During our work on Disney Pixar's "Turning Red," we noticed it had captured the hearts of generations who grew up in the early 2000s, stirring a deep sense of nostalgia at every opportunity. We wanted to tap into that sense of nostalgia and comfort, and offer a soothing resource for overstimulating or overwhelming moments.
Much like Mei and her friends did, we turned to music to create a safe and enjoyable experience. We were inspired by a scene of Mei studying in her bedroom with her headphones in. As Mei flowed through her homework, doodling in its margins and throwing eraser shavings into the trash left a nostalgic, relatable, and memorable impact and reminded us of popular lofi videos that have helped so many students drudge through countless assignments for more than a decade. We wanted to build a similar music resource, expanding our reach beyond fans of the film, at the same time tapping into the YouTube study playlist trend. To make the concept our own, we mirrored the 3D animation style of “Turning Red,' using client-provided toolkits to build 3D models and spaces as our main storytelling medium.
We wanted to make sure the video came across as a Lofi study playlist when people watched it, so we experimented with several scenes from the movie as options for our main loop. Most Lofi videos feature an evening environment, so we sketched out some optional scenes, but were worried the animations would be too subtle or monotonous. Instead, we opted to bring a fresh energy matching the vibrant colors of the film. Using a daytime environment set in Mei's bedroom, we isolated a TV tube in the foreground and her bedroom window in the background. The TV was used to feature scenes from the movie on a loop. We specifically included footage Mei took on her video recorder in the movie to create a cozy, warm sense of watching home videos together to keep the scene engaging.
The end result is a 30-minute loop of 2-minute wholesome, love-filled animation featuring our favorite 13 year old red panda teen and her beloved friends. Building off of that 2000s nostalgia and highlighting the wholesomeness and importance of teenage—and especially in this case, female teenage—friendships, we created a video that spoke to Turning Red fans across generations and expanded our reach to general lofi playlist music lovers through this dynamic and (let’s be real) adorable video!
Not only has the video to date amassed over 1.5 million views and hundreds of comments, fans have made it clear that they want more! Through our Lofi Mei, we were able to extend the impact Mei and her friends already had from the movie into another life online, creating a resource that provides not only entertainment value but soothing and grounding value for those who just need a minute to sit back, chill, and study.
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