Rock Hard, Abs

There’s a bunch of great work that I want to post, but I’ve only got a couple minutes before I have to head to class. With just two days left in the quarter, things are pretty hectic. Sleep is not a friend to me.

It makes perfect sense, then, that I relate to the cyborgian metamorphoses in 1st Avenue Machine’s lastest effort, a trailer for the Japan MTV Video Music Awards.


1st Avenue Machine has quickly established itself as a serious player in the “shaky camera + CG elements in the city” game. It’s tricky work, because even general viewers are hyper-sensitive to the compositing without even realizing it. The slightest aberration in lighting or shading can be devastatingly distracting.

I think 1st Avenue Machine generally does a great job avoiding such distractions�although I must admit I did find myself at times wondering if maybe this surface was too bright or if that edge was too sharp. Because the spot moves along at such a rapid clip, however, my misguided ponderings were mercifully cut short, and I was able to simply enjoy the show.

I hope you can do the same.

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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  • matt

    There is no way in the world that your average viewer would view that piece and think that some surfaces are too bright. I like this style. Obviously they are going for a realistic look, but you know it isn’t real and therefore it gives them a little bit of room to push the look of the parts a little bit.

  • I wanna turn into an effin’ ROBOT!

  • David

    The track is a variation of this song, but the name escapes me. Anyone know what song the track is a remix of?


  • najork

    The track is “FRAU WAV (BRIEF FLING)’ by Clark (formerly chris clark).
    Not a remix I think.

  • Since no one else has done it yet, I’m going to give myself props for the bad ass headline of my post.

    Nice one, Justin.

  • zoule

    goddddaaaeeemmnn !! i loike !! i loike !! not really ‘something new’ , but this somehow reminds me of Sony PSP, done by The Mill .. sweet !

  • David

    I like apricots. seriously, I love them.

  • pj

    i love this piece but agree it looks a bit too ‘3d’ but its tracked so damn rad its sorta like who cares…. disco.

  • Jon

    “Since no one else has done it yet, I’m going to give myself props for the bad ass headline of my post.”

    I haven’t visited for a couple of days… I second that props. Its not a *real* post if the healdine isn’t a pun.

  • brandj

    I don’t get the headline. ???

  • wowza

    “but its tracked so damn rad its sorta like who cares”

    um… you mean minus the last shot where it slips like banana in a cartoon? It’s a nice spot and pretty well executed, but there are a few little things. Nicely done overall though.

  • najork

    That zoom in the last shot does look a bit off to me too. I wonder if they needed to fudge the scaling to fit everything in frame without having to remodel.

    For those confused about the headline.
    “Rock hard abs” = an abdomen that is rock hard
    “Rock hard, abs” = an abdomen that is rocking hard, possibly because it has a speaker in it.

  • Subtlety is a lost art. :)

  • it looks a little weird because the tracking is not perfect, and the film has a slight grain, the CG elements don’t, which makes it look out of place. Nonetheless, this is an amazing piece of work!