Wax offline… Wax online!
Plastic Wax, the team behind a litany of AAA movie and video game trailers, didn’t have a website to do justice to their stellar content. Here’s how they revamped their web presence to help land their next big contract.
Stage #1 – Spawn point
You know that feeling when you see people with amazing figures? How you go a little weak at the knees as you simultaneously walk into a pole, sprain your neck and trip over someone’s dog? That’s the effect Plastic Wax had on us when we met them. Over 20 years in the game and film animation industry, a 24-camera in-house motion capture facility, 55 mind-blowingly talented artists… now those are some figures! … what? What did you think we meant?
Plastic Wax had the numbers in all the right places – all but one: their existing website. After a detailed analysis, we discovered the core weakness:
1) It was crap.
Plastic Wax would need a kick-ass website that could do justice to their kick-ass portfolio of work. And not just any kick-ass website. Something that would reflect their position as one of the global leaders in animatory awesom-etry.*
*Not an actual science.
Stage #2 – Co-op mode
Every great website project begins with some clear goals, so we kick-started the project with a series of intense planning workshops. We wanted to understand the team better and get a handle on what it meant to compete for large-scale animation projects at an international level. This helped us shape our ideas and sort out what the priorities and challenges were. We came up with three goals:
- Showcase a small selection of featured projects to demonstrate the quality of their work and the breadth of their capabilities
- Make it easy for people to access Plastic Wax’s back catalogue of work and learn more about the studio
- Ensure a great user experience across all platforms, with a special focus on a North American audience
With a portfolio featuring the likes of Star Wars, Lego and Marvel, the catalogue of amazingly cool animated content we were drool… sorry, dealing with… was immense. In order to do it justice, we needed to develop a content-first approach. The initial step was to create a series of prototypes to let us test and adapt our designs quickly – and explore how content would come to life on different devices. We also created a range of persona profiles that helped the team think about the user experience at each stage.
We’re all about collaboration, so instead of a traditional “rounds of review” approach (booooring!), we took an iterative one, which is fancy talk for unrolling design and content modules incrementally so everyone can give feedback and share ideas in smaller chunks. We created experiments across wireframe grids and made mock-ups with real content. Then we looked at things like navigation, page layouts, and the treatment of content. If an idea was too complicated to quickly work up into a prototype, we built a pre-vis video to make sure we could communicate it precisely.
The iterative approach moved the project forward really quickly. Not just because of the light-speed feedback, but because it exposed development challenges that might otherwise not have been obvious to us until much further down the track.
We created experiments across wireframe grids along with real content mock-ups to look at things like navigation, page layouts, the treatment of content while also working through the challenges each version might bring at development.
This iterative approach allows everyone to speak their mind, share and test out ideas collaboratively which as a result moves the project forward quicker compared to traditional “rounds of review” approach.
If an idea was complicated to quickly work up into a prototype, we built out pre-vis videos to help quickly get an idea across for everyone to see.
Stage #3 – Achievement unlocked
Every beautiful piece of art is enhanced by the right frame, and in this case, the final melding of content and platform was truly something to behold. By creating a streamlined site that stripped back everything but the most stunning elements, we nailed our goals of showcasing Plastic Wax’s capabilities and increasing accessibility. We also took the user experience to the next level by creating a series of behind-the-scenes areas to give site visitors a rare glimpse into the making of a Plastic Wax trailer.
For Plastic Wax’s prospective clients, this meant a richer experience that exposed them to more content in less time. For Plastic Wax themselves, it meant their incredible work was finally getting the treatment it deserved. And for us, it meant high-fives and beers all round… (which resulted in a number of awkward moments as people high-fived a bottle of beer or cheers’d a raised palm, but we came through it ok.)
The real fun, though? Collaborating with an incredibly talented team and discovering what we could create when we combined our separate skill sets. Just as important as the amazing results we achieved were the great time we had on the way, the opportunity to grow our expertise and the meaningful relationships that we formed.
A year later Plastic Wax still gets in touch to show us their latest projects. We don’t say much. It’s hard to talk with your jaw on the floor.