You and M&E well over a decade's experience in CG and a BAFTA for Best VFX, Darren manages a team of 7 experts who cover the M&E portfolio and interface with key customers, helping them ensure their pipelines are ready for tomorrow's challenges.Tue, 01 Dec 2015 16:26:23 UTCHow Autodesk helped out Oscar-nominated short filmmakersDarren Brooker<p>The Visual Effects award is the Academy Award category you'd generally associate Autodesk with, but look a little further down the nominees list and there's a little-known Autodesk story within the Live Action Short category. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Voorman Problem</em></a> is the work of maverick moviemakers Mark Gill &amp; Baldwin Li, who everyone at Autodesk will be rooting for at this weekend's award ceremony.</p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;"></span></p> <p>Having a tiny fraction of the production budget of any of the Visual Effects nominees, the writer &amp; director Mark Gill approached an old friend of his at Autodesk - Darren Brooker - to see if he could help with the post production of <i>The Voorman Problem</i>. This worked well for Autodesk, as it was looking for projects to help showcase its Flame Premium product. Beyond this, there was a satisfying circularity to the agreement to help, as the initial idea for the script - which comes from the David Mitchell book <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Number9 Dream</em></a> - was brought to Mark's attention by Darren, who'd just read the book and developed an outline script. Autodesk's involvement at both the start and finish of the project is refelected in an industry first: Autodesk feature in the credits, which is a much-appreciated gesture from Mark &amp; Baldwin to recognise Autodesk's contribution.</p> <p>Though Mark &amp; Baldwin were exceptionally pleased with what they'd got straight out of the camera, t<span style="line-height: 1.5em;">he Flame Experts in London - Stuart Holloway &amp; Joe Billington - were able to take the RED footage and via Flame Premium's powerful toolset for visual effects and colour grading allow Mark &amp; Baldwin to explore how they could start telling the story again via creative</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;look development.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">You can see how Mark &amp; Baldwin fare on the big night by following <a href="" target="_blank"><i>@voormanproblem</i></a> on Twitter. Best of luck from your production partners at Autodesk!</span></p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank" style="line-height: 1.5em;">Follow me on Twitter</a></p>Mon, 24 Feb 2014 22:24:08 UTC your AU experience with the Maya LT #AutodeskExpertsDarren Brooker<p>The advertising sector understands that playful experiences lead to greater engagement, and the process of "gamification"&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5em;">is becoming a major differentiator within companies beyond the realms of the advertising sector. If you're a customer who's not in the games or advertising sector, but want to know how to rapidly prototype games concepts, then there's an AU class that's designed specifically for you.</span></p> <p>During this session, two of our resident&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5em;">#AutodeskExperts - Alex Horst &amp; Roland Reyer - will show you how by using</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;Maya LT and Unity3D you can tackle the prototyping process, right the way from modeling and texturing your assets through to how to bring them over into a real-time game engine.</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">They'll introduce interactive mechanics and twek the real-time graphical output, showing how the game prototype can be exported to a mobile platform such as an Apple iOS or Android device.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">The session can be found here:&nbsp;<a href=";tclass=popup#.UoTDA1ZPxt0.twitter" target="_self">;tclass=popup#.UoTDA1ZPxt0.twitter</a></span></p> <p></p> <p>For those of you who know the basics, Maya LT is built on a foundation of the award-winning Maya and the first extension release introduces a new workflow with the Unity3D engine that allows unlimited polycounts to be exported to Unity projects. Come along and find out more!</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank">Follow me on Twitter</a></p>Wed, 13 Nov 2013 18:29:11 UTC years, 11 Time Lords &amp; one astonishing trailerDarren Brooker<p>As a brief, creating a trailer that covers 50 years of <em>Dr Who</em> and features the 11 different Time Lords who have starred in the 798 episodes to date is equal parts every schoolboy's dream and poisoned chalice, given how deep the fandom runs when it comes to <em>Dr Who</em>. The result is a sumptuous and electrifying tour through the history of&nbsp;<em><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">Dr Who</span></em><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;littered with references to the show. Considering the trailer aired for the first time on Saturday night during the primetime evening <em>BBC</em> slot, it's testament to its success that it took less than 3 days to hit the 2m mark on YouTube.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;"></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">In terms of the response from the ever-watchful whovians, the trailer seems to have met with a collective nod of approval and shiver of anticipation for the 50th anniversary special that is due to air on November 23 (</span>#SaveTheDay). This must be a blessed relief for <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Framestore's</em></a> Oliver Bercey, the VFX Supervisor who worked on this trailer in Flame and who can now breath a sigh of relief and enjoy watching the YouTube hit counter tick least until the next job comes in.</p> <p>Everything that Framestore touches seems to be turning to gold at the moment, from Ironman 3 to Gravity, so it's great to see the commercials department has the midas touch too. The trailer<span style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;begins with the original Doctor, William Hartnell, who Oliver recreated from a blend of original footage and a double, in Totter's Yard &ndash; the setting of the show&rsquo;s first ever scene. From there</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;the camera twists past a host of Doctor Who characters and objects, some shot, some added in Flame by Ollie. The Doctor&rsquo;s regenerations, friends and possessions are scattered through time so you&rsquo;ll never spot everything in a single watch...which is exactly the point of course.