Psyop: HP Maestro

This new advert for HP’s TouchSmart PC from Psyop is full of verve and sophistication. Instead of aiming for photo-realistic CG, agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Psyop opted for a more gestural approach that uses abstract imagery and computer interface elements, creating a look that values magical playfulness over hi-tech seriousness.

Big thanks to Byron Slaybaugh for the tip!

Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
Co-Chairman / Creative Director: Rich Silverstein
Creative Directors: Rick Condos, Hunter Hindeman
Art Director: Andre Massis
Copywriter: Jordan Kramer
Executive Producer: Cindy Fluitt
Producer: Todd Porter

Production Company: Psyop, Los Angeles
Directors: Todd Mueller, Kylie Matulick, Psyop
Executive Producers: Angela Bowen, Neysa Horsburgh
Producers: Sara Mills, Blythe Dalton, Luisa Murray
Associate Producer: Tarun Charaipotra
Lead Flame Artists: Jamie Scott, Aska Otake
Flame Artists: Tim Farrell, Peter Amante, Joe Wenkoff
Technical Directors: Jeffrey Dates, Dave Barosin, Ted Kotsadtis, Todd Akita
Animation: Jason Vega, Gerald Ding, Jeff Lopez, Kittly Lin, Andy Hara
R&D: Andreas Gebhardt
Lighting: Andy Hara
Tracking: Joerg Liebold, Jeen Lee, Chris Hill, Steven Hill
Roto: Leslie Chung, David Marte, Alejandro Monzon
Design: Zoe Wishart, Lutz Vogel, Jon Saunders, Chris Saunders Jake Sargent, Ron Kurwin
Storyboards: Josh Wiesenfeld
Editors: Cass Vanini, Brett Goldberg, Brett Nicholetti

Director of Photography: Crille Forsbaerg
Line Producer: Michael Schlenker

Final Music: Sejong Soloists
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Summer
Sound Design Company: 740 Sound Design
Sound Designer: Eddie Kim
Executive Producer: Scott Ganary

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.



what happened to the hp logo.


It’s been FUTURIZED!


Do you know who the maestro is? I mean the guy in the ad.

Marc B.

Well done.
Although the design look and feel seems more like Motion Theory. At least i don’t associate this direction and aesthetics with Psyop at all.


Yeah, a few of us here thought it was MTh at first. Given GSP and Motion Theory’s long relationship, it made sense. I’m thinking the look was intentionally meant to echo some of MTh’s work, but I’m not sure.


Yea. I thought the same as well. Its reminded me a bit of the Matisyahu video they did as well as the HP work.

I think this one came out of the LA office whose new EP is coming from Method. So perhaps this might be the Psyop answer the more filmic/VFX driven LA scene. Their last collab with Mass Market for Absolut was a bit “off-brand” for them as well. But, I am loving the darker, slicker range they are showing.

Marc B.

But do you guys think it’s a good thing for a Psyop spot to be regarded as a MTh one? Seems more like advertising for MTh by utilizing their style.

I’m very surprised that Psyop didn’t influence it more with their own look and feel.

But maybe the good ol’ Psyop era as we know died off like a year ago ever since they became such a big corporation.


But maybe the good ol’Marc B. era died off like a year ago ever since Psyop became such a big corporation, though on second thought, there never was such a thing as a good ol’Marc B.era.

Your ranting about psyop´s business practices is becoming dull, repetitive and unimaginative; I think is time to move on!


I dont think this has to do with a Motion Theory ‘style’ vs ‘Psyop style’ at all. I think its something that the agency has done–making sure that this spot looks like it belongs to the same family as the earlier MTh spots…Visually this makes for stronger branding. Pretty common practice in advertising…

I think there are some uniquely psyop touches in there, like the look of the folded papers.

Good casting as well, I think. Really helps.


i have a real issue with this piece. i think for the first time all this new motion graphics stuff is just way too overdone. dont get me wrong, everything about this is great individually – and you can tell a lot of work went in to making this so high quality – but it’s just TOO MUCH altogether. you feel like Ned Flanders in Vegas.


yes! beautifully orchestrated, now I see the brains behind this. It’s very interesting to see how a company like hp uses the brains of the artists to sell, versus apple utilizing the brains of the product designer to sell. Props.

Marc B.

But i still prefer Apple over HP and the ipod touch over the zune no matter how cool the ads it’s still the product and it’s features that matter.

Robby Trione

Awesome as usual!


