Behind the Scenes w/ GIPHY Studios: Animating “Out of Office”

Recently, GIPHY Studios launched Out of Office, a collaborative short film done with some of our favorite creators and talent. As part of that project, the team at GIPHY Studios wrote and animated an eclectic set of unique Out of Office GIFS & Clips to accompany and appear in the short film, all of which are usable and embeddable within your own automatic OOO replies.

To make this happen, we started by asking Art Director Tianna Harvey to write the scripts. From there, she and Producer Marina Campaña partnered to find a diverse and talented team of animators to work their magic. We caught up with Tianna and Marina to hear about their process on tackling this project. We started by asking:

Artist: Loulou João

How did you go about bringing the Out of Office short into the animated world?

Tianna: We were fortunate enough to find four incredible artists: Margaret Bialis, Aimee Chang, Annie Wong, Loulou João, and a killer animator April Wang all with wildly different styles: 2D, 3D, and stop-motion. The team had a lot of great, unexpected ideas they all brought to the table.

In the animation, we knew it was important to differentiate between Mitra and Patty by emphasizing certain accessories or hair styles. Never did I think that that would mean giving the direction to “yass-ify” a seagull or a battle axe.

Artists: Aimee Chang animated by April Wang

What was most important to you while you were building out the animation team?

Marina: The most important quality we set out to look for in our artist team was a unique tonality and ability for storytelling. We wanted layers of surrealism, expression, richness of colors and a clever, even biting wit. The overarching narrative for this project is one of escapism, levity but also redemption.

Artist: Annie Wong

Marina (continued): We had to build a team that could bring a poignant and complex story to life in a collection of Clips while making it look simple and charming at first glance. If you keep looking, you see the layers of emotions and themes bubble up to the surface. I’m still incredibly impressed with how each artist brought so much of themselves into translating these moments.

Artists: Aimee Chang animated by April Wang

Artist: Margaret Bialis

What was your approach to writing the animated script for Out of Office?

Tianna: My process for writing these was ‘complex’: walking around, staring at walls in my apartment, and praying that my last two brain cells would come up with something intelligible and quirky. If that worked, I would do my best to pair those thoughts with wildly colorful, and sometimes dystopian visuals.

What was it like working on a production with so many different moving parts?

Marina: I absolutely loved the challenge of a new type of production for us where multiple mediums and styles had to achieve a cohesive vision. It was a dream to source then guide a global team of top artists in 2D animation, 3D animation, stop-motion animation, hand-drawn illustrations to 2D animation and even a live-action to animation transition sequence. It was inspiring to see each of them deliver us their progress throughout production.

Artist: Margaret Bialis

Marina (continued): Tianna and I would open deliverables and just be floored with what our team was bringing to the table every day. Jaw-drops were a regular thing. The challenge was also the beauty of our project in that we trusted our team to interpret and create while guiding them toward the overarching narrative.

See the full short here and all the Clips from GIPHY Studio’s Out of Office short here.

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