To download a zipfile with the whole series in HD, click here so you can skip all the blah things I’m about to say.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you guys.
Neons in Threedee:
(First: Ale Paul is my friend.)
So it’s been a while since Ale’s been busting my nuts on this new font he wanted to present as if they were neon lights.
At first, for example, we’d hang out riding our bikes and he’d shyly ask: -Is it a hassle to make neons in 3D?-. He’d ask as if though he didn’t want it done.
As time went by, he started asking it in a more subtle way: -hey! Want to make some threedees’?? C’mon! Some neons! C’mon dude, it’s a walk in the park for you, they’re just little tubes-.
In the end, he sent over images of real neons showing me how good the script font went with neons.
I obviously wanted to do something with him, but I was playing it dumb because I wasn’t interested in doing something in 3D just because, so I asked him if he was interested in doing it, not only as a typographical specimen for his new typeface if not also as part of a curation for the Project Author’s BayI’m following through with Fer.
This was how we started this project formed in part by a series called ‘Underlight’ that includes 5 spaces with 5 different words made with the Rolling Pen, in neon, narrating a small concept and on the other hand an interview/profile/mini-documentary where I try to capture the Ale Paul I know (and have as a friend) whom I believe to be great for other people to know.
At the beginning I had in mind doing something filmed with real live neon (I was fleeing from doing 3D) and a contemporary dancer. I contacted Gaston, a friend of a friend choreographer, genius, we got together to talk (thank you, Gaston) and finally, due to timing issues, I decided to ‘adjust’ the idea. The best way was to do it in 3D. It was easier to control due to the little free time I had.
There will be another opportunity to do something similar in the future.
So what I did was to make a quick 3D with elements from libraries to show Ale to see if he was interested in walking down this road, and I sent it to him:
What follows is “Rolling Pen & Underlight”. Below each image is a link to a jpg in HD. (Anyhow, it’s more convenient for you to download everything in the zip here.)
In the interview, some of the neons, will be animated in 3D by the PepperMelon team, more precisely by mister Martín Dasnoy. (Because beware, doing a styelframe and an animation of that styleframe are two separate worlds)
I hope you guys liked it, I’ve been working on it for several weeks and on the interview that will be out in a few days.
NAVE is an indie game created by Hernán and Máximo. It’s a classic shoot-em-up game where the spaceship simply needs to get its way across a bullet-hell of alien spaceships, turbos, energies and bombs, towards infinity. But getting to infinity doesn’t matter. All that matters is resisting.
Hernán and Maxi did the game design and programming, respectively. The design and set up of the actual arcade experience was powered by 4 other creatives: El Gaita, Goyo, Axtor and Fer.
The game is meant to be experienced only on arcade. Not on keyboard. To get the full feel of it, you need to play it face to face to the actual machine. The game is only playable on arcade.
Even if NAVE has a tad of nostalgia factor thrown into it, it is not meant to be a homage to old arcades -although it perfectly could be-. Don’t be confused. NAVE is not just a game. It has a joystick, it has a button, but it’s not just a game. NAVE is not just about a spaceship, launched from Buenos Aires’ obelisk, fighting alien spaceships, resisting the longest, and teaching a new generation the values of resistance, in today’s day and age. No it is not.
NAVE is also what makes you feel when you experience it in person. And a game that requests, nay, demands… for your presence, your attention, in person… well, let’s say it’s not an everyday thing.
Last Wednesday, 5th of December, with Fernando we got back from our trip through part of Europe. A few months ago I told you guys about a couple of conferences in Playgrounds Festival we were going to give in Amsterdam and Tilburg, and since I had never been, we rolled along and visited Paris, Berlin, Prague and Frankfurt.
On my trip, I took my humble Nikon D5000 with intention of using it as a diary of my voyage. The camera went on train, airplane, bicycle, rollercoaster, it ate, it drank, it danced and also befriended a lot of people. The result was 60 GB of yet unedited material.
This is the first part of what we did in Amsterdam and Tilburg, with moments of the festival and all the freaking awesome people we met there.
September 27, 2012 at 9:09pm
You’ll never be a prophet in your own land.
(Unless you pay, or have friends)
In my beginnings, when I worked all those years in an advertising agency that I spoke of in my last post, not only did I learn how to do presentations/PPM, but I also witnessed how the growth of these studios/directors transformed into a trap/prisoner of the whims of the advertising market and its beautiful politics of selection. The famous, today you’re on fire, tomorrow you’re all burned out.
