Gunner, their new film “Mesh” and the importance of changing things up

Gunner is a name you may not have heard, yet, but should definitely know.

Hailing from Detroit, Gunner is something special. Something that represents a shifting landscape which challenges the status quo and the big studio model: a small group of talented self-starters, who can keep their overhead low and provide amazing quality work.

While Gunner’s client list may be small, their creative is not. In addition to paving their own path from Detroit, they’re also investing in themselves through self-initiated projects, like their new short film “Mesh.”

With Gunner’s ever growing body of work, I’d wager that we’ll be hearing a lot from them in the near future.

In the meantime, here’s a behind the scenes look at the making of their new film and a Q&A with Ian Sigmon and Nick Forshee of Gunner on their new short film, “Mesh.”

Making of

Q&A with Gunner

Congrats on the new short, it seems like you’ve been super busy up in Detroit! Can you tell us a bit about how this project came about?

Thanks! We’re having a blast in Detroit. It’s been a nice kind of busy for us, we’re able to work remotely for some great clients, and when we can, we sneak in fun little projects like Mesh! This project got its start after we tossed around a ton of goofy ideas while working out of our first office (a.k.a Nick’s garage). The idea grew as we became more and more interested in 3d scans and we really wanted to blend cel and 3D in a way we never had before. It also gave us an excuse to bring on a bunch of amazingly talented friends to help us out.

There is some interesting tech behind this animation. Can you tell us about your process and what you used?

An iPhone! Haha, and a really neat app from autodesk.

Which came first, the concept or was this more of an excuse to explore a new workflow/technology?

Not really sure which came first. We got super inspired by the dreamlike islands that Autodesk’s 123d Catch made, which was really the spark for the project. After pulling multiple scans into one c4d scene, we became super curious if something could interact with the raw photo scans.

“Mesh” seems like a slight departure for you. It definitely has that Gunner flavor but at the same time, feels new. Is this a response to anything or are you simply changing things up to keep things fresh?

I guess it’s a product of combining some interests. Nick was super into expansive foggy scenes that play with scale, and I was drawing a lot of big frumpy huggable characters. I guess we were hoping to achieve some magic by forcing our interests to live in the same world.

Building on the last question, I love how you combined two very different styles. You’ve found a way to combined the best of both the 2D and 3D worlds. There’s a lot of contrast here but it works really well! Were there any difficulties in merging these two worlds?

More fun than difficult really. We had Cel animators reference our 3D roughs, and then 3D animation referenced our Cel. That way we could match up the hands and feet with lights in the scene. Honestly, the most difficult part was the dog looking flat during the camera dolly, parallax type stuff.

Finally, what’s next for Gunner?

We’re looking to grow the Gunner fam a bit more, so we can do a bigger group hug.

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About the author

Joe Donaldson

Joe Donaldson is a director, designer, and animator who worked on Motionograpgher from 2014-2020. Previously, he was an art director at Buck. Over the past decade, he's lived and worked in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles and has directed work for clients such as Apple, Google, Instagram, The New York Times, Unicef, Etsy, and The New Yorker. In addition to his creative work, in 2018 he started Holdframe. He's now working as a professor at Ringling College of Art and Design and when not teaching he can be found spending time with his family or out running.


Paul Ducco

Such an epic piece of work. Been keeping an eye on them already, but this just went next level. Inspiring.

Jeremy Sahlman

E P I C !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! soy soy good.


That was (weird) awesome!

Anthony Atwood

I’ve worked with Gunner on a few projects for Yahoo and they are beyond talented. Do yourself a favor and hire them if you want things done right. They are the shit.

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