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Blacksmith helped to launch World of Warcraft - Dragon Flight by producing socials alongside David Harbour, Pedro Pascal, and Lana Condor.  


With a typical short deadline, I came in early to test rigs as they were being completed and "sketch out" the animation for the social that gave the agency most concern.  Once production started, Paul Wei took over animation on that social. And I animated the other two [above: VFX with David Harbour and below: PJ with Pedro Pascal].   VFX dragon has the best look and render of the 3 spots.  He ended with a simple animation to make him feel menacing yet friendly.

Process Note:  We had an arguably better version, which conflicted with the placement of the titles in the center of frame -- part of the process is working around constraints like logos and titles!

[above: PJ with Pedro Pascal] was storyboarded, filmed, and animated quite differently.  In the original concept PJ was laying down, awakened by Pascal's entrance, and then majestically rising to show off his splendor. 
Nowhere along the process, did the agency catch / Blizzard mention the dragon could never be seen laying down.  With much of our animation time gone, we switched gears to rethink his action using the existing footage. 

Also, the day before delivery, the agency requested that we add a T-Rex roar audio to the ending (a direct lift from a certain movie?).  The roar helped the [new] concept and the last minute request came together surprisingly quick!

I originally "sketeched out" the poses and timing of [below: Fetch with Lana Condor] just to show the clients the concept would work (put them at ease!). 

Paul Wei then animated the shot in his own way and it landed in a fantastic place!   Possibly the most successful of the three?!

** Animation Note:

Cropping for socials is a current challenge.
Typically we produce animation in a widescreen format for Advertising/Film.  But current day, we have to consider a client will chop it up into SQUARE or even VERTICAL formats when posting to socials.
Not planning for those crops can destroy your animation (and the client's advertisement). 

Planning for those crops can be hard as you plan for ALL crops to show off your character -- especially hard for dragons that look best with with wide-spread wings, horizontal, splayed wings!

It helps to view all of the crops as you frame the character in animation.  I've built a simple rig to switch out the various crops as we show animation internally.

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