Want to be on Motionographer? Submit your work here!

Posts tagged as character

Q&A: Dark Noir

Brazilian graphic novel artist and writer Rafael Grampá (“Mesmo Delivery”) turned his powers to the small screen for the first time in “Dark Noir.” The animated short was his directorial debut, a commissioned work for Absolut’s “Transform Today” campaign.

The project was billed as a “co-creation” between Grampá and Absolut’s Facebook fans, who supplied concepts and drawings via Absolut’s Facebook presence.

But when it came to producing the actual animation, Grampá partnered with Red Knuckles, formerly of Passion Pictures, where they had worked heavily with director Pete Candeland.

Rick Thiele and Mario Ucci, co-founders of Red Knuckles and co-creative directors on “Dark Noir” shared some process behind “Dark Noir” with us.

Q&A with Red Knuckles

How did you guys get involved in this project?
Sid Lee approached us about “Dark Noir” in late November 2013 with the intention of making a live action short film with animated characters.

Their main reference was a project we art directed while still at Passion, Gorillaz “Stylo”, in which we turned Jamie Hewlett’s famous 2D characters into 3D animation and integrated them against live action plates.

We eventually managed to convince everyone that doing it fully animated was a good idea.

Did Red Knuckles do all of the CG animation? What about the 2D animation?
Yes. Both 3D and 2D. The main reason Red Knuckles exists is to allow us to work with the artists we admire and a lot of those artists happen to be 2D animators.

dark-noir2d

So when this project came along, we immediately pitched to Rafael the idea of having a mix of 2D and 3D animation, and he said yes straight away. So then we went after those incredible dudes — 2D and 3D — and they were all up for it, too.

Describe the process of working with Rafael Grampá. How did you work together?
Well, the fact that we are all Brazilians helped a lot. We had pretty much the same imagination, and Rafael is one of the most incredible artists we know (we were fans of him from way before). The visual communication flowed seamlessly.

He would explain the sequences he had in mind by drawing them, and to us, this is the best way to communicate.

Absolut understood Rafael’s persona very well and just let him do what he wanted to do without any interventions. With that, we were blessed with an entire studio of artists creating and making decisions 24/7. That is not something that happens often.

The film has a rich look inspired by film noir. Can you tell us a little about the look development process?
The mood of the film was in there since the first revision of the script. It was impossible for us to imagine the film any other way, so we gathered all the references that came to mind into a mood panel. This panel included “Blade Runner,” “In the Mood for Love,” anything by Christopher Doyle.

mood

We wanted to have eveyone coming in and out of light all the time, engulfed in shadows one second and then showered by light in the next. And if the characters didn’t move on the shot, then we would create mechanisms to make the lights move instead, revealing and hiding.

What consolidated the noir look was the combination of the script with the images.

The official making of video (below) says that Facebook fans had input. What was that like?
This crowdsourcing of ideas was a big thing for Absolut, so we knew that it had to be very well planned out in order to make it work with the schedule.

More making of details after the jump →

Stumble Delicious Technorati Facebook

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.

Credits

Stumble Delicious Technorati Facebook

Yves Geleyn: Monster in the Closet

Yves Geleyn (Hornet) brings his trademark charm to bear on a chilling subject for States United to Prevent Gun Violence in “Monster in the Closet.”

CREDITS
Director: Yves Geleyn
Produced at Hornet Inc
Executive Producer: Michael Feder
Head of Production: Greg Bedard
Producer: Jan Stebbins
Editors: Joel Miller & RJ Glass
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Andreau
Storyboard Artist: J. Todd Anderson
Character Designer: Oren Haskins
Background Designer: Mark Boardman
Supervising Technical Director: Sang-Jin Bae
Lead CG Artist & Compositor: David Hill
CG & Compositing: Richard Kim
Modeling: Erwin Riau & Dan Fine
CG Animation: Sean Thorpe, Andrew Boccio, Emily Griswold
Lead 2D Animator: Mike Luzzi
Animators: Keelmy Carlo, Mark Pecoraro, Nivedita Sekar, Frank Summers
Animation Clean Up: Emma Noble
Development Producer: Kristin Labriola
R&D: Arman Matin

