andrekrat FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Live Action VFX/Motion

30 years old
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from Austin, TX

  • Activity

    • Achievement Haunter Title Design Breakdown

      3 months ago

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion

      It’s been a little while since my last case study! Oops… Between our RTX panel, a whole ton of shows for FIRST Night, and a ton of new shows coming down the pipe things got a little away from me. So! That means we’ll be looking at something that premiered a little while back during our pilot month in May and will be returning for its first official season this Wednesday (tomorrow!): Achievement Haunter!


      Problem Solving

      I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that my job is 100% problem solving in varying capacities. When it comes to VFX shots the problem is usually “we shouldn’t see this boom mic/wire rig/green screen/crew in the reflection/license plate” or “we should see an explosion/blood hit/gunshot/muzzle flare/sunset/amputation”. When it comes to motion design though, the problems are a little more nuanced. It’s more about “how do we communicate the feeling of this show?” and “how can we best implement designed elements in a holistic way” or “what looks coolest but is still legible?”.


      These sorts of challenges are what excite me the most when working on the look and feel of a show. Achievement Haunter was a great project for this because we had to develop a fairly robust show package, including opening titles, lower thirds, supplemental on-screen displays and credits. And all of these elements had to be flexible enough to accommodate various different scenarios and be easily used and modified in subsequent episodes. Ultimately I made a lot of templates in After Effects for these assets, something I’ll probably break down from a technical standpoint in another post.


      The Intro - Ideation

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      The marketing design team provided us with some awesome key art and logo lockups for the show. Right off the bat we have some interesting variations to consider, and the first problem that needs to be solved is what looks best in a video format. 


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      For example, this circular lockup is awesome and plays really well with the ghost element, but can be awkward in a landscape frame. It’d look great on a t-shirt and for other merch/branding needs, but it leaves a lot of negative space on the left and right in a video frame, and there’s a lot of visual weight pulling to the center.


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      The horizontal lockups are definitely more suited for this medium, but again the ghost element holds a lot of visual weight that anchors the design to the left side (which we’ll take advantage of later).


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      This stacked vertical design with the type center justified works best for our purposes, so that’s what I moved ahead with. It sits very nicely in a 16x9 frame and the negative space is balanced well with the logotype.



      The first thing I explored with the logo was how to animate the ghost element. It’s such a fun, vibrant piece of design that it was just asking to have some exaggerated, almost silly motion to it. A few keyframes, some puppet morphing and a dash of displacement mapping and I ended up with this.


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      Daniel Fabelo (the co-creator, and director of the show) and I talked a lot about how light played into the design and style of the show, exploring ideas like the long shadows cast by a campfire’s glow, and the frantic motion of a flashlight held in a scared ghost hunter’s hand. So the next idea I played with was using the animated ghost element as a gobo of sorts for a flashlight. Here is a quick test I made to demonstrate how I thought that might look.


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      This ended up being a little too on-the-nose, the mood of the show is irreverent, but also avoids playing it all up as a joke, so the goal was to explore something a bit more subtle and creepy. It also doesn’t feature the logo and title in a really prominent, clear way, which is generally important for an intro animation so we scrapped this direction.


      At this point we’re starting to narrow down the look and feel of the intro. We know light is an important element to play with, but in a more subtle way and in a way that keeps the focus on the logo of the show. An important reference that I was moving forward with was the opening title to John Carpenter’s The Thing. Daniel really wanted to lean on what we could from The Thing’s design for a few reasons. It’s one of his favorite movies, it’s a horror story that takes place in a single location with a difficult to identify creature, and from a film history standpoint is kind of irreverent in itself, like our show.


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      They’re doing a really interesting reveal of the title by burning away the logotype and allowing the light behind it to shine through.This was definitely a practical effect, so it would seem they made the logo out of something like flash paper and ignited it, which revealed the light behind. My first attempts at recreating this was with a kind of hacky way in After Effects to simulate volumetric light.


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      Through this exploration we found that including the ghost element with the main title still felt very busy and overwhelming, so it was removed for the next version.


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      At this point we’re getting close, but it’s still not quite capturing the right feel. The fake in After Effects is decent, but it has some disadvantages. It’s tough to get the really long rays seen in The Thing’s intro, and there’s a lot of subtle detail happening with the real light that we’re missing. So the best way to match a real, practical effect, that uses accurate light casting (aside from actually doing it for real ourselves) is to simulate it in 3D.


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      Here’s what that setup looks like in Cinema 4D, it’s pretty straightforward because I had a good idea about how the effect was achieved in the first place, so it’s just a matter of emulating that setup digitally.


      And this is what the render looked like after processing in After Effects.


