Matthew Wilcock’s FMK Launch Film

Category: Animation, Film / Multimedia, motion graphics

Here is something I came across recently that I have since re-watched again and again. This is a launch film for Matthew Wilcock’s debut EP FMK/Floating Metal Key. The film may only be just under two minutes long, but it sure packs a punch with the content. Seven separate fragments of shorts have been included, each correlating with a track on the EP. What a great way to introduce the album, and set the right mood for the listener!

Each of the snippets have been created by different teams of people, which is impressive, considering the smooth transitions between each segment. The film feels cohesive and succeeds in drawing viewer into a dark, unsettling space. The overall aesthetic is brooding and grungy, and I love the intermittent glitchy moments and the scattered typography. Some very interesting things grow and unfold in most of the segments, but it seems that, as soon as you focus in on something, the whole thing gives you a big jerk and you are onto the next one. Hence the repeated plays!

The director of the film in its entirety is Dan Kokatajlo, an up-and-coming English director who has moved into film from a fine art background. You see more of his work here and give Matthew Wilcock’s full EP a listen via various channels by visiting his blog.

Anna Tokareva

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

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Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
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Bachelor of Art in Media Design and Multimedia Arts
Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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Snoopy will be back looking great!

Category: 3D Animation, Animation, Film / Multimedia

When I first heard about Schulz’s ‘Peanuts’ getting a 3D animated feature makeover I got excited and worried at the same time. Now the first teaser trailer is out and from what I see, this is looking very promising.

Most concerns have been put to rest when I heard producer Craig Schultz (the son of Charles Schultz, creator of the original comic strips) insists on handling the legacy with respect and creating something timeless that is true to the original generations have grew up on in the US. Snoopy won’t start talking and Charley Brown won’t be Facebook chatting on an iPad.

From what I can see in the trailer, the visual style got an elegant 3D makeover that does not go overboard. The characters look exactly as you remember them, the animation style follows the jagged movements of the old cartoons and they kept textures to a minimum. Incredible restraint and a refined approach get the concept exactly right. We also have comic strip style hand-drawn movement indicator lines and circles added, which I find clever and cute.

I am excited to see how the story and the characters will turn out. The premier is a long time away, the Peanuts movie will open November 6, 2015.

Kyle Glass
Source: FOX Family Entertainment

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Cannes Lions 2014 roundup

Category: Advertising, Film / Multimedia

Every year, hot on the glamorous heels of the film industry shimmying its way through Cannes, comes the other Cannes – the advertising one. The one where smart creative ideas are lauded with with gold, silver and bronze Lions; and 2014 is no exception. Well awarded this year with Gold Lions are some very smart, easy to explain ideas that all flip ‘the usual way of doing things’ on their head.

Kate Humphries

Climate Name Change from 350 Action, for instance, takes the usual act of naming extreme storms after randomly selected names, and packs a well-aimed punch by proposing that the World Meteorological Organization instead name them after policy makers who deny climate change.

 
 

Then, there’s Old Spice’s ‘Smellcome to Manhood’, which cleverly switches the focus away from young men achieving with the help of the product, and places it instead onto their emotionally-drenched mothers hilariously hating on the product:

 
 

Adidas D Rose Jump Store rather than showing the usual celebrity basket ball player in 60 seconds of slow motion glory leaping up to the hoop over and over again, shows instead the fans leaping up in slo-mo to a very high shelf in an effort to score a free pair of Derrick Rose’s signature Adidas shoes:

 
 

And last, but never least – rather than have their charity seek out corporate sponsorship – the idea here for Brothers In Arms is to instead have the charity make $1 donations into corporates’ bank accounts – but made in a such a way that the corporates themselves have to call the charity back. A brilliant flip, by Media Design School graduate Freddie Coltart and his partner Matt Williams which deservedly won a Gold Lion.

 
 

Kate Humphries has spent 20 years working on top advertising accounts in London and is now the course leader of Media Design School’s prestigious AdSchool. The AdSchool is an awards-powerhouse operating in Auckland, New Zealand and Milan, Italy. It was named the 4th best AdSchool in the world by YoungGuns and no2 in social media accordnig to the Bees Awards in San Francisco. The school is also part of D&AD – one of the most highly regarded design and advertising industry bodies in the world.

