Volume 18

September 03, 2018

The Purge: Mask

Tease / Launch Campaign

Floating in space, the suspense of our dark, altered America ramps up as pieces of the Purge mask connect and strengthen.

We produced this piece for USA Network’s The Purge- the new 10-part series based on the films of the same name in which all crime, including homicide, is legal for 12 hours. In collaboration with USA, we were given the opportunity to create a wide range of visuals that would ultimately set the tone for the series. With limited materials, we needed to conceptualize unique devices that would tell our story, and tease key themes of the series. Each idea had to stand alone and represent the tone, look & feel--all without the use of original show footage.

References

In one of three promo concepts, “Mask”, we were inspired by key Purge characters, using sound bites set to a dark environment as we built the Purge mask from the ground up. Floating in space, the suspense of our dark, altered America ramps up as pieces of the Purge mask connect and strengthen. The mask symbolizes the preparation for purge night--as the fibers interlock and weave together to form the mask, the sound bites build on top of each other to create the sense of chaos that looms as the night draws closer.

Early Mask Model by Casey Reuter
Design "roadmap" by Theo Daley & FX Render by Josh Clos

To start, we modeled the mask in ZBrush to establish the overall look and material. Once we nailed down the model, we explored various lighting and texturing avenues that led us to a dark metallic finish for the bulk of the mask, complete with copper-red eye plates. We then created a roadmap that would draw out how each piece of material would come together to conform the final render.

3D Animation by Alec Iselin & Josh Clos

In animation, Houdini gave us the best results for the interlocking motion and pushed us to work outside of our typical 3D workflow. Once we refined each piece of the cut, we worked on mastering the final audio mix with our partners over at Plush.

First to final mask

A big thanks to our ongoing collaboration with the USA team--keep reading for all of the spots we created for this year’s campaign.

Capabilities & Credits:

Original Concept, 3D Design, 3D Animation
Exec. Creative Director - Josh Norton
Exec. Producer - Carson Hood
Producer - Virgil Conklin

Design - Josh Clos, Theo Daley, Casey Reuter
ZBrush Modeler - Casey Reuter
Animation & Compositing - Josh Clos, Alec Iselin

Mix & Sound Design - Plush


September 03, 2018

The Purge: Better America

Tease / Launch Campaign

“Is this real or what?” was the question we wanted our audience to ask when our provocative, graphic-driven tease for “Better America” was made public--and with over 2M views across social media, the responses have that question popping up everywhere.

Original Key Art Concepts

Our idea stemmed from the data-based political ads proliferated in our media, while we fully embraced the propaganda-like spin. As we searched through references of the a-typical ad campaign, we knew we could produce a visual language that would be both believable and satirical.

Animation by Alec Iselin & Jane Wu

This spot also called for a convincing script, which we crafted fully in-house. Creating faux statistics, we built infographic visuals driven by “inspiring” voice over to create a sense of duty that the Purge calls for.

Unlike the other two spots, this spot was built entirely in After Effects, as the simplicity of the 2D charts and graphs drives you visually through each statistic and makes it feel uncanny to a real campaign ad.

Animation by Alec Iselin & Jane Wu
The Purge USA - Key Art (Instagram - @thepurgetv)

Thanks again to USA for the collaborative effort on this spot and the launch campaign in its entirety--we had a lot of fun with this one!

Animation by Alec Iselin & Jane Wu

Capabilities & Credits:

Original Concept, Script/Writing, Design, Animation
Exec. Creative Director - Josh Norton
Exec. Producer - Carson Hood
Producer - Virgil Conklin
Design Director - Ross Henderson

Design - Doug Chang, Ross Henderson
Animation - Jane Wu, Alec Iselin

Mix & Sound Design - Plush


September 03, 2018

The Purge: Emblem

Tease / Launch Campaign

All built in C4D and rendered in Octane, the emblem spot allowed us to explore the realistic qualities of heat and the flexibility of warped metal.

Born out of purge night destruction and purification, our “Emblem” tease called for us to develop a story-telling device inspired by real-life objects and visuals from the show. Because The Purge takes over American ideals of liberty and freedom, we explored overt & recognizable symbols of patriotism. After gathering reference and the right artists, we came up with an arresting visual representation of a familiar American emblem melting and transforming into the NFFA motif.

References

In the center of a dark and ominous void, a representation of the Presidential Seal sits confident and proud. We emulate light moving over the eagle and shield to reveal the cold, steel construction and welded elements.

