BTM Miraculous Ladybug Stickers

Give 'em the Ol' Razzle Dazzle: Digital Painting Applications in Messaging Stickers

Obi here!

As a digital illustrator at BTM my job requires me to cover everything from illustrating and creating images from scratch, to working on and building off of already existing assets.

Because of this, I have to be able to work in a variety of different styles, especially when it comes to working with already existing assets. An instance of this is BTM’s messaging stickers for Zagtoon’s Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir.

To start this project BTM was supplied with a variety of assets, which included a mix of expertly rendered illustrations of Ladybug and Chat Noir, the two main characters from the show, and images of the 3D models used in the show. While the 3D models were fine, they were also distinctly different from the finished illustrations. When building a sticker pack keeping a consistent art style across the board is key. As the digital illustrator on the project it is my job to give em’ the ol’ razzle dazzle.

Miraculous Ladybug
Final Art vs. 3D Render

The first step in this process is addressing why some of the art looks different than others. The main difference is the hair, eyes, lighting and the places where the limbs got cut out of frame.

Notes Identifying Changes Needed.

Next comes roughing out the general form over the 3d model, this includes adding parts that got cutout of frame and taking away the hard edges of the hair, so that it can be painted back to look less like a hard plastic model and more like actual hair.

After the general form has been established the forms and textures get refined and detailed. This stage includes painting her hair, eyes, touching up various parts of her face and further refining the areas of her figure were extended.

With some of the details, such as the mesh texturing on Ladybug’s body suit, it was faster to extract the pattern from other areas of her suit, build the flat texture in another document, and map it to the areas that required it.

With the form and details rendered, it’s time for lighting. With various blend modes and opacity layers I simulated more dynamic, colored lighting, which further pushed the contrast and helped to match the style of illustration used in the finished assets BTM received.

To finish the edits, a final rendering of any small details and a layer of low level noise to unify the piece are applied.

BTM Miraculous Ladybug Stickers
Final Sticker Art

Voila! C’est Ladybug!


marketing stickers and gifs

Six Reasons Stickers & GIFs are Effective for Marketing

Marketing is constantly evolving around the consumer, and during the Age of Technology it’s evolving at a more rapid pace ever; it can be difficult for marketers to know whether or not they’re on the uptake or being left behind. Perhaps the most underrated game-changing tool for marketers are animated stickers and GIFs. Although many still use video, this format is frankly out of date for the modern internet user. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, a whopping 71% of Americans would rather send a digital sticker over a block of text. With such a large user base, it’s no surprise more and more companies have been seizing the opportunity to make branded stickers and GIFs to seamlessly integrate their brand into their consumer’s daily life. We partner with these companies to make their brand come alive within mobile conversations. However, not all companies are aware of the wide gamut of opportunities afforded to them across platforms or the sheer flexibility stickers and GIFs inherently have.

1. Custom Twitter Emojis that create trending hashtags:

Companies can pay Twitter to attach a custom emoji to a Twitter hashtag for a period of time. Then, whenever someone uses their hashtag the emoji automatically comes with it! The brand’s hashtag instantly stands out with its unique emoji and helps create a community around the product.

Recently, we collaborated with Disney on a campaign for Christopher Robin and other upcoming titles, including creating a range of twitter emojis to promote the film and make the hashtags appealing, relevant, and most importantly create the cute Pooh-bear association to the Christopher Robin movie in people’s minds. We managed the storyboarding, sketching, and illustration for these emojis.

2. Clickable Branded Stickers:

A branded sticker campaign’s main objective is to organically increase brand awareness and engagement. To that end, stickers are a revolutionary tool because it enables marketers to have their brand present in their customers everyday conversations across mobile. In other words, their brand becomes a permanent part of their customer’s life.

A good example of this is Lovate Health’s MuscleTech stickers, promoting their MuscleTech brand of products. These stickers are centered around and cater directly to the consumer base that uses MuscleTech products; as a result, they end up using them a lot because the sentiments and in-jokes are relevant to them. This entrenches MuscleTech further into the community in a feedback loop that keeps both the company and the consumer happy, and helps new initiates to the community naturally find their product in a sea of competitors.

Lovate Health has taken it even further by making their stickers clickable. These stickers, when sent, allow the receiver or sender to click the sticker and be redirected to a website, the app, or the app store. This is brilliant because users are able to interact with the images being received and has quick access to the company’s brand. They also allow people to send links to products they enjoy in a fun way!

3. Sticker Markets on Messengers:

Stickers and messengers go hand-in-hand, creating a demand for sticker marketplaces, which offer a wide variety of branded emojis and keyboard and almost functions as an advertising playground.

