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Dougie’s Diary – Case Study

Welcome to our case study for Dougie’s Diary the latest project in the Salamandra pipelines and a special case assigned to our team.

Dougie’s Diary is a 3D children’s book series aimed at teaching kids social topics like going to school, diversity, equality and the values of our modern society.

Unlike most of the projects we’ve worked with that involve 3D, this one wasn’t for animation. Instead, we re-purposed the 3D engine for 2D print. Our logic behind this was to craft beautiful scenes with the power of 3D creativity making an immersive, vibrant, and colourful reading experience.

Whether it was designing the characters, imagining the environments or creating in-world assets. We had an absolute blast with this project!

For an Animation and Design studio like ourselves, our usual assignments have mostly been business to business but, working on a children’s project like this one – it has definitely revealed a more fun side to us!

We hope you like our creative take on this project and the fun and creative side of our studio.

The First Step – Character Design.

Based on the author’s original designs we had a fun time bringing her characters to 3D life, building on their attributes and making sure the original concepts still looked and felt the same.

Our design team perfected the body posture of each character, paying careful attention to detail when designing their clothes, facial shapes and bone structures.

To create the best immersive reading experience, it was important for us to get the characters overall looks just right. With 6 books to play with, each containing 10 pages, that meant we had a lot of scenes to create!

3D technology was a vital part in helping us create an authentic look for our characters. In 3D, we have the freedom to rotate the camera angles, change the body positioning and allow each of our characters to look more realistic on 2D print.

Below, you can see a short and summative look at the behind the scenes process of how we’ve designed and rigged our favourite characters in 3D.


In the GIFs above, you can see how each character was designed with an internal bone structure.

We call this bone rigging and it allows us to move the characters’ limbs, eyes and posture in a direction that is most suitable for viewers, not to mention, giving the characters a friendly feel.

Environment and Asset Design

Environments and assets play a massive role in creating the vibrant scenes in Dougie’s Diary. Without a good landscape, background and atmospheric theme to a story, you can leave readers feeling bland or visually empty-handed.

Which is why we made sure each scene looked interesting, colourful and strategically placing objects to create a thriving atmosphere in this fictional universe.

Below you can see some of the assets and environments we crafted for the world of Dougie’s Diary.

What was our favourite in-world object?

If we had to nominate a favourite in-world object of Dougie’s Diary, it would be the 70’s style police car.

When creating this environmental asset we found an unexpected challenge in the lighting of the metal’s surface, but eventually, we found a way around it and we’re most impressed with our results!

Let us know what you think of this project on social media we love feedback!