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">For the recreation of Hartnell a hero still was sourced from the original black &amp; white series which was then built up into a very high resolution colour still in Photoshop using&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">elements from a double placed over the top of the original.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">From there Ollie took over: &ldquo;first off I did the general compositing, the look, the colour, and the tracking, then I gave it some subtle 2D manipulations to make it look 3D as we go past him.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">Many of the camera moves were recreated in Flame, a very difficult task but one that made everything incredibly smooth and also allowed Matt and Ollie to throw in even more references from the show. &ldquo;We had to pretty much take it apart and rebuild it&rdquo; says Ollie. &ldquo;I tracked the cameras, stabilized them then recomposited all the bits into the stable camera move, but I worked hard to create that same 3D depth using isolated 2D elements. Using this method gave us the opportunity to load it with all the Doctor Who items.&rdquo;</span></p> <p>Loading it with references seems to have been an immensely successful strategy given the discussion on YouTube about the significance of the trailer's minutae...I'm sure that Oliver's sat back enjoying the analysis and the anticipation and satisfied with the fruits of his labour as the YouTube counter ticks ever onwards, just like the clock ticking towards that 50th anniversary special.</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_self">Follow me on Twitter</a></p>Mon, 21 Oct 2013 16:07:54 UTC outside of the BoxDarren Brooker<p>When you work for a company as big as Autodesk, it's not often the CEO drops by your desk, let alone strolls into your Flame suite. Not only did this happen yesterday when Carl Bass dropped in to our London office, but he went on to blow us all away as he went on to show us the truly stunning work of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Bot &amp; Dolly</em></a>, who are near neighbours to the Autodesk offices in San Francisco. Carl temporarily took control of our Flame suite to show us their magical exploration of the synthesis of real and digital space - <em>Box</em> - and I'm so glad he did.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> <div><em style="line-height: 1.5em;">Bot &amp; Dolly</em><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">'s description of themselves as a "design and engineering studio" is a masterpiece of understatement. However, they do add that they "specialise in automation, robotics, and filmmaking". Again, given the fact that Bot &amp; Dolly's robots were used to drive the motion control in&nbsp;</span><em style="line-height: 1.5em;">Gravity</em><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">, this is quite the understatement. Their two robots - Iris and Scout -&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">served their time on the automotive production lines before being brought to <em>Bot &amp; Dolly. </em>Iris and Scout</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">have brought a little bit of Detroit to Hollywood, given how pivotal a role they've clearly played in pulling the audience into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space.</span></div> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">The 6-axis industrial robots, which were bought second-hand in a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking by Bot &amp; Robot's founders, were used to&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">simulate zero gravity by&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">moving the cameras round the actors, with the benefit that the data from the camera move could be used to exactly replicate this in Maya. But big deal I hear you say, motion control's been around for decades. Well...if you need proof beyond gravity of the role that motion control can play, then take a look at the majesterial beauty of <em>Box&nbsp;</em>(and don't miss the making-of movie below too):</span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;"><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_self"><span style="line-height: 1.5em;">Follow me on Twitter</span></a></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5em;"></span></p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_self"><span style="line-height: 1.5em;"><br /></span></a></p>Fri, 18 Oct 2013 11:34:59 UTC PSN gamedev (and the cost thereof)Darren Brooker<p>Two years ago, the future was looking fairly rosy for&nbsp;Gordon Midwood.&nbsp;With funding secured from both Channel 4 &amp; Screen Yorkshire, had his production partners in place and was all set to wrap up on production and release <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Derrick the Deathfin</em></a>&nbsp;on the PlayStation Network in the late summer of 2011. Over the course of the 11 month dev timeframe reality hit, and it hit Gordon fairly hard.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> <p>With hindsight, the development timeframe seemed ridiculous. It turns out that making console games is actually quite tricky and the wildly optimistic 11 months turned into 24. And though deadlines tend by nature to be fairly elastic, stretching that elastic to over twice its intended length meant that it nearly broke. It nearly broke Gordon, who with two young children and mortgage was forced to find a way of funding a further year's development. Begging, borrowing and stealing was the order of the day (or at least the begging &amp; borrowing anyway). The best thing that can be said about the situation Gordon found himself in was that he didn't have to worry about the cost of his employees. He didn't have any.</p> <p>With <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Tuna</em></a>, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Pitstop</em></a> &amp; <a href="" target="_blank"><em>ten24</em></a> already engaged as contractors, it's amazing that the bill for this extra year didn't go further than the &pound;40k that Gordon ended up spreading over credit cards, overdrafts, personal loans and the good old Bank of Dad.