That’s to say, on one hand, you’ve got the producers kissing as much ass as they can to the agencies, anything to get a project for an old/new director, and on the other, you’ve got all those self-masturbating magazines like G7, adlatina, adcrap-in-a-hat, etc that, playing that little market game, hand you a column if you pay an ad on their magazine.
As if it was yesterday, I can remember that moment when Cannes was near, where the production teams spent money on ads in order to get their names on some paper looking like their hot shit in a gritty black and white photo taken by Chernsasdgofuckaliondasky (a stupid joke that only works in Argentina), just waiting for some creative to look at their spot and say
“-he looks good in that photo, he’s so cool, I’m gonna hire him to write a really snappy script, because no one looks that cool and sucks at directing- “
When in 2006 with Fernando we kicked off pre-history in Pepper, we started with the ingenuity of two boys opening up a lemonade stand at our block of the neighborhood.
First we started contacting different argentine agencies via email, showing them what we had done. At that moment Fernando had a lot of work as a VJ. He had also done part of the postproduction in the movie “Adios querida luna” by Fernando Spiner and a video clip for Babasónicos.
On my end, I had done other projects, working as a professional thief, which included a few graphic proposals and a bit of animation for videoclips, for example Shakira (!).
But wait, there’s more! We also had in our syllabus the postproduction and design in the movie “La Antena” from the genius of Esteban Sapir.
It goes without saying that we had to shove all that lemonade up our (_._) because no one paid attention to us.
Though, since we knew we had the potential, we kept at the ingenuity. What we did was work hard for 3 months, shut out from the world in a small computer lab, concocting elements into a fake reel. (…)
-Brief lapse for explanation-
A reel is a video that is edited with music that makes you sound cool, where you show all your work, selecting the moments that best capture your talent for whoever wants to contract you to know what you’re capable of doing.
So for three months we worked on creating different fake animations with real brands to fool the agencies in believing we had worked with other clients. The result of that is the following: Click here to see magic.
With the reel in our hands, what we did was burn various DVDs, add a nice little cover and send them over to different agencies in Buenos Aires. We thought this way they would see our potential and call us for a crappy project, and in time they’d hand us a less crappier project, and so on and so forth.
Result: Only one agency responded and told us what we did was very ‘Trash’-they used that word-. It seems that this time, when we were about stash all that lemonade up our (_._) again, the following occurred:
In the U.S., the site Motionographer (that is THE site for animation/motion graphics) posted our reel, while speaking highly of us.
David Kamp, a german composer at that time was starting out his career; he offered to remake the Reel’s soundtrack for free because he had really liked it. David today is a sound design genius and worked for the best studios in the world.
Ronaldo Ramirez from MTV Latam –who at that time was in Miami- called us because he had liked the reel and thought it was strange to see in a reel animations from his cannel that had never been aired before (that was because the reel we had made was fake)
In England, Matt Pyke from Universal Everything liked the reel and contacted us to work on a Project with him for the London Olympics 2012. Pic
Daniel García, a video clip and advertising director from the U.S. (LCD Soundsystem, TV on the Radio, Cults, etc) contacted us to work on a project for Nike 6.0
These five things that happened not only made us independent from the argentine advertising market, if not showed us a different way of working, a road that is paved with gold where we are, to this day, trying firmly to stay on (I swear it’s not easy at all).
These five things taught us the exact contrary of what I had learned at that production studio before. They taught us that there is a road you can take, where you work hard for something you do well and can be acknowledged for your effort and talent, with no political masquerade or black and white photos involved.
That is to say, you do something good, they see your potential, you’re called to work on a project according to what your skills are and then they call you because they want more of the same and/or better.
For example: with MTV, after our first project, we did another one, then another, and then we designed part of Los Premios 2007 and then we did most of Los Premios 2009.
Ronaldo, MTV creative, went on to work at ZUNE and called us for more work.
With Daniel Garcia we did various projects for Cartoon Network and a video clip for The Go Team.
Matt Pyke invited us to participate in Advanced Beauty, an audiovisual showroom that compiled very good artists to create an audiovisual sculpture
Finally Motionographer listed us in the Cream O’ The Crop of 2009. (I don’t know why they did that)
Meanwhile, in Argentina the only agency that contacted us was Madre, and guess what we did? Mamá Lucchetti.
