Psyop: Milk “Sad Princess” and “Medusa”


Psyop crafted these two grin-worthy fairy tales for the California Milk Processor Board and agency Grupo Gallegos: “Sad Princess” and “Medusa.”

This is a study in the art of narrative compression. Each spot feels like fully realized fairy tale—and yet nothing is rushed. From the lush mattes to the tiny dancing mouse at the end of “Sad Princess,” each frame feels like a pitch board packed with detail.

Psyop apparently had some serious creative leverage in how exactly to illustrate Gallegos’ scripts. Says Creative Director Marco Spier:

We had a lot of fun coming up with the possibilities of her wrath. And thinking about how to transition from her tender little tear drop-into wreaking havoc on the town’s men, before turning into a tumultuous ocean, in a legendary storm, all in 2.3 seconds.

One technical note: Scrub through the snakes-to-hair transformation at the end of “Medusa.” While a cross-disolve might have done the trick, the snakes are actually morphing into hair. Despite not registering on a conscious level, labor-intesive details like that are what separate Psyop from the herd.

Watch “Sad Princess” and “Medusa”

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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.



Hey, for anyone who is interested, there are two ‘Behind the Scenes’ films for the Sad Princess’s Ocean:

Ocean Lighting& Rendering:

Wave Rig:



Hey Florian,

Do you know what they used to do the wave rig? It looks great. I’m a Maya and RealFlow user and the interface doesn’t look familiar. XSI…?


Hey Florian, those behind the scenes are amazing man. Thanks so much for sharing. I could dork out here forever, but I want to ask about that tool you’re using for the waves in XSI? It’s really cool man. Also, the texturing and rendering is wonderful. really good work dude.


i like the way the water is 5 sizes bigger than anything else. kinda cool.

Marc B.

You sure that’s not a cross-dissolve on the hair? It does kinda look slightly blurry around that part and why wouldn’t any other studio want to make it seamless? I don’t think attention to detail is a one studio specific thing.

Overall some great CG and cool fluid simulations but like with their Dante piece this one too seems to suffer from the “more is more” syndrome. And the main characters have really stiff character animation. I’m probably a little spoiled watching Pixar’s UP trailers tho.


Marc B. youre a complete joke.
marc bullshit? what are you hiding from? dear?

Overall some great CG and cool fluid simulations ?
cg and fluids are pretty much the same thing.
(computerGraphix? Computer Generated bullshit? just like you haha)
Stiff animation, that was the greatest nonsense you could come up with. i bet you think stopMotion feels kinda stepy too.

and and there is no fluid simulations on this piece, from what i see on florian’s making-of sooo… one more time// your’e wrong haha such a critic wannabe. can i have the check please!

and psyop.. Amazing work as always! i am still at school but someday, someday i’ll be there. thanks.

Marc B.

Thanks for the insults. While I try to be constructive with my criticism you seem not to accept any at all. Fortunately we live in a free society and not in tyranny where we’re only allowed to praise the dear leader.


Fall back dude, and go back to class!

The animation is a little stiff but it is fine! The hair looks cross dissolved but you really cares it looks great! Technically its an impressive stop. Visually its beautiful! Good stuff but Marc got some good points!

Good job to psyop.

Marc B.

Yeah and I never said it was bad. I even wrote “Overall some great CG and cool fluid simulations”. And isn’t that splash on the floor fluid simulation? Just in response to elinavicius attacking me.

Some people don’t seem to accept slight critique though. Like the dear leader.


I like these alot, and was reminded of the old Rankin Bass animations, and Ray Harryhausens fairy tale shorts he did (King Midas:


Justin Cone

Thanks for sharing the King Midas link. Ray Harryhausen’s work was beautiful.


Your welcome, Justin. You know, it’s kind of sad, but some of those amazing little fairy tale shorts that Harryhausen did can be found on those $5.00 DVD’s in Duane Reade, right along with the “Cartoon Classics.”

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