</p> <p>Now that Derrick has been unleashed on the PSN playing public, what lessons can be learned? Well, despite selling for $7, due to sponsor requirements, revenue shares between those involved and so on, Gordon sees just over a dollar (or just under a pound, as someone from Yorkshire probably sees it). So it looks likely that Gordon will only recoup a quarter of his personal debt.</p> <p>However, it seems that Gordon has plenty of reason to be proud. Beyond the stunning look of Derrick's world, which is styled to appear crafted from folded paper - think half <em>South Park</em>, half <em>LittleBigPlanet</em> - completing the development of a console game for a little over &pound;100k is not a bad achievement. However, it's fair to say that Gordon has made his fair share of the mistakes a first time developer makes. Considering the IP is new and independently developed, the budget should have been half this amount. Then there would have been profit, albeit modest profit. And no iOS port? That's the big one.</p> <p>Let's just hope that someone recognises Gordon's obvious talents and passion and finances his next project. It would be a shame for all those hard lessons not to result in something other than a big old chunk of debt, even with a beautiful looking end product to show for it.</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank" style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; font-size: 14px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: #5d9013; text-decoration: none; border-width: 0px; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;">Follow @darrenADSK on Twitter</a></p>Tue, 13 Nov 2012 12:44:44 UTC gets playful for IKEADarren Brooker<p>During a particularly grey week in London, this charming little effort from <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Mother</em></a> for <em>IKEA</em> really shone through the gloom. <em>Playin' With My Friends</em>&nbsp;features lots of hidden cuts in a single camera move that's tied together equally by the skill of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>MPC</em></a>'s artists and a track that sounds like <em>Gorillaz</em> but turns out to be a reworked version of BB King song. More than anything, the track sets the tone and pulls along a superb piece that kickstarts a new UK brand strategy for the furniture retail giant. Whether it will lift the flagging fortunes of <em>IKEA</em> is the bigger question, but it made our London office smile, so it's not a bad start and by moving away from rooms to the daily dramas that play out in these rooms, it's a step in the right direction.</p> <p></p> <p>MPC's contribution included getting several versions of the ad -&nbsp;a 30sec, 60sec and 3min version -&nbsp;ready in a little over a week, regardless of the considerable amount of work required in post, and of course that's exactly where Flame came into its own. Tom Harding and his team at MPC did a superb job overall and faced a particular challenge when it was discovered that the robot character's feet were preventing him walkign fast enough. The solution was simple: allow the robot to walk in his trainers and track 3D feet back in.&nbsp;They also gave the robot magnetic, telekinetic and laser-vision powers, got rid of lots of velcro, put a monkey-face on a somersaulting acrobat and made the dinosaur breathe fire.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> <p>What is equally remarkable is that the <a href="" target="_blank">making-of</a> film (directed by Charlie Inman at <em>BOSH</em>) avoids the usual back-slapping approach taken by agencies treading this path. Instead, the <em>Playin' With My Friends</em> making-of is a pseudo-documentary that follows one of the cast &ndash; Darren the Bear &ndash; as he gets his chance to appear in the ad and leave the drudgery of his cleaning job behind. As we are given glimpses into the characters behind the character there are shades of <em>Toy Story</em>, but like the orginal spot, in the context of the making-of it's a refreshing and original idea.</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank">Follow @darrenADSK on Twitter</a></p>Wed, 24 Oct 2012 15:28:51 UTC of truly epic enchanting make-believe from The Mill NYCDarren Brooker<p>The scenario's a familiar one: the young boy jumps into bed on his father's bedtime instruction, the light switch is flicked off, and as the bedroom door closes the lights of the boys trainset flicker to life, sparking all the other toys to join the magical bedtime scene that unfolds in the bedroom. Done perhaps most famously in <em>Toy Story</em>, the magical scenario is so captivating because of our own emotional connection to toys and (for boys maybe more so) toy trains in particular. What makes the way this familiar story unfolds in <em>City of Possibilities</em> is the sheer epic scale of the world that <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Mill</em> </a>NYC has managed to create.</p> <p></p> <p>This magical world of make-believe belies a serious political message, which aims to position Norfolk Southern as a force for economic growth in America. This message is beautifully and subtly delivered via a huge cast of characters who set about constructing a city (of possibilities) that the train helps bring to life. The cast of over 40 - from dinosaurs and dolls to stuffed animals and a particuarly nice octopus - emerge from their hiding places, and set about constructing a whole city; replete with skyscrapers, factories, highways and a port.</p> <p>The spot is truly a visual delight and The Mill - notable for their making of videos - have revealed quite how many possibilities this campaign offered. <a href="" target="_blank">The City of Possibilities Access All Areas</a> video shows the incredible lengths that the creative team went to at the concept stage and exactly how much free reign they had in the character and production design. With brand name toys off limits,&nbsp;the biggest challenge was creating and designing the toy cast of characters. <em>Mill</em> Artists let loose their imagination to come up with cool, impressive toys, complemented by a beautiful landscape that emerges from pop-up books.</p> <p>"Our cast of characters is a contemporary ensemble of timeless and modern toys that includes robots, action figures, stuffed toys, dumper trucks, cranes, diggers, etc. Between the charm of the character designs, the fun, surprising ways they all collaborate to build a city, and the fact that they all act rather human, each toy, whether it's high or low-tech, has an expression, a personality, and a purpose," explains Kneale. The Access All Areas video shows how Maya played a pivotal role in bringing these characters to life and how much personality they have even at the early stages of production, way before the project hit the Flame suite for finishing.</p> <p>Also helping to bring to life this epic vision was veteran Director of Photography, Bill Pope, whose extensive VFX knowledge gained on the ground-breaking&nbsp;<em>The Matrix</em> trilogy and his expertise in shooting miniatures on <em>Team America</em>, was invaluable.&nbsp;"I am incredibly proud of the final result. I think we have created something really special," says Kneale...and rightly so, this is nothing short of a truly magical, truly delightful one-minute epic.</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank">Follow me on Twitter</a></p>Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:23:43 UTC Tron-inspired Velodrome promo for London 2012Darren Brooker<p>Just as <em><a href="" target="_blank">Hopkins Architects</a>&nbsp;</em>Olympic Velodrome was inspired by the unrivalled efficiency of the bicycle, <a href="" target="_blank">CrystalCG</a>'s&nbsp;promo for the Velodrome is an ode to both the elegant structural form of the Velodrome, and the beauty of cycling itself...with an ever-so-slight nod to the aesthetics of Tron. And as if there hadn't been enough excitement in this Olympic venue over recent weeks, the 6,000 people lucky enough be packed into <em>Hopkins</em>' 21st century colosseum were treated to a big-screen showing of the sequence ahead of each gladatorial battle for gold.</p> <p></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"></span>With heart-pounding rhythms - that reflect perfectly those of the competitors - composed by the <em>Chemical Brothers</em> as part of the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Rock the Games</em></a> initiative, the promo set the sleek venue pulsating with even more excitement, showing the Velodrome as an acid-tinged set for an intense robotic time trial.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve created sweeping contours and sleek surfaces as the backdrop for an intense, futuristic cycling &lsquo;duel&rsquo; as two animated riders power round the track,&rdquo; said Darren Groucutt, creative director at <em>Crystal</em>. &ldquo;It truly brings the Velodrome to life.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Crystal</em> was appointed in early 2009 as the official Digital Imaging Services Supplier for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but what is quite baffling is quite how it is able to promote its work so openly, yet <a href="" target="_blank">dozens of architects are gagged on any self-promotion related to their work on the games</a>.</p> <p>The <em>Crystal</em> promos have certainly found a comfortably contemporary fit within what's turned out to be a very distinctive-looking games, and with Team GB taking their dominance of cycling to new levels, the Velodrome looks set to live on in the legacy of London 2012 and the hearts of British cycling fans.</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank">Follow me on Twitter</a></p>Fri, 10 Aug 2012 12:34:15 UTC phenomenal Cloud Atlas trailerDarren Brooker<p>If you're one of the hordes of people for whom the phenomenal <em>Cloud Atlas</em> trailer makes you want to pick up the book (by David Mitchell), then my evangelical advice would be do, do (do)'ll be rewarded with one of the most audacious and kaliedoscopic plot structures you've ever come across. That is, unless you've read his <em>Ghostwritten</em>...but that's another story...and probably another film given the public reaction the&nbsp;<em>Cloud Atlas</em>&nbsp;trailer has elicited.</p> <p>Don't get me wrong, the book's equal parts rewarding and frustrating, but dazzling it definitely is. The extended trailer below does a pretty accurate job of showcasing exactly the stylistic virtuosity of the book and will certainly leave you wondering how any author (let alone director) could manage to weave together these diverse strands into a cohesive tale.</p> <p></p> <p>Time will tell whether the Wachowskis will manage to translate this dizzyingly genre-defying tale onto the big screen in a way that steers away from <em>John Carter</em>-esque territories. The trailer's a good indicator that the studio hasn't (yet) compromised on their vision in order to sell a film that clearly won't be an easy sell. Clearly, given a cast that includes Tom Hanks and Halle Berry (not to mention the Wachowskis' old-time collaborator Hugo Weaving and cameos by Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant) there's some money behind the film.</p> <p>With <em>ILM</em> heading up the roster of effects houses working hard ahead of the October 26 release date, you'd have to ask - with this cast, budget, directors and VFX muscle behind it -&nbsp;whether anything could go wrong for <em>Warner Brothers</em> with <em>Cloud Atlas</em>. Well, you only have to look as far as <em>Matrix Reloaded</em> for one possible answer to this question, but all signs are good that the current extended trailer's lack of compromise (on actually telling the story of the film) has been a success, so let's hope it brings the astonishingly formidable grandeur of the book to the screen.</p> <p>I'd read the book now though, just to err on the side of caution. If, like me, you're a fan of captivating, puzzling, audacious works of fiction, you won't be disappointed.</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank">Follow me on Twitter&nbsp;</a></p>Tue, 31 Jul 2012 14:12:44 UTC and strong!Darren Brooker<p>As if origami wasn't difficult enough, when <em>Publicis</em> approached <em><a href="" target="_blank">Glassworks</a></em>, the "soft and strong" brief developed to feature an origami girl representing the softness and a weightlifter to show of the strength of the product. The <em>Publicis</em> creatives asked the team at <em>Glassworks</em> Amsterdam to take over the design and direction of the spot, as well as the execution of the CG.