pictureDRIFT & Smog: Rock Bottom Riser

Hello all. Yes, I’m not dead – I’ve been really busy with finishing University for good. Not that you care, but it just means I’ve had a couple of things in my inbox for a bit that I should have posted… but didn’t. Sorry.

smog

Anyway, a little while ago you might have seen a clip for Smog, entitled ‘Rock Bottom Riser‘ by Sydney studio pictureDRIFT. Since then its been featured in onedotzero and the Ottawa Animation Festival 06 and will be screening in Resfest10 and the Bradford animation festival. With good cause too, because it is a beautifully realized clip.

Recently I had a quick chat with Brendan Cook, one of the guys behind the clip and Design Director at pictureDRIFT, and he was kind enough to provide a bit of an insight into what went into making it:

Some history on Paul McNeil and myself
The first real project we did together was a tvc for the national youth radio network in Australia called triple J (you can see this on the pictureDRIFT website). We developed a good working relationship on this project and have continued to work together since when a project comes up that we are both interested in.

How the project came about
Paul had all of these paintings that he had done for an exhibition in NY, He had about 700, and was a bit frustrated that they were sitting in a box after they had been shown. He thought they would make a great animated video but felt passionately that it had to be for just the right song, and if we committed to making it needed no outside interference from anyone other than ourselves. Paul knew Bill Callahan from Smog. He really liked it so we continued on with it. Bill or the record companies were not even looking for a video for this song (as far as we know) it was just an idea that was thrown out there, DC and Spunk records in Australia got involved once it was all finished and have since released the video on a new Rock Bottom Riser EP because he’d done a couple of posters for him and is a huge fan. We decided on Rock Bottom Riser – we both really loved that song (even though it is Really long!), we then did a 30 second test of animation to the track to test the idea and sent it off to Smog. He really liked it so we continued on with it. Bill or the record companies were not even looking for a video for this song (as far as we know) it was just an idea that was thrown out there, DC and Spunk records in Australia got involved once it was all finished and have since released the video on a new Rock Bottom Riser EP.

Some info on the process
All artwork was hand painted by Paul McNeil in Byron Bay (www.paulmcneil.com) , he sent a huge selection of images (over 300) down to me in Sydney at picturedrift, I then selected various images and scanned these in to do make an animatic/edit which we both then agreed on before animating. I then cut up the paintings in aftereffects so that I could animate various elements of each painting separately in 3d space and combine paintings together to make new images and transitions if needed. A mix of filmed smoke and ink images were combined to make mattes that the paintings are revealed through.

Festivals
The video has screened in ten festivals over the last year, this has been very encouraging as I have really just sent the clip off myself in the hope of getting it out there.
I recently attended one of the festivals , the Ottawa Animation Festival and it was very inspiring to see so many great animations from all over the globe and meet up with other animators and indy film makers.

Below are the various festivals Rock Bottom Riser has screened in.

Indy Music Video Festival 06 – Toronto NXNE
Videoteque 06 – Site Gallery UK
Byron Bay Film Festival 06
St Kilda Film Festival 06 – Winner Best Music Video Animation / Audience Choice award
Future Shorts UK 06
One Dot Zero 10
Resfest 10
Ottawa International Animation Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival 06 / Mirrorball
Bradford Animation Festival 06″

I really love this little insight, because it was one of those projects that just happened because it fell together out of artists loving what they do, and getting recognition for it. Its also nice to see how much value there can be in putting a little effort into just getting your work out there to be seen – students take note. Much respect Mr.Cook.

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  • RAD

  • rothermel

    3d stroke and ink in water transition…. whats new here?

  • rothermel wrote:
    3d stroke and ink in water transition…. whats new here?

    umm, beautiful illustrations and transitions that are all class buddy.
    This clip is a perfect visual representation of the song.
    Try enjoying work for what it is rather getting caught up with ‘plug-in’ trainspotting…

    Great stuff Picturedrift!

  • Derelict

    Not that impressed? 1997 looks good to m e. Don’thave the guts to describe why. Don’t think it shouldve been posted. not as good. not good.\\\\\\\\ ;NOT WHAT SMOG DESERVES.

  • Animated poem, great work.

  • rothermel

    “umm, beautiful illustrations and transitions that are all class buddy.
    This clip is a perfect visual representation of the song.
    Try enjoying work for what it is rather getting caught up with ‘plug-in’ trainspotting…”

    well they didnt illustrate it, and the transitions have been done a million times before. its just not so original. cute execution, but played out techniques.

  • Jon

    Good lord, I suspect a lot of you just click links and don’t bother to read and comprehend what is written.

  • rothermel

    actually i did read what you had written. i did comprehend it, and i still think that its played out.

  • Jon

    Well, thats your opinion. I agree that its been done before. However, it is appropraite to the concept and design direction and its targeted audience seem to love it. Despite that, the post was primarily about the process and exposure, not the finished piece.

  • ‘well they didnt illustrate it’

    -from the website:
    Hundreds of ink paintings form the basis for a dreamy and flowing animation, randomly moving from image to image we travel deep into the murk of a distant memory rising to the surface. Hand drawn artwork animated in after effects.

    unlesss you meant they didn’t illustrate the concept, which is an entirely different discussion.

    in terms of communication, i think the song and illustrations work very well together and produce a beautiful effect. (or cute, whichever you want to call it)

    there is a difference between techniques that have little to do with the communication of the piece and techniques that aid in that communication. a lot of the lyrics in this song revolve around being underwater and things rising up. so i think the techniques were correct here.

  • Brilliant! I love it. Simple, poetic and hypnotic. It’s rare those days to watch a music video that can hold the song and vice-versa. We need more people like you here in LA! Everyone seems to be doing color splashes lately…