Mattel's Rescue Heroes’ legacy on the TV screen can be traced back to 1999. So to say revamping the series and relaunching the toys in 2019 was a challenge is quite an understatement.
We created a cutting-edge, action-packed, 2D animation YouTube series (14 episodes x 5:30) for preschoolers.
It featured every RH charater from the line up and all their toys' gadgets saving the world one episode at a time in a fast-paced plots of epic proportions.
Utilizing Fischer-Price's marketing budgets to create a serialised content is a smart strategy to promote the toys and invest into content all at the same time.
Production of the Rescue Heroes YouTube series was a significant operational challenge for us. At the beginning of the project our team was 7 people and at its peak, more than 50 worked in the project simultaneously.
The entire production window was pretty narrow. We had 11 months to develop, pre-produce, animate and put together a total of 77 min of animation (14 episodes in total).
We decided to focus on pre-production by omitting the storyboarding phases entirely and jumping straight into an iterative approach to the animatic. We built an entire animatic department from scratch tasked with delivering a ready episode (5:30 min) in 3 weeks through 3 iterations.
This allowed us to keep in close sync with Fischer-Price's marketing team and experiment with different approaches to the story on the go. It also enabled us to feed the pipeline quickly and solve production related issues before they occur.
What are the Rescue Heroes without their tools, vehicles and robots. As any action-packed, hero-centric storytelling out there, we had to depict a world full of lot's of awesome high tech gadgets. To speed up the process and unleash our imagination we went 3D.
But we wanted to keep the look coherent with the 2D show so we had to approach the 3D models from a 2D perspective. Simple models, cell shaded, baked in texturing and minimalistic rendering allowed us to stay true to the visual identity of the show.