Mark Coleran and the Art of Screen Graphics

Reader Michael Kislovsky came across the work of Mark Coleran on and passed the link our way.


Mark’s reel shows off an aspect of motion graphics that I’ve always found intriguing: the creation of interface graphics for film and television. Screen graphics often must convey a sense of complexity or (for lack of a better word) “high-techness” while still guiding the viewer’s eye to one or two key visual elements. They also have to convince viewers of something that may be normally impossible, like magnifying a security camera image to such an insane level of detail that you can read the watch on the villain’s wrist. (“Midnight, just before the bomb was detonated. That’s our man!”)

I’d like to do a beefier follow-up post on this, maybe even a feature. Perhaps I’ll interview Mark and some other folks working in this field. If you guys can help me round up studios/individuals that create screen graphics, that’d be great.

For the time being, check out Mark’s impressive body of work.

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. 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.



Very nice work.
Beautiful interface graphics.


Noel Rubin is awesome.

He was the designer of the screen graphics for the podracer shots in Star Wars EP1.

His reel is awesome, and includes these shots as well:)



Saw Mark do a talk at a Computer Arts hosted event in London about a year ago, pretty interesting stuff, nice chap!


Really polished! That map he did for cody banks makes me never want to touch curious again.


Ah…thanx for posting that.
I sent you (Justin) and email with that a while ago…good too see it up.


…thanx for the linkage ragecg
Its cool to see his GUI skills demonstrated on his site as well.

An interview with Mark would be great.
I’m looking forward to it.


I have always loved this type of work.

Check out: (Very Cool) and there use to be a company called “useful”… they did some tech interfaces for Tomb Raider and Terminator3, Blade2 and Spygame, but I can’t find their website anymore.



The screen graphics your referring to are dubbed “playback” graphics within the film industry. I’ve been a producer of playback graphics (and now other things) for several years and now have built a studio that originally centered around this particular art of the industry. I appreciate all the love and respect of the art. Check out – We’re getting primed for a new website launch so keep checking I’ll try to keep y’all posted.

Danny Ho


Thanks for the good words.

It is an unusual area of work, but at times great fun. There are not that many people who do this work out there, but the few that I know of, some above and a few more here…

Useful Companies –
Based at Pinewood Studios in the UK. Their creative director Simon Staines, is probably the single best person at this game. I’ve worked with him alot over the years and produced some good stuff. I don’t think they have a reel online.

Blackbox Digital –
Small outfit in LA specializing in playback design.

John Hill –
Excellent designer, with whom I have worked with on several projects.

Toby Glover –
As the link above. Another really good individual.

Les Ford – no link for his stuff, but based in Vancouver, doing a lot of the TV shows for some of the shops there.

Currently working on a new reel, which should be up in a few weeks, with the later work including MI3, Children of Men and Deja Vu. I will also be doing some demos at the Post Production Conference at NAB, if people are there and want to take a closer look at some of the work and the techniques used.




Hey mark.
great, great work! thanks for the heads-up on those links, some really facinating work..



Thanks KGB for sending that link in, love that stuff. Wish I was going to NAB would like to check out those demos Coleran. And yes please do an interview.


yeah, definetely an interview can be great…


I used to do this kind of work when I lived in Seattle. Whenever I explained to people what I did their reaction was always either “I always wondered who did that…” or “THAT’s someone’s JOB?!”

A couple more links:


I do this sort of work as well and when I tell people what I do I always get …

“So you do special effects like in Lord of the Rings right?”…

I now just say “sure, yeah” instead of explaining it all.


Good to see this specialist area get a little spotlight…as Mark rightly says its a challenge and very demanding at times but great fun all the same. Justin – drop me a line if you are after some more info, happy to talk shop too. PS Hi Mark, cheers for the link… ;-)

Joe Clay

These things will always remind me of things like Office Space where the guy closes Mac OS and it goes to DOS. Of course that was probably put in there for the people who know better.

Anyway, keep up the good work guys!


Looking forward to an interview of Mark. I’ll try and catch him at NAB! I regard his work as some of the best in biz. Just wanted to clarify for some of you, if you wanted to see our playback reel, goto or you can goto and click on “dowload playback reel” Thanks to all for your interest.



I used to do a lot of this sorta work. It’s great if you can get signed onto a series, but otherwise I found the short small contracts to be a bit haphazard.

I was on a the cheesy sci-fi Andromeda for 3 seasons(hercules in space), if you want to see some work from that show… visit my site

It’s under motion graphics.

I notice most of the other reals include a lot of footage from the show… not just graphics…

Do you think its worth re-editing my stuff to include some Kevin Sorbo and scenes?

Aharon Rabinowitz

Just want to make note that Mark will be presenting this month at After Effects New York. So if you want to shake the hands (well, one of them) used to produce all that cool work, join us on Thursday June 26th at AENY –

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