“This Christmas” is a song that carries so much black history, cultural and holiday celebration. We were thrilled to collaborate with one of the best cartoonists in America, a man celebrated in The New Yorker amongst many other publications: Lonnie Millsap. David Calcano called Lonnie to design the characters, spreading joy in the very first Donny Hathaway video ever released.
The video was produced in only five weeks. A challenging timeframe for our studio to create a story, style, boards and final animation, but it was the 50th anniversary of this song–How could we not put together the best team for this?
This video’s theme is a celebration of Donny Hathaway’s legacy and his impact in black culture, diversity and Christmas. Millions share the love for this landmark track, no matter race, background or heritage. The video had to live up to that, and we are incredibly happy with the full piece.
Our starting point was Lonnie’s art. It was important to maintain the style while adapting it to fluid 2D animation. We collected numerous Easter eggs from Donny’s incredible history and influence on music.
Use of 3D/2D
We use cell-shaded 3D elements in many areas of the video, hand painting them to ensure they live in harmony with Lonnie’s character designs. Many of the backgrounds also utilize this same technique, allowing us to create gorgeous landscapes that provide enormous depth to Donny’s world.
We received a rave review from the Grammy award-winning singer, Lalah Hathaway, daughter of Donny Hathaway. She loved the video and shared that joy all over social media.
Questlove also loved the video. It truly was something we never dreamed would happen. We also received reviews from the Chicago Sun Times.
This uplifting song gained a video treatment that everyone around the world celebrated. We couldn’t be prouder. The video has 2.5 million views on YouTube alone.