I was commissioned by a friend at Tweaky.io to create some illustrations for their website. The goal was to create some engaging, playful illustrations to show their service offering, simple and effective website tweaks at a low cost. I was given a simple brief and created some pencil sketch options. From there the client selected a desired direction and I fleshed out final designs. This was a fun project to squeeze between other client work, and I look forward to working with Tweaky in the future!
One of the prompts was to take some stock vector graphics and incorporate the style I was working in. The characters had to remain whimsical but operating specifically in this composition.
President's Day Toyota Ads
I had the opportunity to work on some Toyota spots for Authors // H&L Partners to be aired around President's Day. It was a blast getting to bring the likeness of George Washington and Abe Lincoln to life, in a goofy way. I completed 4 of the 8 sections that got cut together for several TV ads, including George launching himself with a cherry tree slingshot, and the end dealership lockup. The biggest challenges on the project were utilizing the time well to combine character animation and compositing the rest of the scene.
The team worked together excellently, and one of the most crucial aspects in bringing the work to life was Kirksey’s illustration work, and Chris Zachary’s previsualization. At least 3 of the shots were mocked up in Cinema 4d first, and then sent to me for cel animation.
Sometimes the most bonkers concepts don’t make it down the line of decision making with a client - this felt like a rare occurrence where our most creative, wildest ideas for how it should look and feel were welcomed and ultimately implemented.
Animating the dealership shot was a back and forth between designer Kirksey and me. I laid the initial composition framing down, and he roughed out a design. I roughed out an initial animation pass based on our concept, and he finished the design. Then I cleaned up the characters.
In retrospect, I think I complicated the cherry tree shot by breaking each limb onto a different layer. The effect helped give life to the character struggling against the slingshot rope, but I think I could’ve reduced the number of poses to keep it simpler and save some time. However, I am still pleased with the end result.
The penny farthing shot and the Tahoe shot were what I struggled with the most, and in retrospect I see plenty of mistakes and ways I could’ve accomplished the same effect with more cleanliness.
I had the opportunity to take on a quick project with oddfellows for Airbnb. I was the primary 2D animator for the scenes, responsible for compiling individual character animations and using Loris Alessandria’s artwork to put together these short social spots.
I cleaned up the mid-air pancake as well as combing through the 2D elements. The most challenging section was matching the scene elements from the first character twirl through to the yoga mat. Integrating each element in a way that was not distracting, yet playful like the concept.
My favorite of the lot, I had fun with the vehicle shots, and animating the kid jumping into the pool at the end. The van bumping along the road was gratifying to animate, as well as the the sway of the vehicle in the first shot.
The comedy of each piece was in the writing an and character expression. It was a joy to stitch together beautifully executed elements.
Bad Baby Bird is Back Baby
A bad baby bird crunches up some flowers on his journey through the neighborhood. What a badass! Dang.
My friend Meredith posted some illustrations on Instagram for an internal project at Airbnb recently, and I asked her if I could animate some of them. She sent over the artwork and during a handful of down days I had a blast making these dorky animations. The story evolved as I went along, and by the last shot I had established that the bird would eat plants while flying through the neighborhood. Many thanks to Meredith for providing the designs.
The artwork was for a poster series, and was originally much more dense of a scene - a hodgepodge collage of houses, animals, and people. Meredith separated out a few scenes and these were the basis for the different shots in the sequence. I changed only one of the scenes and characters for utilization in the edit, the singing lady (for which I also provided the sound effects).
I roughed out each character pose using Rough Animator for iPad, and then came into Photoshop for creating more cleaned up line pass. I enjoyed using Animator’s Toolbar in PS to separate passes for the torso, limbs, and head.
My workflow evolved as I went along, and using more layers inside Photoshop became more comfortable. With the exception of the first bird shot, I used shape layers in After Effects with hold keyframes to clean up the moves. I’m not sure if this was the most time-efficient way to clean up the shots, but it worked well enough. I’m always trying to find ways of cutting down on time and retaining cleanliness and quality.
