HouseSpecial animation team brings DT’s Holiday Gift Guide to life with miniatures

Digital Trends Live host Greg Nibler welcomed Gee Staughton, the art director at HouseSpecial, to our Portland studio to talk about how his company helped make Digital Trends’ 2018 Holiday Gift Guide come to life.

“The vision for [the Holiday Gift Guide] was to try and make a world that would have little scenarios, but then you realize the world itself is built from some of the products,” Staughton said. “There were a lot of conversations, but right from the first meeting, it felt like this was going to be a fun project.”

gee staughton interview diy gift guide full

HouseSpecial is an animation company that specializes in all types of animation, as well as storytelling and character design. Originally known as LAIKA/house, HouseSpecial was the iconic commercial arm of the renowned stop-motion animation studio LAIKA before becoming its own independent company. Some of Staughton’s previous stop-motion work includes the award-winning Chipotle short,”Back to the Start,” and campaigns for Planters, Travel Portland, and Dish Network.

Staughton and his team created five elaborate miniature scenes for the DT gift guide, from a tiny cooking class to a packed concert, that feature life-size pieces of tech like portable speakers, headphones,and immersion blenders, as well as tiny character models. The figures were designed in HO scale, or 1:87, which is the traditional scale for model railroads.

gee staughton interview foodie gift guide full

“There are some characters and little elements that you can get that work on model railroad scale, so if we could find things that could adapt, that worked really well. But for the most part, no one is putting a cookery class in their model railroad scene, so we had to make everything, which is part of what we do,” Staughton said.

All five of the scenes created by Staughton and HouseSpecial are featured in Digital Trends’ 2018 Gift Guide, which showcases potential gifts for all the tech-lovers in your life, from the traveler to the DIYer and more.

Digital Trends Live airs at 9 a.m. PT from Monday through Friday, with highlights available on demand after the stream ends. For more information, check out the DT Live homepage, and be sure to watch live for the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card, among other prizes.

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