I am genuinely excited to see the new series of Hey Duggee. Partly because of my 2 year old daughters love of the cartoon. Partly because of the adult humour thrown in. Also the endearing characters and wonderful narration of Alexander Armstrong.
However the main reason for my admiration is the design. I LOVE VECTORS. Put simply Vector Graphics are essentially mathematical statements that draw lines on a computer. These lines can then be used for a variety of reasons from displaying an image to being used for manufacturing purposes. Whereas an image is made up of pixels. Example below…
If you look at some other animations out there at the moment – they’re reaching for higher definition, better special effects etc. The likes of Pixar and Aardvark have produced incredible films and programmes that I would never have thought possible when I was watching cartoons in the early 90s. So for StudioAKA to turn around and say “no thanks – we’re going to go in completely the opposite direction.” Must have been very brave and daunting.
They have gone in the direction of technological need. Vectors are so much simpler, have greater impact, easier to process and take up A LOT less memory. With speed and memory being so important these days it’s a wise choice and the way that a lot of logos and apps have gone. Getting rid of the gradients and the rendered graphics, which take up lots of memory, and instead replacing them with flat, solid vectors.
But not only is it a sensible move – IT LOOKS GREAT! The clean lines, the bright colours, the wonderful colour palette, the way things are drawn, the layout, the humour and the SIMPLICITY. I try and simplify my own design and it’s by removing detail, going back and asking ‘what else DON’T we need? what can we do without?’ and developing ideas that you come out with a really effective and powerful solution that is easily understood and enjoyed. That’s good design…and thats what they must have done at StudioAKA. Take the chickens for example – how many times must they have simplified them to get to that point and they’re just brilliant.
Here are the main characters. Each has their own colour and personality. The animals are adapted to fit the overall style…not easy.
These designs are like ‘the obvious solution’ – you see it and think ‘well yeah – that’s an obvious idea!’ But it is only obvious once you’ve seen it – it is not easy to come up with these ideas and it takes a lot of time and development to create them. Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty of detail and skill involved in Hey Duggee – but the structure of the drawing is simple. It’s also like a painting… knowing when to stop and knowing when to add that tiny bit more detail to really finish it off and enrich the overall look. StudioAKA get it bang on the money.
The skill level of the animators is ridiculously high. The graphics might be simple but the programme also works so well because of the dubbing, the lighting, the timing and expression of movement – that is not simple and you have to take your hat off to them.
So at 8.15am on CBeebies – you might want to switch over from the news, ignore the delightful choice of Trump or Clinton and instead watch in admiration of a very simple, sweet and clever programme. I bet it makes you laugh too!