Sound Design

A Paper Prescription for Plastic Waste

Pixel Farm in Minneapolis, working with Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, had an opportunity to showcase a paper-based packaging solution for what is one of the most wasteful products on the market today. Plastic prescription bottles that are not recyclable.

Pixel Farm with Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness created this short explainer for the international not-for-profit movement Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) showcasing with animation and sound what this new packaging can offer in a world swimming in a sea of discarded plastic waste.

“We sought to bring a serious tone to the piece while imbuing it with a natural and optimistic visual aesthetic. The product needed to be beautiful in its simplicity as a concept yet urgent as an environmental effort.

“Papercraft is always a fun undertaking in CG. It allows for great detail in the textures and subtlety in the movement of the objects. Our approach was to create an entire world out of paper except for our antagonist – the dreaded plastic pill bottle.

“This created a great stage for all of the events and provided contrast by way of color and texture. However, we intentionally broke that rule in the creation of the soil – that needed to be real because, after all, the earth is the ultimate victim.”

This is a really nice visualization addressing what is not the most exciting topic in the world, yet presenting it in a way that is memorable and engaging. It has such a great look to it, truly capturing the presence of paper packaging.

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Animation & Visual Effects: Pixel Farm
Chief Creative Director: Kathy Delaney
Creative Director: Jeff Stevens, Scott Carlton
Associate Creative Director: Lillianna Vazquez
Art Director: Dominick Marotta, Lauren Collett-Solberg, Nate Miller
Senior Art Director: Lauren Chan
Designer: Tim Sandwick
CG Supervisor: Tom Doeden
CG Artist: Adam Dargan, Riley Eastman, Mike Nelson
Editor: Paul Clark
Copywriter: Sam Ballot-Godsey, Bryan Perley, Olga Castellanos
Sound Engineer: Ken Chastain

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

AirPods Max “Journey Into Sound”

With the announcement this week from Apple about the new AirPods Max a flurry of new advertisements promoting the hardware has hit the internet and the airwaves. While the headphones are truly a thing of beauty, and probably sound great I won’t be forking over $549.00 dollars to Apple any time soon for a pair. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy all of the eye candy that is popping up.

Case in point, AirPods Max — Journey into Sound from directing duo Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia. The two have put together a spacey, somewhat trippy Spot that shows off the great design of the new AirPods Max while promoting the high tech audio features. The spot is a one minute and thirty-eight-second experience that probably sounds fantastic on the new AirPods max or my surround sound system at home. (I’ll be watching this again tonight on my TV with the sound turned up for sure.) It’s visually stunning as well with some really nice CG effects, editing, and color grading.

The dream like state of the spot feels so fitting for a person getting lost in music while relaxing on the sofa. It is the perfect product/brand positioning for something that is “a perfect balance of exhilarating high-fidelity audio and the effortless magic of AirPods.” according to Apple.

Freeze Frame

What a great little animation by Director, animator, and sound designer Serafima Serafimova. Amazing line work, fluid animation, nice transitions between sequences. What a great way to escape all of the crap that has been happening since March of this year. It made me think about the Winter Olympics and that is the entire point of this piece. I love the linework that she uses, and if you want to see more like this click-through using the link above. “Still Life” is another little escape built around a series of dance moves blending ballet, swing, and tango.

The Winter Olympics played a big part in my childhood. It was always on the telly and I remember family time spent marveling at the athletes who, to this day, I still think of as superheroes. In a year filled with uncertainty and fear, I found comfort in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics and the joy and positive energy it will bring. I made Freeze Frame in the hope that it would recreate some of the magic I have grown to love and associate with the event. We could certainly use some of it to get us all through the winter months to come.

Art Direction & Animation: Serafima Serafimova
Music: Continent by Anbr
Music Remix: Mark Batch
Sound Design – Serafima Serafimova
Compositing & Moral Support – Giulia Bavagnoli