Art for Music Video

by Jun 30, 20200 comments

Illustration as a solution for social distancing

In  May 2020, as the social distancing measures were in effect due to COVID-19, filming video in public locations became a problem. We were contected by Beats & Diamonds a VFX studio in Cuernavaca Morelos México, they needed an alternative for locations and and using original art for backgrounds, was a great way to solve this problem and stand out with a different visual  approach Another important thing to keep in mind is that while most illustrations wouldn’t move, there would be a couple of illustrations that would move slightly using puppet pins on Adobe After Effects, that means we would need to think in advance and separate the moving parts of the characters to achieve a better result. So our art team at Vulpin Studio got to work, knowing that our experience working for animation would serve us well. 

The process: creating comic style art interacts with live action characters

The original video vas recorded using green screen and tracking markers in order to preserve the camera motion when the illustrated backgrounds are incorporated. Basically, those marks that appear in the background would help the editing and VFX team track the movement of the camera and allow background art to move along with it, creating a better illusion and integration. You can see a couple of blured tracking markers in the following photo.

Finding a style

In order to find the visual style for the video we were provided with references the client liked, they were looking for something slightly stylized without becoming a cartoon. In the following image you can see several options we came up with from the more detailed “soft cell shading” (far left) to the more graphic styles like the one we called “graphic1” (third from left to right) which was mostly lineart with heavy black shadows and 2 other colors. Our client liked the far right option: “Graphic2” but wanted a bit more color variety.

Now that we found the style for the characters it was time to define the style for the backgrounds. After doing some research, finding references and showing them to our client, it became clear we needed to come up with something very colorful using some heavy shadows and halftones but at the same time the backgrounds shouldn’t complicate reading the characters.

In the image above you can see an example of how the background and the characters look together. In that particular scene, the illustrated characters suddenly transform into their live action counterparts. You can watch a small GIF of the scene on the right.

Drawing the assets

In total, the assets Vulpin Studio created for the video were 5 props, 10 backgrounds and 14 characters. You can check some of them out in the following gallery.

The final video

This was a very fun project to work on, at Vulpin Studio we really enjoy creating art and watch it come to life in projects like this, we were very happy with the result. We thank Guayabo Films, Beats & Diamonds and of course Warner Music for the opportunity. You can watch the entire video here or via youtube: