Hunting the Perfect Look with Sony’s Bloodborne & Director David Chontos

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This week marked the release of the year’s most highly anticipated Playstation 4 game yet, Sony’s Bloodborne. The dark gothic fantasy game finds players taking on the role of a Victorian era hunter of zombies, werewolves, and other similarly horrific undead foes as they discover the origin of a mysterious plague that has gripped the game’s vividly imaginative universe.

It’s a release that has grabbed the attention of thousands of gamers, all of whom are also familiar with Sony’s powerful marketing campaign for the game, which centers on Bloodborne’s iconic Hunter character, complete with menacing cleaver shroud of roiling smoke effects.

For the game’s launch, Sony and creative agency Petrol partnered with Psyop to develop a series of spots that highlight Bloodborne’s tagtagonist and the visually spectacular environments that fill the game.

Watch Bloodborne, “The Hunt Begins”:

 

Director David Chontos told us how his team of animators was able to capture Bloodborne’s unique gothic style, and how they arrived at the final spot that has already gained over six million online as of now.

 

When you first pitched on Bloodborne, had you heard of the game?

David: Not only had I heard of it, I had already pre-ordered it!  I’m a huge fan of From Software’s games (Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 1 & 2), and was very excited to help be a part of the game’s launch.

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Kicking Off the Virtual Reality Future with Samsung and Oculus

While on a top secret recon mission to Samsung HQ in Korea as part of our work on the multi-platform Galaxy 11 World Cup campaign, Psyop was granted a preview of a then unannounced new virtual reality headset set to release the following year. The result of a partnership between Samsung and virtual reality pioneers Oculus, the Gear VR promised to bring a high end virtual reality experience to consumers through an innovative yet affordable new headset device built around their Galaxy Note mobile phone.

Futurists and technology lovers to our collective core, we jumped at the chance to turn the bold, sci-fi designs of the Galaxy 11 campaign into a virtual reality (VR) experience, presented in both 360-degrees as well as stereoscopic 3d.

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Our team, led by director Eben Mears, selected an early moment from the Galaxy 11 storyline that would knock viewers back into their seats when experienced through a first-person, VR perspective and began storyboarding that experience as if a short film.

The goal was to place viewers onto the team of world famous soccer players at the heart of the story, travelling by spaceship to an outlying space station for the final showdown of Man Vs. Alien.

However, this was no simple short film- it was an entire virtual reality space that would need to be viewable in 360-degrees. Continue reading

Psyop Pup Roundup: Beans

This week’s Psyop Pup Roundup features Beans! Often found by the side of Psyop Executive Producer Amanda Miller, she is loved by everyone (except the UPS guy).

Beans Burrito

Name: Beans Miller Schwartzbard
Owner: Amanda Miller and her husband Mark
Office: Los Angeles
Breed: Mixed. Something that sheds a lot. Probably Shepard in there.
Favorite Food/Treat: Whatever you’re eating
Birthday: Born in December
Fun Fact: She was rescued by Cally Morton
Good Habits: Squirrel abatement skills
Bad Habits:
Hating on the UPS guy
Doppelganger: Chowder
Favorite TV Show/Movie: Anything that leaves room for her on the couch.
Nickname(s): Beanie Bear, Beans le Dog, Princess, Dogaloo

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Georgia Tribuiani Opens her Sketchbook and Shows Off Her Hand-Crafted Style

I recently had a chance to sit down with director Georgia Tribuiani and thumb through some of her personal art collection while the two of us spoke. I was interested in learning more about one project in particular and how it came about: an animated history of the Burt’s Bees company that Georgia directed for Psyop, appropriately titled “Brand History.” This spot stands out not only for the incredible depth of information it manages to communicate about the Burt’s Bees brand in two brisk minutes, but especially for the beautiful, hand-crafted visual language it employs. “Brand History” has a warm, friendly, homemade style that perfectly matches the boutique product at its core. It’s hard to see it and not imagine it being a joy to create, even knowing full well how much work goes into job like this. However, I was surprised to discover some rather stark, quiet inspiration behind the colorful final product.

 

 

How would you describe the look of “Brand History”?

Georgia: The spot is meant to look like a mix media art project that incorporates many different materials, from paper cutouts to painted canvas, photography, sculpture, and more. The different elements have different physical properties, giving the entire short a very tactile feeling, as if you could reach in and touch it and re-arrange the parts yourself. I feel it reflects the characters and the spirit of the brand as well. The imperfection in the animation. It’s all intentionally rough (like Burt). But has a feminine touch (like Roxanne).

 

Can you tell me about where you took visual inspiration for this project?

We were given archival pictures to use. Unfortunately they weren’t numerous enough to illustrate each and every moment of the story, but I still wanted to include them in the film. So instead of replacing them with  illustrations I started looking at some collage work of artists that I love.

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How did you pitch your vision to your teammates at Psyop?

I wanted to do something more on the artistic side, and yet with a sense of humor, so I collected examples of collages that incorporated diverse combinations of materials in a interesting way. I put together a mood board and then I started cutting out paper and did quick mock-ups to show to the team how the different material would work together. I wanted to express how we could use negative space or silhouettes by masking, subtracting or adding elements.

 

What kind of process goes into translating this collage style into animation?

We had to come up with creative ideas for each material. We decided to keep everything as practical as possible, so most of the paper cut outs are animated in stop motion and we added painterly and hand drawn animated elements in post. We previs’ed the animations for timing and to have an idea of how many frames we would need to cut out. Imperfections were part of the flavor of the look, so we knew that the process was going to be very forgiving.