And guess how many argentine agencies we worked with since our success with Mamá Lucchetti? None. Which coincidentally is the same number of articles the magazines I mentioned earlier did for us.
On the other hand, for agencies overseas we did over 5 projects parting from the same thing, among them is The Guardian in London and Google in Brazil. Creativity, CGworld Japan, CGchina, Stash, Shots, Swindle all wrote articles about us, and we did press conferences in Trimarchi Argentina, Peru, in Cordoba with Pixelation and we were invited to participate with a short film at the F5 festival held in NY every two years.
Adding up to all this, Strange Beast / Passion Pictures started representing us –the same people that represent, among others, Pete Candeland who did videoclips for Gorillaz –and in the US Patricia Claire ho represents the biggest names in the business.
Now, what am I getting at with all this? (besides acting like a resentful (_._) with the advertising market in Argentina)
What I want to say is that there exists a road that’s independent of all that fucking hypocritical shit that publicity has, a road anyone can walk on to become better at the things they like without losing their dignity (well, maybe not all of it). It’s real and luck has nothing to do with it, it’s always about what you like to do and knowing where and how to show it.
That is why:
The only person who defines if you’re a director or not, is you. If you want to direct something, just do it, don’t wait for an agency or a production team to come and tell you if you’re good or bad. Just grab the camera, wacom, pencil or whatever you have and do it.
Have your personal project; don’t work exclusively for advertising, use it as a means, not as an end.
Don’t contact agencies or creatives, it’s no use. If you want to get on the dancefloor, show yourself all you can and wait to be contacted by someone. (asking for likes on your facebook page is NOT showing yourself.)
Behance is not the only option.
Contact blogs and websites on design and show your work there. The more global/international the sites are the better.
Help out other artists, co-work on projects.
Ask for feedback on your work by other directors/designers, contact people who do the same kind of work as you in and out of Argentina, if they’re better than you, that’s a plus.
A bad client is a client that doesn’t understand what you do and doesn’t care to do so.
A bad project only attracts other bad projects and other bad clients. THERE IS NO SUCH THING as growing through a bad project. NO SUCH THING. You might earn a buck, but you won’t grow.
Never work for free for a client that’s going to win money with what you’re doing.
Don’t pay for publicity on an advertising magazine in exchange for an article and a cool photo; use that money to show that you’re good at what you like to do.
If you know anyone who was able to live by doing this without having to recur to work in advertisement, forget everything I said and listen to him.
PS: Here’s a little drawing for you guys.
(G7 is a magazine from Argentina about advertising and stuff)
September 18, 2012 at 7:31pm
The kid who does presentations
I got my first job when I was 20 years old at a advertising agency called ladobleA at that time the commercials where directed by Esteban Sapir, Armando Bo and two kids whose names escape me (how sad). Esteban was already big news, (he had done Picado Fino) and ol’ Armando at the beginning sort of sucked but then after a while he got big too.
My job was to set up the presentations of how each director would sell their form of filming the commercial to the agency and the client. I must have done no less than 50 presentations. I digitalized the castings from a VHS to a PC, the same went for the ‘references’- Youtube didn’t exist-, I scanned storyboards, I added photos of the locations I was given and added the references that were also given to me by the costume director and the art director. When the presentation was finished, usually after a sleepless night, I had to go with the whole crew to PPM. (…) I’ll make a parenthesis for the people who have never been to a PPM so they understand what it is.
A PPM, besides being an acronym every advertising producer LOVES to write and that when they say it out loud in a phone call they often get an erection, is a meeting that has three participating teams. The production team, the agency and the client. There are generally two kinds of PPM, one with just the production team and the agency, and then the other with the latter two plus the client. In these meetings, commercials from other brands are shown as references to objectify the narrative style, visual style, etc, as well as showing a storyboard-those little squares with drawings in them that exemplify how everything will be filmed-.Locations are chosen –the physical spots where everything will be filmed-, as well as the casting, how the actors will be dressed, if the lamp will be white or white-ish, if the product will be shown with fireworks or if they need an expert brought from Germany to add the little water drops to the bottle, etc.
Well, I always had to go to these PPMs because nobody on the team dared to use the computer, fearing it might freeze up or something might not work (we’re talking 2001-2005, back when attaching a WORD document to an email was a mystery to most)
Long story short, not only did I have to design them; I also had to go to these fucking meetings.
