December 1, 2011 by   | 8,845 views | Comments (11)

Motion graphic artist Pierre Magnol’s latest work Chemistry comprises beautifully shot imagery with fine graphics. I asked Pierre to give us some insights into his approach to this spot and his workflow in general.

Where did the idea come from?

Anthony Filipe, a friend of mine, who is working next to my office, is about to launch  a new blog about Music and Art, so we decided to make a video, a kind of teaser to help him  promote the website. He wanted to call the project “Chemistry”.

We decided to find a way to make the logo melt and then it in reverse. It’s not a new idea,  but I really loved the challenge in finding a way on how to achieve it effectively  and also keep a very organic look. So the main idea was to create a mini laboratory  with a logo melting inside.  We considered different ways and ended up creating the logo in WAX and melting it with a little blowtorch, simple as that.  I think if we weren’t able to find a way to make it we’d have done another movie.

Logo moulds with blow torch

How much was done in-camera and how much is CG?

Everything was done in-camera except the type effects of course, which were created in Adobe After Effects.  I initially considered using Maxon Cinema 4D but was able to source all of the elements  to build the background. There also wasn’t enough time to build something very realistic  in 3D.

How long did the shoot take?
The actual shoot only took a few hours, but we took 5 days to plan the stages beforehand.  With the new cameras such as the panasonic GH2 and the Voigtlander, for example, it’s very easy to shoot  with low light, making setting up each stage very easy.
Tell us a little about what you did in After Effects.

I used After Effects for color correction using Red Giant Software’s Magic Bullet Mojo and Denoiser.  I also used After Effects for the type animation.  After Effects  is so cool and flexible to make those kind of shaking effects, allowing me to experiment with many different ways of making the text move.

Your work often features text as graphical elements. Tell us your thoughts about using text in that way.

I have no specific plans on how to approach it. I create all of the elements of the design in Adobe Photoshop,  then try several ways to give the type an organic feeling in the way they move. I wanted to capture the  sensation that someone was trying to re-arrange their order.

Raw image

Colour graded using Mojo and Denoiser

Do you cut first and do the graphics afterwards or is it a back and forth process?

It’s a back and forth process and for that I use the Automatic Duck plug-in to keep the edits correct throughout the project. I cut a draft edit based on the music, then place it into After Effects for color correction. I follow that with another  round of fine tuning the edit and finally back into After Effects to animate the Photoshop elements.

Your work also heavily features depth of field effects… why is that?

I really don’t know why exactly”¦ Depth of field is so extraordinary for me”¦   it’s like if you go through matter itself  and discover a new universe,  as if you were “Buckaroo Banzai”, I really like the  end titles  of that movie!

What did you use to create the liquid effects on the Alchemy logo and other text?

I used Digital Juice stock footage to add the liquid effect to the Alchemy logo and  Plexus with some OBJ 2D objects to add some organic 2D effects over the text. With plug-ins like Plexus and  Trapcode Form 2, I guess we could play for hours to invent new uses, but there are only 24 hours in a day!

Raw image

Final colour graded shot with graphics

Is the music original? Was it written for this spot?

No, it’s a mix based upon Miss You, a Trentmöller track.

Any other interesting information you think is worthwhile?

Yes, I would like a big render farm for Christmas!

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