Steve Santer – Digital Art Direction and Motion Design


SplashDance – Children’s TV Show Brand Design, Art Direction, Motion Graphics, and Illustration

From September 2015 to mid Jan 2016, I had the great opportunity to be part of the key crew for a new concept in kid’s tv programming; SplashDance. Which is shown on ABC Kids in Australia.

SplashDance Opening Title Animation

I was commissioned to brand the show as well as Art Direct, Illustrate, and create all the Animations and Motion Graphics, as well as composite the live footage over the sets of the 26 episodes for season 1. And a further 5 for part B of season 1.

Working with the Producer / Creator: Maree Kirkland-Morris; Director: Deb Ryan; and Composer: John Field, I was able to create a lot of fun, colourful, and child friendly worlds for the performers to exist in. We referenced colour palettes and patterns of the 1960′s and 70′s throughout to give an energetic vibe to the show.

SplashDance is a TV series all about Dance, Music and Energy, with a hint of magic and weirdness thrown in. Aimed at the under 6s market. To get to design the show, illustrate, and animate the 26 (now 31) wonderful worlds was certainly one of the most fun projects I’ve worked on for many years. Looking forward to more in the future.

Below is a  selection of the  illustration work. I used Affinity Designer for most of the illustration work, and some elements were modelled and rendered in Cinema 4D. The final animations, green screen, and composition was completed in Adobe After Effects and broadcast colour within Premiere.

My process starts with a rough sketch or scamp as I call them. Followed by a more complete sketch on paper with ink of the prop or set. Once this is approved I create the illustration in Affinity.

Sketches, studies, design, and final composite from I Love Bananas – 1 of 31 episodes. This still showing Daniel Milne performing.

Opening Title Sequence


SplashDance - Colour Wrong Farm - Steven Santer
SplashDance Colour Wrong Farm Set design illustration. Filled with wrong coloured farm animals!

Underwater World Illustration - created in Affinity - for SplashDance
Underwater World Set Design Illustration

After Effects render of set up test for one of the illustrated scenes showing a magical twilight forest setting of Waltzing.
SplashDance - Tiger Roar Landscape Set - Steven Santer
Extended set design of the SplashDance Tiger Roar episode.

The water feature on the side is shown in one side shot during the song and gives the sense of a more complete environment the actors are inhabiting.

SplashDance-Hot-Beach-Hop Set Design- Steven Santer
Tropical setting for the SplashDance Hot Beach Hop Episode. The cast hop over the hot sand to the shaded grass areas on either side.

I have also created a number of colouring in illustrations as part of an offline promotion to kindergartens.


Part of the privilege of being able to work on children’s entertainment is receiving feedback from parents on how their children are enjoying the show. Following is one such message (names of the sender and child have been changed):

Hello M,
My 4 year old son Robert and 2 yr old daughter are absolutely obsessed with splash dance. Can you please tell me if a dvd/ cd is going to be released? Robert often refers to himself as Adrian now, and only wants to wear the clothes that he is seen wearing in the clips. I would set up to record them on my set top box however ABC don’t have them programmed on their own so I can’t.
Any light you can shed would be most appreciated.

Executive Producer / Producer — Maree Kirkland-Morris
Director / Choreographer — Deb Ryan
Director of Photography — David Collins
Music Director / Composer — John Field
Art Director / Illustrator / Motion Graphics — Steven Santer
Editor / Director’s Assistant — Brianna Cook
Audio Engineer / Post Sound — Phil Grove

Get in touch

I am always interested to hear from people and you’re most welcome to get in touch via LinkedIn or Twitter.