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Next Director Award Shortlist - Meet the team behind Rollin' Wild

Kyra Buschor and Constantin Paeplow are the creative duo behind YouTube sensation Rollin’ Wild.

The animated series, featuring cuddly creatures struggling with their size, has scooped numerous international awards, with latest addition 'Meerkats' now a shortlisted entry in the inaugural D&AD Next Director Award.

Below, we catch up with the aspiring directors to find out more about their work.

What was the inspiration for Rollin’ Wild?
Our main inspiration for the films were the classic wildlife documentaries like 'Earth' and 'Serengeti Shall Not Die'. We wanted to make the viewer feel as if they were observing a typical wildlife scene, for example a cheetah hunting a gazelle, so the look of the films had to be quite natural and not too stylised. We didn’t want to make it photo-real – that would make the animals look a bit creepy.

Describe the process from idea to animation.
We started with rough sketches and colour concepts of the animals and their settings before moving onto the modelling. As time was tight, we modelled the animals first, because the technical directors needed time to make the basic rig before we could start the animation. After we gave the models to the TDs, we began with the texturing and modelling of the blend shapes for the characters. After that we started with the animation. The rig wasn't finished at this time but soon all the features we asked for were implemented. In the meantime, we modelled and textured the world around the animals. At the end of the animation, the CG set was almost finished and we started to light the scenes. Next we completed the matte paintings for the background, while the effects TDs made the dust and water effects. Finally, we began the rendering and compositing.

ROLLIN' SAFARI - 'Meerkats' - what if animals were round?

What software did you use?
Maya, CINEMA 4D, NUKE, PhotoShop, After Effects, Houdini, RealFlow, ZBrush, Mudbox, V-Ray, Arnold, mental ray. Pretty much everything we could get to create our vision of the world.

What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was the timing – where to place the punch line to get the biggest response. There were a lot of technical problems once we figured out the timing issues too. A big technical challenge was the rigging of the round animals, as they had to be quite flexible in their movement. We needed to have the ability to move the whole legs along the spherical body. The solution was to leave off the spine and place the shoulder attachment right in the centre of the sphere, so they could rotate around it.

Why do you think your animations have been so successful?
We think that the magnificent response to the clips is because everyone knows the wildlife scenes they refer to, so the audience knows exactly what normally happens in these scenes but then their expectations are broken when the creatures in the clips fail miserably because of their unfavorable body shapes.

How has YouTube affected the profile of your work?
It’s a great way to receive feedback. When you see positive comments and reviews it’s a great motivation to do more. Actually, YouTube was one of the reasons why we decided to continue with Rollin’ Wild. The clips clocked up a lot of views in a short time, and many people wrote to us to say how much they liked the vids and that they wanted to see more.

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