Nickelodeon recently tapped animation studio Calabash Animation to create a new minute-long show open for its popular children’s show Dora The Explorer.
Working with character animation created by Nickelodeon’s Los Angeles-based production studio, Calabash Animation developed an eye-catching 3D piece that explores the wonders of Dora’s world, including all of the environments, lighting, shadows, textures and the cinematic camera moves that make the open engaging.
Calabash composited the Nickelodeon-created characters into the 3D world. Visualized in vibrant 3D, the new Dora The Explorer opening takes viewers on a mini-adventure into Dora’s world where they encounter her friends and favorite places.
“Nickelodeon was looking to take the show open a step further cinematically and make it more engaging,” said executive producer Sean Henry. “They gave us a framework of what they wanted, but allowed us the creative freedom to explore in a fun way.”
Set to the familiar Dora The Explorer theme song, the new show opens begins with a sweeping camera move into Dora’s lush world where we see some of the show’s characters like Bennie the Bull and Boots the Monkey bouncing on huge sunflowers as if they were trampolines. Suddenly Dora swings in a vine, landing on Boots’ flower, which then quickly rises into the sunny, blue sky. After catching a ride back down courtesy of a rainbow and bunch of balloons, we meet Dora’s cousin Diego and the Pirate Pigs. The open ends with Boots and Dora sticking their heads out from the Dora The Explorer logo amidst lush flowers and trees.
“We based our look on what is in the show already, but took it bit further,” Henry added. “We asked ourselves ‘if we can go into this world and see it in 3D, what would it look like?’ That sense of richness and texture is what we were after.”
For animation director Jessica Plummer, the challenge was meshing Dora and her world with the new 3D environments. “Getting the backgrounds to look just right with Dora and the other characters, while still creating very dynamic scenes, took quite a bit of back-and-forth and brainstorming. But in the end all those revisions and planning really paid off.”