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Charles Schwab spot

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Doug
Charles Schwab spot
by
on Oct 11, 2007 at 6:34:57 pm

I was wondering if any one knew how to do the animation from the Charles Schwab spot? It looks like they shot an actor and then animated it somehow.

You can see an example here: http://www.slatev.com/player.html?id=1119288350

Thanks,

Doug


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Mark Suszko
Re: Charles Schwab spot
on Oct 12, 2007 at 2:59:58 pm

I tried to emulate this look in a spot this past year, using a macro in photoshop, which is the only way to go to avoid losing your mind, BTW. I had not planned to do the look when I made that spot originally, but decided I'd like to try it. One thing off the top: these always look better if you take the time to shoot in a way that reduces detail: blow out your whites, reduce skin detail, keep backgrounds minimalist, heck, greenscreen your talent if you can.

I first tried using a digital artist program for macs that turns stills into reasonable facsimilies of sketches and oil or watercolor portraits. Individual stills looked great from this, but, when played at motion speed, there was too much going on frame to frame that was distracting. Perhaps if the frame rate was reduced and morphs were used... but this will kill good lipsynch, so I would advise against shooting close-up dialog like the Shwab thing using this art program...

It also was a real pain because to make the effect look it's best, I had to hand-stroke all the essential areas on each frame, took 2-3 days to do 30 seconds worth of frames.

Then a friend turned me on to recording actions in photoshop and being able to automate their application. I found a number of filters, applied in about seven steps, that also gave me a passable "Linklater Look". By recording these steps, then applying the automation to a dedicated folder of stills generated from my NLE, the photoshop custom macro was able to process the same number of frames in about eight minutes, that took me two days the manual way. And that is including adding in a color-correction and levels control application to each frame to blow it out deliberately before applying the other filters.

This time savings allowed me to try a lot more variation on the filters and their subtle nuances to refine the look. It still wound up not being good enough for me to show the client, but I think that's more because of the fact the original footage was never shot with this intention, than that it can't be made to work. Some day I'll find the perfect project to apply this look to and shoot it to support that from the start, and I think it will work great.

If I can find my notes from my experiments, I'll try to post the "recipe" for the stack of filters to apply using automation, and you can try it on a folder of sequential targas for yourself. They can also be found with a google search.


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Doug
Re: Charles Schwab spot
by
on Oct 12, 2007 at 3:17:39 pm

Thanks guys!

Doug


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Del Holford
Re: Charles Schwab spot
on Oct 12, 2007 at 4:31:03 pm

Another way to approximate this is to use Sapphire AutoPaint using the Van Gogh selection. Like Mark said, the cleaner the background the better the effect. I used moderate amounts of modification and while it wasn't dark like the Schwab spot, you could still keep lip sync and it looked OK. The background I started with was bookshelves on a talking body, which because the background was static looked good. This plug-in takes a lot of playing with to get it to look right but it doesn't take weeks to do.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Charles Schwab spot
on Oct 12, 2007 at 4:35:35 pm

I'm 99% sure there is a filter or plug-in that will do it... unless I'm hallucinating, I ran across it a while back but can't seem to find it again. I thought the company that makes Twixtor was the vendor, but can't seem to find it there.

I personally think it's just about the creepiest thing ever seen on screen, second only to Bette Davis in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"

I'm gonna keep looking...


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Arniepix
Re: Charles Schwab spot
on Oct 12, 2007 at 4:46:14 pm

I'm not sure if this is the software that Mark tried or not, but Studio Artist is supposed to be able to do this. I've never tried it, though.

http://www.synthetik.com/

Also, if you're using FCP, check out FX Factory. They've got a number of filters in their pack which can make similar effects.

Arnie

Now in post: Peristroika, a film by Slava Tsukerman

http://www.arniepix.com/blog


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Mark Suszko
Re: Charles Schwab spot
on Oct 12, 2007 at 4:59:44 pm

Yes, Arnie; Synthetik Studio Artist is what I first tried it on, and the later versions than mine will also automate, working on a folder of stills or a chunk of video.

One of the recipes for the photoshop method I tried was called BIORUST 2, from the biorust web site.

Off the top of my head, some of the steps in the recipe were, gaussian blur, find edges, and colored paper effect filter. There was more to it than that, of course, but if you have Photoshop, just import a still and start trying these in various combinations until you get a result you like, then go back and turn on the recoder button in PS while you apply them to one representative shot, save the stack as an action, then use the automator, on a stack of targas or jpegs in a folder. It is darn fast that way.

I think Synthetik still has a forum on the COW, might ask over there too...


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MHancock (promoboy)
Re: Charles Schwab spot
on Oct 14, 2007 at 3:49:26 pm

Here's a tutorial for Illustrator macros and After Effects.

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/rabinowitz_aharon/cartoon_look.php

Michael.



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victrolux
Re: Charles Schwab spot
on Oct 18, 2007 at 7:52:48 pm

I assume they use the Bob Sabiston proprietary software which was used for "Waking Life" and "Scanner Darkly". It is WAY less automated than everyone thinks. It's essentially old school animation using modern tweening tools. It's also done in layers... so multiply the work by how many layers you have.

Look at this to see what he's up to:

http://www.ifilm.com/video/2436226

~Victor
http://www.victrolux.com/



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