One of my regular podcast listens is On Being with John O’Donohue and I have been listening quite a bit more in the last 6 months for a number of reasons I’m not going to go into here. If you have some free time give it a listen, I guarantee it’ll be worth your time.
Recently Giant Ant, one of my favorite motion graphics/video/design firms was given the opportunity to put together a short animated piece for On Being and results are wonderful.
Giant Ant was given a wide open brief to work with so they had plenty of room to explore and take some risks. What they produced is a 44 second animated short that moves from illustrative to abstract and back again balanced against O’Donohue’s narration. It’s really quite lovely and frankly, I’d love to see something like this done for the entire length of the podcast. (I know time and money…)
It’s Friday, watch something cool and learn while you are at it. I have to admit I had watch this a few times to get all the information because I kept looking at Felipe Vargas animation and illustrations and not paying attention to all of the text on screen. The video below was commissioned by The World Economic Forum to highlight the top 10 emerging technologies. Vargas, and Pablo Gonzalez directed the short which features illustration work by Vargas who was also the primary animator, along with small but very talented animation support team. It’s a great little short with a look that really reminds me of Charlie Harper ( not the character from Two and a Half Men ).
“A diverse range of breakthrough technologies, including batteries capable of providing power to whole villages, “socially aware” artificial intelligence and new generation solar panels, could soon be playing a role in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges. The World Economic Forum requested a short Animation conveying this important message. A short deadline demanded simple, but attractive animations and graphics that could tell the story without a voiceover.” __ Directed by Pablo Gonzalez and Felipe Vargas at SMOG Creative Direction by Pablo Gonzalez at SMOG Design and Illustrations by Felipe Vargas. Animation direction by Felipe Vargas. Animations by: Felipe Vargas, Patricio Molina, Berni Bruner, Spiro Bunster and Francisco Castro.
The video below took a year to complete. Hyperrealistic statuettes of wrestling talent were hand sculpted in Maya and later shaded to look like marble. if you count the number of figures and then combine it with the environment they are placed in you’ll understand why. This is an enormous project for any team to tackle, but the end result is one solid promotion for Royal Rumble.
The Royal Rumble spot is a reimagined and rebranded rethink, conceptualized from the ground up to showcase one of the big four events that WWE produces throughout the year. It is a retelling of the storied past and grand moments from events past and those yet to be written. Perfectly paced, with a solid script and voice over the visuals hook you and pull you into the spot.
“Labored on over the course of a year, hyperrealistic statuettes of wrestling talent were hand sculpted and then later shaded to look like marble in Maya. An enormous and detailed tableau provides the backdrop for the reimagining, referencing structures from ancient kings on the left and progressing to more modern structures that nod towards the robber barons of the industrial revolution. A leitmotif of ornamental detailing weaves itself throughout the piece creating a cohesion that culminates with the apex, a ring that all the competitors aspire to conquer.”
VP Production & Graphics | Chris Siciliano
Senior Managing Director | Kevin Callahan
Art Director | Jacques Broquard
Set Supervisor & Designer | Gib Patterson
Modeler | Jeff Lee
Lead Character Sculptor | Hossein Diba
Character Sculptor | Ebrahim Diba
Character Sculptor | Daniel Peteuil
Character Supervisor | Sean Thorpe
Animation TD | Matthew Thurber
Character Animator | Cilian Tung
Motion Graphics Animator | David Durand
Rigger | Hayden McGowan
Lighting TD | Matthew Gleason
Lighter & Compositor | Paul Wei
Lighter & Compositor | Jason Garrison
In the world of film production and CG effects, there is a separate world of motion designers that craft user interfaces for on screen displays. They are a unique group of individuals that craft high-tech, or LoFi looks for the film industry from scratch. What they uild has to be unique, creative, convincing, and blend with the overall look and feel of the film. In many ways, these teams are creating another character for the actors to interact with. When it’s done right, it can be absolutely mesmerizing. This work is complex, involved, highly detailed, and time consuming to produce.
For Guardians of the Galaxy, Territory Studios produced a multitude of screens for the entire movie. They developed everything from dancing particle systems, to unique type faces that are used in the on-screen displays. Below is a sampling of some of the unique UI systems they created, along with a show reel of the total. The link above takes you to Territories site, where there are a number of still frames that really highlight the quality of the work they did for this movie.
When BDA Creative won the pitch to develop the rebrand for the factual lifestyle channel Fine Living, they had strict budgetary constraints. The result is a series of idents that are totally CGI. By going with full CGI instead of shooting live in a multitude of locations they were able to develop smartly designed spaces that could be international and aspirational.
Working with London’s Studio Hansa, BDA used distinct colors that reflect the five key areas of interest that Fine Living embodies. Red for Cuisine, yellow for Well-being, blue for Travel, pink for Style and green for Home. Each ident focuses attention on both the Fine Living logo as well as the animated components that reinforce the brand and place them squarely at the center of the Fine Living universe. The result is a series of fluid animations where it is hard to believe that everything in each shot is an animated 3D model. This is really nice work from both teams.
This is what happens when you put a top notch designer and animator together. They create a visual feast for your eyes. The video below features the design work of Penny Dombroski, and the skilled animation of Tom McCarten. Through well timed animation cycles, clean simple graphics, and a well written script, the two of them manage to take what could be a fairly boring topic; (AIG Financial restructuring and sponsoring a rugby team), and make it into something you might actually want to watch to the very end. Really, really nice work.
If you have the time and are interested, the SVA Motion Graphics Portfolio screening for the 2014 SVA Motion Graphics seniors is below. It’s 40 minutes of animated goodness and shows the talent that is graduating this year. The total of the work shows a diversity of styles and techniques as well as emerging trends in the field. I’ve been watching it in small bits over the course of the day. Like I’ve said before, it’s a good time to be a design student. The work these kids are putting out is top notch, thanks to the tools and training at hand.