Motion Graphics

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.”

Taken – David Bowie by Duffy

I’m a sort of fan of David Bowie. When he’s on, he’s on, when he’s off he’s off. I’m fascinated by his chameleon ability to change personality on a dime and change up musical genres and style at the drop of a hat. He was a true artist that transcended definition and refused to be pigeonholed into a single category. Not only that he was able to continue to be an influence across decades of activity. Not all of his music did it for me, but I have to admit there are certain tracks that will always be in rotation on one of my playlists.

A new touring exhibition documenting the collaboration of David Bowie and English photographer Brian Duffy over a five-album period (from 1972 to 1980) becomes all the more intriguing with this promo by Scottish motion director Chris Bain. The trailer does an excellent job of capturing what is in the exhibition, David Bowie’s transition over time from Ziggy Star Dust to the Thin White Duke, and all points in between. Nice motion graphics and animations paired with photographs from the exhibit combine to create a trailer that gives just enough insight to grab your attention without revealing too much of the show itself. Audio is provided by Box of Toys and gives a solid nod to Bowie’s musical style during the period without being overpowering.

Created for Nomad Exhibitions, Bain has done an excellent job of setting up the exhibition and capturing the mood of the period.

“The trailer celebrates two of the 20th century’s most celebrated creative minds. Five iconic photography sessions, across a period, often referred to as Bowie’s golden years – Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke, Lodger, and Scary Monsters.

“The exhibition presented by Nomad Exhibitions in partnership with the Duffy Archive and curated by Paul Morley, will bring to life Bowie and Duffy’s legendary creative process through interviews, music, film, artifacts, photography and also include innovative multimedia displays and immersive projection.”

Art Direction & Animation: Chris Bain Design
Client: Nomad Exhibitions
Music & Sound Design: Box of Toys Audio


 

This is Gullwing

When I first started producing digital content at the end of the 1990s 3D most high-end CG work was done by large studios that could build out render farms to distribute the render load. I remember working on a Mac Quadra 950 with megabytes of RAM, yes megabytes not gigabytes, in Strata Studio Pro, and the computer taking all weekend to render one or two frames. The point of me mentioning this is just how powerful computers and software have gotten in the last couple of decades and the amazing quality of work that is being produced.

This afternoon a friend emailed me a link to the video “Gullwing”, below that was produced by the Lisbon-based studio Briktop. It’s a stunning piece of work that is 100 percent CG. There is a nice little storyline that demonstrates the director João Elias passion for the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. The editing is executed so well helping to draw you into the piece. The sound design combined with the music adds a sense of completeness and drama. It just works. I have no idea what his hardware and software set up is, but I guarantee it’s an affordable desktop rig. If you want to see more of the work from Briktop you can find it here. He’s got a really nice BMW 2002 short as well as more commercial stuff.

By the way, Briktop has some mad skills. He’s been in business for about ten years and started out doing architectural visualizations. The work on the Briktop site shows just how much they have grown, and what they have been able to accomplish in just one decade. Hat tip to them.

Directed and animated by João Elias | Music: Evan Macdonald | Sound design: João Elias