Monday, August 31, 2009

Tanqueray Commercials

I caught one of these last night on the boob tube and it seems there's a whole series of them. Interesting visuals... makes you feel like you had one too many gin and tonics, eh ;-)

Ads from W+K Amsterdam. Produced by Motion Theory.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Forest by David Scharf

The Forest from David Scharf on Vimeo.

"Antonia is a 12 year old girl. She often has daydreams, in which she wanders of in to a magical far away forest, were she hides from the problems of the real world. One day, however, her father takes drastic measures and she has to face a decision."

Watch with subtitles,

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Little Dragon - Twice

Shadow Puppet Theatre! This is really amazing work for the band Little Dragon's song Twice. Directed by Johannes Nyholm, who has an upcoming film called Dreams from the Woods. This music video is a trailer or preview for the film. Thanks Sum for the link!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Flashback Friday: After Effects 1 demo reel

Yeah, yeah, its not Friday, but I didn't want to wait to put this one up! Its just too much fun.

Todd Kopriva, After Effects documentation lead at Adobe, put the video up on YouTube for you all to enjoy. The animation... not to bad. That was 16 years ago! Pretty amazing, really (but the music... wow, that saxophone music makes me want to run out of the room! My advice, watch muted.)

(Via John Nack)

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Avatar Trailer

A new trailer for James Cameron's Avatar coming out in December 2009. Looks like a video game to me, but cool, none the less. Do yourself a favor and check out the high res version in iTunes.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

A Conversation with Brian Dressel

interview w/ brian dressel

I met Brian Dressel at MGFest in January of 2009 at Pixel Brothers Studio. It was sort of an immersive art gallery showing with several artists, a DJ and all sorts of overstimulation. Brian Dressel, whom I met at the exhibit, was showing projected video that a person can interact with. And, it turns out, Brian is from my hometown and is a good friend of a friend (small world, I know!). He's also the man when it comes to interactive video. He and his team at M1 Interactive have taken video to the next level. You may have even seen his innovative work in advertisements on the Vegas strip or played one of his games in a public space or trade show.

Michele: Brian, can you tell us a bit about what you do? You seem to have a lot going on! Are you a programmer as well as a designer?

Brian: I began my career sweeping floors and painting walls of a studio in Grand Rapids, MI. From there, I met enough people to get myself down to Chicago. I honed my skills as a shooter, programmer and motion graphics designer for years, while working as a Motion Control Programmer at Post Effects and Orchard Productions as a Creative Director here in Chicago. Since then, I've been working on my company, M1 Interactive, developing new products and software and expanding my resources, working with people who make me and the company look good. I couldn't do it alone, my team is phenomenal. We developed a product called Respondr, Light Scribble, The Ring Screen and a few smaller software utilities and recently got into game development.

I have 2 companies, Respondr Interactive and M1 Interactive. Respondr Interactive owns Respondr. When I do other weird installations, they are usually under M1.

Can you talk a bit about Respondr? How does this all work? It's so cool. Do customers create their own shows by themselves or do you generally have to help?

Respondr is a reactive video system. We recently built an all-in-one enclosed system that basically can hang from a ceiling and project on a wall or floor. As a customer walks through or even near the projection-it reacts to their movements. Special content will do a variety of actions, depending on what's needed for the installation. This could be anything from immersive video games to informational display content. Respondr does all the motion tracking and shape analysis and runs a playlist that can change content over time, giving a wide variety of uses.

That is so cool. In Las Vegas at NAB 08 they had this type of thing in the monorail stations. Those tables are awesome looking.

We have custom built reactive video tables, from FTIR (Frustrated Total Internal Reflection) to overhead motion tracking systems. These are not your typical touchscreen systems. We're currently building a very long reactive video bar surface for restaurants, bars and trade shows. Customers can order food/drinks, play games or send messages to each other from one end of the bar to the other.

I think I would very much enjoy playing with that. It would be a great ice breaker. When I met you at MGFest in Chicago, you had an interesting set up at Pixel Brothers. What sort of software do you use? Can you talk a bit about how you put together the elements for a live event and perform?

What you saw at the MGFest was all Respondr, with a variety of ever changing content designed to show off some of the system's capabilities. The basics of Respondr are the Respondr Media Server, tracking camera system and display device. We used a video projector, but it will also work with LCD monitors and LED video walls. Respondr works in most environments and is easily adaptable and simple to set up. I think that install took us about a half hour, including the time to rig the projector in the ceiling.

MGFest 2009, Chicago. L to R: Brian Dressel, Rani Stack, Gregory Dillard, Harry Frank and Michele Yamazaki. (Photo Credit: Gregory Dillard).

Respondr was programmed and built by Peter Nyboer and me. Along with Jay Smith, our partner with Livid Instruments, we have been developing it over the past 5 years, constantly growing it, making it more powerful and easier for the installer to set up. Respondr runs on its own, completely automated.

