A Sunny Side Project – Beach Bod

Side projects are an important part of our work at No Magnolia. Not only do they allow us to get creative on personal ideas, but they allow us to explore new techniques and styles whilst developing small fun stories.

Beach bod was born out of the idea of exploring small frustrations in life, whether it’s struggling to find the end of the sellotape or in this case, just keeping a parasol upright for some well earned shade!


From the initial idea of dealing with a faulty parasol which refused to stay up, we developed the idea of one man’s search for a blissful day at the beach further, exploring ways to expand the idea to create more of a story. Ideally we were looking to create a 60 second animation that could be added to when we had time, fitting it around other projects.

We looked at a lot of inspiration from Dribbble, Instagram, Behance and beyond to get an idea of the style that could work for the story, settling on a bold 2D animation with subtle textures and shading to add additional details.

Beach Bod Design Inspiration

Beach Bod Designs

From some initial sketches, we refined the look of the main character ‘Olly’ and developed a look for the environment. We wanted the animation to feel fun and cartoony whilst keeping the overall colour palette fairly limited.

Designs for the character and environment


After settling on a look for the animation we developed the overall story by creating a rough storyboard. Our go-to storyboard tool Boords was used to plan out the animation, exploring different ways of expanding upon the original idea with quick notes and sketches to develop the story without having to design and animate full scenes. This was refined, turning the basic black and white pencil sketches into a more developed storyboard with sample visuals, shown below.

Beach Bod storyboard


The animation was carried out in sections and evolved as the story was developed even further, adding more of a focus on the crab as well as the addition of some comedy in the ending. All animation was carried out within After Effects but we explored a wide range of plug-ins.

Olly was originally rigged with a RubberHose setup to help animate the arms and legs, using the advanced styling options to create muscles and kneecaps to add more style to the design. Although this worked well it was slow to animate, particularly when multiple RubberHose setups appeared in each composition. We explored other options before moving to a Limber setup which worked much quicker for what we needed. Limber also provided options to give the character more realistic muscles, whilst keeping render times down as much as possible.


We also experimented with the Paint & Stick plug-in to create a large wave. This a lot of fun to create but very time consuming as each layer had to be hand drawn frame by frame, building up the layer in stages to add highlights, shading and water spray to make the wave seem more realistic.

Building up the wave layer by layer

Sound Effects

Once the animation was locked down and only needed minor updates, we looked at creating a sound effects mix in Adobe Audition to bring it all to life. We sourced a variety of sound effects for waves, seagulls, crabs and the beach ball, as well as recording some custom Foley sounds in-house for the weather report and the man’s reactions. With over 60 sounds effects as well as a backing music track, the sound helps to add a lot of atmosphere to the final video.

Beach Bod sound effects and music

Finishing Touches

Finally we added finishing touches to add extra details to the animation. The crab was given footprints showing where he’d been and Olly was given additional shading to show him slowly getting a sunburn. We also added custom sun flares and additional textures to the environment to add extra detail where it seemed bare.

Overall the final video was a lot of fun to put together and was heavily adapted from the initial idea to develop the story further into something that would have more comedy to it. The final video had extra elements such as a radio and a construction montage added to it to bring the final video to just over 90 seconds in length.