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This was our challenge in designing a complete broadcast package for Gardening Australia Junior.
Being a kid-focussed spinoff of the long-running Gardening Australia series, a cut-down version of the existing opening title sequence was developed in-house at ABC… but it didn’t quite make the big splash that the new series deserved. The ABC Kids team knew they needed something fresh and specifically tailored to their audience. Enter Carnival Studio.
Initially, Carnival was briefed to design the key art and opening title sequence due to the tight turnaround to the broadcast date. However, the project scope soon expanded to include closing titles, episode title animations, segment break animations, animated bumpers, and transition swipes – culminating in a cohesive visual style that helped inform the development of the series itself.
Our process always begins with investigating and thoroughly understanding our audience – and as parents, we have a lot of first-hand experience with the target market. Our creative direction was centred around bringing a children’s picture book style and how the garden is a huge source of fantasy and imagination.
We wanted to keep the good bits of the original GA title sequence but narrow the focus to make it more accessible and eye-catching to smaller humans. To do this, we investigated a number of visual styles, eventually settling on a hand-illustrated look and feel. Enlisting the highly talented illustrator Cheryl Orsini, who has a longstanding association with the Gardening Australia brand, we collaborated on crafting mood boards and preliminary storyboards that detailed a new visual narrative.
Carnival went into production mode with a fresh look and newly designed scenes introducing each cast member. A video and stills shoot with the cast was set up, art directed by Carnival, to ensure we captured everything we needed. Being a small but agile team, we knew we had to scale up to meet the demands of the schedule, bringing on Animation Supervisor James Littlemore to help bring Cheryl’s illustrations to life. Working on both sides of the globe (Carnival in Sydney and James and his team in the UK), we squeezed every last drop out of the short timeframe for production. We employed a divide-and-conquer approach to design not just the title sequence but also animated segments for the episode titles, segment titles, segment breaks, animated transitions and closing title sequence.
In all of this production, we also developed concepts and artwork for the key art, using the same cohesive illustrated style to match the broadcast graphics.
As the completed assets were packaged up and supplied to the ABC, edits would come back with the animations in place, prompting squeals of delight from everyone who viewed them – young and old(er). The illustrated animations succeeded in giving the show the warmth and kid-specific look we’d all hoped for whilst still managing to maintain the integrity of the original Gardening Australia brand.
ABC Team: Natalie Robinson-Hurst, Bryson Hall, Prasan De Silva
Concept & Art Direction: Cassandra Chapman
Illustration: Cheryl Orsini
Animation Supervision: James Littlemore, We Are Frogs
Character Animation: Nick Brooks
Episode/End Credit Design/Animation: Nick Sullivan
Compositing & Animation: Brad Gibson
Key Art Direction: Demi Hopkins
Key Art Finishing: Andy D’Cruze
Photography: Hugh Peachy
Account Management: Steve Harper