As the focus for this year’s campaign puts the poppy centre stage, it was important for Cole and the animation studio to create something that looked realistic but could also be manipulated to do things that wouldn’t be possible with actual poppies.
"Early on, we came up with a lot of reference material to make sure we got the right look for the poppy. The Legion’s logo and what is sold to raise money during the Remembrance period are very specific, pared-down versions of the poppy.
"We wanted to make sure the one used in the campaign was both ‘photo-real’ and appealing – it needed to have some character, and would flower into something beautiful while growing in the film.
"We knew there would be computer generation involved in bringing the poppies to life – animating them in ways not possible with real flowers. We were conscious that the viewer won’t buy into it if it’s all done on a computer in post-production. So we settled on a mix of real-life special effects, and computer-generated imagery, using a piston-like contraption, for example, to lift the tiles up in the swimming pool scene."
The final outcome: tiles that lift, in real life, with integrated animated poppies added later, which start their journeys of growth from seedlings to fully-bloomed flowers.