The core production members were the girls in their 20s.
When an ad animation appears on TV, people may think “Is that Colorido’s anime?” Studio Colorido is getting famous for ad animations in Japan.
Their latest work is “McDonald’s.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s on the top of this page. It’s been in the news not only in Japan but also in the other countries.
JapanAnimeMedia interviewed two core members from the production team of McDonald’s ad animation.
We looked into how the female members are working at Studio Colorido which is the leading production of the digital drawing in Japan.
McDonald’s WEB movie: Animation Production Staff
Director: Shuto Ito (ROBOT Communications Inc.)
Storyboard and dramatization: Yu Kamebuchi, Yojiro Arai
Character design and animation director: Namiko Ishidate
For more information, please visit Studio Colorido Web page.
(Left: Minami Kobayashi, Production Manager) (Right: Namiko Ishidate, Character design, Animation director)
- The Production of McDonald’s Ad animation.
- How and Why Namiko Ishidate got into Studio Colorido.
- About the Character Design of McDonald’s Ad Animation.
- Production Manager in McDonald’s Ad animation was challenging, but it was rewarding.
- Production Manager becomes an entirely different job in the digital animation production.
- About the anime item sales.
- Extra photos: Studio Colorido
The Production of McDonald’s Ad animation.
JapanAnimeMedia (JAM): Would you tell us about the production of McDonald’s Ad animation?
Namiko: ROBOT Communications, Inc. offered us McDonald’s recruiting advertisement. Although I was already in another project at Colorido, I jumped into this Ad production, and time flew so fast until we finished it.
We had only three months for the entire production. The animation production itself was even shorter, just one month. I barely remember those months. We usually make just animation part, but in this McDonald’s production, we needed to draw more than 30 new visuals due to copyrights.
JAM: At final phase of the production, many people often work overnight. How do you think about it?
Namiko: Health management is always important. And communication with the production manager too. When I’m working overnight, I always bring my bath kit. Our building has shower rooms, and there is a spa near here.
Most of the creator at Colorido used to be male, but since “Typhoon Noruda” the number of the female creator is increasing, but I’ve been told, “you are the first girl who is staying overnight.” I don’t like leaving without finishing my work. Ishida (Hiroyasu Ishida, Director at Studio Colorido) often tells me, “you are so stoic,” but I always think “you are even worth!”
JAM: Ishida seems more stoic.
Namiko: I agree. His eyes look so different when he is focusing on his work.
How and Why Namiko Ishidate got into Studio Colorido.
(A clay swan made by Namiko Ishidate)
Namiko: When I was at Tama Art University, Ishida was already famous. I also loved Takashi Nakamura who directed “The Portrait Studio.” I’ve been thinking that Studio Colorido is one of the best up and coming studio.
I like independent animations, and I thought Studio Colorido fit what I was aiming for among all animation studios in Japan. One day, my friend told me that Colorido was offering new employment opportunities. I’ve been familiar with using pen tablets since I was in middle school. I thought “Colorido might be the place I’ve wished. This is the time to move on!” and I contacted them.
Namiko: The point was that Colorido wasn’t an entirely independent animation studio. I had been mainly working on commercial animation. I thought that my drawing fit commercial animation, but I also wanted to try independent animation. Colorido did both of independent and commercial animation, and I thought it perfectly fit me. And I like my working condition now.
JAM: Was it your first time to be an animation director and a character design since you joined Studio Colorido?
Namiko: McDonal’s Ad was my first animation as the character design. I’ve supported the animation direction of Ishida for “Typhoon Noruda.” It was only a week or two weeks after I started working at Colorido.
JAM: That kind of experiences is one of the benefits of working at Studio Colorido.
Namiko: That’s right. It never happens at the other studios. We need multiple skills such as “digital drawing” and “key animation” to work at Colorido. I was assigned to be the animation director while I only had six months experience of key animation, so I was in a little panic.
There is the star of our generation, Hiroyasu Ishida at Studio Colorido.
JAM: Mr. Arai (Yojiro Arai) was the in-between animator at Studio Ghibli, and he became a director at Colorido. This career path is quite unique in Japanese animation production, and it is one of the best carrer paths for young creators.
Namiko: Yes. Arai told me, “I didn’t have any experience either.” Ishida’s only production experience before Colorido was photography at Tezuka Production. So I thought I should keep it up.
By the way, Nagae (Akihiro Nagae) was the animation director of “Puzzle and Dragons.” He was assigned because he came forward and said: “I want to be the animation director for this project.” When we want to challenge something, Colorido lets us do it.
For Ad animation productions, we create about 20 cuts in a short period, so there are a lot of opportunities for creators to try. I think it is one of the strong points of Studio Colorido.
About the Character Design of McDonald’s Ad Animation.
JAM:The character design of McDonald’s Ad looks a little different from other Colorido’s animation.
Namiko: This Ad is about McDonald’s crew. McDonald’s has the strict dress code, so it is hard to make the visual difference between the characters.
Most of the previous Colorido’s characters were designed to make them move dynamically in the animation. For this Ad, I needed to approach different way without using usual Colorido’s design.
Unlike general Colorido’s mob-like characters, I created symbolically exaggerated characters. It was hard to find the right reference for this design, but I chose “Big Hero 6” in which characters with different generation design appear.
I’ve expected that people would say “it’s like Disney,” but nobody did.
