Music

Mindblowing analogue visuals for Si Begg's new single, Permission to Explode

Posted by James Cartwright,

Motion designers ATYP have just produced a literally mind-blowing (you’ll see when you watch it) promo for electronic musician Si Begg’s latest single, Permission to Explode. It’s a powerful combination of hands-on traditional animation techniques and computer-generated imagery that has a familiar digital feel. However, the hand-rendered aspect to the project elevates it beyond a simple digital aesthetic, taking the transient waveforms of Begg’s glitchy compositions and rendering them physical with vibrant style. We caught up with ATYP to find out a little bit more about how the project came about.

  • Atyp-3

    ATYP: Permission to Explode

  • Atyp-2

    ATYP: Permission to Explode

Having worked on a lot of commercial work, what’s it like to put together something more collaborative like this?

The motivations are initially quite self-indulgent, as freedom of expression is high on the list with a project of this nature. But in reality it very quickly turns into a more holistic, shared experience that takes a very different organisational approach to a commercial project. You feel a certain responsibility to include everyone and give them the input that their expertise deserves. It’s more of a family feeling that the project takes on.

Where the challenge lies is in the timeframe and how that affects motivation and stimulus. Everyone involved simply cannot take moths off to do this so its finding a relaxed enough timescale that suits people while also keeping up the energy and motivation to really drive the project forward to the best possible place. That’s a very different proposition to a commercial project that runs like clockwork to a fast approaching deadline.

What involvement did Si Begg have on the direction of the project?

Si was there at the start with a new album and a lot of energy for it. We’ve had a relationship for many years and have a great understanding of each other’s attitudes and history. Even with this clear understanding, the creative development and production process was constantly changing and evolving. Si was kind of like an idle mentor though the process. That could sound negative but it was quite a relaxed way of being very motivational.

We would discuss the latest ideas and inform him of various u-turns, asking him to inform the label that the release date would be pushed back again, and he generally would get more excited than we would and you knew that however ridiculous or convoluted it sounded when you proposed it, ultimately it was worth doing.

We also updated the audio throughout the project readdressing it and developing it as the aesthetic grew, tailoring it for the animatics and shoot and shifting the mood to suit the visual.

“It’s a good feeling when you make something with your hands and stand back and genuinely think: I made that, and to me it looks pretty good.”

ATYP

How come you decided to create all the elements by hand but keep a digital aesthetic?

It’s a very different exercise, creating a live-action shoot over staring into software for the duration of a project. There are subtle discrepancies that the analogue real-world brings; imperfections, anomalies, challenges that a computer never brings or poses. In this instance it was much better to try and perfect the real life environment than sitting there trying to degrade and humanise any 3D renders, and there are two main reasons why we went this way:

This analogue approach could appear insignificant to some or irrelevant to a producer and DJ that works in an electronic arena but on this album there are many sounds that were captured out in the ‘field’ with live recordings taken on old microphones. There is a real world, physical foundation to the eventual digital output, and we wanted to represent this in our execution. Also it appeals to our craft. We are as excited by engineering, designing, building and physically playing with materials – it’s an approach that produces results that are both individual and personally rewarding. It comes from the same origins of why people but a brush to a canvas I guess. It’s a good feeling when you make something with your hands and stand back and genuinely think: I made that, and to me it looks pretty good.

  • Atyp-1

    ATYP: Permission to Explode

  • Atyp-4

    ATYP: Permission to Explode

What are the advantages of stop-motion over digital animation?

From a practical perspective on this project I am not sure there were that many at all. The whole stop-frame component of the film was precisely pre-planned in software as a guide that was pretty much shot frame perfect on the shoot. Saying that, were the stop frame came into its own is the section were the flowers explode out. It’s much quicker and more beautiful to have a plastic bag full of petals that you throw down, than it ever would ever be to try and create this in 3D software.

From a creative point of view it can be very inspiring to have it all laid out in front of you. It’s a different connection you have to the cast you are working with. You can walk around it and touch it and you instantly know whether something feels right. You also intensify your methods. Concentration is high in a stop-frame shoot as everyone knows that it’s happening now and under this pressure people really perform in special ways.

What’s next for ATYP?

We have just finished a project with Nike for their new House of Innovation at Selfridges and are pitching on a couple of things that we are unable to mention. We have plans bubbling for another non commercial project but…If David Lynch decided to call us up because he needs a 30 minute dream sequence right in the middle of his next feature, my guess is we would happily do that for the next six months.

Jc

Posted by James Cartwright

James started out as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our two editors. He oversees Printed Pages magazine and content wise has a special interest in graphic design and illustration. He also runs our online shop Company of Parrots and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Animation View Archive

  1. Main

    Simple story, this one. A man gets a new next door neighbour and watches her through a hole in the wall (don’t try this at home, folks) and one day when she returns from a jog he gives her an ice lolly. Wanting to see her eat the lolly he looks through the hole but sees her instead dabbing it on her sweaty armpits. Enraged, he breaks into her house every day for the next few weeks when she’s out and wrings out her clothes into a bottle to make sweat ice lollies from there-on out. You know someone’s a consistently entertaining animator if the top comment on their Vimeo is: “Wow! you finally made something that is safe for work.” Bravo Wong Ping, bravo!

