In light of the country’s recent earthquake devastation, it was more important than ever to support Mexico’s vibrant creative community. Framestore’s Design Studio was proud to be a part of the pro bono event, through which organizers worked to project a sense of normality and reconnection amidst the adversity.
Since its conception more than a decade ago, OFFF has proved itself one of the world’s most popular and wide-reaching creative festivals, now held at least annually in innovative hubs around the globe. Designing the event’s headline titles has, therefore, become quite the creative coup, and for 2017 was a challenge relished by Framestore’s Design Studio, having recently added the alchemy-infused title sequence for Semi Permanent to its portfolio. Keen to really stretch its capabilities in terms of both the images offered and the technologies used to create them, Framestore’s tight team of design talent rallied to turn out a three-minute sequence, built entirely in Cinema 4D and rendered with Octane.
OFFF offers artists the rare opportunity to work to an entirely open brief. Free to draw on their personal experiences, design preferences and expertise, the work would receive no feedback from the festival, including its pioneering founder Hector Ayuso, until its grand presentation on Saturday’s stage. Design Studio Head and Creative Director Sharon Lock led the charge on concepting the piece, pulling together recent inspirations from the fields of fashion, beauty and fine art that would settle organically in nature: specifically the five ancient elements, made figurative and shown in a dazzling array of textures. The thought of portraying a singular, elemental universe felt relevant to the artists, and echoed a stand-out quote from Ayuso that had stuck with Lock – that “together, we can make anything,” words that land more heavily in tumultuous socio-political times.
Lock’s original vision would require the piece to be made entirely in Cinema 4D, a filmic-calibre software relatively new to Framestore’s Design Studio. In order to achieve the image quality desired, the renderer of choice would be Octane, another unknown. Though a great ask of the junior team (not to mention the Studio’s existing pipelines and rendering capabilities), Framestore’s artists rose to the challenge: led by Design Director Stephen Goalby in Cinema 4D expertise, and backed by the unparalleled knowledge of the company’s in-house engineers.
Junior concept artist Nikola Yordanov helped to solidify the four elements of air, water, fire and earth into four “figures,” to be dressed with rich natural textures. Though never seen together in one shot, the figures are carefully placed relative to each other in accordance to ancient diagrams of the elements, with reference too to positioning in Renaissance painting. The fifth, lesser-known element of aether is represented in the placement of the OFFF logo at the sequence’s close.
With concepts to hand, the Studio jumped immediately into an animatic led by Designer Steven Kelly, which would plot the camera moves to tell the sequence narrative. Here, the fun would begin recreating and reimagining natural textures representative of the elements: a showcase calling for crystals, feathers, shells, scales, lava, and more. The piece’s audio, designed by Jon Dix, was created in sync with the visual development to add a level of unnerving discomfort originally intended by Lock in her concept.
Speaking at the height of the conference on Saturday evening, Design Directors Anthony Gibbs and Stephen Goalby articulated the design inspirations, the ethos of Framestore’s Design Studio, and the aforementioned process considered to complete the titles.
Says Lock of the work: “Creating the OFFF CDMX titles has been such an incredible and challenging experience for us all, and I'd like to thank Hector Ayuso for the opportunity to be part of such an iconic event. I'm really humbled that a complete indulgence of everything I love has been pulled together into a single piece of work by such a talented team of artists.”
Lock continues: “The team has learned so much in such a short space of time, and it is testament to their dedication and commitment, working above and beyond in their own time, that we've managed to create such a beautiful sequence. I'm honored that it has been for OFFF, whose creative integrity we've all admired for years.”
The video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cttXsw0Whds.