I don’t know why companies think a touch-screen is any better than a mouse or a pen & tablet. It takes more effort to use a touch-screen, you need to move your arms further and hold them aloft for longer. Your fingers get in the way of everything you touch, your arm blocks half the screen when you use it. Another fad that will surely die a death. Hopefully.


But it might help with upper body strength and weight loss. And really, it’s just at the wrong angle.. If it was built into a desk and tilted up slightly, it’d be a little more effort than using a keyboard and mouse..


While framing through, I saw the name Obama written in the FG letters just after the fireworks explosion. Coincidence?

It is a beautiful spot. It takes the HP hands concept to above and beyond the next level.


wow – I thought you were being sarcastic. that’s his name, alright, front and center. assume it’s not a coincidence.


Thank you for noticing it too….
I think it was blatant.
I like it though.
I wouldn’t care if it said ‘Mickey Mouse’ for a frame, I love stuff like that.


Yeah, it just kind of ticks me off that they would inject politics into something so beautiful. I know what you’re saying Jared, about the ‘Easter eggs’, but I really don’t want to associate one of my favorite studios with a certain politician. As great as this piece is (and it really does take MoTh’s work to the next level, which is what you’s expect from Pysop), it kind of gets nullified by this. ‘Mickey Mouse’ would’ve been much better.


Sorry todd – obviously you would know. Actually, if someone hadn’t pointed it out, I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but it is there in the middle of the shot. And I don’t think slipping the name in would be that strange for someone to sneak in, considering we’re in the middle of an election where people are Obama-crazy. Also, coincidentally, wouldn’t it kind of fit in with Psyop’s name (and slogan)?

Anyway, again, really great work here – this spot is technically and artistically superb. Also like how you keep dipping into the Classics (i.e. MTVHD).


Hehehe… O-B-A-M-A, saw it alright crystal clear. *grin*


i saw “vote for Obama 2008” “Change we can believe in” followed by an outline of his new health-plan. :)

LOL people see anything.

great commercial!


A great evolutionary step from the past spots.
And I really dig the new logo.

I have to disagree that touchscreen is just a fad. I think at times it beats other means of input. Not to mention its a very human way of interacting with objects(especially with multitouch capabilities).


great spot.

i think majik as a point. it would be really hard to actually work on that thing, after the first hour or so your harms would be dead. i prefer a cintiq for that matter.

but i like the spot.

david lewandowski

realflow or moonshine? :)


You mean moondust?


There is some Realflow, an early version of PWrapper for XSI and a small bouquet of custom software. For some stuff we are under NDA and we can’t talk about it even if we really would want to. All I can say is: We also used *** and it kicks some serious bottom. :)


Where’s this guy playing. I want to go to that show.


Don’t get me wrong I love the spot, nice work!


my love for psyop continues on


You guys sounds like a bunch of AOLERS.

if you gots drama. handle it on the skreeets.

not on a freakin ONLINE forum. geez.




Ken Lee

Sometimes I can’t really tell who to give the credit to. If GSP took this idea to a different team, in what ways would it be different? Does the agency art director have the most creative control?


Yes and no.
The agency team of art director and copywriter are responsible for the IDEA/CONCEPT. The design studios or directors are responsible for the EXECUTION of the agencies idea. How that idea is formalized and realized has a lot to do with the design shop or director, otherwise why even hire them right? But in the end, that agency obviously approves the stages of production, and whoever matches the ad agencies “vision” of what the spot “should” look like gets the job.

Although, who gets hired for commercial work is based on who the agency feels is hip at the moment. Its s%*rfucking in a weird way.
It makes the agency creatives and the design shop both look cool and get press in all the agency papers and potential ad awards.

Marc B.

Psyop ny maybe?


True psyop’s style is changing, But I guess that’s the whole challenge.

It’s interesting to leave the audience to doubt psyop’s style rather than easily letting people predict their work. That’d simply get too ‘psyop-cliche’ on the long run.

Randomness is teh new cool, no?


I usually a pretty big fan of most of the stuff on motionographer, but this is kind of just too much all around.

it’s like, alright we get it! all this crap moving all over the place, it makes me feel nauseous after viewing it. being impressed no longer applies.


Wonderful, I like the raining typography as well. I’m excited to get one of those… unless mac comes out with a better one… which they will… I’ll bookmark this over at our place:


I’m wondering how much Fantasia was an influence on this.


Fantasia — hehe… maybe that’s why they should’ve put in Mickey Mouse’s name instead of Obama


As usual Psyop doesn’t disappoint. BTW did it occur to some folk out there that psyop’s style maybe changing as part of an evolution as well as new blood so to speak?


little too much?



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