UW Health Masterpieces
UW Health, a certified national health system that sees 720,000 patients per year, believes that each person is a unique work of art. To emphasize this point, they wanted a collection of moving paintings to bring this idea to life, so they partnered with us to tell some poignant stories that encapsulate the experiences of some of their patients.
There were two requirements going into this project that would lay the groundwork for both the style and workflow as a whole.
First, the final portrait (the patient’s painting at the end of each spot) needed to feel like a bonafide work of art. This meant it needed to be rendered with light and shadow, and brush strokes to create the impression that it was done by hand by a master of their craft.
And second, they wanted to use collage as a way of expressing the layers of storylines in each UW Health patient’s narrative.
Keeping each story painterly and beautiful was top of mind. Balancing these two distinct stylistic choices, so the spots felt as if they came from the same artist’s hand, was a unique challenge.
A Blank Canvas
This particular mix of styles (conceptual painting + paper) was new territory for our team. We bounced ideas around to get started, even looking at machine-learning capabilities for the paint element.
Needless to say, a lot of R&D helped us to establish the right balance between the two techniques, and helped make the animation sing.
For visual inspiration, we looked to Ping Zhu, an illustrator who’s frequently on the pages of NYT, and we were lucky to get Ping to come on board and help bring this painterly look to life.
Because each story is unique and focuses on a different patient’s experience, we had to find ways to personalize them.
Establishing appropriate visual metaphors that capture the anxiety of facing a health crisis and the myriad feelings one goes through during treatment was job number one:
the fashion designer trapped in a dark thread world;
- the nature photographer flipped upside down in a forest; and
- the space-loving boy rocketing into the cosmos after finishing his treatment.
Color was used to support these visual metaphors with each spot having its own unique palette that was in harmony with our hero narrator. Color also allowed for subtle shifts in tone and atmosphere.
That’s (one helluva) a Wrap (party)
How often do you get team members flying in from all over to celebrate with a wrap party? How often do you include the Canadians? I mean, this was a one-of-a-kind collaboration.
The agency team were true partners throughout the process — we shared a sensibility and a vision that made it feel like we were working with an extension of the BUCK team.
The internal team lovingly labored over every frame that ended up in the final spots. Sometimes, more than half-a-dozen hands would go into crafting a single composition — and it was all done with a supportiveness and grace that made this job so special.
2D Animation Lead
Ivana Lena Besevic