Super Bowl 2017 | Legion Promo: “Swaddled”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: The Mill
DIRECTOR: Paul Tolton

Ove the years, the promos and print campaigns for the FX series Legion,” which is tangentially based on the X-Men series, have been exceptionally creative and wholly unique. I particularly love the current season 3 psychedelic poster campaign.

I bring all this up, because I was privileged to work on the first round of televised promos for the series debut. At the time, no one really knew what the series could or would be. So the creative marketing was an open book, which made it exciting to be a part of. Also, and quite surprisingly, the spot that I worked on proved to be some of the most challenging work I’ve done.

Essentially, I had to rebuild the baby for the latter half of the promo, due to a fluid creative direction of how/where the baby levitates. Needless to say, the plates didn’t cover the full length of the body during the push-in, which was very much shot in camera, as originally intended. It took three different baby takes to make it work. Of course, no one will ever know. And I take satisfaction in that.

Full Credits

Prada: “The Future of Flesh”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
DIRECTOR: Luke Gilford

Every time I watch this Prada promotional spot, I’m never quite sure if it’s serious, mocking, or both. It’s an odd one. Visually, I see hints of “Brazil,” Hannibal Lector, some form of latex bondage, and some far out ’70s sci-fi. I think there’s a commentary on age and the lengths exerted for the preservation of youth. Perhaps, I’m overthinking it.

But I suppose that’s why I truly enjoyed contributing to this spot. It’s abstract, open to interpretation, and visually weird enough to hold my interest, both while working on it, and after the fact.

The spot was crafted for a fashion event I can’t quite recall. But Jane Fonda was going to be present. And they even roped her in to providing some VO for the imagery.

As far as my efforts, I did a ton of beauty and clean-up. But not the typical skin work that usually comes with the territory. This project was all about organic latex, as if it was another layer of skin, and in some instances, a direct extension of it, blending directly into the forehead, cheeks, and neck of the featured model. Other face masks needed finesse, with fewer, tighter seems to show an organic constricting nature.

Clothing also needed to look perfect, and some environments required a bit of polish. Incidentally, the whole spot was shot in Logan’s offices, for the trivia-minded.

Nike | NFL: “Vikings”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor

These all-CG Nike NFL promo spots signal the introduction of Nike-sponsored new uniforms for the given teams. Above is the Vikings spot. But I also worked on spots for the Dolphins and Jaguars.

These promos were tricky due to the compressed schedule (a perpetually common trend), and a need to split work between Flame and Nuke. This meant all the base comps were done in Nuke, with Flame being used to soften the CG curse that comes with short schedules and little time for revision.

All of my work was done on top of the base Nuke comps, which typically got things within 85-90% of the way there. Flame was used for enhancing CG integration through a variety of techniques, from introducing lens distortion and stylized DOF to re-lighting and re-grading elements to shape the focus and depth of given shots.

In addition, flares, glows, and vignettes were judiciously added to increase the impact of each spot.

G-phoria: “Pre-phoria” | “Crashing G-Phoria”

ROLE: Lead Flame Artist | Senior Broadcast Designer
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast

G4’s annual video game award show “G-Phoria” was a major event for the popular pop-culture network. They wanted to “own” the video gaming audience. But in order to do so, they needed to steal the thunder from MTV and Spike, to name a few of their more successful competitors.

So they went all out, getting the Black Eyed Peas and the Bravery to perform, adding some “star” talent like Dave Navarro, Carmen Elektra, and Anna Nicole Smith to be presenters, and broadcasting the entire show live from an outdoor location in downtown Los Angeles.

For the graphics package, they also hired some expensive firm to shoot punk-styled footage in the spirit of “The Warriors.” A great idea in theory. But also some of the worst footage I’ve ever seen, not to mention unintentionally hysterical as well.

As lead designer, I was told to fix it however I saw fit. To make a long story short, I sort of winged it in Flame until something worked. And that’s how I ended up with this monochromatic punk-out flyer-style treatment of animated scribbles and bleached out streets.

Digital Digs

ROLE: Lead Flame Artist | Senior Broadcast Designer
VENDOR: G4 Media | Comcast
ART DIRECTOR: Julie Fields

In an effort to involve their audience more directly in the programming, but not succumbing to the “reality” approach, TechTV came up with the idea of giving a lucky viewer a $100,000 tech makeover for their home, and consequently filming the process from start to completion.

When TechTV was acquired by G4, the show carried over to the more youth-oriented network. As a result, the tech makeover had a few more X-Boxes and Playstation’s attached to the prize.

The design directive was to update the existing graphics to fit the G4 tech-savvy youth aesthetic. This wasn’t so much a redo as it was a revision, keeping the general structure of the graphics package, while updating the palette, fonts, and coating it all with a bit more gloss.

The walking house that begins the clip is actually taken from a promo that occurred after the initial airing of the G4 version of “Digital Digs.” I had a bit more freedom to create on this one, since it was an entirely new deal. And since I’m a fan of collage animation, and I was asked to do something with a house, I came up with a silly transformer-style arachnid mobile home.