Recently my friend and colleague Brett Morris blew the motion graphics community away with this stunning spot created for Pause Fest 2016. In this guest breakdown Brett kindly offers some insight into the project design and production.
Pause Fest is an annual design and technology conference held in Melbourne, Australia. Each year a small selection of studios and independent designers are invited to create a motion response to the conference theme. This year the theme was ‘Discover Your Future Self’.
Initial reaction to the brief was to create something that had an essence of time, conceptually discovering what time can look like through the lens of self thought. We wanted to explore ideas of anticipation, reflection and freedom from the mind. The proposed concept to Pause Fest read:
“We’re often faced with so many decisions; decisions that can have little effect or be so monumental that they become life altering. Uncertainty and restraint hold us back while boldness can push us to places we never thought possible. Ideas are challenged, adversity will be faced and the end result not always predictable. Discovering your future self is a journey all about finding the beauty on that unpredictable path.”
During the process we came across the poem ‘Ame ni mo Makezu’ (Be not defeated by the Rain) by Kenji Miyazawa. It spoke to the concept and we decided to use it to guide the visuals.
Teaming up with close collaborators that shared the same vision, we set out to make the project as diverse and visually impactful as possible. The visual language was designed to create compositions that focused on bold type layout with a japanese typeface, contrasted with stark 3D environments.
Production kicked off with an animatic which laid out the blueprint for the sequence, while aiming to not be locked down to a single idea or concept, rather a natural progression as ideas and elements came together. Animation effects R&D took place concurrently to determine how the ideas from the storyboard would come together, and the amount of production time required for each shot. Cinema 4D was used for all 3D assets with the exception of World Machine, which was used to create the landscapes in the end sequence. Animation was a combination of Cinema 4D tools with the addition of X-Particles and Turbulence FD. Octane was the primary renderer inside Cinema 4D.
Patrick Goski had the task of modelling the age variations of the bust as well as the melted head at the end of the sequence. We had the model for the bust yet we needed to retopologize to be able to create the age variations in Cinema 4D using sculpting tools.
Each shot of the sequence was kept live within the edit inside of After Effects. This allowed the cameras and animation to stay in flux until all shots came together with enough context to lock picture and finalise the frame count to render from 3D. With the style of the edit, we wanted to play with pacing and camera moves that you would normally see in more experimental live-action edits; rarely with fully animated 3D scenes. Mixing slow and ambient shots with sudden bursts of energy and chaos helped to accentuate the eerie, meditative yet unnerving tone that we were going for. Not only did we tried to capture that idea within each shot, but also in the arc of the entire piece.
The custom Japanese typeface was created in Adobe Illustrator. We put each letter together in a modular fashion, piecing each one together from a selection of predetermined horizontal, vertical and angled shapes. This resulted in a monoline typeface where each piece could be animated independently when imported into After Effects. Each letter was built adhering to a horizontal grid comprised of five-quadrants of equal height. This not only gave the typeface a very uniform appearance, but also allowed us to create a very interconnected style of animation where each letter could feed into another when building on a sentence.
Behind the Scenes Videos
We set out to push ourselves creatively and technically from the beginning of this project. We wanted to combine a mix of design disciplines and create something that was stark, erratic and visually impactful for the viewer.
This motion response premiered at 2016 Pause Fest. Every year the conference event aims to evoke thought-provoking creativity amongst the worldwide design community and we were honored to be part of it.
Breakdown of Project
See more of Brett’s work here.