Behind-the-scenes of some Strange animations

By Aimee

Posted on April 4, 2017 in Hodderscoop with tags Laini Taylor, Strange The Dreamer

You might have heard of a little book called Strange the Dreamer…

We go behind-the-scenes with Engine House and find out what went into creating the animations that make us want to use all the emojis 🎉🎊🎆❤️️


‘Strange the dreamer,’ they called him. ‘That dreamer, Strange.’


When Hodder approached us with Strange The Dreamer, we were very intrigued. Having worked on numerous animated book covers and book trailers with them in the past, this jumped out as a new kind of challenge.


As this book is being released in both the UK and the US, there are two different covers. Although there are some consistent motifs throughout, overall the design of the two covers was quite different in terms of colours, styles and fonts. We often work very closely with and utilise the cover artwork, as this will help build the brand, (and often they are extremely beautiful).


Our mission was to create something beautiful that drew influence from both covers, and created intrigue around the lyrical words and fantastical elements of the story.


Come with us behind the scenes as we take you through the process of creating an animated book trailer.

Strange Creation Process 01


First, we set about creating the sky effect. By blending the light blue of the US cover with the darker blue of the UK cover and with the silky gold from both, this magical style of sky was created. It reminds us a little of the Charmed Life cover from when we were younger! Do you remember the one we mean?


Here’s a sneaky peak at the After Effects window.

Strange Creation Process 02

So now we have the backdrop, what comes next?

Strange Creation Process 03


Next, a mysterious city is painted in, not overly detailed so as to still allow the reader to add in their own detail and flourishes. One thing we always consider when creating book trailers is to still leave the imagination to the reader. This is of course, one of the great joys of reading.
We wanted to incorporate the astrological pattern which is used subtly in the UK cover. This adds an element of fantasy to the landscape and ties the navy blue into the lighter blue and golds.

We also added the moth – a running motif between the two coves. Taking the shape from the US cover and the fill from the UK we integrated this throughout the three videos, tying everything together as a collection. The fluttering movement adds a simple yet effective dynamism – something to catch your eye as you scroll through Twitter!


We also added swirling books into the second video, enforcing Lazlo’s job as a librarian in a magical library – The Pavilion of Thought. With flickering pages, this mirrors the “sneak peek” into the book these videos are offering readers.


Talking of which – next we add in the copy.

Strange Creation Process 04


As the words of Laini Taylor are so beautiful, this was the real focal point of the animations. They flow in, as if blown by the wind and offer insight and intrigue to the characters and plot. Using short, hand-picked quotes such as these teases the audience – who are these characters?


We were lucky with this job, as both cover arts were really striking, and the blend between the two gave us a beautiful style to work within. We love working on projects like this, especially when we get sent a copy, so we can get a real understanding of the mood, tone and themes of the book (as well as getting a freebie copy of an awesome read!)


Thanks Hodder, thanks Laini! We hope everyone loves it as much as we did.


View the finished articles below:


The Unseen City


Lazlo Strange




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