Illustration

What if Everything You Thought Was Real Was Actually Fake?

I was out on Vimeo checking out the latest work by Eoin Duffy for TedEd and decided to share this animation for a couple of reasons. First, the quality of the work is just outstanding. The quality of the animation and illustration is really well done. The sound design enhances the mood and works so well with the visual style of the piece, and the writing/narration leads the viewer through the story so well.

The subject matter is one of those great “wrap your noodle around these concepts”. What if everything you think is real is just a giant simulation that some supreme set of beings is controlling? What if its all fake and were just too complacent to realize this? Take a few minutes to watch the video and then spend the rest of your day contemplating all of this.

You can check out more of Duffy’s work on Vimeo here.

WRITER – Zohreh Davoudi
ANIMATION – Eoin Duffy & Henrique Barone
VOICE – Christina Greer
AUDIO – QB Sound
CLIENT – TedEd

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“The Finish Line”. Honda’s Amazing Formula One Racing Promotion.

Four things I like. Good Design, auto racing, animation/motion graphics, and high-quality video production. When these elements combine into something that epically leverages all of them it’s hard to contain myself. 

I love this video. I’m not sure who the production company was behind it, or if Honda did this in house but the end result is spectacular. The video showcases Honda’s involvement in Formula One racing opening with racing legend Richie Ginther at the wheel of the Honda RA272, which won Honda’s first F1 race at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix. The car then morphs into Ayrton Senna’s iconic MP4/4 from 1988 making its way around the narrow corners of the Monaco Grand Prix. Then the animation jumps all the way to 2006 when Jenson Button won the Hungarian Grand Prix at the wheel of Honda’s own F1 car and team. From there we cut to Max Verstappen and his heroic win at the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix, and then again at the German Grand Prix.

The piece is interlaced with live-action footage from the races, highly stylized animation, nice use of typography, all built on a limited color pallet of red, black, yellow, blue and white. The style of the animation has a nice graphic novel look, that is matched perfectly to the driving music and soundtrack of engine sounds, crowd, and announcer overlays that help pull the whole thing together. The small details like the speed lines that emanate from the bold titles and the insertion of the Japanese text is a really nice visual design touch that is carried throughout the entire video.

Well done Honda. This is one of the better promotional pieces I’ve seen for Formula One. I’m not sure where this is going to run but I have a feeling during broadcast F1 races. It has a run length of 60 seconds and could be edited down to a 30, or even a 15-second spot if needed.

The high production value on this is sure to pay off. So a solid spot.

Ahead of 2020, Beware the Deepfake – The Atlantic

There is plenty of political implications in the video below, but that isn’t why I’m posting it. The animation is really really nice, and when coupled to the voice over it becomes an engaging piece that draws you in and holds your attention for three and a half minutes.

Produced for the Atlantic this team of designers, animators, illustrators, and writers have crafted an informative short that addresses an issue that is going to become more problematic in the near future. The use of Deepfake technology.

I watched this first with the sound on, taking in the entirety of the messaging. Then I hit the mute button and watched it again. There is a great rhythm to the piece. Sections flow together and create nice visual layouts. The sparse color pallet adds to the drama and focuses your attention.

I don’t care what your political stance is, or which side you choose to vote for or why. This technology will have some crazy implications for things beyond elections in the near future. Oh, and be forewarned. If you google Deepfakes to see examples of how this is being used, there are a ton of adult videos that will show up.

“We are crossing over into an era where we have to be skeptical of what we see on video,” says John Villasenor, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Villasenor is talking about deepfakes—videos that are digitally manipulated in imperceptible ways, often using a machine-learning technique that superimposes existing images or audio onto source material. The technology’s verisimilitude is alarming, Villasenor argues because it undermines our perception of truth and could have disastrous consequences for the upcoming U.S. presidential election. I’do think deepfakes are going to be a feature of the 2020 elections in some way,” Villasenor says. “And their shadow will be long.”

A full credits list is at the end of the animated short if you are interested in the team that put this together.

The Anticipated Death of Illustration Never Happened.

When I first began my career the world of design, marketing, and advertising was 90 percent analog. There were phototypesetting tools available, but most of the work was very much old school. The copy was written up on typewriters, layouts were assembled via paste-up, color separation was done by hand and illustration was created with paint, pencils, ink, and other tangible items.

I remember having a discussion with a colleague in the early 1990’s where he proclaimed that the art of illustration was over. That digital had ushered in the end of an era and that Photoshop and Illustrator (maybe Freehand) were going to rule the world. Fast forward a couple of decades and take a look around. Just like the Kindle and iPad were going to kill off books, digital didn’t kill off traditional illustration methods.

There were extraordinary eras of illustration before mass media changed our viewing habits. Illustration was the most primary means of illuminating the word on paper. Today, when we get our words and images on screens as small as a watch face the role of illustration, might have shifted, but it is more free and varied than ever. Designers, artists, and illustrators are holding their own producing content for every kind of media.

Taschen recently released a new book “The Illustrator. 100 Best from around the World” showcasing 100 illustrators compiled by Steven Heller and Julius Weidemann over a ten-year period of time.

This 600-page book contains examples of work, bio’s of the artists that created them and truly shows sheer quality, diversity, intensity, comedy, and the vivacity of the work that is being produced. From veterans like Brad Holland, whose works for the New York Times’ op-ed section revolutionized illustrative content in the 1970s, to rising stars like Robin Eisenberg, with her pastel aliens cruising in spaceships on album covers, the 100 artists in this collection are just the tip of the iceberg, but they represent a compelling snapshot of the styles, techniques, and use of color by artists across the world.

What an inspiration.

Friday Fun. Symmetry Behind The Laws of Nature.

It’s Friday, time to learn something while enjoying this nice little animation from the Royal Institute. Produced by Ed Prosser, directed and animated byRosanna Wan, with sound design by Marian Mentrup this 4 minute short teaches about the laws of symmetry in nature and physics. You’ll learn about Emmy Noether’s theory that proves the need for symmetry and much more. Narrated by Tara Shears, this is an easy to follow piece with a great look and a nice rhythm to it. The weekend is here, get lost in a little bit of physics.

Dress Code for Project Ellis

Dress Code has produced a really nice animated short for Project Ellis, an organization dedicated helping immigrants to the United States by providing advice, legal counsel, or money. There is a website hat is listed at the end of the short film, but it’s not quite ready for primetime. The testimonials page still has lorem ipsum greeking text on it. None the less the animation from Dress Code has a really solid look to it with a hint of mid-century modern design that reminds me of the look that Childcraft “How and Why” books I had as a kid. Oh and if you are unaware as to how the fourth and fifth amendments to the United States Constitution work, this will give a quick overview of what they are and how to use them.

BRIKK Animates the State of the Planet

For the last month and a half, along with my daily workload, I had been producing a bunch of stuff for last week’s InfoComm 17 which all but consumed my waking hours. Now that the show has past, and looks like it will be a huge success for my company, I decided to take some time this Monday morning and do some research and get some inspiration. The video below from BRIKK is a three and a half minute animation that is beautifully executed and provides you with some food for thought on this Monday morning. Follow along as BRIKK explores the major milestones that have shaped the world as Earth moves farther into the Anthropocene – the latest geologic epoch named for humanity’s influence on the globe. Get lost in the lush textures, rich color pallet, and illustrative storytelling. Then ask yourself, “Is there intelligent life on planet earth?”