The Making of the Barbour 2017 ‘The Snowman and The Snowdog’ Christmas film

The Making of the Barbour 2017 ‘The Snowman and The Snowdog’ Christmas film

The Snowman and the Snowdog
All the work that goes into a little bit of magic…
Working closely with the very talented director, Robin Shaw, and the brilliant team of expert designers and animators at Lupus Films, we couldn’t be more excited to bring you this year’s magical Barbour Christmas film.
Robin Shaw is an award-winning animator, illustrator and director, well-known for his beautiful hand-drawn work. Having collaborated with children’s author and illustrator Raymond Briggs on the original ‘The Snowman and The Snowdog’ film, he was the natural choice to direct our 2017 Christmas film. We’re also thrilled to continue the legacy of the Raymond Briggs estate, a truly iconic British brand with a rich heritage, which we share the same values of family and tradition with.

A heart-warming new chapter…
Thirty years after he first melted hearts in the original 1982 film, The Snowman returned in ‘The Snowman and The Snowdog’ sequel with his new canine companion. Using the same traditional hand-drawn techniques that made the original film, but with the addition of new digital production techniques, the next chapter unfolds – welcoming Billy’s wife and daughter to the story.
"It was an exciting challenge to move the story of The Snowman, The Snowdog and Billy on to the next chapter. Barbour has the same kind of classic DNA that runs through Raymond Briggs' 'The Snowman', so creatively they are good match.” – Robin Shaw, Director.
In the first stages, Robin and the team worked on the design of the characters, from their facial features, through to what they were wearing. Something that was incredibly important to us and the designers was for the intrinsic Barbour details to be expressed, ensuring they were represented perfectly in the beautiful illustrations.
Watch Robin and the team working on the film in the studio:

Bringing the story to life…
One of the biggest challenges we faced was aging Billy. Since the original sequel, Billy had grown almost thirteen years in age, and without losing his familiar boyish features, Robin was responsible for creating and portraying Billy as the young man he is today. After this was perfected, it was time to bring the story to life, using state-of-art Cintiq tablets to build the character drawings into hundreds of carefully-crafted storyboards.
“It was a joy to revisit the characters and re-imagine Billy as an adult, but still with the boyish wonder that has never left him since that first night of adventure with The Snowman, some 10 years earlier.” – Robin Shaw, Director.

The finishing touches…
Just like the original films, the backgrounds were all hand-drawn and painted with beautiful watercolours, colouring pencils and gouache, to ensure the same sense of care and attention in every single detail. Mat Williams, a specialist background artist, spoke to us about his work on the film: "I really enjoyed painting the backgrounds for the Barbour Christmas film. I worked on 'The Snowman & The Snowdog' back in 2012, so it was great to re-enter the immersive world of The Snowman and to help expand on a story that has become synonymous with Christmas."
As we moved further forward in the production process, the time came to add those wonderful touches of magic. A technique called compositing allowed the designers to produce realistic moving elements, such as the snowfall, which hinted towards the return of The Snowman later on in the film.
Helena Bonastre, an animation assistant, added:
"Working on the Barbour Christmas film was an unforgettable experience for me. Not only did I have the opportunity to work with a classic British brand but I also became part of a great team and learnt every day from our incredibly talented director Robin Shaw.”
Helena continued:
“Naturally, it was very exciting to help bring to life the classic characters of The Snowman and Snowdog, but I most enjoyed assisting in animating Billy, as it made me feel like a child again, waiting for Christmas to come!"
We’re all thrilled with how the film turned out, but if you’re yet to see it, you can watch our magical Barbour Christmas film here.