Staff's Posts

MPC: “Sunny and Steve – Enjoy the Sweets”

Just in time for Easter weekend, “Sunny and Steve” from MPC’s NY office has a look as cute and cuddly as its rascally rabbit antagonist.

From MPC’s site:

[MPC] set out to create the distinctive look of the animation by instilling a retro palette that visually represents each character’s personality and correlates perfectly with the handmade office setting, including the set build, which was created from scrap cloth, styrofoam, and wood, as well as the character’s puppet-like limbs, the boss’s facial mole, Sunny’s vexing whiskers, and Steve’s slight scar.


Thursday, April 17th, 2014 | No Comments »

MN8 : Jake Sargeant


Formerly a quickie, we have upgraded the multi-talented Jake Sargeant’s new web update for your full attention.

You may recognize Jake’s name from our Oblivion GMUNK post or back in 2011 on our Tron:Legacy post, both showing flashes and mentions of him.

In the world of screen graphics, Jake has made countless marks on blockbusters like Terminator Salvation, Tron : LegacyOblivion, and more.

For his updated site, he also highlights his love for the camera, in both still and motion picture form. 

With each project chock full of description and breakdowns, we hope you take the time to go for a deep dive. For a taste, check out the insane detail on the LG project page.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 | 7 Comments »

Art&Graft: “Trip” The Virgin Atlantic Safety Film

Long ago, Virgin Airways embraced the simple fact that no one pays attention to the poor flight attendants as they drone on mechanically about oxygen masks and flotation devices.

Why not use that time to share something genuinely entertaining, something that communicates the necessary safety information and conveys the playfully chic persona of the Virgin brand?

Take a Trip

The latest in Virgin’s flight safety film series, “Trip,” comes from Art&Graft. At over 5 minutes long, it’s an ambitious project. But the premise behind the film gave the team essentially unlimited creative freedom.

At the film’s opening, a drowsy passenger slips into a dream state while the flight attendant recites her safety spiel. We follow the passenger through a series of surreal vignettes inspired by genres of film, everything from sci-fi to westerns. Each scene communicates a core safety tip before moving on to the next unexpected scenario.


Art&Graft shares a bit of their process on their website:

To bring our ideas to life, the A&G team combined an illustrative approach with exciting 3D and 2D animation techniques. All the character animation was produced using a traditional frame-by-frame technique – very labour intensive, especially when creating a 6 minute film, but the results look beautiful and are extremely rewarding!

Elements throughout the film were modelled in 3D; allowing us to ’wrap’ our illustrations around these models to keep the illustrative feel yet giving the scenes fantastic depth and space. This allowed all the camera angles to be planned out and ensure the 2D characters could then be animated in each scene with the addition of further textures and casted shadows.

More after the jump →

Friday, March 7th, 2014 | 5 Comments »

The 86th Academy Awards: Nominee Posters

Gorgeous typography and design in the 86th Academy Awards Nominee Posters from Henry Hobson and The Mill+. See them all on The Mill+ blog.

Monday, March 3rd, 2014 | 5 Comments »

Yurcor/The Mill settlement reached in LA, is NY next?


In California, a class action lawsuit against The Mill and Yurcor has been tentatively settled, striking a major blow against Yurcor’s “Employer of Record” service. The core of the dispute was the practice of using employee wages to pay for employer taxes. That’s a no-no.

The Animation Guild (Local 839 IATSE), who provided support to the artists in the class action suit, is setting its sights on NYC next.

Steve Kaplan of TAG:

The New York artists originally voiced many of the same complaints made in California, but added that the practice was much more prevalent in NYC. We are now ready, willing and able to help New York artists. (Source)

Interest form for NYC Artists

If you’re a NY artist who’s worked through Yurcor and want to recover questionably deducted wages, TAG is encouraging you to fill out this form.

NOTE: Please only fill out the form if you’ve worked through Yurcor in NYC.

Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more about this issue, TAG’s Steve Kaplan has been writing about it for quite some time:

Photo by bruckerrlb / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Thursday, February 6th, 2014 | 56 Comments »

Laurent Barthelemy

Ex Psyop Director Laurent Barthelemy goes freelance and updates with an clutch of top-notch directorial work. (He also signed with prodco Hellostranger.)

