TWTWB: Title Sequence

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Title Sequence: Concept, Pitch, Boards, Design, Direction, Animation, Compositing, Project Management

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This Australian film by Director Stuart Beattie is an adaptation of John Marsden’s classic first novel of the “Tomorrow” series, which has been translated into 7 languages and captured the imaginations of teenagers across the globe.

Following on from a successful titles pitch to director Stuart Beattie and EP Andrew Mason, I designed and directed the main-on-end title sequence for the film, leading a team of in-house and freelance artists, as well as undertaking much of the animation and compositing work myself.

My brief, partly self-initiated (see pitch) and partly from the director and EP, was to represent scenes pivotal to both plot and characters in an accelerated journey that was as forceful, aggressive, and stirring as possible.

To do so, a highly stylised, almost painterly approach was chosen, referencing visual cues very familiar to teen audiences – graphic novels, comics, silhouettes, illustrations. The most striking moments from the film were reduced and broken down into iconic representations, giving them much greater emotional resonance.

Subtle use of 3D space and perspective injects depth and tension to what could otherwise be flat illustration, and 2D wipe and transition devices speed us between each charcoal-washed scene. Frames are vividly depicted in the rich orange, brown, and gold tones of the Australian summer – a palette that is simultaneously vibrant and dangerous, suggestive of idyllic bush sunsets and fiery explosions. Search- and flood-lights, explosions, and gun flashes impart sharp details to the silhouetted forms, at once highlighting and simplifying specific features of each scene.

The typeface chosen was ITC Conduit, for its clean lines, readability, and hint of systematic military order in the letterforms. Regular, grid-based and square, it remains highly functional and legible.

Process:

Once production began with a team of 5 (including myself), we had only 3 weeks to produce more than 90 seconds of 2K motion graphics and 3D, mostly from scratch. While I had pitched my own visual interpretations of narrative events, Stuart was very keen to more closely represent actual shots from the film – including key images of characters. This was a tricky process, as I never managed to see a cut of the film before the cinema release! While perhaps an unusual situation for a titles designer to be in, I was helped along by the film’s editor Marcus D’Arcy, and an intimate knowledge of original novel. In the end, about 50% of shots came from my original pitch, and my team and I created additional styleframes as Stuart relayed his ideas.

To complete the project, I enlisted the help of several freelancers. Daniel Balzer was our 3D artist, working in Cinema 4D. Morten Rowley provided additional 3D in Maya, and Daniel Bavell provided painted/illustrated elements. Designer Jess Morgan set up the opening title cards and logo as well as comping the final shot of the sequence.

Credits:

Titles Director:
Scott Geersen
Art Direction:
Scott Geersen
Design/Animation/Compositing:
Scott Geersen
Daniel Bavell
Daniel Balzer
Morten Rowley
Jess Morgan
3D:
Daniel Balzer
Morten Rowley
Lab Producers:
Prue Fletcher
Jayne Herrmann

CLOSE




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