</p> <p style="padding-bottom: 1em; margin: 0px;"></p> <div>Directing the spot was the 3D Lead Rudiger Kaltenhauser, who faced the task of rigging the characters, an&nbsp;uneviable one given the way the characters transitioned from and to flat sheets of paper. It was here that Softimage's ICE tools came into their own, with Martin Chatertee in the 3D team developing custom ICE tools to fold a single polygon grid as often as required, whilst retaining the flexibility to change angle, radius and position of every single fold without incurring any intersections.</div> <div></div> <p>The result is a visually-stunning testament to the power of ICE in Softimage and the incredible creativity and vision of the <em>Glassworks</em> Amsterdam CG sure to check out the making of video below!&nbsp;</p> <p></p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank"><span color="#ffffff" style="color: #ffffff;">Follow me on Twitter</span></a></p>Thu, 26 Jul 2012 09:13:14 UTC the SuperhumansDarren Brooker<p>Though navigating London's going to be a nightmare, the journeys us Londoners face during the Olympics are nothing compared with the stars of a new 4creative spot promoting Channel 4's coverage of the Paralympics. It's an emotionally-engaging spot, equal parts life-affirming and heartbreaking.&nbsp;</p> <p></p> <p>Channel 4 are broadcasting an unprecedented 150 hours of live paralympics coverage and the&nbsp;"roadblock" premiere of <em>Meet the Superhumans</em> simultaneously across 78 channels yesterday evening was the start of its promotion of its coverage.&nbsp;The 90-second spot kicked off Channel 4's biggest ever marketing campaign and was shot&nbsp;over 14 days in sports arenas across the country from the Sheffield Aquatics centre to Lee Valley Athletics Centre via the Olympic stadium, as well as the home of the Paralympics: Stoke Mandeville.</p> <p>With post production carried out to an equally high standard by MPC London, with Michael Gregory the VFX Supervisor, the spot might well add more awards to 4creative's impressive run of 9 D&amp;AD pencils in the last 7 years as well as a Cannes Gold and Bronze lion. It looks certain to pull in a new audience and raise a goosebump or two along the way.</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" target="_blank">Follow me on Twitter</a></p> <div> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 0px; padding: 0px;"></p> </div>Wed, 18 Jul 2012 14:30:38 UTC Time is Now: Nike launches epic Euro 2012 spotDarren Brooker<p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Wieden + Kennedy</em></a> Amsterdam helped <em>Nike</em> score an epic success with the <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Write the Future</em></a> spot for its 2010 World Cup campaign. Now <em>Wieden + Kennedy</em> London has followed it with an equally impactful spot for Euro 2012, that rather than focusing on the established stars, takes a theme of youth. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>My Time is Now</em></a> sees the field stormed by an army of up-and-coming players - think Brazil's Neymar, France's Yann M'Vila and Germany's Mario G&ouml;tze - in order to compete against the likes of Franck Rib&eacute;ry, Wesley Sneijder and (of course, given his star billing in <em>Write the Future</em>) Cristiano Ronaldo.</p> <p></p> <p>Maybe it was the curse of <em>Write the Future</em>, where the stars of the spot - Wayne Rooney in particular - had a markedly under-par tournament, but Nike's decision to focus on youth gives the <em>My Time is Now</em> spot a freshness that is more than matched by its frenetic pace. And if the new spot doesn't have quite the same thread of hilarious narrative that made <em>Write the Future</em> so special, it makes up for it by offering a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek references, notably to Ronaldo being sidelined because he can't find a shirt to fit him. It also goes beyond the previous campaign in terms of what it offers by way of interactivity. At <a href="" target="_blank">Nike Football's YouTube page</a>, the film exists in a version that contains embedded "tunnels" that leads to lots of additional content that gives you the backstory on how the hungry young players got to this point.</p> <p>Down one of the nine tunnels - found at 0m26s - resides a playful piece centred on&nbsp;La Masia -&nbsp;FC Barcelona&rsquo;s famed youth academy. The film sees&nbsp;Guardiola leave his seat in the middle of a France vs. Netherlands match to deliver a&nbsp;humorous slideshow of life at the FC Barcelona Academy, where the young players appear to live a life of leisure complete with fine dining and water slides...however, this is juxtaposed against the rain-drenched reality of&nbsp;the commitment young players need to succeed as Guardiola returns to his seat at the game.</p> <p><img src="/userdata/blogs/darren/nikeAlt.jpg" width="640" height="358" /></p> <p>The campaign&nbsp;coincides with&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Chance</em></a> -&nbsp;Nike&rsquo;s global talent search - which is running in 55 countries from May to August and is seeking out the best up-and-coming young players, one of whom will earn a place at the Nike Academy in the UK, which is now in its second year in partnership with the Premier League.</p> <p>With post production coming, like it did for <em>Write the Future</em>, via <a href="" target="_blank">The Mill</a>, it's every inch the polished classic that its predecessor was.&nbsp;Whether it lives up to its predecessor's track record by winning the Cannes Film Grand Prix will be the true acid test that reveals whether <em>W+K</em> London have succeeded to the same incredible extent as their Amsterdam counterparts.</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk" style="border-style: initial; border-color: initial; font-size: 13px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: white; text-decoration: none; border-width: 0px; padding: 0px; margin: 0px;">Follow me on Twitter</a></p>Mon, 21 May 2012 11:12:12 UTC funding a new Rainbow WarriorDarren Brooker<p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">After 22 years of tireless campaigning, the previous Rainbow Warrior was retired on 16 August 2011 and thanks to over 100,000 donations, Greenpeace was able to launch the third Rainbow Warrior a mere two months later. A pivotal part of the success of this campaign was down to the&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">winning formula for crowd funding its new Rainbow Warrior via rich 3D campaign site created by </span></span><span style="font-size: small; "><a href=""><span style="font-family: Arial; "><em>DDB Paris</em></span></a><span style="font-family: Arial; ">.