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LFC Transforms with a new Responsive Web Design

Filed under: Imagine,Photography,Publications,Shorts,Spots,Tech — Betsy de Fries March 22, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

LFC_screengrab

AT LITTLE FLUFFY CLOUDS we change out our website a lot. Since our first one in 1996 we’ve crafted no less than 16 sites, always in tune, and sometimes ahead, of the prevailing technology. The aim should be to give anyone landing on your site the most optimal visual experience they can have. So, it should be good to look at, easy to navigate through and be as informative as you can make it.

LFC is a production and design studio so the way we profile our work differs from say an agency or a news portal. We made conscious choices in the design of our site to give preference to functionality over gimmickry. Not that some tricks aren’t fun, don’t get me wrong, it’s more that we want the user to have a specific experience and we want to direct that experience.

Our job is to create interesting and vibrant visual content and that‚Äôs what we give you, right up front. People want to be entertained yes, but in return for their participation they deserve a robust experience. The new responsive website was designed by creatives, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries and LFC’ creative director, Jerry van de Beek, programmed it himself. Here he talks about it.

My aim was to provide information in a streamlined fashion so it is easy to learn a lot about Little Fluffy Clouds work and the company with minimal interface interference ‚Äď all of which speeds things up for the mobile user.

Most web developers use pre-programmed templates as a jumping-off point for their sites. They also use pre-programmed plug-ins to add functionality to those templates. I decided against this because I wanted to have full control over the functionality and design. So I started with a blank slate, programming the entire interactive experience in JavaScript and HTML 5, and created my own template and plug-ins.  

The site is completely responsive meaning that the layout of the site, including the font size, adapts to the device it is viewed on. This is exciting as LFC’s new site can now be seen – without compromising resolution or content – on any mobile phone, any tablet, any computer and even on a video wall.

Now, go people and check out this thing at: www.littlefluffyclouds.com. It does a whole lot more than a cookie-cutter, off-the-shelf one and is optimized for all your devices. Those would be iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android and other European and Asian tablets and phones as well as your good old CPU. It works in Chrome, Safari, Fire Fox, Internet Explorer and Opera and probably any other exotic browser you care to name. Besides, it’s gorgeous looking and coded appropriately to maximize the strengths of each. Oh yes people, it is a thing of beauty indeed :¬į)

Tweet your Love to Toyota #TrueStory and Let’s Go Places!

Filed under: Spots — Betsy de Fries August 13, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

You know how Toyota owners love their cars? Yes we do! Well Toyota fans everywhere often post to #TrueStory on Twitter to say why. So it seemed only right to give this love a wider audience and make a series of spots to show the world just how dedicated we are!

In, #TrueStory, a campaign made for the¬†newly minted, HLP, we took these “tweets of love” and placed them in the center of our vision. Atop of these text¬†thought bubbles sit¬†tiny worlds made up of miniature sets showcasing the essence of this grass roots celebration.¬†Each vignette brings a riot of color and an ingenious mix of tangible materials with just a tad of whimsy on that same reality. Everything is playful, modern and fun. And better still these spots leap off the screen every time they play on TV or on the web.

Sometimes an entire campaign of spots is a lovely thing to do. You get to play out a theme in more ways than one. In, Toyota #TrueStory, we got to explore and blur the edges of reality across all these commercials.¬†These tiny worlds, based on¬†Toyota¬†owners’ tweets, make for a lively animated campaign indeed. So, text your love to, Toyota¬†#TrueStory, and Let’s Go Places!

LFC give Half a TED at the SF de Young Museum of Fine Arts

Filed under: Festivals,Misc,Spots,Tech — Betsy de Fries May 28, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

LFC_Powerball

The creative directors of Little Fluffy Clouds, Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries,¬†are pleased to be giving a half a TED talk at the San Francisco¬†de Young Fine Arts¬†Museum, as part of,¬†Micro-Presentations -¬†Orange Nights: Amsterdam and San Francisco. The talks, part of an on-going series exploring the connection between the two cities, take place¬†on¬†Friday, May 31st, 2013. ‚Ķ ¬†And we call it half a TED because it’s half the usual length of a regular TED talk.

Our talk, focusing on design and advertising,¬†features stills from more than 26 past LFC productions in a Power Point presentation (yes! PPT slides…) that we had to make for the event. ‚Ķ I guess in fine art museums the still image is de rigueur! We intend to dazzle the audience with some very fetching eye candy while they learn a little about production.

It’s just one part of the museum’s wonderful programing of late Friday night offerings. Tickets to the talks are available for free. Get them at the Koret Auditorium located within the museum anytime from 6pm onwards.

Along with us others on the same bill will talk about: City Bike Culture; Urban Sustainability; HIV research and The Hippie Movement and Changing Drug Culture. … We guess ours is the (little) Fluffy (clouds) part of the program.