Going to these wonderful meetings had thousands of bad things attached to it, but there were also good things. As time went by, I became an expert at presentations (!), I started knowing which actors were going to pull through, which location would work best, I helped out with the references, also in better displaying things related to art and costume design, etc. It was clear that my learning curve went unnoticed, my job post was completely ‘under the radar’, basically, I was the kid who did the presentations, but almost without knowing it I began to learn what the most important thing about doing any project was: the art of setting up a visual and narrative system when the time came to tell a story/concept. (cue trumpets)
50 million years later.
Even though I’m credited as Director in 80% of the projects done at PepperMelon, I also set up the narrative-conceptual system in 99% of the projects, to the point where I don’t even consider myself a great director, if not better at creating these visual-conceptual systems that give each project their appeal, be it directed by me or anyone.
My friend Carl used to say “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”
In animation, contrary to film, the world we create starts off from scratch with its own system and rules (no shit). There is no casting involved, just character designs and everything that it implies. –To design Mama Lucchetti, we went at it for 6 months-. Also, no locations either, but there is.. (…) well, explaining this is sort of a drag and rather obvious, so I’ll just continue.
We people in animation know that we’re in charge of crafting a whole world when a project is in the makes, some of us are more conscious of this fact, some aren’t as much, some are almost oblivious and some just go through life copying what others do.
Since we started out in PepperMelon, technically and aesthetically speaking, our studio was never amazing, there were always better ones out there –and there always will be-, with nicer renders and more designs.
Despite that, we were able to stick out in little time as a great international design/animation studio thanks to always being aware of our limits, that is to say, by being aware of our aesthetic and technical limits, we poured more attention into concept and narrative coherence in the construction of these worlds.
Today, thanks to the technological advances and the infinite diversity of tools that can be found in the audiovisual world, it is much more difficult to have the limitations we did at our beginning, and it is common not to have the opportunity to realize that what is more important than aesthetical beauty is telling a story or delivering a concept.
This is proven to me again and again at the end of each conference we give in universities and events with Pepper (this year we did 7), in which I am approached by students who ask me what kind of software I use to animate, to compose, to draw, but nobody, NOBODY, asks how we develop our ideas, what techniques we have to illustrate a concept, how we look up information, etc.
Doing something pretty because others do something pretty, is like eating in McDonalds – great french fries, add some motion blur, double hamburger with tomato and references from ffffound, size up the soda and add some more glow, for dessert I’d like an ice cream in vray. Automatically, when you leave McDonalds, you completely forgot what you just ate because the taste is confused with thousands of other hamburgers you’ve already eaten. When a project wins you over because of its concept, you remember it for life. Like that soup your grandma used to make.
The solution will never be in the tools, use your limitations to learn how to tell what you want to tell the way you want to tell it, leaving aside if it looks pretty or ugly and leaving in the coherence and concept.
This comes from a kid who did over 50 presentations for PPMs and not only got out of there alive, but also learned something.
The kid who does presentations.
PS: Next post will have real drawings.
September 10, 2012 at 3:13pm
Here’s the deal: after founding and working for 6 years in PepperMelon and having found there my way, work, form of expression, vocation, etc, etc, I still can’t find a way to explain to my friends and colleagues (!) what is it that I do exactly.
My lawyer friends, doctor friends, engineer friends and related, think I do cartoons and 3D. When they have to put it in plain words, they just say “he did Mamá Lucchetti”, but if the questions persist, they have NO IDEA what my job is, it’s easier for them to understand something related to quantum physics than what I do. The boldest ones say I do what Pixar does.
My friends in the film industry think I do postproduction, that is to say, they could send me a take of a scene so I can slap an explosion on it, or that I could shape a spaceship in 3D and have it shoot lasers.
My friends in graphic design, even though they might understand a bit more than the rest, still don’t fully get that I don’t model in 3D, that I don’t know how to animate and that I’m not good at drawing. Conversation extract from friends/colleagues: “-it’d be great to make some t-shirts, Pedro could design them, I could stamp them and Tomás could do the visuals (?).”
Finally, there’s my family, who always mostly understood what I do but perhaps they exaggerate a tiny bit, and it wouldn’t be odd to hear them say that I won an Oscar or something like that.
That’s why the reason for this blog would be to break away just a bit from my duties in PepperMelon and show what I have done and what I’m doing, so everyone I love, understands a bit more of what I do and why I love doing it so much.
(Yeah, next post will have pictures, that way you won’t get so bored. You fucks.)