Specsavers' Rapunzel: The Making Of

Tue 17 Oct 2017

The Kitchen were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Specsavers on the retelling of the Rapunzel classic with a humorous twist, for their latest TVC. The brief was to show how Specsavers are now able to offer home eye tests for those who cannot easily travel to a store, in a fun and engaging way. The client was keen to show this fairytale world in a traditional hand drawn style taking inspiration from early-animated films.

Character development:

Our character designer Jacob Merrick-Wolf, began working up the initial designs for the Knight, his trusty steed and Rapunzel. These were then followed by the dragon who needed to look menacing but still approachable. We wanted to keep the classic fairytale of damsel in distress and knight in shining armour whilst steering away from Disney to make them unique to Specsavers and this commercial. 

Early Rapunzel concepts

Final colour character lineup

We started by creating a rough thumbnail board outlining the action, which we then took into the animatic stage. This gave us the opportunity to tweak and re-order shots until we had a good flow to the narrative. We were able to look at the timing and pacing as well as cutting to a guide voice over.

Environment Development:

When thinking of the overall look and feel of the commercial, we decided fairly early on to concentrate a lot of the detail into the background environments and to keep the characters more stripped back, with flat shading along with a simple shadow and highlight pass.

Coloured storyboard by Chervelle Fryer

This allowed Chervelle Fryer - one of Jelly London's 'Future's' illustrators - to create a world which is rich with texture and detail. She did a fantastic job of bringing our initial background sketches to life with an impressive level of realism and a beautiful colour palette, which compliments the characters perfectly. 


The client wanted the film to have a nostalgic handmade feel to it, which only truly comes from traditional 2D cel animation. We broke the shots down and worked out that the majority would be animated by hand with the remaining scenes being done in After Effects. We were also able to use 3D to bring the tower to life and give it more depth as the camera pans up it. 

Initial poses for scroll sequence

Animation breakdown

We were in close contact with the client during the early stages, who would review the animation during the initial blocking process before it was then further refined and coloured. As shots were approved we then began the compositing stage, which allowed us to tie together the 2D animated character sequences with the background elements. We added some subtle lighting effects and an initial grade in the edit. Once approved we then finished up the commercial at Nice Biscuits with the clients for the final colour grade.

Check out the ad here.