Gunner + Blend = 🔥

By consistently producing clever work that not only looks great but is also pushing the boundaries of technology, Gunner has quickly established itself as one of the best up-and-coming studios in our community. At only four years old, they’ve made quite the splash in a very short amount of time!

Combine that with the people’s champ, Wine After Coffee and Blend, and I’d wager that you’d be hard-pressed to find a greater collaboration.

The following is a brief Q&A with the team at Gunner about how they went about making the titles for this year’s Blend, a peak at their process, and what they learned from the experience.

Can you tell us how the project came about and what the initial goals were going into production?

Two weeks before Christmas we got a big present in our inbox from Jorge asking us to do the titles for Blend 2019. We took 15 minutes to think about it, then said yes.

Our goals:

Do something for ourselves that made us happy.
Create a story that stuck to the core of “blend”
Dive head first into 3D without killing ourselves
Make it work financially (don’t sink the G-boat)
Try to forget how insanely incredible the last Blend title sequence was (Oddfellows, one of our fav pieces of all time)


Thats obviously a great email to recieve! What was your workflow like for this project and how did you use this project as an opportunity to explore new technology?

3D was a little outside of our comfort zone for a 4 minute piece and we knew that we couldn’t spread thin just because of the length… so we turned to a couple of new things we were messing with early in the year.

C4D volume mesher & Oculus Medium + Quill

Medium gave us the ability to create lush amounts of detail in a super quick timeline. In Medium you can basically squirt out geometry, so our more ambitious storyboards we’re actually somewhat painless to accomplish.

We had an experienced VR enthusiast on staff (Collin Leix) that was itchin to use medium because it is so gestural and intuitive. She became our resident teacher and was able to get half of us in there making stuff with her. Which meant we didn’t have to reach out for a ton of extra 3D muscle.

Side note: Would be amazing if Medium was “multi-player” just sayin’ :)

Volume mesher on the other hand allowed us to “fake rig” characters. Since the geometry was being calculated live, more-so glued together, we could combine all of our align to spline / bend deformer / simple geo animation techniques into little creatures that could run & jump. Shout out to Doug Alberts for pushing those wonky rigs even further.


Looking toward the future, how do you think this project will influence new projects you take on?

In a slightly ironic way, “Blend” is actually a perfect blend of everything we’ve learned up until now. The experience of a room of people mixing everything they know together and seeing what happens is something that will stick with us forever. Everything that worked and everything that didn’t will show up in future projects, and hopefully, they will be shorter than 4 minutes.


Directed by Gunner

Original Score & Sound Design: Ambrose Yu

Design & Illustration: Marcus Bakke, Ian Sigmon, Rachel Reid, Andy Most, James Noellert
Conceptual Illustration: Slawek Fedorczuk, James Noellert, Marcus Bakke

2D Animation: Ian Sigmon, Nick Parente, Dan Stack, Evan Kempinski

Title Animation: Jordan Scott
Cel Animation: Rachel Reid, Andy Most, Marcus Bakke

3D Animation: Doug Alberts, Marcus Bakke, Nick Forshee, John Hughes, Collin Leix, Handel Eugene, Nick Parente

3D Rigging: Chris Nelder, Nick Forshee, Marcus Bakke, Handel Eugene

3D Character Animation: Rachel Reid, Doug Ablerts, John Hughes, Marcus Bakke, Nick Forshee, Handel Eugene

3D modeling: Marcus Bakke, Nick Forshee, Billy Chitkin, Handel Eugene, Maritza Louis

VR Modeling: Collin Leix, Marcus Bakke, Nick Forshee

Compositing: Ian Sigmon, John Hughes, Collin Leix, Marcus Bakke, Nick Forshee, Andy Most

Render Wrangler: Todd Hersey

Produced By: Brandon Delis

About the author

Joe Donaldson

Joe Donaldson is a director, designer, and animator who worked on Motionograpgher from 2014-2020. Previously, he was an art director at Buck. Over the past decade, he's lived and worked in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles and has directed work for clients such as Apple, Google, Instagram, The New York Times, Unicef, Etsy, and The New Yorker. In addition to his creative work, in 2018 he started Holdframe. He's now working as a professor at Ringling College of Art and Design and when not teaching he can be found spending time with his family or out running.