exploring art and design, one day at a time

Motion Graphics

PVC Grid, Stop Motion Setup

Stop Motion Grid, Full Set Up

PVC Pipe Grid

Bishop/Tuzin Logo Closeup

Full Shot of Cloud Set Up

Things are finally starting to happen! I’ve been bribing Greg with dinner at Pizzeria Mozza and massages in order to get him excited to make me things. He would have done these things anyway, but I like to give some extra energy into the project.

This week, after much trial and error, Greg has dreamed up and created a PVC pipe grid. The grid will be used for two projects, the first one I’ve already started setting up. The above pictures show first, the full set up. The second photo is an image of the grid, it’s a little warped because it’s not that strong (we’re not rich enough to buy steel or anything). Third, is the finished logo I created for Bishop/Tuzin out of paper already nestled in the clouds.

The last image is a straight on shot of the logo in the clouds. I made quite a few clouds from my first batch of pillow stuffing but I had to get more to fill in the background today. So far, so good. The really tricky part will be the camera set up and move…poor Greg needs to create a rolling camera rig so that we can zoom into the clouds and move up. Stay tuned!

Side note: sorry for the blurry images.


Partly Foggy

Partly Foggy

Continuing my setup for the stop motion video mentioned in my last post, my studio has gathered a low hanging fog…


Stop Motion Prep

Bishop/Tuzin Cloud Test

I’m preparing for a short stop motion film for my friends’ website. They are starting a new brand for screen writing and filmmaking together and we need some imagery. The idea is to create several short videos that are classically cinematic and then use them super-sized, running in the background of their content. One image they’ve created is the well-used flying through stormy clouds, lightning flashing, and coming across the logo floating in the air. I decided to “Michel Gondry” the idea by creating a stop motion video of the idea. I started with the paper letters that I’ve already created and am now creating and test shooting the clouds (seen above). The clouds will keep me busy for a while, then on to the foil lightning bolts.


Perfectly Blurry Stop Motion Test

A COMMON NAME, Stop Motion Test from Julian Paige Smith on Vimeo.

My very first foray into stop motion. Yes I know it’s blurry, yes I know it’s fast, but yes I do think it’s fun. I got the concept down, now onto the equipment…


Mary and Max, Strange Pals

Mary and Max

Last night I watched a dark claymation film called Mary and Max. It’s a story of two unlikely friends, an obese, middle-aged New Yorker and a young outcast from Australia, Mary. I had never heard of it before, but I can’t resist anything claymation and I noticed the voice actors were the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette, and Eric Bana. Also, it won a ton of awards when it hit the festival circuit a few years ago.

The imagery was super fun and dark and I kept getting little surprises from the scenes. I love the fish smoking underwater, the bubble bath design, and all the small details throughout. Beware of death by embalming fluid, hard psychiatric emotions, disgusting-looking characters, and ground up goldfish.

Watch it now on Netflix. Also, definitely check out their website if you’re into that kind of stuff.


WITHOUT, A Short Film for Purchase

WITHOUT, Short Film Imagery

WITHOUT, Movie Titles Close Up

The holidays have slowed up my posts and my projects, everyone is on vacation or working half-time right now. Luckily, we received some great news today! A short indie film I worked on a couple years ago is now available on iTunes. The film is called Without and was written and directed by Gregory F. Tuzin and Brent Bishop. These two collaborators were excellent clients—they usually tell me their concept and then say, “Go for it!”. They give me free reign on design and let me explore as much as I want.

For Without, I worked with water colorist Beverly Tuzin to create the promotional poster. We selected a few screen shots and asked Beverly to water color the characters and background. The idea was to recreate the scene to really show the dry, arid, and sparse landscape the characters inhabited. After Beverly delivered, I incorporated a logo that I created using india ink and a cut out potato. I also used typefaces that I had printed out, redrawn, and scanned to create brand new typefaces that were now extremely distressed.

You can view the poster on the top left of the above images. The rest of the images are screen shots from the film and title sequence. The inked logo and the newly distressed fonts also appear in the horizontally moving title sequence of the film.

Support our artistic endeavors and purchase the film on iTunes! We are so excited to have the film at a convenient place to purchase and to share, so please direct your friends and family to the film as well.


Perusing Napa Valley

Old Film Gel

Magic Lantern Ad

Magic Lanterns and Stereopticons Ad

Stereopticons and Magic Lanterns Ad

Metal "Puppet"

I just spent a short weekend in Napa Valley. While there, I went tasting at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery (now renamed to Rubicon Estates), one of my favorites. At the winery, there was a fantastic display of old machines, devices, and ads for animated movies. The first ever moving picture machine was called the “wheel of life” or the “zoopraxiscope“. This is where you would look through a slit in a wheel and watch a series of photos move quickly by to create that famous running horse. There were several of these wheels on display along with larger machines in which one person could view at a time. In one of these machines, the pictures flipped towards you and there was a slightly risque movie of a woman with a large feather. Gotta love old “porn”.

The images above are some of the images and ads on display at the winery. I’m so in love with the typography on the “magic lantern” ads—the layout, the multiple type faces, the accompanying illustrations—beautiful. The colored gel was a great specimen, as well as the metal figure I’m calling a “puppet”. It looks like it belongs in an old kids’ theater. Pardon the cheap iphone shots, I do think the cheap camera worked well with the gel.


Arcade Fire’s Presents to You

The Wilderness Downtown, Home Page

The Wilderness Downtown, Home Page

The Wilderness Downtown, Initial Screen Shot

The Wilderness Downtown, Initial Screen Shot

The Wilderness Downtown, Broken Screen Shot

The Wilderness Downtown, Broken Screen Shot

The Wilderness Downtown, Final Broken Screen Shots

The Wilderness Downtown, Final Broken Screen Shots

Arcade Fire has been making a scene lately. Their new album, “The Suburbs”, is jam-packed with prizes—5 album covers, a plethora of posters, 12″ vinyl, CD, and digital files. Not only that, Chris Milk has created an amazing film to a new track “We Used to Wait”. Created in HTML5, this browser experiment asks you for your home address and calculates a custom video using google earth. The images above are some screen shots of my screen. It takes you from a single shot of a person running to many broken up frames of your home, birds flying, and the person seemingly running through your neighborhood. It’s kind of inspirational, especially if you used to take runs down your old streets.

Try it out here.