Stylized Environment Challenge Details + Example


Brief: Create an environment (interior or exterior) that could be used as a sequence setting/location for an animated movie, stop motion film, or video game. An ideal scene would showcase the use of appeal and shape language to reinforce story and character points (I.E. Villain’s Lair - Dark and Moody with sharp edges and harsh corners). Post a few sentences about the design choices you are making and what you’re trying to convey.

Useful reference: Kubo and the Two Strings, Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, Horton Hears a Who, Sleeping Beauty, Treasure Planet

Medium: 2D or 3D, it’s about making an appealing scene. Key or style frame/s with a prop callout separately (especially for an interior scene)

Duration: 6 weeks with initial sketches and weekly progress updates. Please share your creative process and thinking each week to contribute to the community dialogue and encourage each other.

Start date: 09/25/2017

End date: 11/06/2017

Example entry:

Title: “Hi, Neighbor!”
Mediume: 2D/3D
Synopsis: A man awakens a territorial, petty, and possibly vengeful spirit after using his neighborhood’s un-zoned parking. Inspired by real events.

Theme and inspiration: I knew I wanted to make a moody stylized environment that would translate well into a stop-motion animated film. I find Laika’s films and design to be really inspiring and definitely had that aesthetic in mind. The evil spirit’s silhouette drew some quick inspiration from Count Orlock and I added some free floating hair to mirror the shape language of the bare trees. Overall, the whole thing is a bit asymmetric, down to the tires on the car, which hopefully gives some humor and motion to otherwise static objects.

Exploration: I wanted to find some fun angles and defining features to make the old Victorian house unusual. By focusing on asymmetry and a central towering shape, I quickly doodled out some silhouettes and lines that riffed on those themes as well as a basic composition.

Prop - old car: While the house is potentially 200 years old, I also wanted to make an old car that’s not necessarily all that nice or in good shape. Something that would make an evil spirit angry about it taking up the on-street parking, essentially. I decided to work out the shape in 3D, mostly because I hadn’t made a stylized car before and thought it would be faster for me to understand the forms that way. It’s not quite an El Camino and not quite a Hearse either.


Great challenge ! Surely it will be a source of inspiration ! Thanks for giving us this chance !


Does this have to use 2d and 3d? Does it need to be for stop motion only or can you enter just a 2d painting?

It’s not something I have tried before so maybe I will try it out but don’t have a lot of time for back and fourth between 3d?


Hi Travis,

My thought was that you could use 2D or 3D to accomplish the creative brief, I didn’t want to limit the style that people like to work in. My goal was to set up the challenge to focus on creating a stylized environment that could use whichever method you are the most comfortable with or even mixing between the two, like in the example post.

It does not need to be targeted towards stop motion only, the key or style frame is the goal. A design that you might see in an stylized animated film, commercial, or video game. You can pick which one and make a key or style frame that would show how you envision your project.