  2. List

    To tell the truth, when I heard that Morph’s creator was bringing him back around again for another go, I wanted to hate it. Being a true child of the 90s I feel like our little orange plasticine friend belongs solely to that era, and to attempt to bring him back for the soiled, desensitised, X-Box-obsessed youth of today is akin to animating Rosie & Jim and plonking them on a speedboat with a robot where the duck should be.

  3. List

    Self-initiated projects are the best, aren’t they? I think of them as an excuse to peel the dollar signs off your eyeballs and replace them with love-hearts for a while, and more often than not it’s a transaction that pays off a hundredfold in the long run.

  4. Main

    There’s nothing quite like when someone takes something you associate with your innocent childhood and uses it to slap you across the face with a controversial, dark statement. That’s what Greenpeace tend to do to get their point across, and boy does it work. Their most recent plea is directed at LEGO, urging them to discontinue the production of kits for children that are emblazoned with the Shell logo. I’ve seen a lot of LEGO parodies in my time here at It’s Nice That, but none have made me feel dark to my very core like this one did – nothing says wake up and address this horrible issue more than smiling children’s toys drowning in a sea of black oil. Bravo Greenpeace.

  5. Main

    Anyone that played (and now misses) Monument Valley will love this new animation from Fabrice Le Nezet. It was a bit weird to get an email from Fabrice with this animation, as last time we checked up on him he was making enormous sculptures of metal and stone. People change I guess. Anyway, what he’s doing now with the help of Benjamin Mousquet and Raphael Azel Martinez is totally fine by us, as it’s one of the most spectacular and unique animations we’ve seen in a very long while. Watch as teeny little men manoeuvre their way around a monochromatic, cubist landscape and get chased by enormous marbles and climb the infinite stairs of winding minarets. It isn’t as weird as it sounds, but it is seriously impressive, enjoy.

  6. List

    There’s no shortage of comics, books, films and radio programmes that deal with the subject of dystopian futures. If you believe the predictions of our greatest sci-fi auteurs, the distant future will be one in which governmental control is complete and our civil liberties and basic human rights lie in tatters; emotion, procreation and relaxation banned in favour of order and efficiency.

  7. List

    One of my favourite columns in the New York Times, apart from all of the important news bits of course, is Modern Love. While I’ve only been able to read the ones they publish online, it’s still a fascinating glimmer into the absolute highs and desperate lows of love. The stories and the honesty within them are what make them so compelling and because love is so universal you can somehow connect with each author.

  8. List

    Whenever Tom Darracott and Carl Burgess join forces the results are spectacular. The two directors and digital specialists are experts at creating polished 3D-generated worlds that feel part computer game, part hyper-real dream – every element a slightly altered version of a recognisable, real-world object. Even when they’re advertising clothes the pair produce unconventional results that delight and disorientate your eyes with their effortless surrealism. Their latest campaign for Loft is no exception, showing the brand’s brightly coloured collection folding itself into a state of geometric order.

  9. List

    Of all of the areas of art and design that I write about on a daily basis, animation is probably the one that falls furthest from my realm of understanding. No matter how many behind-the-scenes pictures I stare open-mouthed at, or how many conversations I have about the hours that went into constructing one perfect shot, I’m absolutely torn between disbelief that anybody has the patience for such a meticulous process and relief that somebody has the right composure for it.

  10. List

    If you haven’t yet found yourself clicking waywardly through to Patatap only to while away several hours idly composing beautiful melodies and weirdly syncopated rhythms when you were meant to be working towards that deadline, then frankly I don’t know what you’ve been doing. We found the website a little while back, but little did we know at the time that it was created by the spectacular mind of Jono Brandel who was also responsible for Anitype, or that it would swiftly be used to create some incredibly elaborate pieces which spread like wildfire online.

  11. List

    I’m going to admit to a certain bias towards Nicos Livesey’s latest animation before I say anything more about it. As a teenager every bag and garment I owned was plastered with patches that I’d picked up in Camden – or at a horrible little shop in my hometown called Tiger Lily – paying homage to any number of death metal bands I was obsessing over at the time (and some embarrassingly poor nu-metal ones too). I couldn’t get enough of them. But in spite of this penchant for embroidered badges I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Tharsis Sleeps will appeal even to those who don’t like to wear their bands on their sleeves.

  12. List

    Prolific Twitter gagsmith Pundamentalism Tweeted this morning: “I hope there will be some tweets about the World Cup – seems crazy that nobody is talking about it yet.” Of course he was actually being a bit of a tinker because it seems like that’s all anybody’s talking about as we near the big kick-off in Brazil. Over the coming days we too will undoubtedly start to showcase some of the many creative projects inspired by the tournament, but we’re going to start a little closer to home.

  13. List

    An audio-visual match made in heaven, animator Daniela Scherer got together with musician Tom Rosenthal to create the video for his new music video for As Luck Would Have It, and her Western theme, minimal colour palette and cowgirl-come-mother central character turned out to be the perfect animated accompaniment to Tom’s dulcet tones. The video is simple in approach, following a young pregnant woman as she becomes a mother, interspersed with effortlessly composed images of cowboys laid across train tracks, magic 8-balls which always tell the truth, and one particularly arresting shot of a woman absent-mindedly whistling while singing the ukelele. It’s a wonderful music video, and if you’re anything like me, one that you’ll feel inclined to watch on repeat for a full 15 minutes before you can click away.