uses a unique animation style by combining traditional 2D hand-drawn animation, stop frame, and 3D model made sets.

Set in a beautiful forest, poor Bear is the only animal that never gets to celebrate Christmas because he has to hibernate every year. However, this year is different. This year Hare has a brilliant idea.

The story is set to a cover of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know‘ performed by Lily Allen.

I’m a huge 2D animation fan, and this is just a fantastic piece.┬áThe most interesting aspect of this video is the “making of,” they merged 2D, 3D, and stop animation in such a way that you wouldn’t even think this was not just hand drawn animated over a CG background.

In order to achieve this complicated combination of animation techniques, the whole film was first created in as a 3D previsualisation animatic with all the sets and characters built to scale. This allowed everything to be developed and planned alongside the model makers and animators, thus integrating the different disciplines and processes before the set was built or the characters were printed.

The 2D-animation frames (nearly 4,000) were printed onto mounted paper and cut with a laser. Feature-film stop-frame animators, then spent 6 weeks bringing the world to life.

This kind of reminds me of those claymation Christmas specials that used to air around this time of year. Sadly, they’ve been replaced with bad-acting, drama-filled, live-action tv movies :(.

I would love to see a full-length film using this type of animation.

One final thought, this story reminds me of that old Hanna-Barbera Christmas special “Yogi’s First Christmas,” it’s pretty much the same basic story.

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