I partnered with Authors Projects to animate this story of Suzy and her dog Newton who experience a small earthquake, and are helped by Jumpstart Recovery. Yuki Yamada completed the designs, and I animated the piece.
Yuki's work lended itself to several sections of traditional animation. I enjoyed working with his designs and finding creative solutions to his PSD rooted workflow.
A few sections didn't fully make the cut to keep up the pacing of the edit. Working in Flash for more complex character moves made certain actions of Suzy's more efficient.
Throughout the project I would use a hybrid approach for different things - the complex moves of Suzy landing in the room, picking up her dog and spinning around necessitated a traditional approach, while the latter half of the final shot was more time efficient to animate using a rig. Some of my favorite moments in this shot are the quick smears when she makes a rapid turn.
A short film I designed and animated about an unforgettable trip I took with my friend Mikey, and an homage to brotherly love everywhere. I tried to capture the feeling of adventure, excitement, joy, and the melancholy in between.
The film was initiated during the moonlight hours of the day while working on client work, and completed while on another road trip with my wife.
The film was born out of a genuine desire to capture some of the feeling of friendship and adventure, as well as create something of my own. I let myself design and animate what I liked, and worried less about form than story. The vignettes of our activities are an expression of real memories, codified by this film.
I could not have completed this film without the tremendous help of Jeff Moberg on Sound and Score, Andrew Embury, Zak Tietjen, and Erich Reimers with help on a few of the shots. I am indebted to them infinitely and thankful for their generosity.
A few of the shots I blocked out with fewer in-betweens and really enjoyed how it looked. The stark, chunky feel of the walks and actions made this goodbye moment in particular feel more bare and melancholy.
I also experimented with a few other techniques, including blocking out a shot in Cinema 4d, roughing the character movement in Animate, and completing the rest in After Effects. I’m thankful I tried some processes a bit more out of my wheelhouse.
Varying the composition and color densities across the film helped me decide which shots would take the most time, as well as which ones would have the most emotional impact. Color choices across the storyboards were made in for the same reason: from pale, empty greens in the broken down van section to the somber brown, black and grey toward the end.
Broken down in the parking lot of Arcata, California. The van’s alternator died and we ran the battery down to nothing, sputtering to a halt. We got a tow to the nearest Napa Auto and waited for the new one until the next morning. We we’re back on the road the next day.
A stop in the redwoods after the van was repaired. We were transfixed.
We had spaghettios and beer for lunch out on the water on Klamath Lake. The water was super glassy and we saw all kinds of birds. It felt doubly victorious after getting back on the road.
I worked with We Are Royale to help design and animate a video for Oculus Venues, a platform for viewing live events such as concerts and sports games in virtual reality. My primary role was to bring the characters to life in a fun and engaging way, while utilizing the preexisting motion style established for Oculus.
Had the pleasure of working with Very True Story in Portland to complete this explainer for Nest. I helped design frames and animate the grid section.
I was in Portland for only a couple of months in December 2015-January 2016. I had taken a cheap sublet in the Southwest of the city and set out early December to connect with all the motion designers in the area. There are a few very talented animators in the area and I was at the cusp of an awesome community and was graciously invited in to be a part of the project.
Nest Creative Director: Craig Williams Producer: Jessica Koontz Design Director: Elie Monge Inspired by Oddfellows Very True Story Director: Adam Patch Producer: Kristin Almy Animation Director: Adam Glickfield Design: Robbie Bolick Motion Designers: Jarrod Allen, Daniel Duncan, Vance Reeser, Arley Cornell, Ben Luce, Clint Beastwood Music: Zack Wright Sound Design: Lichen Lion
The challenge was to illustrate an error that occurs with some home devices, when the mobile device comes into proximity with home wifi and unlocks the doors. Smart devices are not without fail, and Nest's system does a more intelligent job of working correctly. Eventually we landed on this design to illustrate the proximity problem.
