Rigging Time – Part I



Our goal is the production of a series of commercials, two in particular, that promotes the “International Dance Day in the World”. This event is sponsored by the International Dance Council (CID) to celebrate the dance, recognizing its universal character as a form of art, as an educational and recreational means, and as a research topic.

So, in this first part, we are going to analise the different pre-production steps of our project:

  • the concept, that is to say the brief description of what will happen in the spots,
  • the storyboard, directed to develop the narration in a consistent manner deciding the main framings,
  • the character and the environment design, to study how to create the protagonists and settings of the various scenes, from the artistic and technical point of view.


Sequence of scenes in which six dancers from different countries dance, one after the other, to the notes of traditional music of their countries (each country is rapresented by traditional costumes, local elements in the background, local monuments and/or local animals).
All characters perform some distinctive steps of the typical dance of their countries and wear suitable costumes for the type of dance they’re doing.

Spot 1 (Egypt, Mexico, China, Japan, Russia, France):
In order of appearance: an Egyptian belly dancer dancing the raks sharqi, two Mexicans dancing the bamba, a Chinese girl dancing the shen yun, a Japanese geisha dancing the kyomai, a Russian boy dancing the kazachok and a group of dancers of the Moulin Rouge dancing the can can.

Spot 2 (India, Scotland, Africa, Italy, Spain, Brazil):
In order of appearance: an Indian girl dancing the bharathantyam, a Scottish boy dancing the strathspey, an African boy dancing to the beat of drums, an Italian girl dancing the Neapolitan tarantella, a Spanish girl dancing the flamenco and a Brazilian girl dancing the samba.


Spot 1 (Egypt, Mexico, China, Japan, Russia, France)

Spot1_1_descriz. Spot1_2_descriz. Spot1_3_descriz. Spot1_4_descriz.

At this link you can download the pdf of the italian version of the storyboard, at this, the pdf file with the english version.

Spot 2 (India, Scotland, Africa, Italy, Spain, Brazil)

Spot2_1_descriz. Spot2_2_descriz. Spot2_3_descriz. Spot2_4_descriz.

At this link you can download the pdf of the italian version of the storyboard, at this, the pdf file with the english version.

Character and environment design

Since our products have the purpose to present and inform about a social as well as cultural event, the first step in the realization of the characters and of the scenes backgrounds, was an accurate research about the different types of dance of every nation.
We’ve carefully selected and studied the music and the main movements which characterize each of the folkloric dances we’ve chosen to represent, and then the related traditional costumes.

On account of that, we’ve chosen to create characters with a style adapted to the techniques used for the realization of the advertisement: for this reason we’ve decided to take inspiration from the animation genre making rather stylised puppets that turn out to be appropriate for a motion graphics video and suitable for a general and extended public.

During the production phase, every character will be rigged and animated through Adobe After Effects using the “Puppet tool”, made available by the software by default, and the plugin “Duik”, freely downloadable.

In order to do the character rigging (whose steps will be shown later), during the drawing phase in Adobe Illustrator, it has been essential to put every part of the puppet’s body on single layers, as shown in the picture.

From the artistic point of view, we’ve decided not to pay particular attention to human anatomy opting for “rounded” characters, nice and pleasant in appearance, well suited to a not much realistic narration.


Despite the very stylised lines, it was fundamental that every puppet maintained the main physiognomic features of the country it represents as well as the typical costumes used in the folkloric dance that the puppet will perform. In this way, the viewer is able to recognize immediately the context of the scene.
For this reason we’ve used different references to draw the traditional costumes.

References puppet

The same reasoning has been applied to the settings. As this is a motion graphics video, we’ve established to use a solid color background (not very saturated colors in order to avoid an unpleasant vision) with some overlapping landscape elements, or otherwise characteristic and easily identifiable elements (in some cases animated), such as animals, specific of each nation.

Once again, as for the music, the dance and the costumes, we had to do a prearranged research work about the main monuments and the typical architecture of every country.
Also for the environments design it was really useful making use of already existing images.

References Sfondi

Authors: Valentina Diaferio, Martina Gagino, Rosina Iacovino, Matteo Luison, Elisa Occhipinti.


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