According to the Pet Shop Boy, the verses of the song are told by a narrator while the choruses are quotes from the boy who is the subject of the song. The band suggested that the lyric video looks like a cartoon strip or graphic novel with the verses as narrative text observing the boy and the choruses as text messages from the boy, inspired by the record sleeve. With this in mind, we sketched up the main character, providing a variety of options for the colour palette alongside a brief storyboard. The blue/red option was selected and storyboard signed off. Next we provided a 15 second test animation which displayed the comic book illustrations and animation at final quality. This was signed off with no changes ready for us to use as a springboard for the remaining track length.
With this in mind, we cracked on with the remainder of the animation using simplistic, minimal backgrounds to allow the characters to stand out. The backgrounds contained no line work, only shapes, to enable the harsh, dark tones in the character line-work to ‘pop’. A number of characters including various angles of the main character were created to create a sense of communication via social media through the main character and his friends. At times we see him using his devices and social media applications to deny his friends his company. When drawing these characters using Procreate, each limb was rigged individually to enable us to bring each character to life with movement. These were then layered up in After Effects on top of each background whilst offsetting the characters on a 3D plane to create a parallax effect.
Towards the end of the project, a number of colour alterations were made. At first, the video all obeyed the blue/red colour palette, however on reflection, we felt a change in tone was needed later in the video when the vibe picked up in positivity. We, therefore, changed from the blue tones to much warmer orange hues, still keeping the red as the highlight colour. This not only added interest to the video but also successfully adapted the atmosphere to better suit the track and its musical transitions.
Finally, we created numerous social assets. These suited many social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and Tiktok through their variety of formats, lengths and dimensions. Each video was adapted to fit but slightly tweaking the camera moves to enable the important focal points in the video to always be visible within each frame.
Overall, the video was a roaring success with over 200,000 views on Youtube. The band complimented our work stating, “Love it! Please congratulate them on this triumph” (Neil) and “A masterpiece!” (Chris).