Second clip in a series showing the proximity problem. Showing the phone in her purse with her attention diverted underscores the severity of a problem this can cause: the user may not only unintentionally set off their home device, but also never even realize it.
Superwide illustrations of the main floor of the house were used as reference to recreate the scene in full 3D to achieve the last shot's parallax effect. I helped create depth in 2D first, placing delicate lined objects in the background. The challenge was to integrate all of Nest's home devices working seamlessly in the art style given to us.
Cybersource: A Visa Solution
I was tasked through Ntropic SF to design and animate a corporate explainer video for Cybersource, a Visa company. The styleguide was evolving throughout the process, but the basic shapes and icons feel throughout was foundation for the video. The design process was particularly engaging, coming up with abstract shapes and movements to communicate high level concepts. Spacing, linework, and timing were my main tools for executing on this otherwise dry video concept.
The first day of the project was spent iterating on graphical elements and storyboards. I felt more confident having an entire sequence boarded out as a launch point for making edits and revisions. The design exploration occurred in tandem with the storyboarding process, and weekly calls with the client aided in the arrival at our final product.
Animation followed shortly thereafter, and it was great fun adding life to a pretty dry, corporate subject. Using clever scene transitions and dots/linework I brought the designs to life.
Many of the original design frames had to be whittled down to something more usable / less expressive for the client. I was a bit sad to see some of the more colorful and expressive frames get simplified for the end client, but totally understandable with their ultimate needs.
It was necessary to build the project in such a way as to be easily accessible to the next animator - my booking was coming to an end, but specific logos and symbols needed to be edited easily. I precomped most of the elements for a seamless handoff and seeing the final product I recognized few of the original branded elements; they’d all been replaced during the editing process after I’d handed off the job.
Grizzly - Microsoft - Windows Engagement
I partnered with Grizzly to produce this video on behalf of Microsoft for their Windows Engagement Team. This was a different kind of project for me, one that was more explorative and narrative than a lot of the explainer style videos I am used to while contracting with agencies. Our task was to creatively personify and explain how teamwork flows most efficiently in the workplace.
Grizzly was lead on scripting and ideation, while I assisted during the middle of the project in creating designs and storyboards for the idea execution. The workflow was slightly different than a lot of projects I was used to, as I was co-producing the video - I reached out for contractor assistance during several phases of the project. In this way, the project was new to me, and I gained a lot of insight into a more collaborative process.
In the end, this project left me feeling energized and excited about more collaborative opportunities in the future, as well as thankful for the relationship I had built with Grizzly through this relatively fast paced turnaround for a fun, colorful video.
Purpose, Trust, Communication, and Leadership personified in a colorful, interstellar tale of losing and finding what makes teamwork great.
This project required a lot of custom rigs, as each character was shown from multiple angles throughout. Almost every shot required a unique inverse kinematics chain, and sometimes no chain at all, just shape layers.
Thankfully, the characters were simple enough that discerning their anatomy and style of movement was already in place. Often the most challenging part was determining the character blocking so as to achieve a healthy sense of compositional balance.
Knowing the anatomy of the characters was crucial when the design phase was complete and I had about 4 weeks to complete the animation. The completeness of their character and personality enabled the execution of several new shots added in the eleventh hour, final moments of production. The substantial amount of exploration completed for the character designs was new to my process, and ultimately beneficial.
I enlisted the help of Emanuele Colombo for certain action shots in the sequence. His work was vital in making the characters come alive and pushing the narrative forward. It was a pleasure working with someone in a different time zone as well - I would wake up and Emanuele had completed several shots to be placed in the sequence.
Our influences for the piece were Lyft's origin story by Buck, a fantastic character-oriented, colorful, design forward piece. I enlisted the help of Al Boardman and Chad Clendinen for early design exploration, and took over once some of our options were narrowed down.
