Adding Live Action to the mix LFC paints Portraits for TD Ameritrade

In his continuing foray into live action, LFC director Jerry van de Beek, explores with visuals, graphics and music, the dreams and plans of today’s independent investor in, Portraits, two companion pieces for on-line broker, TD Ameritrade.

Conceived as personal moments in busy lives both spots were shot on location – one at work and one on arriving home. With deft use of slow motion, enhanced with VFX and text graphics, the viewer is drawn into a seminal and private moment. A space where time slows down and the outside world becomes very still – allowing ideas to spin through the mind in free fall motion – allowing the modern day, time crunched, person the breadth for inspiration to formulate just the right plan of action.

Both spots were filmed on the same day in snowy Denver Colorado for local agency, Karsh\Hagan, using a small but very nimble crew. Footage was then transferred and transported to Little Fluffy Clouds in sunny California for editing, post, color grading and VFX. Trivers Myers Music, composed original music on a theme for both spots. These sponsorship “billboards” air on all PBS stations.

Designing with Color – Concepts and Applications

About a year ago I wrote about, Designing with Color – Concepts and Applications, when it was still in it’s formative stages. You can read that post dated Jan. 10, 2010 in our archives. I commented then that good design books are hard to come by and how pleased we were to be contributing to one that, from the galleys, looked like it would be just that.

As an animation and design studio Little Fluffy Clouds often provides images and commentary on our work to writers, editors and publishers, only to find that for whatever reason the book in question never sees the light of day. I could write an entire post on the whys and wherefores of the publishing industry and how difficult it is to bring a book – particularly an instructional one – to market in this day and age of instant apps but for right now I’m just happy to report that the book is now published. Hats off to Fairchild Books, a division of Conde Nast Publications, for staying the course and making this happen.

Written primarily as a workbook for students who want to work in the field of arts it might also benefit art directors across the board in the way that only good design publications and the theory of art outlined within can do. After all, the joy of the “happy accident” is short lived in an artist’s entire career, of far more use is the ability to confidently articulate why an image – a project – a campaign – was created that way and publications such as this one help put you on that path of knowledge backed up by experience.

Designing with Color takes examples from nine disciplines: advertising, animation, fashion, fine art, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, interior design and photography. The idea of this is less to separate these areas of art but to “inspire” and illustrate “the interconnected nature of all the visual and applied arts.”

The book is divided into 17 subject areas in two parts: part one color, part two design. Each chapter is choc-a-block with images from artists: photos, drawings, diagrams, paintings that come together to succinctly illustrate the chapter point. Space is allowed for those keen enough to contribute their own ideas – a sort of journal of art – along the lines of “process and idea” so the entire book can be personalized and students can take advantage of the myriad of tools – camera phones, apps, iPads – available to them.

Here’s an introductory quote from the authors talking about the porous nature of the crossover in media that is the mainstay of today:

One defining feature of the postmodern era we live in is the breakdown of disciplines. An artists practice might resemble that of an architect: an illustrator’s that of a 3D modeler. With the pervasiveness of marketing and media in our current culture, people in disciplines such as advertising, photography, graphic design, illustration and 3d animation frequently collaborate. The disciplines of fine art, industrial design, interior design and fashion also merge to create, represent and disseminate a product and the visuals that surround it.

Designing with Color – Concepts and Applications, by Chris Dorosz and J.R. Watson, published by Fairchild Books a division of Conde Nast Publications, is available now. What are you waiting for? Go out and get your copy.

 

 

 

LFC Breathes Life into a Moving Painting for CALU Superbowl Spot

Blue sketches appear on a painted canvas. The spokes of a bicycle wheel spin. Singular watercolor images emerge from the framework of an underpainting – that gives way to richly textured architecture and foliage. A student rides forward weaving a tapestry of imagery as the campus of the California University of Pennsylvania reveals itself before his wheels. Ever advancing buildings grow from the imagined to the constructed.

This is the story of Built, a 30-second spot, the second in a continuing integrated campaign of broadcast TV, web, print and radio crafted for the CALU by Pittsburgh agency, Dymun + Company.

