The “All in a Day’s Work” series takes a sideways look at the ups and downs—and sometimes-painful truths—of life as a small-business owner.

BUCK partnered with publishing company It’s Nice That to build stories as unique as the cast of 18 characters that drive them.

Leveraging our world-class CG team, BUCK developed a unique look that blends traditional 2D animation with the tactility of 3D.

Six different entrepreneurs,
six different stories

Meet a kitchen-table entrepreneur, an aspiring yogi, an obsessed chef, a brilliant barista, a struggling shades designer, and an introverted potter.

Watch the full films exclusively on Mailchimp Presents. →

Arcs, cliffs, and jagged lines

The real world of business is anything but predictable. We strove for narrative arcs that deviated from the standard conflict-climax-resolution formula.

We ended up with six story arcs that echoed the jagged ups and downs of entrepreneurs’ daily lives.

Shaping up the characters

Using a limited set of basic shapes, we built a rich cast of 18 characters to populate the shorts.

Distinct and diverse, we sidestepped stereotypes and dug deep into the characters’ cores. With a glance, you understand each of their archetypes.

Simple shapes for a complex world

This same minimalist, geometric approach used for character design flowed through to the design of the sets and props. Again, it’s all about presenting the familiar and recognizable in an unexpected way.

Catching my good angle—my only angle

The sets were designed like stage flats and are only meant to be viewed from one camera angle.

Living on the edge between graphical and dimensional, the sets subtly evoke the visual language of comic strips and put the focus on the characters.

Acting it out

The daily life of a small business owner can be full of giddy highs and crushing lows.

To help convey these extremes, we built a language of dry, reserved acting choices contrasted with quick, broad movements. It’s funny. And sometimes a little awkward. You know, like life.

Stop-motion (but not stop-motion)

How do you get the charm of stop-motion animation with the freedom of CG?

Working in variable frame rates allows broad movements to be animated in a snappy pose-to-pose style with smart, economical choices.

In this scene, you’ll see frame rates of 1/2/4/8/—even 16. Digital but stop-motiony (not a word).

Sweating the small stuff

We approached each prop with the fastidiousness of a miniature model maker, giving them almost as much attention as the characters using them.

The twist? Our very specific textures were applied non-specifically.

For the most part, every object has just one shader. This creates the charm and tactility of a physical material, but without trying to fool anyone. This is CG. Embrace it, baby.

Let there be light (within reason)

Throughout the series, the lighting feels natural and physical—but controlled. Like lighting a miniature model, it creates depth and separation without complicating the frame.

A nuanced, sonic language

Since these characters don’t speak, the films relied on the brilliant composers and sound designers at Sounds Like These to craft audio that speaks for them. Each character has a musically distinct theme, amplifying their uniqueness and eccentricities.

The sound design follows the overall restraint of the films but is peppered with surprising elements that punch up the humor at key moments.

Credits

BUCK

Executive Creative Director: Orion Tait
Creative Director: Jon Gorman, Thomas Schmid
Executive Producer: Anne Skopas
Producer: Kitty Dillard
Production Coordinator: Deanna Rivera
Animation Director: Chad Colby
Art Director: Yeojin Shin, Simone Noronha.
CG Supervisor: Bill Dorais
CG Lead: Arvid Volz
Scriptwriting: It's Nice That, Chad Colby, Jon Gorman, Thomas Schmid
Storyboard Artist: Jake Armstrong, Olivia Blanc, Chad Colby, Tucker Klien, Sofia Pashaei
Design: Jake Armstrong, Johan Eriksson, Simone Noronha, Thomas Schmid, Yeojin Shin, Ross McCampbell, Aran Quinn
Animation (2D): Chad Colby, Gilles Desmadrille
Animation (3D): Chad Colby, Ida Zhu, David Han, Michael Sime
Technical Animation: Filipe Machado, Chris Ribar
Modeling: Filipe Machado, Arvid Volz
Rigging Supervisor: Ernesto Ruiz Velasco
Rigging: Juan Carlos Barraza Mendoza, Jin Huang
Look Development: Shane O'hara, Ylli Orana, Meng-Chwen Joy Tien, Arvid Volz
Editor: Chad Colby
Lighting & Composite: Bill Dorais, Shane O'hara, Ylli Orana, Chris Ribar, Katriel Smith, Meng-Chwen Joy Tien, Michael Lampe
Color Grade: Jose Fuentes
Music & Sound Design: Sounds Like These

It’s Nice That

Art Director: Alistair Hanson, Will Knight
Producer: Josephine New
Scriptwriting: Matt Alagiah