The video played once at a developer's conference with about for about 600 people.
A collection of works from over the last year. A range of styles from 2D motion graphics, cel animation, character animation, and 3D work.
Designing a rudimentary character for the intro was an enjoyable endeavor - I started with pencil sketches and decided to keep details sparse because I knew the character would spend less than 200 frames on screen. It's function was simpler than conveying emotion or connecting on a human level. His only job was to carry the viewer into the content from the last year: a vehicle / transition into what you're about to see.
For the intro and outro, I decided to use frame by frame animation in combination with standard motion graphics in After Effects. I love the look of super clean motion design holding hands with traditional frame by frame animations. Here the idea was that the viewer would grab 2017 and launch it into the future - then catch it and enter in.
Cleaning up the roughed out versions involved tweaking timing and stretching throughout. It was a good challenge to work on a tight turnaround and produce a simple character.
Animations completed for charity: water's 10 year anniversary film. Sections included data about dirty water, C:W's business model, and invitation CTA, as well as some maps and auxiliary animations.
When Chad and Jason of Broomstick Engine contacted me about helping out with animations on charity: water's founding story, I was thrilled - I've admired C:W's work for a while, and have been inspired by their model, their growth, and their media.
The design process was sideways at points, with the script changing all the way up until completion. However, the end result is effective in communicating primary ideas that the footage could not. In the end the animations were direct, powerful, and not distracting, giving space for the story to shine through. You can view the full video here.
Direction, Production: Broomstick Engine for charity: water
Design, Animation: Arley Cornell
My first designs for this project were far more graphic intensive - relying on textured designs and compositional experimentations to convey the ideas. After whittling down with the directors, it became clear that while these looks were appreciated, the larger narrative needed to shine, and some of the details needed to be shed.
I did a lot of character exploration for this project - the characters had to be leaning toward non-gendered, and not necessarily African. Though C:W does work heavily in Africa, not all their work is conducted their, so style and format had to be more non-specific.
Many of the motifs like callouts and connecting lines were implemented in the final, even if some of the specific compositions were shed. This project was an exercise in utility, function first, even when beauty and polish seemed appropriate at first.
Social benefit hotel idea by Jeremy Cowart. The team at CliffCo and I were tasked to produce a video that could build hype and interest in a hotel that would benefit different causes all around the world. I had the challenge of imaging a colorful, beautiful hotel room that carried the heart of this social benefit hotel chain. The Kickstarter was successful in raising over $750,000.
One of the obstacles to production was GPU bandwidth. This project required a lot of 3d rendering at 4k from Octane, a third party rendering software. I did not have access to more than my own workstation's GPU power, and so pushing about 1500 frames through the machine necessitated several weeks of nonstop rendering, tweaking, and re-rendering.
Ultimately I learned a lot about workflow, bandwidth, organization, and planning for future projects.
Script: Daniel Jones and Ashley Gutierrez Director: Ashley Gutierrez Director of Cinematography: Philip Leclerc Production Assistant: Daniel Jones Motion Graphics: Arley Cornell Editor: Ashley Gutierrez Sound Design and Mix: Jeff Moberg Score: Matt Stanfield Color: Alter Ego Post
A mix of purchased models and self modeled geometry was utilized in preparing the hotel room assets. There was a decent amount of preproduction time for me to prepare assets based on the moodboards and pre-existing artwork set out by Jeremy Cowart.
Most of my 2d animations lived inside the art framework of Jeremy's original designer. The art was angle heavy, isometric, with a lot of delicate lines. My palette was wider at first, but by the end had narrowed into 5 or 6 primaries, and essentially only used them at transitional sections.
The scope of the project expanded when Jeremy learned that realistic 3d renderings could be accomplished. This project was an excellent opportunity to show the client what was already in his head, but couldn't articulate it unless my skills were at work. This sequence was what helped move the design forward into the fleshed out pre-visualizations that ended up in the final.