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">The </span></span><span style="font-size: small; "><a href=""><span style="font-family: Arial; "><em>A New Warrior</em></span></a><span style="font-family: Arial; "> site allowed potential supporters of its efforts to explore the new flagship vessel, and featured an impressive immersive feel, offering a visually compelling environment in which to help fund this worthwhile venture.</span></span></p> <p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">As well as being to explore the vessel in 3D, visitors to the campaign site were able to explore the areas of the ship via schematic plans and choose specific items from the ship, from individual biros at a cost of 1 Euro, up to 7,000 Euro desalinators. The campaign site helped Greenpeace reach beyond its 3 million regular annual donors and meet its target funding in record time, allowing it to replace the current 52 year-old vessel in double-quick time.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">DDB was among a list of companies providing their services at free or reduced rates, and that included the specialised Dutch 3D agency&nbsp;<a href=""><em>Virtek</em></a>, which&nbsp;lent its maritime engineering and design expertise to bring the new Rainbow Warrior to life in 3D. Additionally, the award-winning French digital agnecy <a href=""><em>les84</em></a> brought its digital production and branding interaction expertise to the project.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Finally, a webcam allowed visitors to the campaign site to follow the construction live via a webcam in the German shipyard where the vessel was being built, and on-board the new ship is a donation wall that features all 100,000 names of those who donated to the ship&rsquo;s construction. After 22 years of tirelessly campaigning at the front line, it's fitting that a new vessel built and funded from the ground up - bolt by bolt, anchor by anchor, soap dish by soap dish - by involving its supporters in how their donation contributes to the bigger picture of its construction.</span></span></p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk"><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Follow me on Twitter</span></span></a></p>Mon, 14 May 2012 01:00:00 UTC HitchDarren Brooker<p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">It's difficult to express exactly how many levels </span></span><em><a href=""><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Jeff Desom's</span></span></a></em><span style="font-size: small; "><em><a href=""><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Rear Window Timelapse</span></a></em></span><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; "> works on. For me, the hooks are my love of panoramas, Hitchcock's singular vision, timelapse photography and, of course, the art of it's plain to see that <em>Rear Window Timelapse</em> was always going to do it for me.</span></span></p> <p><iframe src=";byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; ">However, with close to a million views since it first came into existence earlier this month,&nbsp;<em>Rear Window Timelapse</em>&nbsp;clearly also appeals to those who simply like great ideas. And like the best ideas,&nbsp;<em>Rear Window Timelapse</em> works so effortlessly because it's such a simple idea. Having staged Rear Window to be seen from the single (wheelchair-bound, paranoid) point-of-view of James Stewart, the camera angles were bound to stitch together fairly effortlessly. And though the basic panorama was assembled in around a day, the workload was way more than Desom had envisioned and the word effortlessly should not detract from the amount of hard work it took to stitch all those shots together into a 20-minute chronologically-accurate cut.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; ">The 2-minute version you see here is kind of a teaser, though the storyline comes flooding back even with this short a version. Take a look for yourself, it'll give you a whole new perspective on arguably the greatest film ever made.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; "><a href="!/darrenadsk">Follow me on Twitter</a></span><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; "><br /> <br /> </span></span></p>Thu, 19 Apr 2012 01:00:00 UTC stop-frame 3D typography with an iPadDarren Brooker<p><em><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Making Future Magic </span></em><span style="font-family: Arial; ">is the creative mission statement that underpins the philosophy at <em><a href="">Dentsu London</a></em>. Mission statements can be pretty vague and meaningless, but with each of the three words bringing a different dimension - <em>Making</em> implying craftsmanship, <em>Future</em> meaning something that's never been seen before and <em>Magic</em> implying something capable of delighting - these three little words collectively equate to one brave creative goal. However, it's a goal that has been well-and-truly met.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Arial; ">To see this creative mission statement in action, one only has to watch <em>Making Future Magic</em>&nbsp;the eponymous film that <em>Dentsu</em> collaborated with <em><a href="">Berg London</a></em> to&nbsp;explore how surfaces and screens look and work in the world. The result is a truly delightful and playful exploration of the ubiquitous glowing rectangles that inhabit the world.&nbsp;<br /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: Arial; "><iframe src="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></span></p> <p>The creative teams at <em>Dentsu</em> and <em>Berg</em> developed a specific photographic technique for this film. Through long exposures we record an iPad moving through space to make three-dimensional forms in light.&nbsp;First, models of three-dimensional typography, objects and animations were put together in 3D. This was then rendered, but as orthogonal cross sections of these models (like a virtual CAT scan) whch results in a series of outlines of slices of each form.</p> <p>These are then played back on the iPad as movies, and when the iPad is dragged through the air, it extrudes shapes that are captured in long exposure photographs. Each 3D form is itself a single frame of a 3D animation, so each long exposure still is only a single image in a composite stop frame animation.