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      Hey, this is really close! One of the remaining issues is that the reveal is pretty slow, and on its own there isn’t a whole lot of visual interest beyond that animation. There is a bit of motion with the light and atmosphere that can definitely be cranked up more.


      This second attempt scraps The Thing’s “burn away” reveal effect and instead uses a light reveal that fills up the title from below. This is much better for two main reasons: 1) it’s a lot faster and 2) it emphasizes the focus on “light” more, acting almost as if it’s a flashlight discovering the logo and lighting it from behind. I also took the opportunity to really increase the motion and intensity of the atmosphere of the light to make it extra spooky.


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      The last piece of the puzzle was to add a creepy, woodsy background, some particles, and dump a whole lot of film grain and contrast over the entire composition.


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      Supplemental Graphics

      I mentioned that the ghost logo would return, and what better way to incorporate a design with a pretty heavy visual weight than with an element that needs to be anchored to the left or right of the frame? Here are a few iterations of the lower thirds, taking cues from the animation of the intro but simplified for legibility and speed’s sake.


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      Our spooky ghost also makes a featured return during the credits.


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      As always, I hope this helped provide some insight into how I like to approach problem solving and developing graphics for our many shows. I’d love to hear what you guys think, and if there’s anything specific you’d like the next journal to address. And be sure to check out the premiere of Achievement Haunter this Wednesday on Halloween! You’ll see some additional, very fun design work for the intro of the show that I’m not going to spoil here.

    • RT15 & Why We're Here Motion Design Breakdown

      8 months ago

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion

      Hi! It’s been a while since my last post so I suppose I should introduce myself again? I’m André and I am the VFX and Motion Graphics designer for the Live Action department.


      I’ve worked on Million Dollars, But... , Immersion, RT Docs, Achievement Haunter, Blood Fest, RT Shorts, Eleven Little Roosters, and plenty more that I’m forgetting at the moment. I’ve also done work in the past for the Games department, Marketing and Animation.   


      This journal is hopefully the start of something a little more regular that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. The idea is to break down some of the thought processes behind what I design and create for the Live Action department at Rooster Teeth, and give you a little behind-the-scenes look at some things that may have been cut from the final projects or evolved significantly from their initial concepts.


      I’m very often jumping immediately from one finished project to the next, or even hopping between different projects simultaneously, so these breakdowns and recaps are also helpful for me to keep track of useful things I’ve learned and review how to better approach my process.


      So with all that said, let’s look at something I made with “retrospective” specifically in mind: the RT15 Live Action Bumpers, and the trailer titles for the RT Doc Why We’re Here.


      RT15

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      It was a great pleasure to be able to work on the new video assets for the 15th Anniversary of Rooster Teeth. We met with marketing early in the process and they explained the general look and feel for the channel moving forward, a lot of cool anaglyph style superimposed images and the new logotype lockup specifically for the 15 years.


      uuaDLCJ.png


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      Marketing's super sexy style guide designs


      When considering how we should animate these assets, and the tagline “Fifteen Friggin’ Years” there were two aspects I felt we should be highlighting. First was the traced line element of the “15”, immediately it jumped out as something that would look great being drawn on. The second was the anaglyph style separation of elements, which looks great with still images but makes type more difficult to read, and that’s compounded further if it’s in motion.


      xHBe0gz.pnggqe8TDZ.png

      Not great for legibility


      Ultimately what worked best was a middle-ground between the animation and the split anaglyph style. In separating the elements during the animation, as echoes and smearing in the motion blur, we can communicate that design style but retain the legibility we get when it resolves more clearly.


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      Some fun type iterations




      Why We’re Here Trailer

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      In making the title animation for the trailer, one of the important design requirements was to closely match the work being done for the general RT15 branding. It didn’t have to be identical, but it had to feel like it belonged in the same world. We already had the logotype in place that marketing designed, so it was a matter of figuring out how to animate it in a way that felt logical and maintained readability. It also needed to transition or reveal the air-date somehow. This awful doodle is how that motion first came to mind.


      wI8h7j4.jpg

      Awful sketch, but the first pass of how I pictured it animating


      Taking the lessons I learned while developing the RT15 animations, I was able to very quickly arrive at something close to the final animation in the trailer.


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      First animation export, very close to the final


      It’s specifically influenced by the motion and design of the core RT15 branding, but also has a bit of its own flair. And here’s the final version that appears in the trailer.


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      Final, spot the differences!


      This ended up being a much faster process because of all the rules, style limitations, and trial and error we had developed for the RT15 animations to begin with.


