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Thomas Traum: Kenzo

Work / Animation

Thomas Traum directs Kenzo’s latest video set in a Rousseau-inspired haven

Kenzo’s latest campaign film for Collection Memento No3 directed by Thomas Traum, sees Kenzo’s latest garments amidst atmospheric tropics. Using all the tools on the market, the high-definition render recreates the sultry landscapes of Henri Rousseau paintings in their latest campaign. Accompanied by a thrumming soundtrack by Still and art directed by Charlie Noon, the 52 second video sees two Kenzo-adorned characters exploring the forested thickets of Thomas’s imagination.

Thomas speaks to It’s Nice That about the complexities of developing this intricate animation. The director explains how “Kenzo wanted us to create ‘virtual influencers’ so we spent a lot of time looking into the right approach to character animation". It’s not something the studio has done before with this level of complexity. The detailed work Thomas’ team have produced is clear in the animation, they deliver believable character expressions that reveal a range of emotions along with three complete looks from the collection rendered to the highest quality available.

“It becomes a real VFX studio process, once you have decided to have a certain walk you then simulate the clothes. However, if you chance the walk later, the whole process breaks down and you need to simulate all the clothing again”, explains Thomas. The creative team at Kenzo spend two to three weeks designing the characters, paying a detailed consideration to their hair colour, skin tone and ethnicity, not to mention the surrounding foliage.

Once the team had everything in place to shoot the computer animated film, the creative process opened up to become experimental and most importantly, fun. “It was a powerful setup”, says Thomas, “we could do so many motions and angels, it’s really closer to shooting live humans. Most camera angles look good and seem interesting which is kind of why I started working in computer generated animation. You can change the light, change the expressions, change the cameras which is a lot of fun.” Making the film became a relatively fast process for Thomas and his team, the lengthy process residing in creating the stage to start “shooting”. The camera-work was kept simple as the viewpoint “is just an observer of these creatures in their natural environment”. The director adds how “there is so much happening visually at any given moment that simply having the characters be alive and move feels very interesting on its own. They don’t need to go through an extra layer of narrative”.

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Thomas Traum: Kenzo

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Thomas Traum: Kenzo

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Thomas Traum: Kenzo

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Thomas Traum: Kenzo

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Thomas Traum: Kenzo

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Thomas Traum: Kenzo

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Thomas Traum: Kenzo