Virtual Christmas Card | The Gift of a Kiss


Merry Christmas from us to all of you. Character design by Marina LeClair. Animation by Trevor Jansen

A video posted by Trevor Jansen (@tr3vorjans3n) on

The Virtual Christmas Card Idea

We wanted to challenge ourselves with an animated, virtual Christmas card this year. It seemed much better than sending a printed card that folks might appreciate briefly before definitely tossing into the trash.

Also the idea of telling a brief story without words excited us. We didn’t want to rely on just a moving graphic with some text over top. The characters we created gave us an opportunity to say something more.

Then the big question was, “What could a snow person possibly want or give as a Christmas gift?” The answer had to be something experiential because a snow person is also temporary and of a particular moment. Also, we wanted it to be cute.

In the end we decided that the snowman would give the gift of a kiss in the form of a sprig of mistletoe. In a fun way, the gift was for himself.

Marina LeClair designing the characters for a virtual Christmas card
Closeup of paints and an artist's hands, illustrating

The Process

I worked with Marina LeClair on the character design. We mapped out every position with storyboards and she got to work. To maintain some flexibility, we designed the characters with seperate body parts. This allowed us to build the couple and pose them with more fluidity throughout the animation.

We went traditional with the process and captured each frame from a top down camera.

Here are some behind the scenes photos of our process.

Process work in creating a virtual Christmas card
Overhead of an artist's work table with paints, paper and scissors
A cat sits on a work table, sniffing a camera
Overhead view of process work in creating a virtual Christmas card

The Result

The final result worked out better than we had hoped. The flexibility of posing each body part gave the snow people much more life than expected. In particular, I am fond of the passion we were able to communicate at the end. I spontaneously added the playful grab and pull from the snowman because the range of expression was there. The individual body parts allowed me to have the snow woman swoon a little too.

I hope you enjoyed our virtual Christmas card and have a Merry Christmas.

A final frame of a snowman presenting a gift to a snow woman for Christmas

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