This was a fun card to make. The idea came from Stan's wife, that he should use the car as a sled and and the raptors would be reindeer. The cover was to be a classy shot with Stan's cigar so we got the stogie and his ashtray, the Santa hat and I brought in the candle holder to give it the old fashioned feel as positioned on his wood office desk. I added the SWS symbol to the ashtray later in the computer.
We set up photography for each of the interior card elements to enable me to composite them later in Photoshop, which was pretty slow back in 1996 as were those old computers. It's hard to believe, Photoshop was only 6 years old at that time as it was first released in 1990... but I digress.
The car was real, and Stan held out ropes in place of the reigns that I would replace with digital ones that would lead to the raptors. Those dinos were actually small replicas that I enlarged to scale for the card. We gift wrapped a bunch of boxes and shot photos of them all back lit, knowing they would be in the shadowy foreground with light hitting them from "Stanta's" shop behind them. The shop was completely hand painted in the computer and was fashioned after old Geppetto's work area in the 1940 Disney cartoon Pinocchio.
This card was conceived by Paul Mejias and the idea was to get everyone in the studio IN the card. Not only did we all pose for the photo but the second part was that on the back side of the unfolded card you could locate anyone using numbered outlines which corresponded to a list of our names. Genius! Paul did the entire interior while I worked on the cover.
Our most elaborate card ever was produced in '98 from a concept by Alan Scott. He thought it would be cool to do a pop-up card and pitched the idea to Stan. Nobody knew the challenge it would turn out to be... or the cost to produce it!
The cover was a simple photo of glass ball tree ornaments on a light table where I would add the company logo later in Photoshop. That was the EASY part of this gig.
Inside would be a WHOLE other story. Not only did we have to shoot photos of all the separate characters, a bunch of us and Stan, but I also had to create the card's inside base art.
The front of the card we knew would be Stan's most famous creations up until that point in time and for the back we conceptualized could be a bunch of us "puppeteering" Stan as if he were an animatronic robot.
The most difficult thing to figure was exactly how all this was going to fold up and pop out of this card. The engineering of this was a collaboration of Alan and me, doing several paper versions until we found a design that worked. Luckily Alan was also head of mechanical design at the time, and had a great understanding of this type of thing.
All of this had to be planned precisely, including creating the art to die cut all of the intricate outlined shapes as well as making sure the front art was registered exactly to the back art for the printer. That way when the the card stock was cut, the front would align with the back seamlessly. If this was done incorrectly, it would have been a pricey mistake that could also jeopardize the entire project and risk there being no card that year.
Below is the 4-fold card with the front, back and inside all on one piece that would fold first in half along the floor line and then in half again, front and back. Note the footprints in the "snow" on the floor. Each set of prints matches the feet of the Small Soldiers characters that stood out front, with the Commando prints in perfect line like the good soldiers they were. The Gorgonite prints matching how they walked showing Insaniac's spinning trail and Freakenstein leaving a streaky trail where he dragged his bum leg. No detail left untouched!
By 2000 the "Rankin/Bass" holiday specials had become a staple in our culture so when it was time to make a holiday card again, I pitched to Stan how fun it would be to create a card with him and all the famous characters he created in that style. I thought the stop motion animated puppets would be instantly recognizable.
I was in a crunch for time and used the people and animals from the specials as reference as well as the iconic trees from Rudolph. Stan was sculpted in clay and his body fashioned from felt. the T-Rex was also clay. Terminator's body was a bunch of metal scraps glued together, the fur on the gorilla started from bunch of fuzzy cotton balls and Edward Scissorhands hair was feathers. The last photo element was the snow which was baby powder but the rest was all illustrated in Photoshop. I wish I could have sculpted all the characters for composite but I just didn't have the time.
These fun lyrics on the card's interior were written by Stiles White.
This is the last card I made for Stan and it was another doozy. Stan wanted to utilize his new digital department whose focus at that time was the character Trakk, the main subject of a comic book and toy line Stan produced through his toy division, Stan Winston Creatures. Since Trakk was also the first project through Stan Winston Digital and a 3D model was already available, I came up with the idea of having Stan holding a toy Trakk and a "real" Trakk sitting next to him holding a toy Stan. We shot a background at the Winston home where they had a perfect fireplace and once we had an approved backplate, Stan Winston Digital visual effects producer Andre Bustanoby set up, posed and rendered the 3D Trakk element for me to composite in Photoshop.
The cover was designed and illustrated by Terry Wolfinger in Photoshop.
Card fold out interior.