Mesai: Alarm


I gotta be honest, the real reason I was first attracted to Mesai’s “Alarm,” was for its beautifully soft lighting and rendering. On second pass, I noticed some of subtle character animation. But the story, I felt, dragged.

After talking it over with fellow Motionographer Greg Herman, though, I realized that was exactly the point. We’re pulled into this world where everything is punctuated by alarms, where every moment of stillness is just a preamble to the spine-wrenching squeal of a bell. Thus, the near real-time toaster sequence feels excruciatingly slow, the long ride in the elevator feels like a devilish trick.

Watching it a third time with this in mind, I found myself grinning wildly, enjoying the entire experience immensely.

You can download a 720p version of the film from Mesai, the animation partnership of Moohyun Jang and Jungoo Choo that created “Alarm.” You’ll also find some pre-production stills and a bevvy of test renders in the Alarm Introduction area of the site.

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About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer and F5. 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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  • jk

    “But the story, I felt, dragged. ”

    From my observation, the pacing for Korean cinematography tends to be slower than their western counterpart, which makes this piece a solid representative of their animation culture.

    IMO, of course.

    • That’s really interesting. I know next to nothing about Korean filmmaking. Thanks for the insight!

  • BrandonLori

    This is, quite frankly, brilliant, and a thundering declaration that less is more! In respect to narrative, every action is motivated by an activity that propels the story. Apropos to technical savvy, all bases are covered (modeling, animation, rendering, simulations, etc.).

    In many ways, the artistry of it is in the details. This is subtly exemplified in the string of yawns our character lets out, with the simultaneous speed changes (occurring in ONE action) that any animator goes ga-ga for (slow opening mouth/fast vibrating head). They keep it coming by putting all that weight in his body, and capping it off with great personality animation. You can really feel the interior monologue. Icing on the cake!

    Five stars for excellence!

  • Yes!
    Brilliant!.

    7 stars!

    Best Mental Ray render ever!
    (not that i saw many)

  • ClintF

    Amazing. Beautiful. I wish I was capable of even a fraction of this piece, but sadly I can’t model my way out of a wet paper bag. Or even model a nice wet paper bag in the first place.

    Having said that, and as the resident proofreading neurotic at our shop, I couldn’t help but notice right away at :40 where the front of the CD player is featured. “SOURCE” is spelled wrong on the front panel… there’s a missing R. I have this disorder where things like that totally leap out at me.

    Cf

  • The Fake Marc B.

    Don’t get me wrong. Its well done and well executed, but when do the motion-graphics begin and all this character animation excitement end… Are the only things people get excited about now days character based? I went to school for design, not for character animation. What is happening to this industry. If look back at the last few pages of posts and it seems over 3/4 of the them involve some janky cartoon characters. Am I in the minority here?

    • ocelot

      http://motionographer.com/about/
      “Motionographer isn’t just about motion graphics. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and the Motionographer contributors hope to provide you with interesting material regardless of the medium in which it was created.”

      why do people mind stuff like this so much. if character doesnt interest you, then dont watch it. sometimes months are slow and theres no super-awesome experimental piece to showcase.. so just watch something else and take your inspiration out of that…

    • selective clicking my friend. i stopped coming here for the videos a long time ago. the comment section is where it’s at for entertainment value. everything else is gravy… it familiarizes you with what the kids like these days. over time you also learn which editors post things you are most interested in, and which companies do that type of work. a real time saver. in the meantime, keep on keepin’ on. i’m sure the above movie is awesome for what it is. :)

  • The Fake Marc B.

    Sorry. That was totally out of character as “The Fake Marc B” What I meant to say is this… I love it. The most amazing thing I have ever seen. I hope all this character animation takes over the motion graphics world and that is all we ever see. Bravo! Lets make some cartooooooons!

  • ddd_dave

    how very american of them to solve a problem with a gun! :)
    it is beautiful work! very nice!

    • But they’re Korean. :-(

      • ddd_dave

        exactly!

  • frq

    Great stuff!

  • linka

    wonderful story telling. beautifuly polished images
    I was in awe, surprized every few frames.
    and sooooooooo original!
    i have 2 alarm clocks