In 2016, around 50% of all mobile users used at least one form of mobile messenger, according to Stastia. The fact that since then, messenger apps continue to add free features like video calls, encryption and social media means that usage has only been increasing. Sticker marketplaces have also grown in kind, and many of mobile messengers have created their own sticker markets that draw users to their specific platform.  

Apple and Facebook are leaders in this industry with their respective iMessage and Messenger platforms; in total, over 1 billion stickers sent on them. We’ve  has observed the intense popularity of stickers it created for the mobile game Plants Vs. Zombies, which had 1 million downloads 4 days, and 2.5 million downloads in a week with over 100 million impressions.

4. Everyone is a Brand Ambassador:

This was touched upon briefly in point number two, but one of a branded sticker’s major selling points is the seamless integration into a consumer’s life: in other words, converting that customer into a brand ambassador.

This is one of the most effective ways of creating brand ambassadors because people are sending these stickers to their friends organically; they love the content and they are spreading the brand to all of their friends in a win-win scenario. Furthermore, people who are friends tend to be in similar target markets, which means having stickers so your customers can share your brand with their friends is the ideal way to spread your brand.

5. They Can Reach New Audiences

Stickers are an important bridge that connects companies to a younger audience in a charmingly appealing way. In an age where this younger audience has been collectively groomed to ignore the millions of ads they see every day, stickers appeal as authentic and fun, leading more of this audience to be attracted to and spread your brand (in the form of stickers). Sometimes you even get people who were previously unaware of your brand but will buy sticker packs because of artistic appeal or funny witticisms, which could convert them into customers. If not, they’ll at the very least be creating more brand awareness for your brand.

6. They Have Potential for Going Viral

Some of these sticker apps/packs go viral and have millions of downloads. Although not a guarantee, the possibility is always there and because stickers are created to be spread on the internet, where the phenomenon of “going viral” first appeared and retains the farthest reach, it is a direct line to the culture that facilities going viral.

Overall, the existence of stickers as a marketing tool has opened a completely new avenue for brands and consumers to communicate through. Instead of having their message get “lost in textlation”, customers can augment their thoughts with your brand, without losing what they want to say.

Most importantly, they can do it in a way that feels fun and cool and makes them feel good, which will push them to keep doing it. People can show who they are by sending stickers of TV shows, music, or quotes they like from pop culture that curate their personality by showcasing the communities they’re a part of and appealing to others like them. In layman’s terms, stickers/GIFs are great for showing some personality!


Christopher Robin Sticker Sketch

Behind the scenes of the Christopher Robin Film's iMessage Stickers

Once upon a time in the hundred acre wood, the classic characters we all know and love needed a new look for their very own set of iMessage stickers. In anticipation of the new Christopher Robin movie, Disney approached us to create of set of stickers in line with the stuffed animal character designs of the movie.

We drew inspiration from children’s books and developed a style that resembled cut paper with distinct texture shading. We then illustrated all nine characters that were going to be in the sticker pack: Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo. This tested the style’s flexibility in rendering human characters, stuffed animals, and realistic computer generated animals.

Christopher Robin Colored Style Pitch Sticker
Style samples for different characters

Sketch Phase:

Once style direction was determined, the next step was sketching out all the stickers.

Christopher Robin Sticker Sketch
Christopher Robin Rabbit Sticker Sketch
Stickers that were going to be animated got annotations for animation direction

Color & Texture Phase:

Upon sketch approval, all stickers were colored and textured.

Christopher Robin Colored Sticker
Obi Little working on Christopher Robin Sticker

Animation Phase:

The art was then sent over to our animation team. Many were animated in After Effects but a few required special attention. Those got frame by frame treatment. Rough animation was completed to get direction approval before final rendering.

Christopher Robin Tigger Animated Process GIF
Tigger Sticker Process: (1) Simple shapes (2) Rough Animation (3) Color (4) Texture & Details

It was pleasure to work with the team at Disney and an honor to work on characters we all adore. The team looks forward to seeing the movie this Friday, August 3rd!

Check out the full sticker pack and download for your iPhone!


snapchat bitmoji gallery

Personalized Emojis are Taking Messaging by Storm

Recently, custom emojis have been sprouting up on all major messaging platforms like Apple, Google, Samsung, and Snapchat. These were started by Bitmoji, a company that allowed users to create their own personal emoji. Once Snapchat acquired Bitmoji, the race was on for all major messengers to create their own. These personal emojis are used by a wide range of age groups and are some of the most popular stickers.

Bitmoji

Bitmojis were the first personalized emojis to take messaging by storm. They were designed to fill the gap between selfies and text messages by sending a personal sticker that could express emotion. This idea took off and was acquired by Snapchat to become the avatars for all Snapchat users. Bitmojis were a massive success and are now on most major messengers as well as Snapchat. These custom stickers led to most major messengers adopting their own personalized emojis.