Monday, November 25th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

[London] London’s Hero


Cut&Paste hosts Fred & Eric, Animade, Territory & Golden Wolf for live animation sessions on Oct 14-15 as part of the London’s Hero collab in HP’s London/Soho ZED creative pop-up studio. Free & open-to-public.

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 | Comments Off

Leftchannel: motion 2013 Opener

Columbus-based Leftchannel has been plugging away for over 10 years, but it’s been a while since we’ve posted them on Motionographer.

Their recently launched opener for the 2013 motion Conference, which kicks off this Friday in Albuquerque, breaks that silence. It’s a delightful typographic romp seasoned with cute character work and a couple visual surprises that make it worthy of repeat viewing.

Leftchannel’s Creative Director Alberto Scirocco will also be presenting three sessions at motion 2013.

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 | 5 Comments »

Buck: IBM Datagrams Showcase

Lovely collection of “datagrams” created for IBM and the US Open. Created by Buck. Audio by Cypher Audio.

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 | Comments Off

Moonbot Studios: Chipotle “The Scarecrow”

Following up on Johnny Kelly’s insanely successful “Back to the Start” stop-action film for Chipotle is not an easy task. The project mopped up at award shows and was a crowd favorite. Its analogue technique meaningfully echoed Chipotle’s message of bucking factory farming and technologically-powered “progress” for a more hands-on approach to food.

Louisiana-based Moonbot Studios, who won an Academy Award for the short, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore” and set the gold standard for interactive storybooks with the accompanying Morris Lessmore iPad app, was up for the challenge.

Their recently released “The Scarecrow” echoes many of the same themes as “Back to the Start,” and its soundtrack also features a cover of a famous song performed by an unexpected artist. While “Back to the Start” had Willie Nelson singing Coldplay, in “The Scarecrow” Fiona Apple sings “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The effect is equal parts haunting and magical.

It’s also worth noting that Moonbot’s film is entirely CG. A helpful reader added some detail in the comments:

“Moonbot’s film is entirely CG” isn’t entirely accurate, the barn and the kitchen interior were built as miniatures, filmed, and composited into the CG scenes.

Where “Back to the Start” shined a bright light on the hand-crafted nature of its production, “The Scarecrow” dives deeper into its protagonist’s life. While both films are emotionally powerful, “The Scarecrow” feels more like a mini-feature film, executed with the same scale and grandeur as a Pixar film.

Scarecrow: The Game


Keeping with the Morris Lessmore formula, Moonbot Studios also created an iOS game to accompany “The Scarecrow.” From Moonbot:

Created in collaboration with Chipotle Mexican Grill, “The Scarecrow” is an arcade-style adventure game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and a companion animated short film. Both pieces depict a scarecrow’s journey to bring wholesome food back to the people by providing an alternative to the processed food that dominates his world.

Friday, September 13th, 2013 | 14 Comments »

1 Typeface. 110 Animators.

Purveyors of animated typography, Animography, have released their latest project Franchise Animated:

For this specific animated typeface we have round up 110 talented animators from all over the world. We asked every animator to pick a glyph and animate it using no more than 4 colors, 25 frames and a 500 x 600 px canvas in Adobe After Effects. The animators had complete freedom to work their magic within those 25 frames. The result is a wide variety of styles and techniques. The color palette and letterforms tie it all together.

Even Motionographer has its own animated title!

Best of all, it’s free. Hooray.

The Animators

(Click to go to the Vimeo credits page)

The Process

Calango, the force behind Animography, shared some of the process behind the project.

Phase one
The approach to Franchise was a bit different than Animography’s typical process. Normally, an idea arises and after some rounds of sketching and experimentation, the animated typeface is produced. Most of the glyphs are animated in the same manner, forming a coherent animated type system.


Friday, July 19th, 2013 | 6 Comments »

Buck: Designed by Apple

Elegant typography and buttery smooth animation from Buck make this spot for Apple a memorable, classy experience.

Monday, July 1st, 2013 | 16 Comments »

Lauren Indovina: 10,000 Arrows to the Heart


Aside from being a Creative Director and Designer at Psyop since 2008 and collecting a number of top honors (Clios, ADC, BDA, AICP and the Emmys, to name a few,)  Lauren Indovina has finally launched her web presence and it’s a goldmine.

Chocked full of detailed worlds and a wide range of style frames, lush paintings and drawings — including, of course, her creative direction and design work — Lauren has given us the go ahead to share her work at long last.

