Vodafone Advert / YODO Creative

So here’s a project that I worked on last year with the guys over at YODO Creative – they were working on a number of films for Vodafone PR to promote the thirty year anniversary of the first mobile phone call in the UK ever. The son of the Vodafone chairman was apparently smuggled away from a New Years Eve party, and rang his father using the state-of-the-art handset (that cost almost two thousand pounds).

Cycle forward (nearly) thirty years, and I was using the same model handset as reference to build the 3D version. This was a hard surface modelling project in Modo, and a fun challenge – the film required the camera to be extremely close to the model, which was intended to be showroom fresh rather than thirty years old. I built in a lot of detail to ensure that we had complete freedom of movement with the camera, worked out the camera moves with the director, going through a number of iterations to make sure we were getting the right feel to the moves. Final lighting and rendering was handled by Richard Heard.

The film was very well-received by Vodafone; uncharacteristically for a PR piece, it was picked up by just about every territory that Vodafone operates in. It was great collaborating with the guys at YODO Collective, and I’m looking forward to the next project.

P.S. One of the other films was a montage of rather adorable interviews with young kids about the phone. Some of their answers are great.

Skazka – The Mill (again)

I know I’ve been going on a bit of a Mill kick with posts lately, but I keep finding such great stuff on their Vimeo channel that I’ve missed. Here’s a fantastic piece for OFF St Petersburg 2014 – I absolutely love this film, the fantastic abstract particles, the way the scenes build and move, the human elements of the dancers – it’s just brilliant.

The particle work was apparently all X-Particles in Cinema4D – it’s a plugin that I know of but haven’t had the opportunity to get hold of yet, and I definitely want to look into it after seeing this gorgeous piece. There’s more behind the scenes goodness over on The Space Between, with a more detailed look at the inspirations for the piece. One thing that I adore is the combination of analog and digital techniques, with hand-painted typography brought into 3D, the printing and painting effects that were then brought into the 3D environment, and the motion capture work for the dancers (original choreography brought into the digital space).

Very different to the last piece that I highlighted by The Mill, and that’s another thing that I love. They’re quickly becoming a studio that I definitely want to work for at some point (to my shame, although I knew the name, I’d yet to have a close look at their motion graphics or commercial output).

My Way // The Mill for Eviivo

Back with another lovely piece from The Mill, here’s a beautifully charming advert for Eviivo – an online booking management system. I really love the art style they went with, and coupled with the great music writing, turned out a really lovely piece.

There are a number of things to love here – firstly, it’s a charming, funny, piece – but it also tells the story of the company and how that can help their client. They haven’t lost focus on delivering to their audience the point of the film itself, which would be easy to do as you get swept up in the creation of the piece.

There’s another great blog on The Space Between on the process of making the film, it’s evolution into what it ultimately became – starting with the song and building the visuals – it’s such a good example of the different creative fields fitting together and complimenting each other to create the final product. I was also interested to hear that it was put together in Cinema4D in a relatively short time frame as well.

How To Improve Capitalism

Or at least, here are some ideas on ways that we could change it – I always feel that a video like this works best if it prompts you to at least think about the questions being raised, even if you don’t necessarily agree with all the answers – thinking about these problems (rather than just accepting the status quo) is the first step to finding workable solutions.

This is also the most recent project that I’ve worked on. The client in this case was Alain de Botton – a contact that I picked up through Twitter.

Starting with the script and voiceover provided by Alain, I had a chat with him to go over the project, check what his requirements were, who the intended audience were and so on. I was also able to ask if he had any specific themes or styles in mind for the piece (he liked the Guardian piece that I’d worked on with Alex Purcell, so I went with a similar art style). From there I created all the concepts, worked up the art direction for the piece, built all the art assets in Illustrator, and animated everything in After Effects. Sound design was done by Jonny Elwyn.

One thing that I specifically wanted to avoid was the use of maps when talking about countries – it’s used everywhere (as it’s frequently the shortest distance between information and understanding) but ultimately it’s just not that interesting. I felt the capitalist machine concept, with different countries being represented as machines painted in their respective flags, would work well for the subject matter (and I was able to play around with it a little bit – for example, Sweden has a lot more furniture on it’s conveyor belts).

It was a fun project to work on, as it’s always great when you have a bit of creative freedom. The release into the wilds of the internet has also gone well. At the time of writing, it’s been viewed over ten thousand times on YouTube, with likes far outweighing dislikes (always a good sign!).

Rufus Hound seemed to like it.

rufusHoundTweet

But the main thing is that the client was happy with it. It’s always great when you get feedback like this:

“The film is terrific, everything I could have hoped for. You’ve done a fantastic job. Thank you so much.” Alain de Botton

Glen Keane – The Duet

One of the great things about being an animator is that every now and then, you get to sit back and just lose yourself in something that’s utterly masterful – someone producing stuff that’s heartfelt, beautifully rendered and just perfect.

I know, I know. I’m gushing. That’s because I finally got around to watching Glen Keane’s new short film ‘The Duet’, entirely animated by Glen himself, and you can see his style in every frame. Enjoy.

Japan Cubed

So I was experimenting with a technique in a video tutorial that the guys over at Greyscale Gorilla put together a long time ago (I would highly recommend the training over at Greyscale if you haven’t checked it out yet, there’s some great ideas for people looking to bring some 3D into their motion graphics projects – and their products are also fantastic).

I made the choice of using photos from Japan as a little throwback to when I lived there (and not at all because I’m feeling a little nostalgic for Nippon-koku, honest). The technique from the tutorial allows for a huge amount of flexibility in the images that are used and the timing of everything, and it’s perfect for transitions and photo montages. I’ll be playing with this idea in future as I already have some thoughts on things I want to try with it.

Of course there’s always things about it that I would tweak, but for a five second test done in a couple of hours I’m happy with it.

Why Is That Guy Sat On An Elephant?

An excellent question, and one that the second film for The Pioneers sets out to answer. This was the second of the two projects for The Pioneers, with this film focusing on the source of the inspiration for their logo design. It was also an opportunity to create some caricatures of Jonathan Haidt and Daniel Khaneman.

The video followed the same production methods as the previous film – based off scripts that were created by The Pioneers team, with some input and suggestions from myself and my brother. I then storyboarded out the film, working up concepts for each element, and got sign off from The Pioneers. After that, it was a matter of creating all the art and putting together the final animation, before handing it back to my brother to put together the sound design.

As always there was a lot of collaboration between myself and The Pioneers, a lot of back-and-forth communication, making sure the final film was going to meet their vision for the project. I’m pretty happy with the results (as happy as I am with anything that I make, admittedly).

The Pioneers have shown the film to both Jonathan Haidt and Daniel Khaneman, both of whom were happy with it – in the case of Jonathan Haidt, he liked it so much he got in touch with The Pioneers and (last I heard) was talking to them about putting together some new studies.