Bitmoji example Image
Image Source: Snapchat

Apple Memojis

Apple is currently testing their new personalized emojis that are expected to be released with iOS12 called Memojis. Previously Apple launched Animojis, which were animated stickers of the user’s facial motions illustrated by various animals. Memojis, are an extension on these animated stickers, by allowing users to use their animated character. This movement is then translated to your Memoji on your screen, creating your own personal animated sticker. The Memoji’s are completely customizable to make your own unique animated messages.

Memoji Example Image
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Samsung AR Emojis

Samsung Augmented Reality (AR) Emojis allow a user to create their own personalized emoji. These emojis are able to be customized with different effects that make the sticker look more cartoonish or more lifelike. Samsung also gives you the option to change the clothes of your custom sticker.

Recently, Samsung updated their AR Emojis with the addition of 18 more set stickers to add onto your emoji, making the total 36. Right after the release of these extra stickers, Samsung also announced they will be launching 18 more additional stickers soon. These personalized stickers are only available the Galaxy S9 and S9+.

However, creating custom stickers is not the only thing that AR Emoji allows a user to do. It also has a feature that brands can utilize, like Disney who released some of their classic characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck onto the platform. Then Disney followed up with a release of the Incredibles characters to promote the newly released sequel to the film.

Image Source: Samsung AR Emojis

Google Minis

Google recently announced that they are launching a keyboard add-on called Minis that allows users to send customized stickers of themselves. The user will take a picture of themselves and a digital sticker of them will be created. Google is taking a unique approach to their customizable stickers. Unlike Snapchat and Samsung, Google Minis will have packs to purchase containing different gear and backgrounds for your personal sticker. Currently, these custom stickers are only available in the Beta keyboard, however, we should expect to see them soon.

Image Source: Google

happy world emoji day

Happy World Emoji Day 2018

It is 2018, and Emojis have taken over. The once perceived “silly, childish” messaging stickers have become completely integrated into our daily conversations. Snapchat filters even let us turn ourselves into our very own Bitmoji. Emojis allow us to demonstrate feelings and emotions to a greater specificity than our words. Here at Bare Tree Media, we pride ourselves on being the original and the longest-standing emoji designer. Day in and day out, we work to give everyone the ability to say just what they want (with OR without words 😉). It seems with each new day more emojis are created by designers across the globe providing each of us with unique ways to express ourselves or just have fun!

Apple’s Custom Emojis: Memoji

World Emoji Day calls for big news, and companies have delivered. Apple Inc. announced they will be releasing Emoji 11.0 for iOS and MacOS, an emoji pack including 66 new emojis for Apple fans to enjoy in late 2018. Along with these new emojis Apple is also releasing their Bitmoji counter, Memoji. The 3D emoji will be available with iOS 12 this fall. Memoji’s are to follow-up Apple’s animated stickers that use facial recognition to overlay animal filters, Animojis. Memoji’s take the next step and allow users to create and use their custom Emoji stickers to express themselves in a unique audio-visual hybrid. With innovations like these, developers are reimagining where and how emojis can exist, proving the only way is up.

Facebook's Emoji Keyboard Stays Strong

Facebook and their messenger are one of the leaders in the emoji space, having adopted all 2,800 Unicode Emojis. Unicode is a consortium of the biggest tech companies and a few countries, who decide on what should or should not be an emoji.  Facebook once again proudly released their annual Emoji statistics, demonstrating significant increases in emoji use and engagement. Here are just some of the numbers:

  • Over 5 billion emojis are sent everyday in Messenger
  • 900 million emojis are sent on Messenger that don’t even have text
  • 700 million emojis are used in Facebook posts everyday
  • The 😂emoji is the most popular around the world
  • The ❤️emoji has doubled in usage in the past year

facebook emoji infographic
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg)

Twitter Branded Emojis

Emojis have made their mark on our society, and now large companies are working towards making their own mark through branded emoji stickers.

Recently, Twitter teamed up with Disney to release custom emojis of the upcoming movie Christopher Robin and chose us to create them! Each of core 100 Acre Woods characters got their own little emoji to accompany their hashtag. Tweets including #ChristopherRobin, #Pooh, #Tigger, #Eeyore and #ItsPiglet grew in number. Twitter users that might not have engaged with tweets involving the Christopher Robin movie in a normal situation began tweeting about the movie. Some solely so that they could have the emojis on their feed!

Emoji Merchandise

There are now emoji clothing, pillows, an Emoji Movie, and now premiering tonight in New York City, “EmojiLand: The Musical” on Broadway just a couple theaters down from The Lion King. Many companies have realized the power of emojis, and how developing new emojis allows for each company to integrate themselves in a language rapidly growing in popularity. No one truly knows the future of emojis, but we do know it’s bright. 🌟

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