Lauren also wrote a compelling essay about her experience in the industry and how the road traveled is not always paved with love.  It is titled “10,000 Arrows to the Heart” (after Interview below). Her words offer us an honest and ardent look how she became a Creative Director at Psyop and what it means to work from the heart and excel through failure.


In your formative years, what did you excel in (artistically or not)?

My father is an architect. I grew up in his design: a Victorian home with modern interiors, stained glass, ornate staircases and floating walls. The halls were adorned with his paintings of oddly posed people, futuristic landscapes with eclipsed suns. Surreal. His imagination inspired mine. My parents encouraged me and led by example: independence, passion, curiosity.

I finagled situations so that day camps became art camps, study halls were studio time. At 16, I attended a competitive summer program, Pennsylvania Governors School for the Arts, where I studied Indonesian shadow puppetry and made 7-foot tall ceramic sculptures. As this was unusual behavior, I got a lot of attention, accolades and awards, which didn’t matter. I just really wanted to be in the studio.

Read the rest of the interview and Lauren’s essay →

Thursday, June 27th, 2013 | 16 Comments »

Nathan Love: Summer 2013

Nathan Love’s latest reel is bursting with insane character work across a wide range of styles.

Friday, June 14th, 2013 | Comments Off

Nico Casavecchia: “A Boy And His Atom” The World’s Smallest Movie

Working with animation studio Punga,1stAveMachine’s Nico Casavecchia had the honor of creating the world’s first movie at the scale of individual atoms — the world’s smallest movie — at least until someone figures out how to animate quarks.

Nico took some time to share details about the unique process behind this project.

How did this job come about?

The job came to 1stAvenueMachine in November of 2012, and we started having the initial meetings with Ogilvy & Mather around then.

Was there a script or did you have to propose a story?

We worked on the script for a long time. We had different ideas on how to approach it. Originally, it was related with an actual scientific achievement, which is connected to the use of nanotechnology for data storage, so we were working with a lot of concepts around the idea of human memories, information, things like that.

The Pioneer Plaque

I was obsessed with the plaque designed by Carl Sagan for the Pioneer probe sent to Jupiter. I thought, “If we’re writing a message with atoms, it has to be transcendent and celebrate human achievements.” It was a lot of pressure!

I started thinking about animating a famous haiku, the smallest poetic form, or illustrating a quote of Carl Sagan on how atoms are the building blocks of life.

Fortunately, the guys at the agency brought me back to reality and suggested to have fun with it. They came up with this little story, which is human and universal. They wanted something that didn’t need words — which now seems like the right decision. Once we had the script, I started fleshing out the way to tell the story in the most economic format possible.

I’m assuming there were a lot of technical limitations for this project. Did you have to learn a lot about molecular imaging in order to even begin thinking about this project?

→ Read on for more process imagery and details

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 | 4 Comments »

[NYC] Collider Digital Production Conference

Collider banner 300x250
The speaker lineup and master classes for Collider look pretty interesting. Who’s going? UPDATE: Motionographer’s Michelle Higa Fox will be on the VFX panel. Use promo code COLLMotion for 10% off.

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 | 17 Comments »

Lilit Hayrapetyan updates

Lilit Hayrapetyan’s portfolio launches with a flood of jaw-dropping design work.

Friday, April 19th, 2013 | 20 Comments »

Don’t Fail Idaho (Extended Version) by Buck

Over the last several years, Buck has made a point of creating elegantly clever PSAs for causes they believe in. For their latest visual essay, they partnered with Idaho-based agency Drake Cooper to spread the message of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

With charming audio from Echolab, the spot has a folksy quality befitting its subject matter. As usual for Buck, the transitions serve up delightful surprises by the eye-full while visual metaphors peppered throughout the poignant script give the spot equal measures of weight and wit.

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 | 6 Comments »

Roof launches in NYC

Founders Vinicius Costa, Guto Terni and Crystal Campbell have launched Roof, a new studio in NYC.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Target and LA Live

Gentleman Scholar joined an impressive lineup of studios and directors to create content for Target’s screens at LA Live, the massive complex of entertainment venues near LA’s downtown area.

While all the videos are cleverly executed, Gentleman Scholar’s stands out for its excellent character work and interplay of 2D and 3D elements. It lives up to its title, “Surprise and Delight,” by introducing a lovable cast of creatures with charming panache.

Other projects for the Target LA Live

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

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