We cut to a close shot of the eagle’s head as the metal begins to warp and distort, melting away to reveal the eagle’s skull. We show a series of macro shots of the seal - E Pluribus Unum, the stars and the arrows, all at various stages of melting and disappearing as the patriotic audio builds.

Finally we see the shield, half melted, revealing a new unidentified element underneath--the NFFA emblem--showing the change from the original founding fathers and their goals for America, to one catered to the Purge.

All built in C4D and rendered in Octane, the emblem spot challenged us and allowed us to explore the realistic qualities of heat and the flexibility of warped metal.

Our artists and creatives took this spot to the next level, and the cinematic result became one of our favorites to date.

Capabilities & Credits:

Original Concept, 3D Design, 3D Animation
Exec. Creative Director - Josh Norton
Exec. Producer - Carson Hood
Producer - Virgil Conklin

Design - Theo Daley
Animation & Compositing - Nathan Goodell, Alec Iselin, Josh Clos

Mix & Sound Design - Plush


September 03, 2018

Artist Spotlight: Jane Wu

Designer, Animator, & Illustrator

Jane Wu has a style that is easily identifiable in every project she touches- in our time working and collaborating with her over the last couple of years, she consistently brings quality production value and heart into every piece she's tasked with.

Her desire to craft each animation into its fullest and often its most transcendent form--be it illustration, animation, or a combination of the two--allows for a smooth and detailed process, and an overall ease about her work.

She has delivered a range of projects from RFK to Preacher, and we love bringing her onto as many versatile and wide-ranging projects as possible.

Read on for a look into her creative process!

Preacher Face Face - Color & Composite by Jane Wu

Q&A with Jane Wu -

When did you first realize you wanted to be a motion graphics artist?
I’ve always been a visual person since I was really young. I loved making comics which led to traditional hand drawn animation and then eventually, motion graphics. I first wanted to be a motion graphics artist in college with my professor, Kalika Kharkar Sharma. She showed me the possibilities of After Effects as well as motion graphics as a career path. I was incredibly inspired by her, a successful woman of color in the field.

What makes you love what you do?
Working with other passionate people and collaborating with them makes me really excited.

What perspective do you bring to the industry / what makes you different?
My background in traditional animation really helped build my foundation for understanding motion. Understanding those traditional principles makes bringing life to abstract shapes and typography a much more natural process. They have also really helped my storyboarding skills, especially when there is a need to sketch out and design a more complex motion graphics piece.

RFK: The Kennedy Family Remembers - Animation by Jane Wu

What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
To keep creating and learning.

How long have you been a designer & animator?
I’ve been in the industry for 10 years already!

What/who has influenced you the most?
Battle Angel Alita. It's a sci-fi fantasy graphic novel created by Yukito Kishiro about a female cyborg named Alita. When I was young it was rare to have a strong woman in a lead role in television or movies. She had such a compelling story with layers to her personality and a great character arc. I was able to relate to her. She was fiercely independent, true to herself and protected the ones she cared about. She was the ultimate badass woman. Since I didn't have many role models growing up that looked like me, Alita was my role model. I felt so inspired by Kishiro’s graphic novel that I decided to pursue art as a career, in hopes of inspiring others with my own work one day.

The Purge: Better America - Collaborative Animation by Jane Wu & Alec Iselin

What are you most passionate about professionally?
It feels great to be a part of something that can open minds, educate, or offer diverse perspectives. The more connected I am to my work, the more passionate I feel towards it. I believe media shapes culture and I enjoy being a part of projects that have some level of influence on society. Though I also really just enjoy working on a creatively challenging piece!

Do you have any side-projects you continue to work on?
I recently finished my independent animated short film for a women/non binary/transgender animation anthology where the theme was challenging familiar narratives of fairy tales. I was completely into the idea of breaking gender stereotypes and had to get on board. I collaborated with a bunch of other women to complete the film and had a blast making it together.

Jane Wu - Personal Work

It feels great to be a part of something that can open minds, educate, or offer diverse perspectives. The more connected I am to my work, the more passionate I feel towards it.

Road to 9/11 - Animation by Jane Wu

How do you want to be remembered?
As someone who was passionate and serious about her work but also never forgot how to have fun... I really love table top games!

How do you determine the success of a piece?
A successful motion graphics piece needs to evoke the right emotion and be relevant to the greater context of the concept. The design and animation needs to be well crafted also, technically speaking, so that they work effortlessly as a whole.

-BGSTR


Volume 17

Next Project: Volume 17
Telling the Bigger Story