Manchester City FC

FA Cup 1904 Animation

Man City’s First Trophy Win

A few years ago Manchester City FC became custodians of the historic 1896-1920 FA Cup Trophy, and to celebrate the occasion they produced a documentary commemorating their first ever trophy win in 1904 (also the first for any Manchester club). One issue they soon ran into however was a lack of footage and photography from the day itself. Enter Grizzle, to produce a series of animated vignettes to bring life to some of the key moments from the match and the resulting victory parade.

The Challenge

The main challenge here was translating what reference we did have into engaging scenes from the day of the match. We had a couple of photos of the pitch and the players, but mostly we were working from contemporary newspaper articles and their quirky accompanying engravings. It turns out photos weren’t widely used in newspapers until a decade or two later! Most important of all was capturing team captain Billy Meredith’s goal, alongside his exquisite moustache.

The Process

With only a limited time to produce these shots, we opted for an illustration forward approach. We’d prioritise getting a really nice illustration drawn up first, ensuring any moving parts were split up into separate layers. This allowed us to take these illustrations into After Effects and animate them like puppets, avoiding the sometimes long and arduous process of frame by frame animation.

The Last Details

The finishing touch of course was to add a lovely film grain effect and sepia tone. This really helped our animation fit with the archive footage used in in the documentary, and who doesn’t love a good film grain.