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Lilit Hayrapetyan Teaches Us The Art of Pitching

lilit_hayrapetyan_profile_photoOn March 26th, 2015, artists and designers from all over the world will gather together in Cyprus for the International Motion Festival. Among them will be Psyop’s own Lilit Hayrapetyan, Art Director, Designer and 3D Artist. Lilit has over 15 years of experience in the industry, and will be sharing her personal story of beginning as a designer in Armenia before moving to the US in one of the festival’s Talks. She’ll also be teaching a master class at the festival called “The Art of Pitching,” which is a 3-day course, structured to show attendees how to change their frame of mind about what pitching truly is, and how they can excel at it.

We spoke to her about what guests can expect, and about her own artistic process.

 

What most interests you about the International Motion Festival in Cyprus?

Lilit: I think festivals are very inspiring to attend and take part in, in general. It’s stimulating creatively and gives us the opportunity to meet other professionals in our field, which I love to do. I got the invite about 6 month ago and was happy to accept it. I didn’t have a typical path through the industry, and for my talk I’ll be sharing my unique experience. When I was coming up in Armenia, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to school for computer graphic design. Instead, I had to learn a lot of what I know today all on my own, and I hope my story will inspire those who attend my talk.

 

 

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What made you choose the topic for your class, “The Art of Pitching?”

I frequently get asked questions about how I make my styleframes and how I go about pitching for jobs, so this will be a great the opportunity to speak specifically about that topic and answer those questions directly. For any company in our business, pitching is a very important part of the process, with its own interesting challenges that I look forward to discussing. Even if I’m the one ultimately teaching the class, I know that the process will also introduce me to new ideas and help me to expand my mind and way of thinking about pitching. Knowing that you’ve motivated someone and helped them reach the next level is also an extremely exciting and rewarding feeling.

 

When it comes to developing styleframes, what materials do you prefer to use?

My background is in 3D, so I usually go straight to a 3D program when I have an idea. I save a lot of paper, because I prefer figuring concepts out in my head before I start developing them digitally, rather than sketching with pen or pencil. I’m a perfectionist, so I usually keep working on an idea until it’s totally finished.

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Psyop Channels The Work Of Art Greats In Mesmerizing Journey For Sherwin-Williams’ Emerald Paint Collection

Sherwin Williams’ Emerald Paint Collection

Moved by color and motion, Psyop and McKinney bring consumers along a epic journey of exploration through bold and beautiful shades from Sherwin-Williams’ Emerald Paint Collection. The team looked to fine art for inspiration, drawing from Mark Rothko and Georgia O’Keeffe as inspirations. “What’s important about looking toward these artists in our process is that their art brings to the table another era, another way of thinking about and creating great graphic design,” director Lauren Indovina explains. Thinking differently is just what they did.

One of the most interesting characteristics of this project has to be the way that it was shot. Inspired by classic Sci-Fi camera moves from “2001” to “Interstellar,” the team created a seamless camera move through miniature sets.  The main tools we’re a high speed arm and the Phantom Flex4k. Using 400 gallon tanks, the team injected paint into the water and moved the camera through the tanks with precise choreography. In post they stitched the pieces together, creating a surreal journey of color.  One thing is for sure: this isn’t your average paint commercial. It “takes a lot of bravery on the part of clients and agencies to do something like this. In shooting this kind of material, it makes the project more like art,” notes director Eben Mears.

Moved by color and motion, Psyop and McKinney bring consumers along a epic journey of exploration through bold and beautiful shades from Sherwin Williams’ Emerald Paint Collection

 

Hanging Out in Heaven with Happy Gilmore

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When Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars aired this weekend, viewers were shocked to find out that beloved comic actor Adam Sandler had died and gone to heaven. Even worse, we found out that his last act on Earth was to take celebrity friend and Happy Gilmore co-star, the beloved Bob Barker, with him into the afterlife!

Well, OK, not REALLY, but one of the biggest laughs of the night came when the pair showed off this special comic send-up of their would-be final moments:

Psyop was honored to help Comedy Central, director Tyler Spindel, and Adam Sandler bring this bit to life by providing our special effects know-how towards creating our very own pocket of Heaven for Sandler and Barker to brawl over.


If you didn’t see the show, you can catch all the best clips on the Comedy Central website. You can also help make a difference by supporting programs that help those with autism today.

Psyop Dominates the Herbalife Triathlon

Psyop’s Kylie Matulick and Matt LaVoy ran, swam and biked to 1st place wins in their divisions at the 2014 Herbalife Triathlon in LA this past weekend.  But they weren’t alone.  18 Psyopers in total participated in the grueling event at the Torrance Marriott South Bay.

Cally Morton rocked the cycling portion on her stylish cruiser, earning her the Most Beloved Cyclist award (which we just made up).

The full Psyop team:

  • Johnathon Iwata
  • Matt LaVoy
  • Kylie Matulick
  • Luisa Murray
  • Drew Bourneuf
  • Andrew Park
  • Jane Byrne
  • Michael Schlenker
  • Jack Hooker
  • Rafael Zabala
  • Fletch Moules
  • Amanda Miller
  • Rob Walston
  • Cally Morton
  • Rocco Scandizzo
  • Elad Offer
  • Iliana Espineira
  • Jill Gilbert

Kylie, one of Psyop’s original founders, is no stranger to triathlons. She recently beat out 1,000 competitors to nab one of 30 qualifying spots for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Ironwoman Kylie Matulick

This past August 17th, Lake Stevens, Washington, played host to Ironman 70.3 — a 70.3-mile triathlon, the state’s only Ironman-sanctioned triathlon at that distance. The competition consisted of a 1.2 mile swim in in downtown Lake Stevens, a 56 mile bike route through the Pacific Northwest and a cool 13.1 mile half marathon throughout the city.

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Over 1,000 individuals from around the nation participated, all hoping to nab one of the 30 qualifying spots for the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Psyop Founder Kylie Matulick was one of them.

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