CICLOPE Title Sequence


Our New York team was given a free reign to design the main title sequence and awards graphics for this year’s Ciclope Festival. We decided to do something a bit different: traditional animation.

“We were given the freedom to come up with a story, and tell it in any way that we pleased” says Zach, one of the designers (who also illustrated The Creature Department). “We opted to make a piece that was traditionally animated – an art form that our team is very enthusiastic about.”

“We began with a very detailed boardamatic, which proved to be a wonderful tool. Referencing these storyboards, we began with animating our characters in Flash and TV Paint. The rough texture was brushed on separately in Photoshop. We knew that we wanted to composite the project in Nuke, so we exported our animated characters as isolated elements. This gave our compositor the freedom to grade elements independently, and add shadows and highlights as he saw fit.”

An extremely tight schedule meant the team put in lots of work in their spare time. “One of the biggest challenges was finding time to do laundry! Our smelly clothes were a uniform of sorts, one that I took pride in” says Zack. “There is something special about working on an open project, on our own time, among very close friends. The project becomes personal, and you lose a piece of your mind. You feel comfortable enough to start getting silly, and to try anything. You feel liberated to make mistakes, and that is when you finally start to feel like an artist.”

“All of the backgrounds were hand drawn, and then projected onto 3D geometry. All of our skies and clouds were projected onto a sphere to give us depth and subtle parallax. This union of hand drawn assets and robust compositing software is becoming more and more common, perhaps one of the first of its kind for Framestore.”

McLAREN Tooned 50

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After the success of last year’s series we’re working with McLaren again on another run of Tooned, this time for the F1 brand’s 50th anniversary.

We wrote the scripts, designed the characters, directed and animated the series, which is being shown on Sky Sports before each Grand Prix, as well as working as one long episode.

We also sourced the vocal talent, which includes Alexander Armstrong, the one and only Brian Cox (well, except this Brian Cox, not that one) and a host of F1 royalty, past and present.

Here’s what we’ve seen so far, plus the making of. Plenty more info over on the Framestore website too, and there’s a Storify of us taking the mascots to Goodwood here.

Making of

The Art of Tooned

WE STEAL SECRETS: The Story of WikiLeaks



We worked with Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney on his latest documentary, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, which follows the controversial whistleblowing site and its even more controversial leader, Julian Assange.

Our New York design team created over 35 minutes of rendered effects for the film, including it’s title sequence and visual representations of the exfiltration of top-secret data. There’s a full explanation over on Plus some interviews here and here.

NEW CINEMA Before the Flood

At the end of last year we told you about New Cinema, a collaboration with Eyebeam and The Creators Project that looks a new ways of presenting cinema. Here’s the latest experiment, which saw  us pool our knowledge of programming and CGI skills to turn probably the earliest form of storytelling, cave paintings, into an interactive experience.

The team — Eyebeam’s Nick-Fox Gieg and Ramsey Nasser, Google coders Alex Kauffmann and Boris Smus, plus our own David Mellor and Mike Woods — created this cinema-game mash-up called Before the Flood, which you can explore by walking around in front of a screen, created using the Unity game engine and floor-tracking software developed at Google. Take a look below or read more here.

AUDIBLE Digital Cube


We were approached to create an animation for this digital cube screen in Times Square directly by Audible. They wanted a 15 second animation that would illustrate a book genre using a smart phone’s headphone chords.  For this particular project, as you might guess, the theme was science fiction.

Framestore’s Design team in New York animated and directed the project. We looked for an opportunity to do something special with the merging corner to make it interesting for anybody looking up at that angle. We came up with the idea of creating a whole alien face made up of two halves that would join in the middle for a quick ‘blink’.  It was a bonus to see this piece in the middle of Times Square.

You can see it in action below, from hand-drawn design stage to the final working cube:

Creators Project – Future of Visual Storytelling


Our NY Digital team spent the weekend geeking ourselves into a frenzy with our good friends at Eyebeam & The Creators Project (Vice Magazine)

Stand by for the exhibition at the end of January in NYC, as it’ll be freaking amazing.

More info here :

The relationship between filmmaking and technological progress is one that’s been deeply intertwined since the beginning of cinema as we know it, so it’s only fitting that our present era of accelerated technological development should lead to some mind-blowing new forms of cinematic expression. The Creators Project teamed up with art and technology center Eyebeam, and world-renown visual effects company Framestore, to bring together hand-picked teams of filmmakers, creative coders, animators, designers, and sound designers to imagine what new tools, techniques, and forms of storytelling might emerge from this creative collision.

The New Cinema hackathon began as conversations and email exchanges between teams, which were assembled by Eyebeam and The Creators Project. The goal was to give teams time to come up with a narrative concept for their projects, as well as an opportunity to think about how they might achieve it, and what kind of tools and resources they might need towards that end. Preparation for the hackathon included a motion capture session with a Michael Jackson impersonator in Framestore’s London office, researching eye scanning and the analysis of irises, and several dives into Framestore’s vast archives of 3D models, animations, and footage.

The five teams that came together this weekend were tasked with only one objective: to imagine and prototype new and unusual forms of visual storytelling. Their approaches were varied both in content and in tone, but the projects were united by their fearless experimentation and enthusiasm for the ideas being explored.

We’ll be unveiling the projects in the coming weeks on the blog, as well as on the New Cinema and Eyebeamwebsites. A public presentation of the completed projects will be exhibited at Eyebeam from January 29th-February 3rd.