For more info: http://deyoung.famsf.org/deyoung/calendar/micro-presentations-amsterdam-and-san-francisco

Middlesex Hospital where Tradition meets Technology

Filed under: Imagine,Spots — Betsy de Fries May 14, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

Tradition embraces¬†modern technology, infusing both with humanity. The simple truth of,¬†Common Thread, for Connecticut’s, Middlesex Hospital Group, a group so confident of their mandate they could step¬†outside the expected, both in the service they offer and the design they endorsed.

Hand drawn, tinted illustrations on aged textured paper is the foundation of Medicine. In centuries gone by and still today they are used with great success to explain new and breakthrough technologies in the Medical Sciences. These illustrations evoke a feeling of tradition, one that speaks also to the very best of doctor-patient relationships. And its these traditions that are symbolic of the human touch we all crave when being cared for at a time when we feel at our most vulnerable. In the modern world we also rely on the latest technology, placing our trust in the hands of state of the art equipment and expertly trained physicians, to eradicate all illnesses and to restore us to our healthy selves. This is the mission of a successful hospital group.

In, Common Thread, we seek to embody the very idea of tradition and humanity and weave it into the design style. To add the new with the tried and true and echo the message, creating the dynamic, appealing, all encompassing story of the Middlesex Hospital Group and how it can be the common thread between you and a healthful long life.

The camera takes us on an upward journey through a series of water color blooms and live action vignettes, where we move, both literally and metaphorically, from a medical treatment to connect, via the common thread, to a place of restored health, a place where a person can fully resume the enjoyment of life. It’s an elegant story with a very strong message supported by very powerful graphics.

You can see the :30 second commercial and its accompanying :15, together with the concurrent print campaign, on the east coast from April on.

Microspheres – Exceedingly Good!

Filed under: Award Winner,Misc,Spots,Tech — Betsy de Fries March 24, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

Creating interesting imagery for complex medical applications is no easy task. There are strict FDA guidelines to adhere to, seemingly insurmountable regulations and a plethora of almost incomprehensible technical language to distill into copy that can be easily understood by your fellow human being – or as our copy writer would say: Exceedingly hard!

But it can be done if you’re lucky enough to find a client that believes in their product enough to allow it to stand out from the crowd. Engaging and entertaining whilst getting the message across was the brief.

So, in, Retin-A, Microspheres, we take the viewer on a journey through a stylized creation of the product and illustrate, in a technical way, just how and why the product works. And it really does. Some things are magic and some things are just pure science at work.

Created as a video wall installation and now an award winning addition to the Little Fluffy Clouds lexicon of winners. Exceedingly good!

 

Billy Collins Reads Animated Poetry for TED and NPR

Filed under: Award Winner,Festivals,Shorts,Spots — Betsy de Fries June 6, 2012 @ 11:36 am

Proud to have been a Poet Laureate, America’s most accessible poet,¬†Billy Collins, reads poems from his Nine Horses collection in this animated talk for TED – Every Day Moments Caught in Time. Using five of the twelve animated poems New York agency¬†JWT¬†commissioned for their client, Sundance Channel, as his backdrop, Mr. Collins strides the stage in his usual comfortable downhome way and charms the crowd to their feet with his wry suggestive tone.

When you get a poem [in a public place], it happens to you so suddenly that you don’t have time to deploy your anti-poetry deflector shields that were installed in high school. – Billy Collins: Everyday Moments, Caught in Time.

If you are even an occasional listener to NPR his is a voice you will recognize immediately and if you are not do yourself a favour Рwatch and listen to these poems Рand you will see why Billy Collins has been credited with the accolade of bringing poetry to the masses.

Although not one of those featured here, TODAY, was one of the twelve poems chosen by JWT to be animated. Unharnessed from the usual client restraint the agency gave full unfettered creative freedom to their appointed animation studios. We count ourselves fortunate to be amongst them.  In many ways the project was a watershed moment for us at Little Fluffy Clouds - it gave us the chance to do things differently Рsee for yourself.

Watch the entertaining Mr. Collins’ TED talk here: http://bit.ly/GW2C5m.¬†See all the animated poems in the line-up here: Billy Collins Action Poetry¬†and listen to NPR’s TED Radio Hour here:¬†http://n.pr/Npfer7. A treat for the ears, a feast for the eyes.

 

For Power of Sound a Review Worth Having

Filed under: Publications,Shorts,Spots — Betsy de Fries May 17, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

When Ian Lumsden, the UK’s most revered animation blogger, reviews your work it’s more than an honour. It’s a testament to his unwavering ability to sort through all noise, and regardless of paid PR, level the playing field. His focus is on good animation and speaks only to that. So, it is in itself a reassurance that even in this commercially overloaded world, and somewhere within the overcrowded bandwidth, there’s a person out there of great wit and intelligence who notices – and some how it makes it all worthwhile.

Thank you Ian for everything you do to promote incredible animation from around the world with no thought of financial gain and industry sway. Yours is a review worth having.

