Always a challenge to make business graphics look engaging; the messages are usually pretty dry and abstract, and if you’re not careful you end up with something looking like a PowerPoint presentation with better transitions.
Written and created by Howard Matthews at Push Pictures for Fingo Interactive Ltd.
Created in Blender (blender.org), composited in After Effects
Music by Terry Devine-King / Adam Drake (audionetwork.com)
Dubbed in Logic Pro.
Since 3D Studio Max doesn’t run on Macs and I’m slowly getting rid of all the PCs in the studio (muhahaha), I needed an alternative 3D package. Had a quick look at Maya but thought I’d better give Blender a go – it’s free and open source, which is always appealing, but when I had a go with it a few years back the interface was a bit clunky and the learning curve looked daunting. Lots has happened since then, though; Blender’s really matured into an incredibly capable package.
No better way to learn than to try and produce a project for real – so this is it: my first Blender project. To keep things relatively manageable I stuck with Blender’s internal renderer, doing a separate render of each element using the “Edges” option to get the outlines, then using AE’s Roughen Edges to erode them a bit. Everything was assembled and composited in After Effects, though Blender has an increasingly powerful compositor of its own now – have to try it next time.
My first go at doing character animation, too; Blender’s approach to skeletal animation seems much simpler and more straightforward than Max’s, but the key thing is that there are tons of free tutorial videos available, courtesy of Blender’s growing army of supporters. Groovy.
Blender’s really come on since I last looked at it a year ago, so I’m trying to get to know it. Thought I’d try a really quick and dirty storyboard/previz thing – wrote a quick tune in Logic (yay harmonica yay) and then tried to illustrate it as fast as possible in Blender. Nothing’s textured, and the excessive lens flares are there out of necessity, hiding a multitude of sins… (though nothing can forgive the nasty hard edge on the nebula photo, d’oh, no time to re-render)
Blender 2.66 / AE CS6 / Video Copilot’s Optical Flares / Logic Pro / 1 day
This was a lovely touch by someone on the production – as Bond phones to ask for information on a Mr. Greene, we cut to his headquarters, where Bond’s request is being transcribed to computer screen as he speaks. The system is so responsive that it briefly mis-anticipates (is that a word?) a W when Bond spells out “… double E …”, but it swiftly corrects itself. It’s a beautifully subtle way of suggesting that it’s an extremely fast and adaptive computer they have there. Mmmm. Most memorable bit of the film for me. Unfortunately. Nice touch, that, though, so all’s not lost
I’ve created an animation for Pete at Hazelnut Films – just like the previous one, the idea is that the film will be sold to a number of SEO companies to use on their sites, with the “Your Logo” bits replaced with theirs.