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Archive for October, 2008

Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip

For his Animation MA at the Royal College of Art, Leo Murray created an ambitious 11-minute short film on climate change, “Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip.” As its title suggests, the film is a warning shot to its viewers, but in terms of explaining the science behind climate change, it goes much, much further than any short film I’ve seen so far.

The project’s About page contains some great insight into Leo’s creative process. I especially like what he says about the film’s “old fashioned” approach:

This film is a seriously old school direct transmission of information to the viewer, which constructs individual audience members in the Enlightenment model—as rational beings.

Sadly post-modern understanding of human behaviour shows that we are far less rational than we thought. Somewhat embarrassingly, it turns out that our behaviours and beliefs are actually determined by complex, invisible currents that flow beneath the surface of consciousness. These strongly influence us in ways that can result in behaviours which lead us in the exact opposite direction than would arise from a rational pursuit of our own best interests.

This is the premise of the multi-billion dollar advertising industry—to pull the subconscious levers that work our controls in order to persuade us to buy things that we do not need. Why not try to be rational for once, rather than the puppet of your unconscious fears and desires?

I’ve written frequently about visual essays like “Wake Up” here on Motionographer, and I’ve always felt that they are one of the best, most noble uses of motion graphics. But Leo’s right: this kind of work rests on the assumption that its viewers are rational beings.

The reason that traditional public service announcements (PSAs) have become so popular is because they use the strategies of advertising to influence viewers. In 15 to 60 seconds, PSAs almost always go for the gut, gingerly sidestepping the mind. And this can be effective, in terms of modifying behavior.

But in terms of actually modifying someone’s understanding of an issue, PSAs do very little. They transmit almost no real information and necessarily compete with the slick, expensive ads surrounding them.

So while it’s a bit naive in some ways, I champion projects like “Wake Up, Freak Out.” I believe that in almost all cases, its better to alter the mind of one person than to simply change the behavior of one hundred people.

Visit the official site of “Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip”

Thanks to Firoz for the tip on this one!

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 | Comments Off

Book Review: Guidelines for Online Success

I’ve lauded The FWA here many times before. It is the single best repository of outstanding dynamic web design on the net, and its Site of the Day/Month/Year awards are coveted by the entire industry.

So when The FWA’s editor, Rob Ford, sent me a review copy of his first book, Guidelines for Online Success, I was obviously excited about it.


As with most books published by Taschen, this one is handsomely designed and incredibly well-crafted. At over 300 pages, the built-in bookstrap helps keep your place, while the die-cut tabs make accessing the six major content areas easy.

Those features might lead you to believe this is a reference book, but that’s not really a fitting description. It’s more like a cross between a guidebook and an exhibition catalog, the sort of thing that’s equally at home on your coffee table or propped up next to the scanner on your desktop.

Read full review…

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Royal Elastics + Nanospore= Freshtech

I don’t know how this has stayed under the radar for so long, but recently Nanospore completed this newest animated edition for the Royal Elastics campaign. Like the old spot Umeric created for the Feilfri shoe, this animation visually describes the elements and materials that go into making the shoe—this time with the twist of Nanospore’s unique vision.


Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 | 7 Comments »

New reel from Rexbox

The new reel from Rexbox (Rex Crowle) includes his work on Little Big Planet, PSST! Pass it On and much more

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 | 4 Comments »

Lobo and Vetor Zero: “Gol Lagarta”

Vetor Zero and The Ebeling Group‘s Lobo packed loads of heartfelt character animation into this feel-good spot for Brazilian airline Gol. Backed by a sunny soundtrack, the protagonist exudes optimism—despite the craptastic day he’s having—making his transformation feel like a just payoff.

Take a couple minutes to watch this one several times. Note the tambourine player’s hand near the spot’s middle and the syncopated bounces of the characters on the bus, among many other touches that show Vetor Zero and Lobo’s love of the craft.

The minimal shading of the characters blends beautifully with the urban sets throughout the spot, allowing the spot to channel early animation without feeling like an antique.


Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 | 6 Comments »

Eve Duhamel/Julien Vallée: A New Collaboration

It’s not often that we write up a post about collaborative efforts. But I can’t help but get excited about this one: Eve Duhamel and Julien Vallée (both from Montreal and now based in Berlin), have decided to team up.

Their upcoming exhibition “Raking leaves in the Wind,” opens in Berlin, Germany, Octobert 29th, at Create Berlin.

Their individual folio sites are worth trawling through. Their work has that rich, textured quality, which comes from using a lot of “traditional” hand-made techniques to create their illustrations and animations.

According to them:

I (Eve) was more into the art scene, doing video and painting exhibitions and creating flyers for Montreal music and club scene. Julien was in the motion design and graphic design world, and had just finished the video for the Black and White agency and some opening titles for televisions shows.

On deciding to work together:

“[...] we felt that our projects were both gravitating around the same feel and process. We both like the direct contact with the materiality of our work, so therefore to create things by hand and shape whole ideas with little means. We also felt like art and design should always remain fun and that as designer and artist we shouldnʼt take ourselves too seriously. At the same time we remain very concerned and meticulous toward the final result of each project.”

Read the full interview

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 | 2 Comments »