Original Plate, left, vs. Treated Footage, right, of Julianne Moore. It also didn't hurt working with such a photogenic actress.
In October 2013, I was brought on by Imaginary Forces to design and animate the main on end titles (MOE) for Seventh Son. Working directly with Creative Director Michelle Dougherty, I made a series of tests using a variety of effects and plugins in Photoshop and After Effects to make the shots look and come on like watercolor. Since each footage varied naturally due to factors like light, environment, texture, color, and movement, one combination of effects did not achieve the same look on all the shots. Instead, I had to come up with a cocktail of effects specific to each shot, rather than use a cookie-cutter method across all of them.
Original Plate vs. Treated Footage. From top to bottom: Jeff Bridges, Olivia Williams, Jason Scott Lee
In the beginning, performing the tests took a while since no two shots were identical. I was given a lot of freedom but at the same time, a lot of responsibility to make each shot look beautiful, painterly, and "just right." As the first animator brought on for this project, I spent a lot of time on the front end in RnD, perfecting each individual shot's look by doing several animation tests. Because of the volume of raw shots needed to be processed in Photoshop frame by frame (yes, frame by frame!), with each shot being at least 2-3 seconds, 3 other animators were brought on to help.
After much trial and error, I made a list of "formulas" for the exact effects, plugins, opacities, and layer order that worked for each shot. So naturally, I lead the team to achieve the look using my method.
Treated images of Djimon Hounsou, Antje Traue, and Gerald Plunket
In the end, with the help of a brilliant producer, Keith Bryant, and creative director Michelle, I felt the project went surprisingly smooth / exceptionally well for the amount of customization required for such a long title sequence with many shots. There was consistent transparency and everyone was on the same page throughout the project, something quite rare for my first time leading the animation for the titles of a feature film.
Role: Lead Animator & Designer, Main on End title sequence for Seventh Son (2015).
Creative Director: Michelle Dougherty
Produced at Imaginary Forces.
The hard work paid off! My first film credits: