Animation

Nipponpaint Automotive “LOOP”

Director/animator Kakeru Mizui has created an animated short for the Nippon Paint Automotive Coatings division that develops new paint colors for the company. I’m not going to claim to understand the logic behind this. It’s titled “Loop” and is being presented as a “brand film”. I don’t get the brand part of it, and that’s OK. Maybe it’s something that is getting lost in cultural translation between my American Brain, and his Japanese creativity. None the less it is a wonderful animated short that feels heavily influenced by the late illustrator Charlie Harper. It also has some 1980s color pallets and gradients going on which pair nicely with the illustrative style of the animals and other nature elements. Does it make me want to buy paint from Nippon Paint Automotive Coatings? No. It does however have me watching this for the third time now.

Creativity Explained – Color

I’m really loving the “Creativity Explained” series from Adobe these days. In their latest installment they teamed up with Portland based OddFellows and Pentagram partner, Eddie Opara to talk about color. The impact color has on design, and Opara’s view on how color influences graphic design outcomes. OddFelllows work is once again spot on and does a wonderful job of bringing Opara’s voice over to life.

“Multifaceted design-mind and Pentagram partner, Eddie Opara sheds light on color and helps demystify the rainbow.

Creativity, Explained is an animated series from Adobe that explores the fundamental principles of art and design. Part education, part inspiration, each segment is voiced by a luminary in the field and provides highly relevant advice for hobbyists and working creatives alike.

Our challenge was to create a consistent storytelling approach and wrap it in an aesthetic unique to each topic while feeling like part of a cohesive series. In this second segment “On Color,” we explored the emotional side of color along with its theory and application in design.” Chris Kelly – Oddfellows

Deep Fake This – Fashion

The whole “Deep Fake” thing is something I have been interested in for some time. Each year it gets better and better, and as AI / Machine learning and technology advances being able to discern what is real, and what isn’t is getting harder. Where will this be in 10 years is hard to say, but the implications are pretty obvious. What does a person do when they can no longer tell if a video of someone is the real thing or not?

OK, enough of what could lead down a long and disheartening rabbit hole of despair about the future and how technology wreaks havoc on humanity.

To showcase the 2022 Spring Balenciaga fashion collection, creative director Marcus Dryden and the talented crew at MDC combined AI/machine learning, a real-time game engine, and hands-on VFX work to create a deepfake of American artist Eliza Douglas wrapped in every look from Balenciaga’s Spring ’22 collection. There is some live-action footage blended with CG and some solid post-work. They don’t say what the game engine is that they used, but I bet it was probably something like “Unreal”, or “Unity”. Below the video is a statement from Dryden breaking down the production.

“In Pre-production, we were able to plan the whole show. We used a games engine to previsualize which looks could be body doubles vs. which one needed to be the real Eliza. Also, the pre-viz defined the scale of the set for the art department and allowed production to choose the best lens, angles, and positions needed to run the multiple cameras in sync whilst on location.

During the shoot, MPC on-set supervisors Carsten Keller and Damien Canameras captured photogrammetry of Eliza’s face and oversaw a variety of in-situ plates to extract her face and transpose it onto the body doubles shot on the catwalk.

We also used a CG scan of Eliza’s head and an on-set photo reference to build a proxy Eliza head to help visualize the face replacements. This allowed our compositing team to study and analyze each shot, each face to define the best process to achieve the highest-quality clone.

The team then applied the best technique to create the face replacements: Planar tracking, roto animation, Keen Tools (a 3D tracking and modeling tool inside Nuke), and Machine Learning (AI/deep fake).

Once we began attaching Eliza’s faces, we matched light, textures, and motion artifacts using compositing. Using the references and the scan of the head, we made sure each clone’s face was as pixel-accurate to Eliza’s face as possible while still retaining the nuance of the specific Balenciaga design aesthetic.

The final film shows all the clones with Eliza’s photogrammetry-captured and CG-scanned face as they march down a minimalist runway to a sci-fi-inspired soundtrack composed by BFRND, which includes an AI voice narrating the lyrics of La Vie En Rose.”

Danish Modern – The Danish Chair

I have always loved Danish Modern furniture. It is a love affair that began when I was a kid, probably because my mother loved it and she used to take me with her to places like “House of Denmark” when she was window shopping or dreaming of what her house could look like.

The three videos below are from Marius VaitkeviciusThe Danish Chair” project and they are a wonderful breakdown of the history and styling of Danish Modern furniture and applied functionalism. They are informative and feature a great stylistic approach showcasing what you can achieve with Cinema 4D and After Effects. Great production value, a solid story, attention to detail, what more could you ask for?

Each one is about 2 minutes in length so they are easy to digest. It’s Monday, and lunch time somewhere. Take a few minutes and relax while learning about the influence of Danish Modern on the world.