      So I hope this write-up was insightful, and that I didn’t ramble excessively. If there’s anything specific you’d like me to elaborate on, I’d love to hear it! And I’m also curious what you guys might want to see moving forward, I’m happy to explore different topics, get more detailed with technical aspects, just post a montage of failed process, you name it.


    • "I'll see what I can do"

      1 year ago

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion

      Hi there! I guess I should introduce myself properly, my name is André Ouellette and I'm the VFX and Motion Graphics Designer for the Live Action department.


      I've been with RT for almost two years now, and I have had the pleasure of working on, at least in some capacity, almost everything that the Live Action department releases. It's a lot of ridiculous, stupid, awesome fun and every week is totally different.


      One thing I wanted to talk about is a mantra that I've really learned to embrace while working on Blood Fest these past few months. (Also something I'm very excited to talk more about soon). That mantra is "I'll see what I can do."


      It can be tempting, particularly when you're thrown a curve-ball of a shot request, to say "I can't do that" or "We don't have the time". But more often than not I find that once you sit down and unpack what needs to be done you'll be surprised at the kinds of solutions you come up with. VFX and Design are about problem-solving more than anything else. Whatever cheats and shortcuts you can get away with to make a shot work are fair game, as long as it looks good nobody cares how you got there.


      When you say "I'll see what I can do" you're refusing to admit defeat from the onset, you're immediately opening your mind to weird solutions and quite often those weird solutions will get you damn close, if not all the way there. And the best part is that you can file away that knowledge and use it in the future. The more you say "I'll see what I can do", the more you build a library of dumb tricks and cheats that you can rely on for the next shot.


      It's important to be realistic and honest in what you think you can accomplish, but it never hurts to dive into things and see what you get. I can't count the number of times I initially told myself that something was too dumb to work, or would look too fake, and found that I was totally wrong. My favorite moments of the work day are when I laugh at how wrong I am about impossible shots.

    • 2 years ago

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion
    • 2 years ago

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion
    • Let's Play GTA V - Intro

      in Forums > Let's Play GTA V - Intro | Follow this topic

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion

      Another week, and here's another intro!

      I'm actually really excited about this one. I had a ton of concepts for the GTA V intro sequence, and I'll probably play around with a couple that I still really like, but this one was a TON of fun to do. I'm a big fan of Rockstar's intro for the game so I truly enjoyed trying to imitate it and put a bit of an Achievement Hunter spin on it.

      The voice bits are from the two GTA V LPs they've released, as well as GTA IV Cops and Crooks part 1.

      vimeo.com/76533625

      I hope you guys enjoy it!

      13 replies

    • Let's Play Payday 2 - Intro

      in Forums > Let's Play Payday 2 - Intro | Follow this topic

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion

      Man, it feels like it's been forever since I've done one of these!

      That being said, I'll keep it short and simple this week. Podcast crew plays Payday 2. Joel loves gold. What more is there to say?

      vimeo.com/76058859

      As always, I'd love to hear what you guys think!

      9 replies

    • Let's Play Splinter Cell: Blacklist - In

      in Forums > Let's Play Splinter Cell: Blacklist - In | Follow this topic

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion

      (Edit: Well, now I feel silly. Title should read Blacklist - Intro. Just go with it.)

      Back to doing Let's Play intros this week!

      All in 2D once again, and I was trying to mimic the style of the main menu from the game.

      vimeo.com/74298345

      See if you can spot some of the choice quotes I lifted from the episode, and I'd love to know what you think!

      Post edited 9/11/13 11:11AM

      3 replies

    • Anatomy of a Fight Scene - RvB S8 E10

      in Forums > Anatomy of a Fight Scene - RvB S8 E10 | Follow this topic

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion

      Hey everyone!

      I took a break from making short intros and instead chose to wildly overcompensate and make something over 3 and a half minutes in length.

      I had the idea while re-watching RvB, namely to break down the awesome fight sequences into little humorous segments with highlighted elements. Think of it as a sort of cross between a Roadrunner cartoon and pop-up videos. If anyone remembers either of those. And what better sequence to start with than the first big animated fight Monty did?

      So please click through and give it a look!

      vimeo.com/73894159

      I'd love to hear what people think, and if you guys like it I'll definitely consider making more in the future!

      8 replies

    • Intro for Let's Play Loadout

      in Forums > Intro for Let's Play Loadout | Follow this topic

      andrekrat Live Action VFX/Motion

      Another week and here's another intro!

      vimeo.com/72824122

      This time around I'm back mostly in 2D and I was really trying to capture the best element of Loadout, the gun creation and customization. The gun that's created and named is actually Ray's from their Let's Play. I really hope they do more of these because it was a lot of fun to watch!

      Of course, feedback is always welcome!

      6 replies

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