2016 F1 Season Recap – Animated Comic Strip

I directed and part animated this video as part of a three person team at Grizzle London. In charge of the wonderful animations was Roger Wade and some great character & scene animation from Ruby Newland

The Brief

CNN wanted to summarise the 2016 F1 season with an Animated Comic Strip.

The 2016 season of F1 has been a truly 2 horse race. Dominated by two Mercedes drivers – Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg. In the week before the final race, with the title still within Hamilton’s grasp, CNN’s F1 show ‘The Circuit’ approached us. They wanted to recap the 2016 F1 season in the form of an Animated Comic Strip… get in.

Nico Rossberg Illustration
F1 Mercedes Car Illustration
Inspiration & Reference

Strangely we took inspiration from the BBC’s old 70s & 80s show Grange Hill – we love their bashful Animated Comic Strip intro.

What we did

This wasn’t the first time Grizzle had made comic strip style animations. In the past however, the animations were full bleed. This time they wanted to make the animations appear embodied within the pages. Whilst it added an extra layer of complexity to the job, it allowed us to make the pages feel alive. Even with champagne foam and lens flares bursting out of the paper.

The illustrations were animated in After Effects. Hands on heart, we had a lot of fun here – using old school techniques to make the cars shake into life, driving rain and smoke creating atmosphere and not to mention the odd bit of fire. Once finished each page animation was rendered out at high resolution. We loaded the page animations as textures onto 3D pages modelled inside of Cinema4D.

F1 Comic Strip Animation
F1 Comic Strip Animation
Inside of C4D

Once inside of Cinema we had full control of the camera movements and could give the piece an added layer of hyper-realism. Soft shadowing and ambient occlusion created depth and a sense of space in the renders. We tried as much as possible to make the camera movement feel like a viewer watching over the pages as they burst into life.

We took the piece back into After Effects for some final polish. Here we added the lens flares and some motion blur… and of course some final colour correction.

So how did things pan out in Dubai? Hamilton won the race after making a petulant attempt to slow the race to force Rosberg into traffic (against his team’s orders). Despite this, the German held onto 3rd position, earning him enough points to claim his first ever driver’s championship. Congrats Nico.