A beautifully animated, heart-wrenching PSA which shines a light on the plight of farmed lions in South Africa launched at the end of September has been racking up views and inspiring social media shares around the world. Created for the Born Free Foundation (www.bornfree.org.uk), The Bitter Bond reveals to viewers to a smiling lion keeper, the cub she raises, and the great betrayal that ends their story.
The Bitter Bond has been retweeted and written up by international outlets and celebrity activists such as Now This and Channel 5 News, Pamela Anderson, Ricky Gervais and Ellen DeGeneres.
London-based studio Blinkink (blinkink.co.uk) shared a breakdown of the making of this powerful spot, which was created by Zombie Studio in partnership with Engine UK.
Engine wrote the original script, which was developed into a storyboard and animatic by Zombie.
The artists then got to work creating the look of the sweeping South African savannah and the grounds of the lion farm.
“Our early designs portrayed the lion in a more majestic and imposing way. With captive-bred animals being raised as docile creatures for tourist interaction however, we evolved our lion into a more understated, sympathetic character,” the studio explained.
“A lot of detail went into developing the human characters too. The lion keeper’s look was carefully crafted to capture both sides of her personality.”
The animation was imbued with depth and richness by shooting hand-crafted sets as live-action plates and compositing the 3D animated characters into the backgrounds.
It took Zombie Studio three months to put together The Bitter Bond’s unique animation style, which cannily combined the charm of the model-maker’s craft with the emotive range of modern 3D CG.
Watch the full making-of video on Blinkink’s website here.