Built, like it’s companion piece, Journey, is a veritable kaleidoscope of images beautifully layered together. 2D and 3D animation are combined with hand drawn imagery to recreate the textured and layered look of a traditional watercolor painting. In a spectacular display of animating genius, LFC’s Jerry van de Beek, breathes life into this moving painting.

In Built the camera moves forward with the main character creating the campus as he rides towards the new Convocation Center which makes it’s debut in October 2011. The effect of the growing color palette, as it washes over the canvas to create vivid moments and fleeting glimpses of the campus, is nothing less than stunning. Once more a gentle pullout transports us skyward, like a serenely gliding plane, over the rooftops of new and older buildings to lay the entire campus before us and cradle us in the crook of the river bend.

The campus, characters and shaders were created in Maya. The animation created in multiple layers and finessed using After Effects. Compositing, color correction and post was handled in-house at Little Fluffy Clouds. Built, airs on the east coast from January 2011 including Super Bowl XLV.

Russian Internet Telecom Giant – MegaFon – Extends the Speed

Our very own Lara Croft leads you on in a high-speed chase from the Dacha through the streets of Moscow, to escape – as only a fast gal can – into the wild galactic territories of outer space.

Could she have made it without the aid of Russian Internet Telecom giant MegaFon‘s fast and continuous speeds and all that it promises?

Live action lensed with the amazingly versatile Red camera. Raw files imported on the fly directly into our CG pipeline. Animation created in Autodesk Maya and Adobe After Effects and Illustrator. All definitely indispensable tools for all your breakneck production deadlines. Nostrovia!

LFC creates snow, VFX + color grades spot for BSS+P

BSS+P are known for infusing their ad campaigns with an irreverently sly comedic slant. In this series of spots for Columbia Sportswear they came up with the genius idea of stripping a bunch of actors down to their skinny, skin skivvies and in freezing snowy conditions have those poor principles explain to us the miracle of Omni-Heat and the little silver dots.

In this ad a guy is blasted with snow from a cannon and his friends (you call these friends?) deliver a final blow that literally knocks him off his feet. … But what if there just isn’t enough snow? BSS+P came to us to create that magic powder for the spot, some sleight of hand VFX and to color grade the film. The fine performance speaks for itself.

In Korean with subtitles – just for fun.

Unbranded for UTA wins a 2010 Silver Telly Award

Unbranded, already a multi-award winning spot for agency Lipman Hearne and the University of Texas at Arlington, has just won another gong. This time a Silver Telly Award in the “Non-Traditional” category. While we’re not too sure exactly what that category is, given the maverick quality of the spot and it’s Unbranded attitude, we think that’s very fitting.

So, it’s all smiles here on the west coast at Little Fluffy Clouds and down south at UTA. See this larger than life commercial play at the Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium on the 17 story high Mitsubishi jumbotron – the largest TV screen in the world – and prepare to be WOWED by the accompanying stadium ribbons that wrap around the stadium while you watch your team play.

Unbranded and non-traditional – a winner in every sense of the word. Yes, Ma’am!

LFC Mercedes spot stars in SIGGRAPH 2010 Computer Animation Festival

SIGGRAPH 2010 Computer Animation Festival – Out of thousands of animation and VFX entries, LFC’s Mercedes SLR 300 spot, Out of this World, made the cut. And yes, we are sporting smiles as wide as that Nokia Theater screen on which we’ll have the pleasure of seeing our work.

Celebrating its 37th year as the world’s most innovative and stimulating showcase of computer-generated animation and visual effects. This five-day international event presents a wide spectrum of computer animation genres and styles ranging from narrative character animation to scientific visualization and from commercials for TV to digital effects for futuristic movies.

If you are attending a single animation festival this year – SIGGRAPH 2010 is the one. Get your tickets here: http://www.siggraph.org/s2010/ Cheers and see you there!

UTA Unbranded – a giant spot for the Dallas Cowboys stadium

Everything in Texas is big. Some say there ain’t nothing so big as the 17 story high, giant Mitsubishi TV screen that dominates the field of the Dallas Cowboys stadium where, Unbranded, plays to thousands of spectators at every game.

Now an award winning spot for Lipman Hearne and the University of Texas at Arlington, Unbranded is fun, colorful and jam packed with many different characters in many interesting situations. It brings to life in a very fun and immensely colorful way all the best programs that UTA has to offer and moves along at a really fast clip.

