What you want to do right now is click THIS LINK and go read Allie’s new post.
Allie’s work is unmatched in sweetness and honesty, but even more incredible is her timing. That’s right. Timing.
Through her still images, Allie is able to convey dramatic rhythm and comedic timing. Yeah. How she do dat?
This impossibility of squeezing a temporal experience out of a static medium has everything to do with the way Allie lays out her over-sized comic panels and her very particular colour choices. The panels are simply so big that you can’t look at one and see the whole thing all at once - your eye is forced to roam over the image. Allie uses that aspect of the large format to build discovery into her panels. The massive amounts of negative space created by her iconic figures act as beats. The bold spots of colour serve to catch your roving eye, holding it for emphasis or punchline delivery. The character drawings themselves are entire monologues.
Allie’s stated on several occasions that the apparent crudeness of her drawing style is very deliberate, and that it often takes her quite a while to get a drawing of a character just right. That fact is quickly apparent when you consider how effectively her minimal drawings convey extremely nuanced and complex emotion.
This is an artist in full control of her medium.
Now go click that link and read and look and fucking love it.
Jérémie Périn - DyE - Fantasy
Another great (but very different) video from Périn - there’s a lot of incredible stuff going on here beyond the obviously great climax.
The colour scheme and its implementation are beautiful and refined. This film is essentially constructed from only two hues: 1) a carefully chosen range of blues that combine to make a rich ‘warmth’, and 2) a handful of muted skin tones. This minimal take on a colour palette is made rich rather than graphic by the sensitive use of subtle gradients, as well as a great simulation of theatrical yet believable light and shadow. Also, the skin tones against the blue backgrounds are crisp enough to stand out nicely, but never so warm or saturated that they pop or look disconnected from their surroundings. There’s not a lot of colour at work here, but it’s application is definitely sophisticated.
Next up is the fantastic, nuanced timing in this piece’s minimal animation. I don’t know that I’ve seen anything as phenomenally tactile yet economical as the scene where the girl adjusts her panties [0:31] - the few frames at work here describe weight, snap, flesh, and recognizable human movement. There’re lots of moments in this video that are even more limited than that one yet they’re still able to convey discrete human nuance. That kind of cohesive honesty comes from a director with a sure, guiding hand.
The choices made in the direction of this piece never miss a step. Despite the subject matter at the climax of this piece being what people will most likely remember most, it’s the human undercurrent behind the uneventful bulk of this video that really makes the ending mean anything. The sequence of the kids climbing through the window contains no less than 22 moments of perfectly executed, recognizable, subtle human moments. It actually contains little more than those moments - again, there’s a terrific economy at work here. Each rare piece of actual animation in this film counts, with everything else being mostly a still image seen through a perfectly timed and paced camera move. Jérémie Périn’s eye is razor sharp but his touch is gently refined, and it shows in every action, cut, and beat of this story.
Johnny Kelly - Back to the Start [for Chipotle Grill]
This spot is perfectly endearing.
The combination of graphic shapes / silhouettes mixed with natural-like grass, tree, and wood textures is pulled off beautifully.
The graphic design at work is immediately appealing and sweet, as well as playful. Even when Kelly shows us how awful and cold mass-producing livestock is, he manages not to make us turn away. The playful design and its quaint execution keep us open to the spot’s message. The effect feels like a forgiveness - even though we’ve encouraged this kind of animal abuse up ‘til now, the spot is still our friend. That upbeat friendliness frees us as viewers to put our energies and attentions toward a the commercial’s message of a happier and healthier alternative.
Another opposites-at-play technique here is the tried-and-true juxtapositon of colour. Kelly keeps things rich and natural when nature rules, and grey and dark when machines take over, eventually leading us back to a nature that’s become just as bleak. The final switch back to beautiful greens and cute pink pigs at the end makes for a heart-squeezing payoff.
And of course Willie. It’s impossible not to love Willie.
(Getting Willie to cover Coldplay was a bit of a strange choice, but this is advertising after all - throwing a pop-culture connection in there is probably a good move for connecting with your average-shopper market).
Jérémie Périn - Flairs - Truckers Delight [possibly NSFW]
This has been out for a few years now, but it bears rewatching - forever.
Everything about this works.
The storytelling, pacing, and snappy animation are fun, quick, and dynamic. There’s an element of ’what’s next?’ in this piece that most productions (large and small) simply don’t possess.
The character design is rock solid - it’s unique while being built on classic foundations. Characters are built from simple shapes without feeling too rigid. Flat design flourishes like the trucker’s moustache, or his ‘O’ mouth are complimented by everything else having a terrific sense of volume.
Environments are a mix of confident painterly backgrounds and masterful graphic design.
There’s an incredible amount of imagination at work here, filtered through a strict aesthetic and a top tier skill set.