Milco: Animating a world-class mascot
Milco was the official mascot of Lima 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games and key piece of all the mega event communication.
Born from a stone oven, Milco was created on the based on the cuchimilcos, clay humanoid figurines treated as deities responsible for the good fortune and fertility of the lands in ancient Peru.
Milco is the ambassador of Lima 2019 with the arduous task of spreading the messages of the event, the values of the sport and accompanying all the athletes in this sports party.
As part of the Lima 2019 digital communication team, I had the opportunity to produce animated content for social media, and more than 70 GIFs of Milco performing several sports.
Client: Lima 2019 - Studio: Wunderman Thompson Peru - Year: 2019 - Art direction: Alvaro Amadeo - Illustration: Paolo Montes - Motion Design: Andre Ramirez & Hugo Prieto
Working with the Lima 2019 team we developed an illustration and animation style guide to serve us a road map for the numerous pieces we would make for the mega event.
Also we setted up and adopted a simple yet really efficient pipeline to create and animate Milco in the great variety of sports. It all comes down to 3 elemental steps: Illustration, Preparation & Animation.
First part of the process. Here is were we decided as a team the sports we would make and prioritize wich were the most important to animate.
After this, the design team would do the illustration considering the limitations of the animatation style we decided. Since the animation was puppet like, actions in front view were the most difficult for the limited movement we could achieve without frame by frame so the majority of sport were made in a 3/4 view.
Here we -Hugo & me- prepared the illustrations to be animated.
We took the illustration and put every single part/limb of Milco on its own layer. For this process we used Adobe Illustrator. When everything was pulled apart in layers, we focused on the joints of the limbs.
In order to animate Milco we needed a good conection between parts to be able to move him like a puppet. So... we put circles in the joints of arms and legs -this would make the rigging and animation process way easier-.
Once we had the illustration ready, we started the rigging process in wich we put some kind of "bones" to the illustration so we can move him around -as said before like a puppet-. In most cases there were bones for the limbs and a simple rig for the head mostly for head rotation a blinking.
For this process we used After Effect and a really handy plugin called DUIK. This plugin would give us controllers on the wrists and ankles.
One of the challenges of this type of work was that Milco had a non-linear stroke. This made difficult to have consistency. But with some Adobe Illustrator tricks we made it work.
The fun part.
The first thing we did in every single case was watching the action or sport involved in the animation and do a little sketch of the most important movements.
With that information we would do the key poses of the action to have a clear understanding of the action and have strong silhouettes. Then we would do the animation considering that almost all animations were .GIFs -so it had to work on a loop-.
Once the animation was done it was time to prepare in all the formats needed and uploaded to giphy to be used on social media.
As a team we worked together to grow the social media accounts and used Milco as an important part of content.The flexibility of the animations allowed them to be used in different scenarios: stickers on Instagram stories when there was a live event, branded content and even news for the turch run.
We achieved great results and we were able to meet the goals in terms of views, interactions and sales for the event. Milco as a mascot gained recognition and was used by followers during the event and the stickers are still being used today.