The Unbranded campaign is really a series of spots made both for broadcast and for multiple sized stadium screens ranging from the 17 story high Mitsubishi jumbotron – the largest TV screen in the world – to vertical HDTV screens situated in the public areas. Two accompanying :60 second “ribbons” circumnavigate the stadium in a continuously tiled loop. The ribbons use some assets from the ads but each has their own unique look and feel generating excitement as the best of stadium graphics do. Obviously seen at their best in situ at the Dallas Cowboys’ new football stadium, the spots themselves are easy to put on the website and reel but we still haven’t figured out a way to show the enormity of them plus the razamataz and WOW factor of the way everything looks in place. In a word – dazzling!

Both the :30 and :15 second commercials are airing regionally in the south and showing in rotation for the next two seasons at The Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Unbranded is one spot that might just blindside you.

Ian Lumsden’s UK Animation Blog – The Journey is Everything.

One of the best independent animation blogs on the internet today is Ian Lumsden‘s UK, http://www.animationblog.org. Chock full of incredible animation and interesting observations, Ian Lumsden, who apart from facilitating this blog is not actually in the media or the animation biz.

Ian has a unique perspective on animation. Quite simply he profiles what he likes. Oblivious to the PR hype that so often surrounds a project and keeps a few chosen companies constantly in the public eye, Ian zeroes in on the way a piece makes you feel while barely mentioning the technique. I like that because that’s the way a good animation should be – thrilling you with it’s content yet so expertly made that the technique employed is almost invisible. I think life is all about the journey taken and that journey is filled with emotion not software.

I send him everything we do as much because I value his honest and constructive criticism as because I like to see LFC’s work recognized by his blog. When Ian reviews your work it’s a notice worth having. Here’s what he had to say about our first CALU spot, Journey.

“Jerry van de Beek and Betsy De Fries comprise the small but perfectly formed Little Fluffy Clouds, a California based company that from what I can make out seems to turn its adroit hand to whatever project is put its way. Take, Journey, a 30 second ad for the California UniversityofPennsylvania. Watch how the curved blue line moves outwards towards a rowing boat before we alight at the university campus, gradually being populated by students, the buildings and trees such warm colours, to be whisked upwards, above the entire university, a community set inside a blue sea. Pastoral and enticing, the freshness of it all makes one want to start again. A watercolour mix of 2D and 3D, using Maya and After Effects, college life as one might wish it to be. Parents would certainly. Clean living. And a very cool ad. There’s more work on their website, for some very prestigious clients, as indeed is CALU. I want to go there.”

Thanks Ian!


Better late than never. The Car and The Road – Prix Ars Electronica

How delighted was I to get a Google alert this morning for LFC Short, The Car and The Road. It’s probably the first one ever for that short. Hey, not only that, but the file clearly states that TCATR made it into the prestigious Austrian animation festival, Prix Ars Electronica. Prix Selection: Smart Worlds. How did we ever miss that in this day and age of all points bulletins at all times of the day and night 24/7? So, for all of you that missed it when it first premiered I’ve resurrected it from the archive and I’m featuring it here and now. Thank you Google Bot for all your hard and diligent work.

The Car and The Road: A Romance in Automation, follows the trials and tribulations of a sensible, straight road as he seeks to reinvent himself for the car he loves. Watch, as the road bares his inner passionate self to woo the fun loving car “that can do things other cars only dream about.” Sigh… a true love story for the modern era.

This charming work, directed by Jerry van de Beek and Betsy de Fries of Little Fluffy Clouds, was created for the Lexus Car Corporation. Described by the Association Internationale du Film d’Animation (ASIFA) as,

“A lovely animated fable…”
~ Association Internationale du Film d’Animation

The Car and The Road pays homage and takes its inspiration from Chuck Jones’ Oscar winning film, The Dot and The Line. Original composition for the almost 4 minute film was scored by Trivers-Meyers Music whose arrangement fits hand in glove with the visuals. Commissioned by Los Angeles ad agency, Team One, The Car and The Road, is a colorful and imaginative feast for the eyes and fun to boot!

Animated using Adobe Illustrator, After Effects and Photoshop with Autodesk Maya and hand drawn frames. The short will be seen on all broadcast media – that’s Cinema, TV and Web.