If you’re in need a good chuckle, take five minutes to watch the lovingly crafted “JohnnyExpress,” the latest short from Korea-based Alfred Imageworks.

Art&Graft: “Trip” The Virgin Atlantic Safety Film

Long ago, Virgin Airways embraced the simple fact that no one pays attention to the poor flight attendants as they drone on mechanically about oxygen masks and flotation devices.

Why not use that time to share something genuinely entertaining, something that communicates the necessary safety information and conveys the playfully chic persona of the Virgin brand?

Take a Trip

The latest in Virgin’s flight safety film series, “Trip,” comes from Art&Graft. At over 5 minutes long, it’s an ambitious project. But the premise behind the film gave the team essentially unlimited creative freedom.

At the film’s opening, a drowsy passenger slips into a dream state while the flight attendant recites her safety spiel. We follow the passenger through a series of surreal vignettes inspired by genres of film, everything from sci-fi to westerns. Each scene communicates a core safety tip before moving on to the next unexpected scenario.


Art&Graft shares a bit of their process on their website:

To bring our ideas to life, the A&G team combined an illustrative approach with exciting 3D and 2D animation techniques. All the character animation was produced using a traditional frame-by-frame technique – very labour intensive, especially when creating a 6 minute film, but the results look beautiful and are extremely rewarding!

Elements throughout the film were modelled in 3D; allowing us to ’wrap’ our illustrations around these models to keep the illustrative feel yet giving the scenes fantastic depth and space. This allowed all the camera angles to be planned out and ensure the 2D characters could then be animated in each scene with the addition of further textures and casted shadows.


Other Virgin Airways films

Virgin Atlantic Flight Safety Video (2008)

Virgin + method “We’re All in This Together”

Fraser Davidson: A Guide To American Football

UK-based Fraser Davidson’s latest, “A Guide To American Football,” is a hilarious distillation of one of America’s most beloved pastimes.

In the same spirit as his previous sports-related work, “Irritable Bowl Syndrome” and “Alternative Rugby Commentary,” Davidson mixes whip-crack wit with equally clever visuals to inform and entertain broad audiences with devilishly good design and motion.

In the case of “A Guide To American Football,” Fraser not only designed and animated he everything, he wrote it, too. That, my friends, is the triple threat in this business. Impressive.

Oh, and rumor has it that Davidson completed this project in about two weeks. Wow.

Voiced by Adventures in Design podcast. All sound work by Morgan Samuel.

Haynes “Beans”

This mock commercial is just too much fun not to share. I only wish real clients had the guts (pun intended) to fund this kind of work.

Cinesite created this project as a showcase for their artists. With superb comedic timing, lushly rendered animation and brilliant creature work, I’d say it’s a slam dunk. The short was written and directed by Animator Alvise Avati and produced by Animation Director Eamonn Butler.

Cinesite on the look development:

The look of the lunar environment is based on NASA film footage and actual lunar photography. Eamonn says, “At the start, the film is quite serious in tone and then it develops, becoming more dramatic as it progresses before ending on a surprise. To support this, the environment needed to be photo-realistic. We also wanted to push the animation and effects as far as we could to make the film as dramatic as possible before the payoff.

Tip o’ the hat to Todd Akita.

Written and Directed
Alvise Avati

Eamonn Butler

VFX Supervisor
Richard Clarke

Art Direction
Jean-David Solon

Concept Art
Andrea de Martis

Modelling and Rigging
Grahame Curtis
Royston Willcocks
Richard Boyle

Alvise Avati
Eamonn Butler
Peter Clayton
Tom O’Flaherty
Adam Bailey

Texture Artists
Nicolette Newman
Gary Newman

FX Animation
Andreas Vrhovsek
Luke Wilde

Lighting and Compositing
Zave Jackson
Nikos Gatos
Jonathan Vuillemin
Dan Harrod
Joel Bodin

William Marshall-Wilkinson
Christopher Learmonth

Posted on Motionographer

Matthias Hoegg: “Upstairs”

If you haven’t already watched Matthias Hoegg’s latest short, “Upstairs,” now is a good time to sink your eyes into it. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again. It rewards repeat viewings.

The short looks at the ways our imaginations run wild when given the slightest bit of sensory input — and how sometimes we don’t want to know the truth, even when it’s attainable.

Hoegg has a knack for crafting clever visual systems that act like narrative engines, pushing stories forward with a language of design. His characters operate in a playful space between iconography and naturalism that makes for unique, memorable experiences.

“Upstairs” was created for Random Acts on Channel 4 through Not To Scale.


Also make sure to check out Hoegg’s BAFTA-nominated “Thursday.”

Posted on Motionographer

Assembly: NZI “The Devil’s Chair”

New Zealand-based Assembly strikes again, showing their incredible range for agency Draft FCB and insurance company NZI.

Whether you focus on the craftsmanship of each shot or the comic timing of each vignette, the spot holds up to repeat viewing. The lighting alone had me scrubbing back and forth like mad.

For more about Assembly, read our in-depth interview with the crew.

Posted on Motionographer

Conor Finnegan: Fear of Flying

Conor Finnegan’s delightful coming of age short dives into the troubled psyche of a bird with a problem of existential proportions: he’s afraid to fly. To make matters worse, he’s in love with a girl who’s headed south for the winter. What to do, what to do.

In addition to an engaging storyline and endearing voice work, the animation technique is notable. Nearly all of the characters, sets and props were practically built. Conor and his team essentially puppeted the characters with rods. The rods were removed in post, and animated limbs were then comped on top of the footage. The result is naturalistic movement, complete with all the charming quirks you get from human-controlled motion.

Sound and music by Echolab.

Making Of

Official site

Posted on Motionographer

Tumbleweed Tango

“A balloon dog is lost in a world of danger. One wrong step and his dancing days are done. Only love, and tango, can possibly save him.”

Sam Stephens and Christopher Mauch (Hyrda) co-directed this charming short about a pair of balloon animals in love. It’s one of those sweetly told tales that ticks along effortlessly, bringing you and your smile with it.

The audio is a huge component of this short. Joe Miuccio’s sound design pumps up the comedy while the original score from Michael Hewett and Matt Nakoa undulates and contorts as playfully as the main characters. Superb work.

Produced by Humble.

Posted on Motionographer

Giovanni Braggio: Animation Tutorial Part 1

Intimidated by character animation? Don’t be! Giovanni Braggio shows you just how easy it is.

Hat tip to Danica Perry.

Posted on Motionographer

New Work by Buck

Characters, cel animation & pop retro: Buck keeps on rocking with great new spots for Fruit Snacks, McDonald’s and MTV. Credits on the projects’ pages.

Posted on Motionographer