Any well establish design studio knows the importance of self-initiated work. At Traphic we’re no exception.

Inspired by our dream of working on opening title credits to movies and series, the team wanted to produce a short moody visual in order to capture a look and feel for what could be a much wider narrative.

To tell a short story through text and visuals, the team looked to the 1922 poem by Robert Frost ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ as inspiration.

‘I’d often think about the poem when going on my long endurance runs through forests. When I began to tire or think about cutting my run short of the distance I’d set myself, I’d think about the last paragraph. It would inspire me to be grateful for my time there and to keep the promise I’d made to myself to complete my training.’

Steven Mills – Director and Designer at Traphic Ltd 

This abstract from the poem and the personal connotations it had to Steve’s running practices inspired the context for the animated short.

The text supplied a strong foundation to build on and carry the narrative. Whilst the aspect of running allowed us to transport the viewer through the different scenes.

3D software was used to capture and animate the running skeleton character, whilst combining a parallax effect in After Effects, to embed a sense of consistent forward motion. Camera lens blurs and vignettes were also used throughout to create a sense of depth and immersion.

‘I wanted to create a sense of being in a dark forest with a head torch, without having to overcrowd scenes with foliage and trees. The main focus had to remain on the text, for legibility, but there still had to be a sense of wildness and growth.’ 

It was important to establish the right balance between iconography, styling and text in order to lead the narrative. For example, the skeleton character was inspired by the the line in the poem ‘And miles to go before I sleep,’ and is revealed to us fully when that line of text appears. We wanted the combination of the two elements to nod towards mortality and urgency. There are things to be achieved and experienced before we sleep.     

An often overlooked aspect of motion design is the importance of sound, and its something we take very seriously at Traphic. The track was chosen by the team prior to the animation, in order to govern the pace and guide the visual elements. This workflow order is important, to avoid bulky and destructive re-verse engineering post-production. It’s a nightmare to retrofit sound.

The original soundtrack was then layered upon with additional sounds to emphasis certain movements and build upon the narrative.