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Robert Hunt
Animation for Xyla Entertainment
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Some time ago I was approached by Mr. Sravan Chitnani, who asked if I could create an animated logo for his startup  video game company,  Xyla Entertainment. Although Xyla is new and quite small, Sravan's dreams are big, and he wanted a "classic  Hollywood" type motion logo- he had seen the Dreamworks logo I had done years ago and was hoping for something similar. Ironically, at the time he first contacted me, I was in the middle of working of the Random House Worlds logo, which was the first time I had done an animation completely on my own (my art for Dreamworks was composited at ILM).  I knew this was going to be a challenge. Sravan was willing to give me the time I needed, so off we went.
A unused idea. I like it- I may still do something with it.

I began by showing a number of sketches for the "icon" of the logo. One idea was a sort of woodland siren-and the other was a man carving himself from stone- an idea I started to develop years ago (for a project that was eventually  killed) . After much discussion, the idea of the man was approved, and after making a finished single image version, I started to work on the animation
I photographed a reference model...

static logo -first sketch

The initial plan

I made several storyboards. These were then developed into anamatics.
A storyboard with annotations

The foreground mountain painting in progress

Foreground

This project also gave me another opportunity to work with our son William,  who is currrently studying classical music composition and film music at NYU. This anamatic incorporates an earlier version of the Xyla music. To be honest, it became a challenge to make an animation that was up to the level of the music.
Sravan felt  that travelling up the mountain did not convet enough of the concept of a journey of discovery, which was an important part of the concept- so I worked more toward traveling through mountains and the viewer coming upon the logo man as he carves himself free of the mountain. As I went along, I added atmosphere, snow, clouds  and additional mountains and landscape elements as I went further int the space.
I shot another reference model

I made numerous paintings of the main figure which I animated frame by frame. (800 frames in total) I like things to that are handmade. I think there is a place for handmade things in our world, and even though htis is not a slick (or as easy) as doing it in CGI, I prefer the look. As long as I can find people who agree, Ill be fine...

A background element, in progress.

This screen grab shows the position of some of the elements of the video over time.

Things get kind of complicated...

You need a lot of computer and disk space to do this kind of thing.

This is the finished animation:
I worked on the project off and on for many months. It was shown last month at Comic-con. I want to thank Sravan, who  understood that I was trying to do something unique and was willing to give me the time to do it.
 
Technical notes, for those who care:
The component paintings are oil on gator board, photographed with a Canon EOS5d mk2 camera.
The software used was Adobe After Effects CS5.5.Photoshop,  and Premier (for sound editing)
The music was recorded using Logic Pro, and mixed with ProTools.


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