Keith Schofield: Darwin Deez “You Can’t Be My Girl”
While wandering through the internet, sometimes you come across something weird and beautiful. Keith Schofield who brought us singing crotches in the past, now had some fun with stock footage.
As funny and ridiculous as it is, the video also tells us a sad and over-romantic love story. Fall in love, get married, have children, grow old together, live happily ever after. The images of perfect commercial love give the whole story an extra dimension. It’s not his life, it’s not his girl. Frustration, anger and fighting follows. Although it’s not technically perfect all the time, who cares, it made me laugh.
This is only the second time that the annual Playgrounds Digital Arts Festival in The Netherlands teams up with Submarine Channel to host a “warming up” edition of the event in Amsterdam. Playgrounds vs Submarine Channel happens on 20 November at a bigger and fancier location in the heart of Amsterdam, whereas Playgrounds continues ‘solo’ as usual in Tilburg for two days on 22 and 23 November.
Playgrounds has over the years earned a reputation for its refreshing programming, which mainly consists of artists talks and screenings. The festival always seems to focus on that magical synergy between people and their inspirations. But it’s ultimately about creative people and studios sharing their experiences on how to harness that wild beast called creativity. Whether you create visual effects for Hollywood blockbusters, or an appartment-sized Rube Goldberg machine from scraps, it’s about putting your heart and soul into whatever it is that you do, and “enjoying the process.” That just about sums up the Playgrounds experience.
Headligning the line-up this year are two major Hollywood VFX studios, Industrial Light and Magic and Digital Domain. Also flying in from L.A. are title designer-cum-feature film director Henry Hobson (previously of Prologue), the fun-loving directing duo Daniels and smooth talking Daniel Burwen of Cognito Comics. European guests are BAFTA-winner Mikey Please, ident designers ManvsMachine, Sil van der Woerd with Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer, Peppermelon, David Wilson, Vimeo award-winner Jurjen Versteeg, and many more.
The first time I watched these titles my sound wasn’t working, but I thought, “What the heck.”
I liked it. The visual style, the transitions, editing, rhythm and pace. It was all good, but I couldn’t get my head around the concept, the storyline. I didn’t get it.
The images seemed random but still related to each other, meaningful but incomprehensible. I decided to give it another go when I got home. This time with sound.
This is what I was missing. They narrated it. A clever story to illustrate the workings of a creative mind. The images I couldn’t decipher were brain flashes, internal images so to speak. I liked it without the audio, but I love it with. It’s interesting, draws you in and makes you think it’s a shame this is a festival title and not a short movie.
A nice thing I also noticed is that no studios are mentioned in the video, only the individual speakers. Which, for me, reflexes the festival.
The Playgroundsfestival was a joy. Hidden in the little town of Tilburg, the festival had great speakers and good talks. With talks from: Edouard Salier, Mate Steinforth, Physalia, Encyclopedia Pictura, Ben & Julia, David Wilson, Spread Motion, Heyheyhey, Matt Lambert, Studio Takt, Tokyoplastic, David Wilson, DVEIN, Kyle Cooper and Onesize there was never a dull moment.
And of course there are the titles. It seems to become more and more important for a festival to have good titles. It’s like a pissing contest. Festivals compete in the coolest, biggest and most creative title. After the Offf 2011 titles it would be hard to go bigger, so Leon van Rooij (festival director) must have thought: ‘let’s be creative’. He was playing with the idea of doing ‘live’ titles. A titleshow so to speak. He contacted creative design studio HeyHeyHey and they were more then happy to go to work.
It was great fun to see the unsuspecting speakers present themselves without really knowing what was going on. The show was on thursday, recorded, edited and played back on friday. Of course ‘you had to be there’, but still, the end result is pretty funny and a totally new take on festival titles.
In Tilburg, a small town in the south of The Netherlands, a wonderfull festival is hidden.
