The Trichrome Project

welcome to the trichrome project blog, which documents the progress of the trichrome animation series, including research, artwork and news.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Field Study: day 1

Day one of the field study has commenced. 'Field study' basically means gathering lots of rough data that has something to do with your subject before starting on the actual paper.

I kept it simple: I browsed some sites, took a look at a few animations that were relevant to my topic, and tried to figure out how these advertising campaigns worked. Of course I got started on the two animations that inspired me to begin with...

Trembled Blossoms

To be honest, the animation in this movie does not impress me very much. I'm not a 3D animator so I can't honestly say that I could do a better job, but I just think that the transition from James Jean's beautiful concept art to this sub-standard 3D film is unfortunate. But something must be said for the decision by Prada to be involved in creative products such as these. In fact, as it turns out, they've been investing in various creative projects for years now, sponsoring the creation of murals, artwork, short films, and animation.

In a way it makes sense, seeing as fashion is also a sector of the creative industry and is in many ways closely linked to these various art forms. It's interesting to see what these projects do for Prada: while promoting themselves and creating an artistic and even expensive image for themselves, Prada is in turn also promoting independent artists. As far as I can tell, the 'projects' that Prada invests in are unique products of the artists that work on them. Trembled Blossoms is not a sparkling gem of animation but the concept and style is undoubtedly unique to James Jean, who was free to create his own spin on the clothing line.

Coca-Cola: Happiness Factory

This campaign is targeted at a larger and more mainstream audience than Prada, and includes not only this animated short (showed in cinemas) and the teaser which was played on TV, but also spin-offs, merchandise, an interactive website, contests, mobile phone activities, and so on. The animated short was made by Psyop, a sickeningly awesome animation studio known for some of the awesomest animated commercials I've ever seen (including the Converse video).

In an interview I stumbled across, it's suggested that the advertising campaign was not planned this way. In fact, Coca-cola was so fond of Psyop's spin on the 'Happiness Factory' concept (which only existed in script prior) that the conceptualization phase became a very long one, involving the design of tons of characters and basically an entire universe for the happiness factory. Although Coca-cola evidently played a strong role in guiding the creation process of the short, it is clear that Psyop should get the credit for the awesome look of the animation.

General thoughts

How lame does 'general thoughts' sound? But truthfully, that's all I have to offer right now. In browsing around today, I became preoccupied with a few things...

  1. As of yet, I have only these two animated shorts that really fit the definition of a short that is used as a format for advertising. However, there's a vast amount of commercial campaigns that come close. The quality and concept of the commercials are excellent, creative and unique, and the brands are using these great commercials to emphasize that they are a brand that invest in quality. A strong example of this is the Sony Bravia campaign.
  2. 'New media': It's difficult to deny that there's a new generation out there that does not limit itself to one medium. Advertising campaigns make use of teasers, games, and similar things to lure people from a younger generation to the internet or to their mobile phones to further immerse themselves in a product. The Coca-Cola advertisements not only establish Coca-Cola's image as the way to express an optimistic and happy lifestyle; they also draw people to the interactive website of Happiness Factory and numerous other activities that promote the soft drink. Another example that comes to mind is the promotional campaign for Cloverfield, aimed at an audience of people who dig a lot deeper than what is simply handed to them by a TV screen. Why am I ranting about this? Well, to me, brands investing in animated shorts are clearly making use of this new form of promotion, the 'animated short' being just one of many formats which can be used to advertise.

Anyway, that's it for now. I will leave you with a link to Psyop (also to be found earlier in this post, but I have to post it again, because this studio is just awesome). This studio really sets the standard for animation in advertising today and also it's just fun to click stuff.



  1. I love this blog's purpose, this is really going to be a great research tool as well as being entertaining for us. I'll probably discover many great designers because of you, so thanks in advance! :)

    I love James Jean's concepts, they are truly amazing and I'm glad a 3D short was made with his designs. I am a 3D animator/texture artist. 3D animation is less intuitive like 2D and I'd even say, more logical and follow a different set of rules. You have numbers, grids, curve lines and points in space to deal with. It's a lot of guessing and playing with points in a 3D space.

    With all the amazing 3D works out there, it's hard for non-3D artist to fully appreciate works like this one, it's hard to understand how hard it is. But then again, from a 3D artist's point of view, there was lots of flaws and iffy transitions in this. Though I think that the textures and some of the simpler movement were the saving grace <3

    Good luck with your reseatch, you're on a very good start!

    -MCB aka Dracanta

  2. thanks man!! i'm flattered that someone is following this blog. i appreciate the input too. i do judge 3D animations quite superficially, but for trembled blossoms my verdict is still the same: i appreciate the effort but not so much the final result :)

  3. When I think of 3D-Animation Blur automatically comes up. Since the Intro for Return to Castle Wolfenstein these guys got my heart.
    They seem to love games but also do commercials and even a handfull of shorts, like the awesome "A Gentlemen's Duel".

  4. thanks for the tip! i'll check it out!