HISTORY American Pickers: Across America


As American Pickers entered its 20th season, we knew we had to do something special to celebrate this milestone. The series follows Mike, Frank and Danielle as they travel across the country searching for everything from small trinkets to large antique vehicles. With only 30 seconds to tell our story, the team came up with a simple and elegant solution that portrays the varying landscapes and characters they meet along the way. We created a single continuous camera move that orbits the guys along their journey. While the duo remains in stride, the backgrounds match cut from scene to scene as they meet colorful characters and collect objects across America. The first location begins at sunrise and as we progress through each location the sun slowly sets into early evening. Eventually Mike and Frank get into their sprinter van and hit the road before returning back home to the iconic shop Antique Archeology.


Our first major stepping stone was bringing our beloved real world characters into a fully animated environment. Even after 20 seasons the cast had never been depicted through animation. We began exploring with a variety of different styles before landing on our final look. 


Next up, was creating the story. We wanted to begin the entire trip with a touching moment that showcased the signature handshake that takes place during an exchange. We settled on the first object being an antique pocket watch. This sets the tone of the spot which alludes to the orbiting camera and the passage of time. 


It was important to us that we create different American landscapes that had plenty of varying color and contrast. The gang frequently visits barns, junkyards and off the road locations. We knew we had a couple of boxes to check but we still hand to fill in the locations in between.


After hammering out our locations and story, we began nailing down the specifics. The team, then, created concept art of the buildings, set pieces and props. Landing us in a semi-stylized world oozing with charm that helped immensely when bringing our props into 3D.


We’re super pumped with how all the moving pieces came together in the end. Here are some styleframes showing off the final look.