Tag Archives: Aardman Nathan Love

Super Hero music video gets Aardman Nathan Love treatment

The Aardman Nathan Love animation studio recently finished design and animation work on director Kris Merc’s music video for Super Hero, the leadoff single from Kool Keith’s new album Feature Magnetic that is a collaboration with MF Doom.

The video starts with a variety of hypnotic imagery, from eye charts to kaleidoscopic wheels, with Doom’s iconic, ever-rotating mask as its centerpiece.

“Being a huge fan of both Kool Keith and MF Doom for years, and knowing our studio had capacity to help Kris out, we couldn’t not get involved,” recalls Aardman Nathan Love (ANL) founder/executive creative director Joe Burrascano. “Kris was able to let his imagination run wild. ANL’s team of designers, 3D artists and technical directors gave him the support he needed to help shape his vision and make the final piece as strong and unique as possible.”

According to Merc, who’s helmed notable projects from music videos for hip-hop pioneers De La Soul to spots for HTC during his lengthy career, the Super Hero production afforded him the space to realize his vision of bending and manipulating pop aesthetics to create something altogether mysterious and otherworldly. “I wanted to capture something that felt like a visual pop travesty,” explains the director. “I wanted it to visually speak to the legacy of the artists, and Afrofuturism mixed with comic book concepts. I’m a fan of the unseen, and I was obsessed with the idea of using Doom’s mask and the iconography as a centralized point – as if time and space converged around these strange, sometimes magical tableaus and we were witnessing an ascension.”

To help develop his concepts, Merc worked closely with Aardman Nathan Love in several key stages of production from the idea and design stage to technical aspects like compositing and rendering. “Our specialty lies mainly in CG character animation work, which typically involves a lot of careful planning and development work up front,” adds ANL CG director Eric Cunha. “Kris has a very organic process, and is constantly finding inspiration for new and exciting ideas. The biggest challenge we faced was being able to respond to this constant flow of new ideas, and facilitate the growth of the piece. In the end, it was an exciting new challenge that pushed us to develop a new way of working that resulted in an amazing, visually fresh and creative piece of work.”

Zbrush was used to create some of the assets, and Autodesk Maya was Aardman Nathan Love’s main animation tool. Most of the rendering was done in Maxwell, aside of two or so shots that were done in Arnold.

Aardman Nathan Love adds director/designer Ellen Su

New York-based animation house Aardman Nathan Love has grown its team with the addition of director/designer Ellen Su. This NYC native and School of Visual Arts graduate started her career as an intern at Pixar. She then went on to work as a designer, animator, director, illustrator and 3D/visual artist at The Mill, Psyop, R/GA and Moonbot Studios. Aardman Nathan Love founder/ECD Joe Burrascano knows Su well. He was her thesis advisor at SVA, and she has since served as a freelancer there.

While working at these many VFX/animation studios, Su cultivated her skills as a director with projects including her animated short film Spacebound, as well as the national education project The Great Thanksgiving Listen, which was featured on Google’s homepage.

“I think with any project you take on, you learn management skills,” says Su. “You become more aware of all the different things that you need to do to finish something. That’s why I think you should always be working on something. And when you finish, start something else. You learn from your mistakes and shortcomings on the previous project and you do better on the next one. It is also just really gratifying to say you want to do something, jump right in to do it, and come out the other end with a finished product like, ‘Wow. I did this.’”

Quick Chat: Aardman Nathan Love director/animator Sean McClintock

Animator and director Sean McClintock has joined NYC-based animation house Aardman Nathan Love. With nearly 20 years of experience in design, directing, illustration and animation under his belt, he brings a rich resume. McClintock has spent time at production companies, such as Psyop, Brand New School, The Mill, Hush and Buck, working with big-name brands including Nike, Google, Twitter, Coke Zero and Viacom.

According to ANL owner/ECD Joe Burrascano, McClintock’s diverse experience was a key factor in bringing him aboard. “Our studio has always been known for high-end character work, but Sean brings a level of sophistication that expands our reach further into the world of design. His experience with the top studios in advertising, combined with his strong and refined sensibilities are sure to bring new and exciting opportunities.”

“I’ve been a fan of both Aardman and Nathan Love for years,” he explains. “Both studios have some of the best animators, character designers and storytellers in the business. And on top of that, they have a great sense of humor that comes across in their work.”

We reached out to McClintock to find out more:

Did you start off as an animator?
I actually come from an illustration/design background. Interactive design led me to animation, which led me to motion design.

What led to directing?
It’s been a natural progression. I worked my way up to being a creative director at a small interactive studio years ago, but after switching to motion design I needed to take a step back and learn the nuances of the craft.

How does your background as an animator help directing animated projects?
Being a designer/animator helps you to see where a project can go and to see the steps that will lead it there. It also gives you first-hand knowledge of the potential and limitations of the medium.

Have you done live-action projects as well? Live-action and animated combined?
I’ve directed some stuff here and there. Mainly elements to be incorporated into animated spots.

What is your favorite and why?
I’d have to say animation for its limitless potential and, partly, because I’m more familiar with it. I am really interested in getting more into live action and seeing what’s possible.

As an animator, what tools do you prefer? What’s your process like?
I like all the tools. From traditional mediums like pen and paper, oils, gouache and macaroni art to digital painting and sculpting in Pixologic’s ZBrush.

My typical process looks something like: Information Gathering > Pencil sketching > More pencil Sketching > Style Frames > Final Design.