Playgrounds Audiovisual Arts Festival is a festival for innovative and creative digital art. During the two-day festival Playgrounds presents an impression of the latest developments in technology as well as creativity. The festival programme offers an inspiring mix of inventive films, documentaries, animation, graphic design, artist talks, character design and performances.
The line up so far doesn’t fail to impress:
Edouard Salier, Mate Steinforth, Alex Trochut, Physalia, Encyclopedia Pictura, Ben & Julia, David Wilson, Neil Huxley, Heyheyhey, Matt Lambert, Studio Takt, PIPS:lab and more to come…
It’s a real by-the-astist-for-the-artist festival. People come, not only to learn and see the talks, but also to have a good time in a creative environment. Drink some beers, relax and talk with the artists. Onesize, Tokyo Plastic, Matt Lambert, Dvein, Post Panic and Pleix are more or less house-guests and if they’re not too busy they will try to come.
The festival will take place on 6 and 7 october in Pop podium 013 in Tilburg. So If you’re in the Netherlands or you would like to go there, be sure to visit!
This wonderful, light and funny piece is made by Gijs van Kooten, Tom Hankins, Roy Nieterau and Guido Puijk. 4 students from the Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands.
Although heavily inspired on ‘Meet Buck’, ‘Salesmen Pete’ and the game ‘Team Fortress’ it definitely has it’s own qualities. Nicely animated, fast paced, good textures and made with an eye for details. Produced with Autodesk Maya, Eyeon Fusion, Pixologic ZBrush, Adobe Photoshop and TVPaint.
Gijs van Kooten about the process:
Mac ‘n’ Cheese is the graduation project of Gijs, Roy and Tom. We asked Guido to work with us; despite of him not graduating, we thought he was a good addition to our team. We got 5 months for the project. It was something none of us had done before, that’s why the research and development were a big part of the process. So while researching, we started working on the storyboard.
Tom began modeling the characters, while Gijs and Guido worked on the backgrounds and the props. Roy was our technical director from the start. He started working on a ‘auto rigger’ for the characters. A project he worked on earlier and provided us with all the body rigs. The facial rigs were made later on by Gijs. When the car models where done Roy worked on a script to make them easy to animate and implement in the scene. Meanwhile almost three-quarter of the models where done.
As of this point Tom focussed on testing the shading, rendering and compositing of the characters, background and props. This gave a good idea of the compositing setup and to see where we could improve our process. Roy started with the animation while Gijs and Guido finished the models. After the models were done Roy, Gijs and Guido worked on the animation together. All finished animations went straight into rendering.
Despite of our struggle to find the right people for the audio and the fact that we started searching way to late, we are really happy with the results. Audio design changed until the very last moment.
Naming the animation was tricky. Our working title was Eastwood Junction (name of the village were the short begins), but our teachers convinced us that this was probably not a good idea. We experimented with many names and Mac ‘n’ Cheese sounded best. It’s not based on the characters, but more on the idea of simplicity. Our film is also simple and easily digestible.
To get more insight in the production process there are some WIP images on ZBrush Central
At first glance, a quiet, almost serene black and white video. Nevertheless, it’s packed with visual effects. Each image is carefully and subtly modified and contributes to the incredible atmosphere. With controlled changes in reality that take you into a dreamworld, you not only listen to the Memory Tapes, but you can see them as well.
What makes this video even more special is that it is not made with extensive 3D applications — no Flame, no Nuke, just After Effects. Two-dimensional camera tracking, puppet tool and a lot of layers make this ambitious project come to life.
Director Eric Epstein:
This would have been a good excuse to learn, but it’s hard to abandon one’s strengths. And with the emphasis on footage integration, much of the project was going to live in AE no matter what. I figured if the approach was unusual then at worst the results would come out looking unique. Realistic compositing was not top priority, so long as the motion seemed natural.
The main techniques I employed in this video were things I had played with before and had wanted to push further. That helped zero in on some images I wanted to create, but the feeling of the music was still the driving force behind everything.