Mr. Playwood by Happy Hippie Lab

“Each wooden constructor is in the box. When you open it, the magic begins.” This, according to Director Tina Tanashchuk, was the inspiration for Happy Hippie Lab’s ad for Mr Playwood toys. The ad features the Ukranian toymaker’s unique plywood toys in a way that highlights their tag: Gift for Gifted, with the toy box opening over and over, each time to a new toy rotating and moving to show off its ingenious construction.

Mr Playwood’s website calls his catalog a “Fantasy Universe,” and describes the toys in this way: “Self-assembled kinetic wooden models are made to surprise you. Non-standard thoughts, gigantic scales, unique mechanisms. Each model’s detail is a step towards a new discovery.”

Tanashchuk explained that, “All the constructors are made of plywood and can be manipulated step by step due to the brilliant mechanical engineering features from Mr. Playwood. So there were no difficulties in animating them.”

Of their process Tanashchuk told us, “There were no green screen and rigs. All the elements inside in the boxes were attached by neodymium magnets. The color lines in the boxes were made with Dedolights and color gels…The Biggest challenge for us was to create the feeling of 2D lines inside of a 3 dimensional box. On tests we’ve build an actual box from plywood, and started to choose the lenses. When we’ve put on a camera 15mm Voigtlander, everybody went “WOW”. That was it.”

When we asked about incorporating the software, Tanashchuk told us, “Then we started to draw the lines by hand, using the Dragonframe feature of Media Layers. It was long and hard for our brains. After cutting the lines, we realized that they were not so accurate as we needed them to be. So we asked for a 3D modeling help. We needed to measure all the box dimensions, distances from corners to the lens, etc. and cut the line on the laser cuter. It was perfect for us.”

“When you have a lot of things to move at the same time during days and days Dragonframe will save you, as it did for us on Mr. Playwood project,” she concluded. Thanks Tina, we’re glad to hear it–you really make us want to run out and try the toys ourselves!

For more on the Happy Hippie Lab process, check out this behind the scenes time lapse they shot:

Director: Tina Tanashchuk
DOP: Taras Miskiv
Lead Animator: Andrew AJ
Concept Art: Chzz Zavoyovnyk
Fabricator: Alexey Dorodko
Music Composer: Valeriy Bezhevets