Radio Design toasts 10 years of animation with a robot reboot.
In May 2014, Radio Design celebrates its 10th birthday. From our early years creating TV titles for BBC and Channel 4 to more recent work on the 007 Skyfall movie, it’s been quite a journey. To commemorate our 10 years in the industry we’ve revisited a favourite early animation and given it the full 2014 reboot treatment. Ladies and Gentleman, may we present the all new Electro Boogie.
Creative Director, Ben Cook, explains the production process:
“These little guys kick-started the career over a decade ago. It seemed only fitting to reboot the robots for the Radio Design 10 year anniversary. The process, however, wasn’t all that simple – since the original version had been created as a 400x400px flash movie. There was no way these were going to look good in a full HD movie. I had to delve back into the project files saved on an old 2001 iMac G3, modelled in Poser 3.0 – it was like time travelling, and I’d completely forgotten how to use OS9. I experimented with export options but the old Poser 3.0 wireframe mode used to give that stylised box effect for the robots didn’t like being translated into OBJ sequences, so there was no way of importing them into Cinema 4D. Back to the drawing board. Undeterred, I used a workaround which involved creating several passes of the robot animation sequence at different camera angles, exporting from Poser as very large greyscale Quicktime movies with alpha channels, and compositing them in After Effects. So the final effect isn’t real 3D, although it’s almost convincing, it’s actually the trusty After Effects 2.5D. I used the camera cuts to switch to a new quicktime movie at a different angle to spoof the effect. An additional challenge was the floor. Initially it was set up as a large shape layer with very thin strokes, but I found this created problems. Not only did it really hog the processor for previews, but the quality of the lines was quite poor when they disappeared into the distance, and were undesirably thick in the foreground, even at the tiniest stroke width. I turned to Plexus 2 in the end, importing an OBJ and using the inbuilt lines and points renderers in the plug-in. The results were infinitely better and even though I didn’t need to use the animation power of Plexus for the floor, it’s real-time generative speed kept the rendering to a minimum and the lines crisp and clean. Lastly were the lighting effects. I’m indebted to the Video Copilot tutorial on Volumetric Light, the technique I used for the disc up-lighters. Also essential to the animation’s success was the Video Copilot plug-in Element 3D, which I used for the light floor ‘tubs’ and the title sequence. Several months later, after some heavy compositing, sound design and a final colour grade – voila! Electro Boogie mk.II.”
Here’s where it all began. The original Electro Boogie made over 10 years ago. Not too shabby, even though he’s getting on a bit.
Direction, Design, Animation, Sound: Ben Cook