Jonathan Dorfman and Szymon Weglarski of HIFI3D just finished this awesome promo piece for Sony PlayStation 4.
Below is a cutdown of the some of the animation they did for a live launch event that was streamed from the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC to millions of fans around the world.
They were also kind of enough to give a little QnA on the making of! ( see below)
SM: awesome job.. about how long did you have to do all the shots? and how many artists ?
JD: Thanks! Since most of the animation had to be based on the interviews, we had about a week of R+D, and only about 2-3 weeks to create 4.5 minutes of animation. It was a tough job to staff, since we didn't know exactly what we were going to be animating when we started booking people. We ended up with a team of 13 artists, pretty evenly split between 3D, motion graphics and design/illustration. My wife Lucy, who works in childrens books, even came in for a few days to knock out some character designs.
SM: how much design did you get to do of the piece? characters? places ? etc
JD: We worked closely with Timothy Smith, an Art Director at Sony, whose personal illustration style we used as a launch point. We then generated concepts and artwork in-house.
SW: We would get the interview footage and concepts from Sony, and then send them our storyboards and designs to connect all the different ideas.
SM: can you explain a little about the process? how much was hand drawn and then animated as flat art vs 3d that had shaders on it?
JD: We ended up using a really wide range of approaches, depending on the needs of each shot. We were aiming for a mixed-media look. All of the characters are 2d art, but some of them were rigged and animated in maya, while others were done in After FX. The F1 car, the biplane and some other elements were animated in 3d, and rendered in a few passes that were filtered, offset and comped in After Fx.
SM:anything special you can share about the uncrumpling of the paper? ( rigs/anm/modeling? )
JD: We considered creating the crumple effect in 3D, but ended up going the traditional stop motion route. We actually printed out each element, and shot them crumpling in reverse with a DSLR on our coffee table.
SW: It was one of the more fun effects in the spot.
SM:There are a lot of cool transitions for each sequence, anything special you can tell us about they way they were done?
JD: Since we had such a diverse team, we ended up doing some of the voxel-based transitions in ICE, and used a mix of 2D and 3D particles for the symbol-based transitions.
SM:do you find it sad that the guy walking down the street looking at his phone, missed out on missing the girl of his dreams cause they are both looking down at their phones?
SW: We had a lot of fun with that sequence. Aside from locking down the key elements like the hero guy, we gave the artist a lot of creative freedom to populate the background extras. There's even a cat playing with a Sony tablet on the coffee table. Who knows if he actually missed out on the girl, maybe they met up on their Sony device and played some Street Fighter against each other.
SM:did you get a free PS4 out of the job?
JD: Not yet, but if it proves too difficult to get our hands on a launch-day PS4, we may try to call in a favor!
SM: thanks for the interview, you guys ROCK!
Jonathan Dorfman and Szymon Weglarski launched their digital animation/VFX company, HiFi 3D, in 2010 to provide high-end animation production services for a variety of media, from commercials to feature films. They work in a wide range of styles from heavily stylized to realistic. Their work on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" recently won an Emmy for “Outstanding Special Visual Effects" and a VES award for "Outstanding Models in a Broadcast Program or Commercial"
Szymon Weglarski's specialties are photo-real 3d work and live-action integration. While working at some of the top commercial effects houses, his work has appeared in a wide range of projects, from an award-winning Super Bowl spot for FedEx, another high profile Super Bowl spot for Bridgestone, the Geico Gecko ad series and long form animation spots for Coca Cola. Other notable clients include Michelin, M&M's, Dodge, and Nissan.
Jonathan Dorfman is an Emmy award-winning vfx artist. He has worked with many of the top commercial effects houses in New York, creating a wide variety of work for clients such as Coca Cola, HBO, MTV, IBM, Rockstar Games, Microsoft, HP, Verizon and AT&T.
to learn more about hifi and their work for playstation4 : http://hifi3d.squarespace.com/sony-ps4/