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The executed campaign aims to relate the value of the company to growth of business. The campaign is centred on use of humour to charm the viewer and allow for a long information message to be digested seamlessly. The Character design followed the first draft of the script closely. CD Graham sketched out the printers creating a quaint and charming look. Initially we looked at creating a clean and vectorised look. It was clean and crisp but it lost some of the charm which hand drawn version had, and as such relatedness of the characters.

After further discussion we both traced the visual mnemonic DNA of the main Character - Desktop Damian to the ‘Willow O’ the Wisp’ primarily Evil Edna sorcerer. His personality, however, would be that of a Cockney gangster. This would add much needed comedy and menace. To achieve this we grafted the pained and brutal persona of the ‘Baptist’ as acted by Lenny McLean to the visual. After an extensive voice search we found our Lenny in the form of London Tim Casey who did an excellent job in providing envisioned audio element.

The rest the of cast were rather important as Damian needed his demonic possy. Enter the immovable, interminable and abominable Dark Prints alongside the insidious, deceitful and sinister Miss Devious Vice. Together they formed a infernal triumvirate of print hell which has cast it’s tumultuous net across many a business on these isles and beyond.

The design elements across the characters take many tropes of possessed machinery. Plugs and cable become demonic tails and tentacles. Fleshy thick tongue a mix of canine, human and serpent marks Damian. His eyes, wide apart create a bestial image, as one of them is staring in a distant other plane, giving a unsettling impression that he is looking through the viewer. Damian’s maw is based on the familiar sharks mouth, curved and deadly evoking the image of a apex predator.

The Dark Prints is the demonic Hal in the printers cloister. A machine without many features and with a stoic immobile personality. Classic affects of horror, smoke and mist envelop it and a pentagram rotates upon it’s chest. Rust and ooze seeps from it’s crevices, sharp forks spike out, tentacles writhe, toxic bubbles emanate and a single classic bat wing flaps. It represents a possessed machine from classical modern fiction.


The Devious Vice underwent a little more change. Her initial Square shape has been morphed into that of a more recognisable printer and with that she has become more aloof within her subterfuge. A cyclopean demonic eye sits squarely upon her, long lashes, ink acting as lipstick twisting her machine gender. The motif of sharp teeth is repeated alongside her distinct feature - a long, bubonic, bubbling and withering toad-like tongue which is constantly boiling with her malice. She is representative of daemos of the technology, a totem to be wastefully worshiped.

On the other side of this cast we have Prints Charming, a way to reinvigorate the printing world through good maintenance. A somewhat goofy look and carefree attitude is intentionally depicted by having the opposite eye position of Damian. Close together and almost crossing, a look which embodies well within camera, (as featured by many celebrities in the human contemporary culture). A crown and a cape finished his shiny look off increasing the contrast.

The colour-scheme is all synched with the eighties cell cartoons, and though the final animation promo was not made fully using cells, the backdrops are hand painted with watercolours and paints on the back of cells were used in order to create a pallet which would be repeated throughout the video.


The Dominantus Demonicus:

Desktop Damian is the main character in the short. As such he had to be full of personality and charisma in order to connect with the audiences through his pathos. An extensive study in human face recognition was undertaken during this project. Paul Ekman’s and Wallace V. Friesen’s ‘Unmasking the Face’ was an object of extensive study, as well as Ekmans METT and SETT software, used to train FBI agents and Pixar animators. In order to get ‘under the plastic’ of our demonic lead a few animation tests were undertaken, utilising subtle-expression and micro-expressions throughout. Initially we let his tongue go wild but once we reigned in the ‘Silverster-effect’ and got our voice actor on board we condensed the theatrics into a suble microcosm of eye and mouth expressions.

The most common micro-expressions were those of anger-delight, contempt and aloofness as we wanted him to enjoy being bad. However in order to create a link with audience through mirror neurons we needed Damian to have an underlaying pathos, a thread of relatedness. The McLeans pained acting with a underlaying pathos of loss and aggression provided a strong reference pint. His particular long blinks added the pain of survival to the character and more charm. To add further body language acting to what is essentially a face on a box, we added the ‘devil’s tail’ in form of the plug. At one point Damian literally gives the ‘european finger’ with his tail. Now our Damian was ready to be unleashed with his ink-swilling tail spinning ways.



Throughout the animation there are a few nuggets hidden away, only to be discovered through observation.
In the first office, as Damian is unmasked a picture on the wall is of him and his two buddies, suggesting subconscious foreshadowing of what is about to happen. In the graphic/architectural office of Devious Vice, one of the cubicle features design work on the Prints Charming.
Amongst the cast in animation direct relation was taken from the ‘Willo’ The Wisp’. The Character of prince/beast is the first one, taking the origin story of the Beast on board, and even Mavis appears in her office guise.

As the papers pile up, among the sound of paper, there is also intermixed a sound of notes being counted, adding a further financial reference at the Arena efficiency at saving the companies from loosing money. The sounds of demons behind the door were hugely inspired by Gremlins and Critters and a few hours of helium. The nine demons which appear with their eyes only are the nine circles of hell indicating there are worst scenarios to come to those who are unwary.

The final part of Damians demise is an homage to Chuck Jones Road Runner in it’s humour anticipation, accent and post-reaction. The box being dropped is not dissimilar to coyote being defeated by the gravity once again. This time though with an addition of heavenly choir. Further reinforcing the meme, the could of dust rises in a shape of a halo. The arena logo takes over the screen and the message delivered is amplified by the proceedings.


Once the whole animation was completed, we had some interesting footage left over. Rather than leave them on cutting floor we took these and edited them together. Desktop Damian is breaking the fourth wall.




The colour in the animation is envying of a bygone era. Rich earthy pastels predominate with many amber, sandy tones. Damian is punctuated with devilish red for a familiar synch. The Colours were inspired by the Willo The Wisp, as well as many of the cartoons of that era as well as going back to the sandy dunes of Chuck Jones’ Road Runner. Each scene has a colour spectrum which defines it further. The Dark Prints is toxic and sickly yellow, while Devious Vice sports more of a cooler pallet of grey with hints of turquoise. There is very little blue in the whole piece allowing the Arena logo to be lifted at the end. There is an intentional reason behind this juxtaposition. Blue is a preferential colour by humanity in many studies, indicating a coming of clarity with good weather and clean water, as it has the shortest photoreceptor in our visual cortex.

‘If you have a blue colour against a background you will elicit a positive output’ - Dr Yazhu Ling (color neurobiologist)



Unmasking the Face; Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen:

Animators Survival Guide; Richard Williams:
Evolution of Human Head; Daniel Lieberman
The Visual Language of Comics: Introduction to the Structure and Cognition of Sequential Images; Neil Cohn
Animated Performance: Bringing Imaginary Animal, Human and Fantasy Characters to Life; Lynn Johnston
Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts; Nancy Beiman
Reinventing Comics; Scott McCloud
Exploring Affect; Silvan S. Tomkins
Hearing Lips and Seeing Voices; Harry McGurk and John McDonald
Horror the Film Reader; Marc Jancovich
The Horror Genre: From Beelzebub to Blair Witch; Paul Wells
Willo The Wisp; Nick Spargo
Road Runner; Chuck Jones
‘A new model for color preference: Universality and individuality’; Dr Yazhu Ling and Prof Anna Hurlbert
Ancient Greek Masks lecture; Peter Meineck
The Guv’nor; Lenny McLean
Watson and the Shark; John Singelton Copley
The Ghostbusters
The Thing
The Gremlins
The Critters