AMC Networks - IFC
As a motion graphics designer at IFC, I worked on a two-person team with the senior designer to conceptualize and create graphics in IFC’s brand voice across all platforms. We worked to bring IFC's “Always On, Slightly Off” feel to all on-air promotion, as well as social media content.
Case Study: Animated Paintings For Portlandia
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The idea was to take sound bites from one of IFC’s most popular series, Portlandia, and create visuals using animation for social media. We were given clips of some of the show's most popular lines like, "We can pickle that!" and "AO River!"
Portlandia is a show that
uses humor to expose the ridiculousness of modern life. Using this as a starting point, we decided to rework well-known, older works of art. These pieces, each paired with a sound bite, would emphasize this idea of the excessiveness of life today.
The first sound bite is of a couple who can pickle pretty much anything with a loud exclamation of “We can pickle that!” We chose Paul Cezanne’s The Peppermint Bottle as a way to grab the viewers attention with a still life immediately recognizable as an artwork from the past.
The second sound bite is of a couple who comes up with “AO River!” as their SOS signal while rafting. Wanting a depiction of a river like the one in the scene, we chose August Renoir’s Oarsmen At Chatou as a recognizable painting that had multiple characters within it to play around with.
Tasked with manipulating these paintings, I wanted to make sure I was keeping the integrity of the painting while still giving each a quirky, IFC take. Using photoshop to digitally paint, I replaced the vase in the Cezanne with a giant pickling jar and broke out each object to be animated. I also painted eggs, various objects and a pickle to go along with the audio, making sure I was replicating his textures and painting style. Then in After Effects, I animated and timed each object to drop into frame to punctuate the humor in the audio.
For Renoir’s painting, I again used photoshop to digitally paint and expand the composition outwards so I could animate a pan through the painting. I then broke out each element of the painting for animation and gave each person a life jacket as an added detail. To keep the movements subtle and fitting to the painting, in After Effects I focused on the rippling of the water, the bobbing of the canoes, and the grasses swaying in the wind. At the end of the clip to drive the last “AO River!” home the background boat flips over and sinks.
Instagram users don’t always have the sound on,
so we realized halfway through the project that we needed to think of ways to incorporate captions to
tell our audience to also listen. To play off of the idea of using older paintings, we decided to add iMessage text bubbles as a recognizable staple of contemporary culture.
Using text bubbles for both the inanimate objects for “Pickle That” and the people for “AO River” worked well to add to the humor of each Instagram asset. Each animation successfully came together to promote Portlandia with new visuals that match its quirky sense of humor.