What type of work do you like best and why?

Anything that I can flex the creative muscles. Creating new products and hacking existing ones for new uses is one of my favorite hobbies. Why not get paid for what you love to do?

Oh, totally. I do! Besides this cool technology, do you also create motion graphics for the usual outlets (tv, film, corporate, etc.)?

I create my own work now, for myself and my own installations. My work is sub-par compared to the awesomeness I see from my designer friends anyway. I find it best now to job that stuff out when it is needed. Plus, I'm learning to let people do their jobs and grow in their positions. I used to try to do everything myself and have total control, but that adds unneeded stress and brings slows down the growth of the whole company. We all work together and share equal workloads.

You mentioned Light Scribble. I've seen this Light Scribble effect before and had no idea it was yours. It's really neat.

Thanks! We have a lot of fun with it. Sometimes we'll go out at night and tag some buildings or bridges downtown. People have no idea where the projection is actually coming from usually, as we hide it in a van. It only takes a laser, and we can literally draw/paint on whatever surface we want. It's awesome!

Where do you see this type of interactive video headed?

I believe that it will become ubiquitous. The physical technology will become smaller and won't be noticeable. Entire rooms will become immersive interactive experiences that can be controlled by speaking and gestures. Some of this technology is already there, look at Project Natal from Microsoft, it is AMAZING. We have developed some of what that can do, but our R&D budget is significantly less than theirs. Sometimes that's a great thing. Actually most of the time it is. With less money and resources, it opens our imaginations to new possibilities and new ways of creating and problem solving that no one else may have ever thought of doing. This can lead to great new discoveries.

Are you working on anything new and exciting you can share?

We are always working new stuff. Some of it's on the drawing board, some of it's in prototype stages. We just got booked to work on the 2010 Winter Olympics. We'll be creating many custom video installations using custom hardware devices and video tracking that has, as far as I know, never been accomplished before. Most of our development is born from the needs of clients looking for new technology for a specific installation or our own needs to push our current technology to the next level-wherever that may be at the time...

Very cool. I wish you the best with the 2010 Olympics and your other projects. Thank so much for taking the time to talk to us at Toolfarm!

I also wanted to mention that we're always looking for Flash designers. Anyone interested can contact me at

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New Miyazaki Film: "Ponyo"

Great message, beautiful animation. Loose adaptation of the Little Mermaid with a special emphasis on preserving our environment. Learn more about this latest film from the famous director Hayao Miyazaki, of "Spirited Away" and "Princess Mononoke" fame.

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First Train Home - Imogene Heap

Really cool effects. She's running inside a zoetrope, of course, I probably just ruined the illusion for you. You just have to see it. I hope the annoying ads don't drive you crazy.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Gorgeous Sand Animation

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

let yourself feel. by Esteban Diacono

Esteban Diacono has created a gorgeous experimental video for classical musician Olafur Arnalds' Ljosio (there's lots of double byte characters in that word, but I think you'll be able to find the track). He uses Trapcode Sound Keys and Particular v2 to create this organic look.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Azur and Asmar

Every frame of this animation looks as though it could stand on its own as a work of art. Nice mixture of two and three dimensional elements, textures and gorgeous colors in this French animation by director Michel Ocelot. Will be coming to the US this fall/early winter.


For more information, check out


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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Juiced and Jazzed by Justin Weber

Very cute old-style cartoon about a lady in the 1930s who is suddenly with a flask of some really strong hootch.

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SOS Mata Atlantica (Xixi no Banho) PSA

Okay, I'll admit, my Portuguese is a bit rusty, but basically this Brazilian PSA says "Pee in the shower! Save the Atlantic rainforest!" I hope it saves a lot of water. The animations are quirky and cute (and a little on the creepy side). The ad was created by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, Brazil.

Read more about the ad at Huffington Post.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country

A documentary about Burmese people and the Buddhist monks that lead a massive uprising in 2007. A group of undercover reporters struggle to capture those moments under constant threat of torture and being shot.

Although it may not be revolutionary in a graphical or stylistic way, it certainly is revolutionary in that it was footage that was captured via small handheld cameras and smuggled out of a closed country, and then piped back into the country via satellite to counter the government approved fare - a testament to how technology is changing the reporting landscape. This was the only available footage of the protests as foreign journalists were not allowed, and internet access was completely blocked for a time.

I felt very lucky to been able to see the brave director speak about his film in person at the Michigan Traverse City Film Festival. Unfortunately many of the camera operators are still in prison or perhaps worse. Website and more information.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band

I've been meaning to put these up. Are these incredible or what?!

First the Opening Cinematic. I love the psychedelic sequence during Here Comes The Sun (incidentally, my favorite George song). Goo goo ga joob.

Trailer 1:

Trailer 2:

I wonder if Revolution #9 will be included in the game? Haha. I hope not. That song gives me nightmares.

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