Sam Mularczyk

Motion & interaction designer


  • Roles
    • Animation
    • 3D
    • Technical Direction
  • Client DesignStudio
  • Year 2022

TapTap is your new home for gaming. With over 9 million users from 170 countries, it helps you uncover your next favourite game. DesignStudio created an adorable new brand that was full of personality, and I was brought on board to animate it.

Bringing the wordmark to life

TapTap's new brand is all about emotion. Our character has 15 unique facial expressions, and the wordmark was designed to match. My role was to bridge the two with motion.

2D and 3D versions of the wordmark.

I'm proud of the solution, reached in strong collaboration with DesignStudio. It's just like the brand - expressive, with a sense of fun and excitement. Smith & Western's sound design is the icing on the cake!

Making Tato!

Tato is the new face of TapTap. An adorable little mascot with massive amounts of personality, they represent all the different emotions you go through when gaming.

DesignStudio had static character designs, and I worked with the team to develop them into fully realised 3D renders.

We used a game-like rendering style: brightly lit with a smooth, glossy finish.

Tato hangs out in groups, because TapTap's all about bringing gamers together. Getting the soft, squishy feeling right was tricky. As we were using softbody simulations to squish them together, a robust and repeatable process was really important.

Ultimately, we found that using a low-res mesh to deform the high-res characters created a much smoother result.

Tato loves to group up with friends.

We developed a suite of different layouts to use for various executions, as well as individual stills of each expression rendered in multiple colours.

Some mockups from the team at DesignStudio.

So emotional

Tato has a lot of different emotions, so I was tasked with developing looping face animations. The designs were already quite expressive, so it was a lot of fun bringing them alive with motion.

A few of my favourites, rendered in our hero green.

I chose to tackle the face animations in After Effects, so I had to come up with a 2D to 3D pipeline. I ended up importing them as high-res textures with displacement maps, while adding additional body movements in Cinema 4D.

Finally, we created a flat emoji set for Discord and Slack. This kept file size low, and we also made a few tweaks to make the expressions more readable at small sizes.

I kinda wish I could use these everywhere.

A flexible promotional toolkit

I was responsible for animating the pieces above!

Video is a big part of the TapTap experience, so the team at DesignStudio developed designs for a flexible broadcast toolkit. I worked on a few fun titles and call to action elements, and developed all the motion assets into usable, dynamic After Effects templates.

An example of how I set up the titles in After Effects.

We also have a TatoPhone!! I modeled, designed and rendered the device in multiple angles so that TapTap could show off their app while staying platform-agnostic.

Had a bit too much fun designing this.

Big thanks to Vincent Raineri for his work leading a bunch of the other type animations and case study elements - you can see more on DesignStudio's Instagram.

So much fun

This project combined basically everything I love: gaming, bright colours, great graphic design and super cute mascots. Working with the team at DesignStudio was icing on the cake - hugely grateful for their amazing feedback and direction.

Hopefully we'll see this on a real billboard someday!

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