&nbsp;Each frame is a long exposure photograph of 3-6 seconds. 5,500 photographs were taken. Only half of these were used for the animations seen in the final edit of the film.</p> <p>The result is truly fantastic, and really delivers on all three dimensions of the creative mission statement of Dentsu: Making. Future. Magic. You can read more on the blogs of both <a href=""><em>Dentsu</em></a> and <a href=""><em>Berg</em></a>.&nbsp;What's more, the iPad app that the team at <em>Dentsu</em> developed is <a href="">available via the app store</a>, so you can try this for yourself at home (warning, it's addictive!)</p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk">Follow me on Twitter</a></p>Wed, 04 Apr 2012 01:00:00 UTC score games BAFTA with Peggle HDDarren Brooker<p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Congratulations must go to the Dublin <a href="">Popcap</a> team for scooping the BAFTA for best Game in its Mobile &amp; Handheld category, for the HD port of the pachinko sytle Peggle. The awesome classic has been around on the iPhone since 2007 and has stormed the App Store charts since its HD release on the iPad last year.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The new version brings its gaudy Vegas slots aesthetic to the iPad in glorious HD, which is the perfect vehicle for the immensely addictive pinball-style gameplay.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The mobile game was developed in PopCap Games&rsquo; studio in Dublin. Paul O&rsquo;Donnell, lead software engineer of Peggle HD collected the award at the ceremony.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">"Winning a BAFTA is a huge honour and a particular point of pride for PopCap&rsquo;s Dublin studio," said JP Vaughan, associate producer of Peggle HD. "We had so much fun working on Peggle HD and we are delighted to see that fun recognised in the final game,&rdquo; said Vaughan.</span></span></p> <p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"><a href="!/darrenadsk">Follow me on Twitter</a></span></span></p>Fri, 23 Mar 2012 00:00:00 UTC Kingdom to open CannesDarren Brooker<p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Wes Anderson is all set to follow in the footsteps of Woody Allen when <em>Moonrise Kingdom</em> opens the 2012 Cannes festival, as announced today. With <em>Midnight in Paris</em> going on to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar this year, it's a good sign that the incredible cast - Anderson has added Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand &amp; Tilda Swinton to his usual ensemble cast, and will hope that Allen's success at this year's Academy Awards is a good omen.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Allen's success is no guarantee, as the film that opened Cannes the year before shows - Ridley Scott's <em>Robin Hood</em> didn't garner much critical acclaim - but the cast looks strong in the trailer below, though it would be nigh on impossible to assemble a bad trailer from the type of material that has become Wes Anderson's trademark.</span></span></p> <p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">It will come as no surprise to anyone that Moonrise Kingdom is described as &quot;an offbeat coming-of-age comedy&quot;, but some of his previous films like <em>The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou</em> and <em>The Darjeeling Limited</em> have been far closer to miss than the likes of the groundbreaking&nbsp;<em>The Fantastic Mr Fox</em>, <em>Rushmore</em> and (especially) <em>The Royal Tenembaums</em>. Let's hope that the fact that Anderson's writing partnership with Francis Ford Coppola's son Roman pushes this in the right direction towards the Oscars: Anderson was last nominated (for best animated feature) in 2010, when <em>The Fantastic Mr Fox</em> was pipped by <em>Pixar's</em> <em>Up</em>...which opend the Cannes festival in 2009. Go figure.</span></span></p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk"><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Follow me on Twitter</span></span></a></p>Fri, 09 Mar 2012 00:00:00 UTC effects without a Matrix-sized budgetDarren Brooker<p><span style="font-size: small"><span style="font-family: Arial">If proof was ever needed that budget isn't everything, then this <em>Mint Julep </em>video for <em>Why Don't We</em> provides it. If you take 15 carefully costumed birdpeople stood in a circle in an atmospheric forest setting, and throw in some beautiful lighting, then you are 90% of the way to an incredibly engaging&nbsp;promo without the need for any effects.&nbsp;However, director&nbsp;Thomas Mankovsky's lack of budget didn't stop him going the further 10% and he set out to create a fantastic low-budget central effect: a bullet time rig that&nbsp;tells the tale of the birdpeople's attempts to fly.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small"><span style="font-family: Arial">By simply giving each person two disposable cameras Mankovsky created a low-budget 30-camera bullet time rig with stunning results&nbsp;that lend a magical feel and that strikes the perfect emotional note.</span></span></p> <p><iframe height="360" src=";byline=0&amp;portrait=0" frameborder="0" width="640" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">There's an </span></span><a href=""><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">8-second clip </span></span></a><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">tucked away on Mankovsky's website that shows just how lo-fi these efforts were, but when viewed in context of the finished piece, the effect takes on an ethereal feel that sits beautifully. Incidentally, the post production was carried out by one of our favourite Swedish Smoke customers - </span></span><a href=""><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Swiss International</span></span></a><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">&nbsp;- who ensured that it wasn't just the birdpeople who really did fly and helped Mankovsky deliver an incredibly atmospheric piece that was true to his vision.