Nathan Love’s Suicidal Cabbage

Director: Nathan Love
Executive Producer: Mike Harry
Producer: Derrick Huang
Creative Directors: Joe & Kate Burrascano
Character Design / Storyboards: Morgan Schweitzer
Animatic: Chase Massingill
Animation Director: Dan Vislocky
Animators: Kevin Phelps, Ryan Moran
Character Rigging: Sean Kealey
Character Modeling: Tony Jung
Lighting/Compositing Lead: Mats Andersson
Environment Modeling/Matte Painting: Denis Kozyrev
Texture Artists: Denis Kozyrev, Sylvia Apostol
Compositors: Denis Kozyrev, Sylvia Apostol, Anca Risca
Pipeline TD’s: Sarah Elizabeth Clemens, Jesse Clemens, Jessica Monteiro
Sound Designer: Drew Skinner
Music Composer: Drew Skinner
Voice-Over Talent: Joe Burrascano

Questions

Please describe the client’s concept for this project.

The clients concept for this project was to create a series of short spots for City Harvest depicting food in precarious situations. While the messaging in the campaign calls for New Yorkers to Rescue Food, the spots themselves called for a diverse collection of artists and animators to produce their own interpretations of food with a soul.

family31

and if Nathan had their way…

family1

What was the client’s direction, and how did Nathan Love improve upon it?

The clients initial direction was an eerily hilarious concept. Placing a suicidal cabbage on a ledge high up on a skyscraper offered a lot of possibilities regarding the character and environment design. Fortunately, our collaboration with Producer Michelle Carmen and Creative Director Will Tran over at DraftFCB allowed us enough creative freedom and support to really give this spot a lot of attention and love.

What did you do to create the project, from a creative perspective?

From a creative perspective, we handled all steps of production including: character design, storyboarding, animation, lighting, compositing, fx, rendering, sound design, vo, and music. We pulled a lot of reference and completed a ton of R&D to develop the final look and feel of the piece. One of our character animators even spent an afternoon on a ledge outside of our office… but now that we think about it, that was well before we were awarded this spot.

From a creative’s perspective what do you think is most cool about this gig?

We wanted to create a piece that was visually unique from anything else out there. The team is always experimenting with new styles and techniques to showcase our animation and storytelling skills.  The idea was for every single frame to look like an individual painting, but have it work seamlessly in motion as well.

suicidalcabbage2

It’s an approach we’ve wanted to experiment with for some time.  The effect worked well with the character design and animation in helping to tell the a dramatic story in a slightly surreal way.  This is one of those cases where our clients let us go right to the edge literally!

The story was a key aspect for us as well, and this came to us well-written and up our alley from the start. We seem to be a magnet for neurotic stories, and this was no exception!

What was the most challenging part about it and how did you meet the challenge?

Achieving the painterly effect was definitely the most challenging aspect of the production – specifically when it came to the lighting/rendering/compositing process. The environments were hand-painted for every shot, then projected onto 3D models. This allowed us to leverage the depth of working in 3D, while maintaining a flatter, more interesting visual. Once we had this step complete, every edge was smudged and blended with adjacent colors to further break-up the clean, CG-edges.

Our incredibly talented team of artists and animators got to work and created a realy unique piece that everyone at Nathan is extremely proud of.

What does this project say about Nathan Love overall?  Does the project represent something about the company’s DNA?

Absolutely. Top of the line animation and a witty sense of humor combined with edgy design, an experimental approach, and flawless execution is the Nathan way.

Hardware/software used?

Maya, Mental Ray, Z-Brush, Photoshop, After Effects, Corel Painter