July 9th, 2014

Using a blend of analog and digital techniques, Mill+ created the OFFF St. Petersburg titles to tell an ethereal love story about ‘making’ through collaboration. Dancing figurines weave through abstract worlds and psychedelic textures, bringing the experience of collaboration – in both art and love – to life.

Along with presenting a Weird Science themed keynote at OFFF St. Petersburg last weekend, Mill+ creative director Rama Allen and art director Chris Palazzo created the main titles for the global “post-digital culture” festival.

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Inspired by the culture's rich history of storytelling, the title of the piece, ‘Skazka’, roughly translates to “that which is told" in Russian. Like may epic tales told throughout time, the narrative features the never-ending cycles of love and hate, and creation and destruction, showing the parallels between ‘making’ partnerships and romantic partnerships.

‘Skazka’ is told through the story of star-crossed lovers who build their world through motion only to have it torn apart by internal and external forces. Rama comments, “The piece is told through the choreography of two beings that discover each other, dance together to create, collide in a moment of conflict, then find their way through the conflict to become even stronger partners once again."

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Their output and resulting topology is the ‘word’ expressed as beautifully designed language. Portions of the sequence were built on data captured from an originally choreographed piece performed by two dancers. The marvelous team at NYIT lent us their time, expertise, and mocap facility for a day and were hugely important to the quality of the final piece. Using motion capture, the team recreated their movements in the figures seen flowing and weaving through the abstract landscapes.

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Although the piece was built from sophisticated digital tools, analog processes inspired the aesthetic of the video. The goal was to use ’traditional' human input to define much of the animation of the piece. The typography for the titles is all hand painted and then rebuilt in 3D and the textures and colors are all inky explorations shot and then manipulated in digital space. Skazka are where the digital and analog commingle.

Rama shares, "This was largely an experimental process involving choreographing two dancers, working with motion capture data, executing with temperamental particle systems, studying calligraphy, tinkering with chemical and ink compounds, and banging our heads against the wall until we found flickering glimmers of success in territories we previously had zero experience with."

Rama and Chris documented their creation process on a dedicated Mill-Skazka Tumblr.

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The overall result is a blend of analog and digital techniques: printed, photographic, illustrative or painterly effects to 3D, 2D and mathematical animation. Most of it is digitally animated. Some of it shot. Some of it is coded. Some of it is painted or drawn.

Mill+ also collaborated with Goo Technologies to create an interactive experience that we’ll be sharing here soon. Now, watch the psychedelic explosion of love and creativity below. Then, watch again.  Credits