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk"><span style="font-size: small; "><span style="font-family: Arial; ">Follow me on Twitter</span></span></a></p>Wed, 22 Feb 2012 00:00:00 UTC looks at the tools used on the Best VFX Oscar nomineesDarren Brooker<p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">You need to go back all the way to 1995 to find a Best Visual Effects Oscar winner that didn't rely on Autodesk technology for its visual effects, and that's a pattern that doesn't look set to change given this year's five nominees, as <a href="">Time magazine reported recently</a>. From <em>Rise of the Planet of the Apes</em> to <em>Hugo</em>, the full portfolio of Autodesk's solutions for film helped bring scores of robots and angry apes to life, as well as bringing 1930s Paris to life in Scorese's love letter to cinema.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The nominations in full&nbsp;(in the unlikely event that you haven't seen them yet)&nbsp;are: <em>Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Hugo, Real Steel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes&nbsp;and&nbsp;Transformers: Dark of the Moon</em>. </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The latest slice of the hugely successful Harry Potter juggernaut seems to get nominated each and every year, last year being no exception with Part 1 of Dealthy Hallows. Given that it's never scooped a VFX award, this might be a good year to bet that the team behind Harry Potter finally breaks its duck. The considerable might of UK&nbsp;VFX behemoths <em>MPC</em>, <em>Framestore </em>and <em>Double Negative</em> threw their collective&nbsp;weight - as well as Maya, MotionBuilder and Mudbox - at it, so this one's my outside bet.</span></span></p> <p><img width="640" height="360" alt="" src="/userdata/fckdata/3599/image/time.jpg" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">My firm favourite is <em>Hugo</em>, which is Scorsese's stunningly evocative homage to his true love: cinema. And with <em>Pixomondo </em>throwing teams from its facilities across three continents - as well as 3ds&nbsp;Max, Maya and MotionBuilder -&nbsp;at the film's 800 VFX shots, this one's my bet for the Academy award. One only has to look at how <em>The Artist </em>has captured the attention of judges to see how nostalgic this year's film selections seem to be, and I think <em>Hugo </em>looks dead-set to follow suit. If it wins, as I predict it will, it will be a thoroughly deserved winner, given how immersive the movie is, and how Scorsese took stereoscopy and effortlessly added it to his film maker's palette to place the audience smack bang in the middle of a 1930s Paris station to experience the magic through Hugo's eyes.</span></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Real Steel </span></span></em><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">has to be the rank outsider, though with the might of US giant <em>Digital Domain</em> behind it, perhaps not one to be written off completely...but in a year where award panels seem to be looking backwards nostalgically, I don't think a film about boxing robots is going to capture the zeitgeist quite like <em>Hugo</em>, despite the incredible use of both Maya and MotionBuilder. Similarly, as dangerous as it is to write off a Michael Bay vehicle from and Best Visual Effects shortlist, especially where effects powerhouses&nbsp;<em>ILM </em>and <em>Digital Domain</em> are concerned, but </span></span><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">I don't&nbsp;think that the robots in <em>Transformers: Dark of the Moon</em> will fare any better than those in <em>Real Steel</em>.</span></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Rise of the Planet of the Apes</span></span></em><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"> could be the one that bucks the backward looking trend, especially given how <em>Weta Digital</em> has raised the bar again and brought Andy Serkis&rsquo;s CG chimpanzee to life in a way that's both emotionally engaging as well as&nbsp; believable and realistic. Whatever happens at the Academy Awards on February 26, it will be&nbsp;the 17th successive year where Autodesk technology has been used behind the scenes...and incidentally, it was <em>Forrest Gump </em>which was the winner back in 1995.</span></span></p> <p><a href="!/darrenadsk"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Follow me on Twitter</span></span></a></p>Mon, 30 Jan 2012 00:00:00 UTC Bull gives UK animation wingsDarren Brooker<p><span style="font-size: small"><span style="font-family: Arial">Just before Christmas, hordes of animators from both the commercial &amp; student communities spent a hectic few weeks getting the final edits of their <em>Red Bull</em>-inspired animations ready&nbsp;before uploading them ahead of the final voting process. (As if the six gruelling weeks of actual production weren't punishment enough...)</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small"><span style="font-family: Arial">Entries were invited&nbsp;across the three specialist categories - CGI, Drawn and Stop Motion animation - with both category having an open and a student section. The ultimate winners have&nbsp;were then&nbsp;chosen from this list by the project&rsquo;s panel of esteemed animation experts: James Farrington (<em>The Mill</em>), Merlin Crossingham (<em>Aardman Animations</em>), Dave Anderson (<em>12foot6</em>), Jayne Pilling (<em>British Animation Awards</em>) and Tom Tagholm (<em>4Creative</em>).</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small"><span style="font-family: Arial">I was lucky enough to present the Open CGI category, to a stunned looking Paul Barlow, who won a copy of the Maya Entertainment Creation Suite. His winning&nbsp;entry&nbsp;- Tinsect Waltz - is&nbsp;below...and <a href="">here's the full list of lucky winners from each and every category</a>.</span></span></p> <p><iframe height="225" src=";byline=0&amp;portrait=0" frameborder="0" width="400" mozallowfullscreen="" webkitallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size: small"><span style="font-family: Arial">As a side-note, I was lucky enough to be introduced by our host for the evening, Alex Zane, as &quot;BAFTA award-winning animator and Technical Director&quot;, which though not strictly true, sounded very, very&nbsp;(very)&nbsp;good indeed. I left the Empire Leicester Square as happy as Paul see, it seems Red Bull really does give you wings&nbsp;(though I can tell you&nbsp;that&nbsp;it doesn't do much to calm nerves ahead of going on-stage to present awards).</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small"><span style="font-family: Arial"><a href="!/darrenadsk">Follow me on Twitter</a></span></span></p>Tue, 17 Jan 2012 00:00:00 UTC