When we last caught up with motion designer and art director Connor Campbell, he was crafting the arresting visuals for Dua Lipa’s hit single Hallucinate with graphic designer Harry Butt. Now, Connor’s studio is back with another mesmerising project for one more British superstar: Jamie XX. “The brief came through from Jamie’s record label, with a very tight deadline of only a couple of weeks to concept, animate and render everything,” Connor says when we catch up with him after the video’s debut. “I’m a huge fan, so obviously I couldn’t say no.” The video certainly feels like a labour of love, as a dizzying array of typographic displays pile atop of each other up into the cosmos in gigantic fashion.
“The idea to make the whole thing so typographically led came from Jamie, all based around the words ‘Let’s Do It Again’ to be featured in 18 different languages within the video,” Connor explains. “The track itself is very uplifting and has a euphoric summery feel, so immediately in our heads we started visualising blue skies and sun-soaked lyrics that say ‘I get high’ as the type stacks itself up into the sky and eventually through the atmosphere into outer space.” The animation is characteristic of the studio’s meticulous yet undeniably fun point of view, one which fits in well with their impressive portfolio of innovative motion design. “As we had so little time to make the animation, we had to put the pedal to the metal and worked impulsively to get it all done on time,” he adds. “We just started making stuff and didn’t really stop until each day was over, with no time for storyboarding or styleframing and just straight into the animation.”
From sculpting clouds in VR using the Oculus Rift to creating abstract type, Connor and his team had to be incredibly time-efficient and cooperative with one another. “We used pretty much every piece of software at our disposal, from designing the static lockups in Illustrator through to getting 3D plastic textures to reflect our summery lighting in Cinema 4D + Redshift,” he tells us. But, the deliberately repetitive nature of the song’s motifs and melodies worked in the studio’s favour, and allowed Connor to break down the track into clear sections for animation. Eventually, the team built 18 different custom typographic lockups for the work with each one being designed individually to be as unique as possible in static 2D form before being taken into 3D software.
“As 3D type animation can often take itself very seriously, it was important that everything had a feeling of joyfulness throughout,” Connor summarises. “As soon as we heard the track and as soon as we had the first stack of shiny red type against the summer blue sky, we instantly got a sense of the tone for the whole project and complete clarity for the animation ahead.”
Connor Campbell Studio: Let's Do It Again by Jamie XX (Copyright © Connor Campbell Studio, 2022)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. He was part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.