Why we're loving: Pat Porter, 3D animation lead, Psyop

Porter led the animation for the new British Gas spot "no place like home", created by CHI & Partners.

Why we're loving: Pat Porter, 3D animation lead, Psyop

Tell us about the project. This campaign is all about the things that make home "home". The warmth, cosiness and security that you feel. Animals have an instinctive ability to create spaces that do this. British Gas and CHI & Partners challenged us to show a similar feeling in a human home.

Talk us through the process. We’re always thinking about the story and how characters fit into their world. We spent time in previsualisation getting timing right and finding acting choices that maximised our storytelling. Once we were happy, we blocked out animation. This spot lent itself to simple, beautiful moments without trying to pack too much in. We needed these moments to breathe, giving the viewer time to appreciate them. Finally, we focused on fineness: nose wiggles, feather adjustments and cute smiles.  

How did you get into animation? I grew up on classic cartoons: Bugs Bunny, Tom And Jerry and, of course, Disney. At school, I imagined everything coming alive. I drew and sculpted, but was missing the movement part. At university, I focused on animation and interned every summer to learn from New York’s best animators. Eventually, I was accepted into the very small world of animators in New York.

What piece of work are you most proud of? The jobs that stick in my mind are collaborative – when you feel a synergy between director, client and artists. This happened on "no place like home". It was exciting to be a part of. Psyop has done some great work that I’m proud of, including FedEx "enchanted forest", Lauren Indovina’s "emerge" project and Michelin "keys".

Who is your favourite artist and why? Brad Bird definitely inspires me. He’s a director, artist and, most impressively, a storyteller. His work is ripe with information, action, suspense and a level of emotional complexity not seen in most films. His creative approach is something that informs my work every day.

What inspires you? My wife and two kids. I know it sounds clichéd, but I do what I do for them and they keep me motivated, entertained and pushing creatively. We’ve made up countless stories, characters and places. I watch how my kids interpret the world and it keeps my perspective loose. I can see the effect of a well-told story. If it’s good, they won’t move a muscle; they will hang on to every word. This is what I aspire to do: animate so that each keyframe is worth waiting for.