Edited by Joel Miller at Cut and Run
Assistant Editor: Tom Akey
Assistant Editor: Stacy Peterson
Producer: Melati Pohan
Executive Producer: Rana Martin
Composed by Mark Mothersbaugh of Mutato Muzika
Producer: Natalie P. Montgomery
Engineered by: Bradley Denniston

Stumble Delicious Technorati Facebook

Daniel Savage: Helium Harvey

Not sold on the idea of going back to school? Neither was Daniel Savage.

The NYC-based designer/director just released his animated short, “Helium Harvey,” a labor of love that doubled as self-directed education:

After much debate on whether to go to graduate school or not, I decided I would take part of 2013 off to explore storytelling and character driven narrative on my own. I turned down most commercial jobs (except the really exciting ones), read as many books as I could, explored things outside of my comfort zone, and made “Helium Harvey.”

It was completely self funded, teaching a few classes at NYU and online, as well as select freelance projects to help pay for it.

Q&A with Daniel Savage

Let’s rewind to before you decided to make Helium Harvey. You were considering going to grad school, right? Why?

I come from a graphic design background, so jumping into character driven narrative isn’t an easy task. It’s a different way of thinking. But I love the idea of cartoons and technology meeting, so that’s where my interest is.

Originally, I wanted to make a story app, but I felt I had a lot to learn in animation first.

How did you come to the idea of making a short film?
I guess it’s what everyone comes out of school with, so it made the most sense. Plus I had the idea of Harvey for a while, so I wanted to make that.

Do you feel that making Helium Harvey was a good substitute for going back to school? Or was it a different kind of learning?
It’s tough to say. I’m sure I would have a better film if I was surrounded by other people in the same situation, but I like to learn the hard way. When someone tells me something it goes in one ear and out the other. I think it depends on the person.

Looking back, are you happy you decided not to go to school? Are you considering still going in the future?
I am happy, it was a great year. I don’t think I will go back, I will always take a class here or there though.

How hard was it to fund everything yourself?
Not very hard, it was really about time more than money. My rent is super cheap, I was on my lovely girlfriend’s health insurance, and having a skill I’ve developed (After Effects animation) that I could help other people learn was my biggest asset. People got something valuable out of it, and I got enough money to make a film. I still took on a few fun jobs, which also helped pay for it.

For those that are thinking of doing the same thing, can you give them advice/warnings?
I would take it slow, do a month here and there (being freelance helps) to practice new skills before jumping into a project as overwhelming as a film.

Making of “Helium Harvey”

The making of montage is bursting with goodies, from concept art to time-lapsed After Effects sessions.

Bonus footage of the orchestra recording session after the jump →

Stumble Delicious Technorati Facebook

Blue Sky does Peanuts

FOX Family and Blue Sky dropped the first trailer for their forthcoming Peanuts film, slated for release on November 6, 2015.

From USA Today:

The filmmakers are keeping Peanuts’ plot details under wraps (“it’s about a round-headed kid and his dog, and that’s about as far as I’m willing to go,” says Craig). But the story will bring together the entire cast from the strips and Bill Melendez’s famous television specials, from Pig-Pen to Peppermint Patty.

Additions include the unveiling of Charlie Brown’s lifelong crush, known only as “the Little Red-Haired Girl.” Martino is excited about exploring the Peanuts world with detailed animation (“We’ll see that Snoopy has soft-white fur”) and exploring traditionally imagined realms such as Snoopy’s World War I fighter-pilot adventures.

Stumble Delicious Technorati Facebook

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.

Process

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 →

Stumble Delicious Technorati Facebook

Giant Ant: Men’s Health Magazine “How a Protein Becomes a Muscle”

Follow ingenious peptides through a visual essay explaining how muscle mass is created in the human body. Illustrations by the inimitable Mike McQuade, directed by Giant Ant for Men’s Health magazine.

Credits

Stumble Delicious Technorati Facebook
*