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Free by Natasha Belle

Category: 3D Animation, Animation, Film / Multimedia, Student story


This darkly poignant but beautiful short film is by Natasha Belle, who recently completed a Graduate Diploma of Creative Technologies at Media Design School. The animation tells a tragic tale of a young bear, captured by poachers as a cub and forever-fated to perform in a circus. There has been a lot of media around orcas held in captivity lately, with SeaWorld getting an increasingly bad rep after the brilliant documentary Blackfish was released in 2013. Free is yet another example, albeit fictional in this particular case, of the cruelty of keeping wild animals in captivity for entertainment. The simple but effective story tracks the experience of a bear who is being treated meanly in a circus, as he recalls the pleasant memories of being out in the wild with his mother, and the moment he was captured. Finally, he has enough, attacking his keeper in a final attempt at regaining freedom.

The animation is rendered in lovely, soft watercolour hues when our protagonist drifts into a reverie, with grungier, darker textures illustrating the unsavory circus environment. There are some gorgeous moments set in the grassy plains. This beautiful gentle backdrop gets disrupted with the figure of a poacher, which is abrasive and crude in comparison—a nice contrast. I really like the transitions between the bear’s reality, memories and what appears to be a deservedly peaceful afterlife.

The animation may seem hand-drawn upon first glance, but Natasha went through a very interesting process in achieving this style. Intent upon translating the fluidity of hand-painted animation by computer generated means, she combined the different techniques by printing out the characters’ UV maps, hand-painting each piece and feeding them back into the software to create a wrap around the figures. Phew, all this in four months! The resulting animation style reminds me of Alexander Petrov’s Old Man and the Sea, which was created by physically painting layers upon sheets of glass. It’s interesting to see how old and new technologies can combine to achieve similar effects and Natasha Bell’s exploration is a lovely example.

Anna Tokareva

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
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Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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Kimbra’s love of 90s Music

Category: Animation, Film / Multimedia, Music


The very talented Kimbra has created something quite different to per past offerings with 90s Music, the first single of her upcoming album The Golden Echo. I must admit that when I first heard the track, before the video release, I felt that my aural faculties had come under attack. It really didn’t gel, but then, it’s not supposed to! Some of the best music demands repeated plays before your ear accepts the challenge of a complex, brilliant composition.

Kimbra showcases her vocal range while pushing her eclectic arrangements to a new sonic universe of 90s bubblegum pop, glitch and R’n'B mash-up. The mixture of these different musical references in one song is discordant enough, but throw in some warped vocals and a maddeningly stop-and-start tempo and you are in for a roller coaster! The lyrics are cute and full of earnest youthful exuberance, reminiscing a high-school romance, set to the musical veterans of the 90s that Kimbra diligently lists in the song. She has written a really comprehensive and insightful post about the process of writing 90s Music on her blog, which I urge you to read.

Paired with the video, the music seems to make more and more sense, though the chaotic visuals are overwhelming. Kimbra goes through multiple costume changes and identities, with the back up of some amazing dancers and fun animated backdrops by amazing Argentinian studio 2Veinte. Everything shifts so quickly from one scene to another that grabbing screenshots for this post was a bit of a nightmare! Growing up in the 90s myself, this video sure brings back some memories. It nails a few different obsessions and fashion staples from the era, with a few references that seem terribly familiar but I just can’t put my finger on. Such is the nature of nostalgia—it’s often a general feeling that evades definition.

Kimbra is certainly not the first to utilize crazy costumes and animated elements in her video—the likes of M.I.A, Santigold, Azealia Banks and Major Lazer have been doing it awhile. But 2Veinte do it well and in perfect synch with the music. If you like this style you will love their reel.

Anna Tokareva

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Media Design School

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Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)
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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

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Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Contemporary Music

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
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Bachelor of Art in Media Design and Multimedia Arts
Masters of Art in Communication Design
Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
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Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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