The ‘Lost Panda’ story was inspired by an actual Tile customer, a young girl who lost her stuffed animal in a busy city, only to be reunited later with the help of the Tile community. Telling the story from the perspective of Ernie, a stuffed panda, and to bring to life what his owner, Lucy, might have imagined her ‘best friend’ going through in trying to find his way back to her. In her imagination, Ernie gets more and more lost while looking for her, only to be helped home by the ‘good neighbors’ he meets—a metaphor for the Tile community. Of course, in reality, Ernie stays in the exact place he was likely dropped by Lucy, only to be found by a loving father who had the foresight to put a Tile in Ernie’s pocket.
The stunning film was shot on various locations across Europe, combining practical and digital to realize this piece of emotionally charged storytelling.
Working with a practical stuffed panda for in camera reference, we closely studied the movements so that the CG panda inherited all the physical characteristics. Using CG, we were able to add all of the right emotional cues and movements that brought Ernie the panda to life.
In addition to the CG animated lead character, all of the locations were enhanced with detailed digital matte paintings to give the landscapes a spectacular feel for Ernie’s epic journey home.