It is a pleasure to see the work of skilled professionals and Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries (littlefluffyclouds) are consummate professionals. Bose: The Power of Sound embraces a host of animation techniques, from 2D to 3D to origami. Jerry is a master, artist and technician both, employing whatever software, or scissors, it takes to convey the message.

Given a high end product like Bose, it figures the one minute piece requires something extra special. Technologically advanced article waveforms emanate from the music itself, scissored horses and cranes soar through the skies and scarlet sampans traverse the ocean; there is even a mathematical Fibonacci sequence of numbers in free flight.

This orchestral and visual feast is a masterclass. I’ve not asked but I¬†guess the ad is linked to the tsunami that hit Japan. The giant wave crashes down and soaring out of the explosion red flowers climb towards the moon. It seems like a rebirth to me, a proud nation responding to devastating adversity.

I need to add that I had intended, and still do, to write about two other ads in the¬†small (in size not stature) California studio’s impressive¬†library of work, one a very traditional cartoon (like they used to do it) and, secondly, a follow-up to an earlier piece I had written about on the blog. But I got waylaid. Jerry, by the way, hails from the Netherlands and Betsy from the UK. It’s warmer in California.

Check out Ian’s animation blog http://www.animationblog.org/¬†and spend sometime catching up on some incredible animations.

 

Toyota – Do the Math and Save the Planet!

Filed under: Spots — Betsy de Fries April 5, 2012 @ 10:58 am

What do Americans like to do best? Drive, drive, drive! Hey people, it’s a vast and beautiful country out there and there’s lots to see. But in this age of rising gas prices how can we satisfy our yearning to explore, save money and still be true to our conscience and the planet by being ever “greener”?

Well, like Toyota says in this ad campaign drive a hybrid and you can have it all. Statistics show that you can drive more 535 miles in a Prius averaging 50 MPG. Catch Lucy as she drives across the country underlining the point and take a quiz on-line at www.toyota.com to see which car fits your needs.  Toyota РDo the Math.

Nimbly animated by our very own team here at¬†Little Fluffy Clouds, this multi-spot full campaign includes TV, print, radio and web.¬†Voiced by San Francisco favorite,¬†Denny Delp.¬†Lucy airs from April 2012.¬†It’s fast, it’s fun and it’s cost effective -¬†Save the Planet!

 

 

LFC is doused with Platinum PIXIE 2012 dust

Filed under: Award Winner,Misc,Shorts,Spots — Betsy de Fries November 13, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

Imagine the incredible surprise of being awarded not just one, but two, platinum Pixel Academy Pixies. Well, that was the news around here this morning. Making the win super sweet is the knowledge that these awards are judged by our fellow animators and VFX artists. High praise indeed.

First up, with a 9.7 score, was¬†Power of Sound, itself an¬†interesting take on the character of sound. This traditional 2D animation uses origami to illustrate the narrative whilst skillfully synthesizing that imagery with CG models to underscore the use of technology in sound applications today.¬†The sampans, water, moon, ocean and skies are created using only particles and projected lights and are not models. The ‚Äúwaveform‚ÄĚ is also particle based but here movement is initiated by the music. VFX, using plug-ins, comprise the transitions. The origami horses, boats, kites and cranes are all 2D as is the floating text and the Golden Ratio shell animations. The larger shell in that scene is it‚Äôs 3D counterpart.¬†Here’s what the judges had to say:

“A very powerful creative work. Imagery is very strong, created by excellent animation.”

Next up, with a 9.2 score, was CALU Built, which like it’s companion piece, Journey, is a veritable kaleidoscope of images, beautifully layered together in 2D and 3D. These stunning Super Bowl spots combine hand-drawn imagery with CGI to recreate the textured and layered look of a traditional watercolor painting – one that breathes life into the canvas. Built scored 9.2 and here the judges said:

“A very well done animation with very realistic body movements. Good job!”

Winning the Pixies does feel like a good job indeed. So, well done us!

Air – Awareness Campaign for the Steel City

Filed under: Shorts,Spots — Betsy de Fries September 20, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is a beautiful city of rivers and bridges with wide stretches of recreational areas but, like many of the north east industrial towns, the air quality is still not everything it could be. In an effort to identify and focus attention on this real environmental threat local philanthropists, The Heinz Endowments, have sponsored a multi-platform ad campaign Рspearheaded by The Breathe Project and San Francisco agency, Citizen Group - to encourage businesses and citizens to work together to provide a solution for the betterment of all.

Having a great affection for the Steel City, Little Fluffy Clouds was more than happy to step in and provide animation, VFX, color correction and motion graphics for such a worthwhile cause. The entire campaign includes on-air PSA’s, print, billboards and a 30 minute informational awareness film.

Air was voiced by Pittsburgh favorite actress, Blythe Danner, whose dulcet tone strikes just the right note to bring across the message. Airs regionally. Go Steelers!

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