Kamebuchi (Yu Kamebuchi) was also assigned to be the dramatization for the first time. Arai who directed “Typhoon Noruda” and “Puzzle and Dragons” helped us a lot. He supported dramatization, gave us advises, and brought us reference documents about the identifiable drawing of characters.
There is a drawing technique called “Edge-High” which we used in “Puzzle and Dragons.” This is a technique which extracts highlights without casting shadows. It was a request from Arai, and we used this technique in McDonald’s as well.
Namiko: I agree. But Ishida and Arai always say “we want to graduate from Fumiko (Fumiko’s Confession),” “we need to find something different.” Talking about myself, I like “high-speed” animation, but I’m not good at drawing them. I prefer drawing something “puffy.”
JAM: That sounds nice. If so, don’t you like “Control Bear [WONDER GARDEN]? (Directed by Yojiro Arai)
Namiko: You got it! That’s what I want to draw now. It doesn’t say so by word, but it has a message about the classification of society. I used to make animation like “Control Bear” during my school year. I think my preference in creativity is similar to Arai’s.
Production Manager in McDonald’s Ad animation was challenging, but it was rewarding.
JAM: How did you like this project?
Minami: In this project, we had a lot of creators from other studios. Gathering enough creators was tough. There are not so many digital key animators. We barely completed all key animation by digital animation, but we had to draw 2/3 of in-between animation on papers.
Namiko: Most of the creators did multiple roles in this project. Key animators did in-between animation. I did it too.
JAM: That’s one of digital animation’s major issues, I think. Animators can do more than their capacity, and it is not always good for the current anime production system…
Namiko: In the digital animation production, in-betweening and finishing were often assigned together. We need to be able to do both.
Minami: In this project, Namiko was in charge of all the finishing and re-takes. It did reduce the production time, but creators who are familiar with the typical Japanese anime production might have questioned this way.
Namiko: It’s fine as long as we complete all methods inside our studio, but we need to be careful in communication when we work with creators in other studios.
Production Manager becomes an entirely different job in the digital animation production.
JAM: In digital animation production, production managers no longer need to drive around to collect key animations from animators, right?
Namiko: Like “racing on Ome Kaito?”
Minami: Right. Instead, we monitor the movement of data online. But we partly used papers for McDonald’s animation, so I did drive for the first time in a long time.
JAM: I think in the digital animation, production managers would get involved more in the creative part.
Minami: Since we need to be aware of various kinds of digital data to manage all submitted data, we necessarily become knowledgeable about the softwares.
Namiko: For example, if submitted data is sequential Photoshop data, we need to convert it for Stylos. Production managers do this part.
Minami: There is no compatibility among those softwares… I want them to be unified.
Namiko: We use Stylos, but there are not so many creators who can use it. CLIP STUDIO PAINT seems more popular.
Minami: There are many studios which officially use CLIP STUDIO PAINT.
Namiko: I think it would be great if all animation productions use the same software, but it’s not so easy while new softwares keep coming out constantly. Recently, Toonz came out, and it’s a freeware.
JAM: Like Blender (a free 3D software), free softwares are used in various areas. The users of Toonz would definitely increase.
Namiko: The number of students who use CLIP STUDIO PAINT is increasing, so I think if Studio Colorido uses CLIP STUDIO PAINT, more students would be interested in us. I’m personally making a surprise movie for my friend by CLIP STUDIO PAINT, and I was able to finish all methods relatively easily. I want to have a CLIP STUDIO PAINT workshop in Studio Colorido.
Minami: It would be very interesting if we make an art animation with about 20 cuts by a small team of fewer than ten people using CLIP STUDIO PAINT.
JAM: If there is a website to show those anime, that would be interesting too.
Namiko: That’s nice. We can make a short anime and publish its entire project files. It may spread the way of making digital animation, and it would create more recruiting opportunities for us.
About the anime item sales.
JAM: The anime item sales is growing surprisingly, isn’t it?
Namiko: There are many people who love those. They love “Comic Market” too.
JAM: Colorido is close to “Tokyo Big Sight.”(where “Comic Market” is held)
Namiko: I often see people who are going to the event, and I really appreciate them.
JAM: There are a lot of official items too.
Namiko: Yes. By looking at recent trends, I feel items for “grown-ups” have increased. Those items are not obviously anime items. Fashion brands often release items like collaboration items with illustrators, such as cosmetics.
Minami: People in their late 20s tend to prefer those, I think.
Namiko: There are people who even say “I work to feed my favorite character!” I think the business considering those people is great.
JAM: This is becoming really “girls’ talk.”
Minami: I think making items “limited” is cheating. Like “Reserve within X days!”
Namiko: I know I’m just lead to buying it, but I know it’s a good one, so why don’t I buy one? “Only people who like it can see.” That’s the point. A tiny piece of a favorite anime makes the item very special.
I think the producers of those items have really strong passion. They understand what fans feel. I can’t explain what it exactly is, but maybe it’s “love.”
Extra photos: Studio Colorido
Studio Colorido has many young creators and Colorido itself is also the young studio. But they have published a significant number of works in a short time, and their works are highly regarded. There are many unique talented creators at Colorido, and they are working on “All Digital Animation,” which is never done by any studio in Japan. They accumulate skills and knowledge for this new challenge. I believe that in the near future, we will see a new animation made by the fusion of new digital skills and traditional Japanese animation methods sophisticated by young creators from Studio Colorido.
Thank you Namiko and Minami!