Saatchi & Saatchi : Head and Shoulders ~ Granny

Head and Shoulders: Some things … even we can’t … get out of your head. Illustration by Richard Wilkinson for Saatchi & Saatchi Germany via Proctor & Gamble.

Cut and Paste Toronto : This Saturday

Cut&Paste is coming to Toronto this Saturday March 28th; The Sound Academy (the old Doc’s) will host competitor battles all day long with an after-party starting at 11pm. Hope to see you there!

Joe Lawrence Showreel 2009

Rhett on Twitter

Ok, i don’t know why, but Twitter has been getting some massive exposure over here in Australia for the last few months. I put it down to the incestuous whoring of information between research lacking media channels (That’s an example of a Twitter rant right there). So when I hear it mentioned on breakfast TV it makes me feel like it has jumped the shark but I guess the average person would just see it as hitting the mainstream.

I’ve been on it for over a year now and it’s still a difficult question to answer when someone asks, “So what is Twitter”. There are many sites and videos dedicated to that sole question. But I think, “Twitter in plain english” is by far the best video explanation if you want to know what it is basically about.

Here is my Twitter page if you are interested in following my rants:

Eddie Bo R.I.P

Eddie Bo, New Orleans funky funky soul singer, composer, songwriter, and producer passed away March 20th, 2009 (R.I.P) after suffering a heart attack. He was cranking the jams for over 50 years so check your bucket! (it take a second for the song to load).

If you don’t know the brilliance that was Eddie Bo, check out Oliver Wang’s Side Dishes at Vibe where you can stream many of his great tracks. His music is sure to make you feel good so thank you Eddie Bo for your legacy!



Motion Theory: Triple Threat

Spring is here, and I’m falling in love all over again with Motion Theory. They’ve recently released a bevvy of projects that show off their incredible diversity as image-makers and storytellers.

Royal Bank of Canada “Anthem”

First up is a charming character-driven animation for Royal Bank of Canada and agency The Buntin Group.

The spot’s seamless transitions are not only visually pleasing, they actually reinforce the underlying messages of interconnectedness and diversity. Coupled with the retro tinged palette and illustration work, the spot is smile-inducing even on the third or fourth viewing.

NCAA: “Ambidextrous” and “Boundaries”

And now for something completely different. “Ambidextrous” and “Boundaries” try to broaden the image of the NCAA through cleverly subtle visual effects. Neither spot socks you in the gut with eye-popping imagery—rather they take reality and augment it.

Again, this sober approach is consistent with the messaging crafted by agency Young & Rubicam SF: You think you know the NCAA? Think again.

Sara Bareilles “Gravity”

Lastly, put on your headphones and dim the lights for this Sara Bareilles promo directed by MTh’s Mathew Cullen. (This was actually released about a month ago, but it fits nicely in our round-up.)

The deceptively low-fi aesthetic pulls you in (no pun intended) and before you know it, you’re caught in the majesty of a lush universe seemingly built from little more than streetlights and umbrellas. The arc of the song’s intensity is beautifully mirrored by the visuals—a feat difficult to pull off in the span of several shots, let alone one long shot.

And therein lies Motion Theory’s power: weaving technical mastery with solid storytelling. Head and heart working together as one.

Posted on Motionographer

Atelier Transfert: Watch and Learn

One of animation’s greatest strengths is its ability to simplify complex systems for digestion by the widest possible audience. This is something Montreal based Atelier Transfert understands implicitly.

Their approach is very specific: Using mostly stop motion, they “can take abstract concepts and bring them into the tactile world to illustrate a very simple message. Through simple and visually entertaining analogies, we can communicate complex features.”

Case in point is their recent video explaining how Email Center Pro software works. Atelier Transfert mixes metaphor and humor to keep things simple and engaging. It’s a technique that’s harder to master than it sounds, so I thought I’d ask them a few questions about their process. Atelier Transfert’s Christian Martel graciously responded.

If Google Translate can be trusted, “Atelier Transfert” roughly translates to “Transfer Workshop.” Why did you choose that as your studio’s name?

Yes, Google Translate is accurate. ‘Atelier’ in French often suggests an artist’s workshop or practice, and ‘transfert’ means transfer, which I sort of meant as in transport—intersecting various approaches, disciplines, and media through a design process.

These stop-motion tutorials we’ve been doing lately are still very rooted in design in that they attempt to reduce a message to its simplest expression.

AT has a very specific approach—namely, using stop-motion animation for “how-to” or expository videos. Why stop-motion? Why not, for the sake of argument, 3D animation?

Initially, this allowed me to create entertaining videos within my comfort/technical knowledge zone (using good old basic graphic designer’s tools such as a digital still camera, Photoshop, and Illustrator). Afterward, I understood that you have way more control with such short cuts. In this sense, the phenomenon of manipulating time with cuts is taken to a whole new level.

The timing on the images throughout the entire clip can edited to syllable, rather than to a word or a phrase. This makes for a high impact on the educational front—especially when demonstrating a recipe or technique.

With stop-motion, you can achieve the precision of an illustrated manual with each frame. This is even more interesting than the eye candy aspect of making objects move by themselves.

Now that our approach is even more centered on photography (seriously, shooting/composing these is like a very very long photo shoot, with all the usual preoccupations and concerns with the final shot), we use remote capture software combined with Photo Mechanic to check to motion while filming. We still put together the edit in Final Cut Pro, but have also started experimenting with Dragon Stop Motion. All the colour correction and any transparency tricks are all done in Photoshop.

Do you ever get clients asking for things outside the world of stop-motion?

Not yet. Just some simple illustrations added to a stop-motion piece.

Would you ever consider doing work that wasn’t stop-motion?

Sure, we’re always eager to innovate. Plus, with the appearance of of DSLR cinematography (Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D90) you can start to get near film-quality HD video. I love the idea of film and photography converging.

I imagine in some cases, it can be quite challenging to understand a product through the lens of a company’s brand. It sounds like it takes a lot of time and patience.

Yes, it certainly does. Before figuring out how we’re going to film, we do all that good marketing stuff too. The commercial sphere of graphic design, photography, and film has given us enough experience to make sure we achieve the branding message. Like an ad campaign, this requires a lot of initial background research before we propose a concept.

Plus, we try to adapt our video style to a company’s existing branding. In fact, although the style is similar, we rarely shoot them the same way: StartCooking is shot in natural light, Alltop was done with flash photography, and Email Center Pro was lit with modeling lights (which, by the way, tend to dim slightly around dinner time as power consumption in the building goes up).

What’s in store for the future? Any big projects coming down the pipeline? Any new ideas you want to work on?

Yes, although I don’t think I can mention it just yet. Anyway, we’ve just started with these and we’re looking to do a few more.

Posted on Motionographer

Art & Copy Trailer

ART & COPY reveals the stories behind and the personal odysseys of some of the most influential advertising visionaries of our time and their campaigns, including Lee Clow (Apple Computer 1984, and today’s iPod); Dan Wieden (“Just Do It”); Phyllis K. Robinson (who invented the “me generation” with Clairol); Hal Riney (who helped President Reagan […]

Christian Schupp

Love the work of artist/illustrator Christian Schupp, featured in the latest Encore Magazine spread.

Steven Harrington : Bang-Ga-Wrong

Steven Harrington put together an exclusive, free download mix for Incase and Arkitip; Bang-Ga-Wrong; a 45-minute mix of early Jamaican dancehall, dub and roots reggae reworked and mixed with help from Andrew Miller.