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Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Truck Image

Helping those who help others

We worked with the Habitat for Humanity PDX ReStore branch to promote their new pick up service and encourage more high end donations through a fun and engaging 15 second animation.

The Task

We met with PDX ReStore and developed a plan to design, illustrate, and animate an original 15 second promotional video to be used across social media channels as well as one unique location — to be played on the big screen as a preroll advertisement at Laurelhurst Theater in Portland, Oregon. Our team was immediately up for the challenge and excited about the potential of the finished product.


Google Slides


After Effects


Creative Direction





Requirements Gathering

We began by defining the target demographic and the overall goals of the project, which were to encourage donations and increase awareness of the new online-based, "schedule a pick up" service. These factors ultimately led us to determine that the best place for this animation to live would be social media.

Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Brainstorm Concept Notebook Image

Defining the Creative Direction

Animation is a freeing art form where the rules of conventional storytelling completely go out the window. With the time limit of 15 seconds, we knew we would have to get creative with how we moved through the story and leaning on cartoon logic definitely came in handy during transitions. By giving the viewers breadcrumbs rather than the full loaf we were able to move from one scene to the next in a way that carries the viewer while leaving an appetizing amount of interpretation.

We also needed to define the general overall look and feel of the characters and background elements. Again, with the limited time, we needed to collectively keep viewers' eyes on the prize so to speak, and therefore opted to use solid colorful backgrounds with minimal, subdued design elements for visual interest, making the key content and important details stand out prominently in the foreground. We scoured the web for awesome projects that matched our vision and provided an "inspiration gallery" to the client (shown below) in order to align on the stylistic vision for characters, objects and environments.

Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Inspiration Gallery

It was at this point that we also defined our intention with sound effects and background music. From the beginning, we knew environmental sounds would be a fun and immersive way to bring viewers into this flat, colorful cartoon world. We also decided the music track should be a background element with no prominent lyrics or distracting elements, but we knew it had to make the viewers feel happy, inspired, and energized.

Starting with the Storyboard

Storyboarding is the part of the process where everything is on the table and it's time to start organizing all of the pieces in a cohesive and thoughtful way.

With the project requirements defined and our creative direction caps snugly on, we put the pencil to paper to sketch it out. We tried out a few different storylines and by the end, we had our first glimpse of clarity into what this animation would ultimately become.

Once we had a plan for the individual scenes that would make up the animation, we began sketching out higher-fidelity versions of the ideas from the storyboard.

Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Scene Progression

The benefit of the storyboard process is that it helps work through ideas, both good and bad. Some scenes from the original storyboard were cut entirely and others stayed relatively consistent from the initial sketch all the way through to the final product.

Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Storyboard Image Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Final Image

Characters and backgrounds

The first set of illustrations we created were the backgrounds. This gave us a foundation to build on top of for all other objects in the scene such as characters, furniture, and environmental elements like clouds.

The stars of the show

We had a few rounds of revisions for the characters in order to lock down their personalities and add more detail. You'll notice things like boxier, straighter lines in the early concepts versus more organic, flowy shapes in the final characters. Even though we were purposely aiming to create a hyper-simple, storybook-esque look and feel, we felt it was necessary to include this refined level of detail.

Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Character Development

Bringing it to life

Reaching the animation phase of the project is always everyone's favorite because we finally get to see what we've created come to life. There's something satisfying about developing an idea from the very first concept to being in motion. We utilized Adobe After Effects for the production of the animation which worked great since the project was entirely based in 2D.

Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Character Animations
Habitat For Humanity - PDX ReStore Laptop Animation

Exporting the Goods

After receiving final approval from the client, we rendered the project to be compatible for social media. Additionally, we followed the guidelines and requirements for Regal Theater advertisements in order to display the final video as a preroll advertisement at Laurelhurst Theater.

Check out the player below to watch the final version of our project with Habitat for Humanity PDX ReStore.

Closing thoughts

In the end, we were super proud of the final product. We think it's a fun and engaging little video that will hopefully connect with Habitat for Humanity's audience. We also appreciated the opportunity to work with a local branch of a national non-profit and help contribute to the wonderful things they do for our community. We wish them the best of luck with the video and hope to be working together again soon!

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