“Bubblicious” and “Unboxed”

Following up on the piece about the 3D papercraft/cut-out trend, here are two new works that are more-or-less from that school of thought.

I’ve received three emails about this first project in the past day so I figure it’s what all the young kids are talking about this week. It’s a music video for the song “Bubblicious” by music producer Jake Williams, aka Rex the Dog. It was directed by Geoffroy de Crecy at Partizan Lab. The DIY stop-mo aesthetic is fun to watch, but it began to feel repetitive once I realized that that was the video’s entire gimmick and it wasn’t building towards anything more substantial. It’s a great ‘making-of’ video; it’s too bad they weren’t actually making anything.

More successful as a finished piece–yet flawed in an entirely different way–is “Unboxed”, a stop-motion and traditional hand-drawn commercial for Audi co-directed by Aaron Duffy at 1st Ave Machine and Russell Brooke of Passion Pictures. There’s an interview with Aaron Duffy about the commerical at Motionographer. I like the piece, but it’s uncomfortably derivative of cartoonist Saul Steinberg, both conceptually and design-wise. It would have been a classier move if they’d been straight up and acknowledged they were using Steinberg’s work as inspiration instead of pretending like they have no idea who he is and saying in their interview that they “did dozens of designs” for the ad agency. I’m sure they did dozens of character designs, but I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the character is handled in such a Steinberg-esque manner.


  • Martin B

    I agree wholeheartedly. In the absence of new ideas they both lean on current trends instead. If only motionographer reviewed these things with actual context, instead of how superficially cool things look…

  • http://gavinscartoons.blogspot.com Gavin

    Un-boxed is amazing! Well done…

  • http://fragacomics.blogspot.com fraga

    ha ha the animation is cool but not the car

    : )

  • Gerard de Souza

    Don’t forget to mention Woody Guthrie’s music!
    Yes, Great commercial.

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    I have a weird, personal, aversion to 97% of music videos, and the first piece didnt grab my attention anymore than any others. For me, the question when making an animated film from any kind of pre-existing work should be: what are you adding to it? In the first piece, as in many music videos, I don’t get the sense that value has been added to the sound. That’s not to say “I don’t like it, it’s bad”, I just can’t quite see how it’s any better than the music alone. If you’ve got a complete piece of art and then tack something on, well… usually you’d be better off without the tacked-on bits. In this case, the animation. The story it told was weak, and as clever as you are about the way you tell your story, the truth is you can’t polish a turd.

    The Audi video I enjoyed quite a bit. I wonder if I got a kick out of it just because I enjoyed the music so damn much. Great song. Still, what it has that the first piece doesn’t is a wonderfully reserved visual vocabulary and the steady, dynamic build of a strong, simple story. Have they been inspired by Steinberg and perhaps failed to adequately so state? Dunno. Either way, me likey.

  • Shmorky

    The Unboxed commercial is nice looking but also a good example of a corporate commercial getting someone else to imitate another artist. I think all that stuff about them “trying to find different styles” to work with is baloney. It’s very common and frustrating.

  • http://gastrophobia.com/ David McGuire

    Aw, I love the first one!
    I’d call the DIY aspect the plot of the video rather than a gimmick. It’s great to see any music video that’s not just shots of the band singing the song and looking cool.

  • Mitch Kennedy

    A gimmick? Are you kidding me? Those characters totally come to life — which took me out of the so-called ‘gimmick’ of having real hands make this stuff in front of me. The end then reminded me that it was all hand-made inanimate paper. This animation was happening in real live space! This animation feels tangible. Pretty wicked. I’ve seen lots of gimmicks, and this ain’t one.

  • Justin

    I really don’t see what everyones problem is with the first one. I thought it was excellent!

  • http://www.kellytoon.com Kelly Toon

    I too appreciated the first one for its tactile sensibilities. The music was okay, but I thought the little characters were very funny and cute. It was primitive, but I think that’s the idea? The overhead shot with the discoball, showing the entire “set” was really cool!

    The second one was NEAT-O. For a car commercial, anyway ;)

  • Graham

    The first one was obviously a lot of work, but I lost interest a minute in. The car commercial was really cool, but you’re right. They should have acknowledged who they took the idea from.

  • http://jcullen.blogspot.com Sun Night Raider

    C’mon, have some people here no souls at all? Can we not admit that the first one was at least a bit fun?

  • george

    audi commercial straight fire! ! ! Great artists steal, but no reason not to give credit where credit is do. That being said, is the cardboard done in maya?

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/RandomFlavor/ Jaimonster

    Now even the “Brewers” that run this site seem to be eating more sour grapes than anything else. Between this “critique” and the Coraline “review” I sense a lot of contrast on this blog.

    I thought it was impartial, it seems like its starting to churn into something unnecessary. If you cant say anything nice, dont say it at all. Repetitive or Gimmicky, Who cares! Its fun to watch, isnt? And who the hell is whoever you guys referenced to? Im not interested on the backstory of who copied who first, Im interested on what this ad shows to me in its style and composition… You guys take your analysis too serious…

    Both videos, as trendy as they are, show two things that are interesting and have their own take on the art. Its wonderful to be exposed to this kind of things. Im glad to learn something new everyday and to be Inspired as well…

  • f

    Check out these 2 consecutive posts from an ‘inspiration’ blog in november 2007. Uncanny.

    http://itsnotpossible.typepad.com/highlightofmyday/2007/11/index.html

  • OM

    ..Hmmm, if the first one did “nothing”, then what do you claim Art Clokey was doing with Gumbasia?

  • Charles

    I really like the Audi commercial but didn’t know who Saul Steinberg was until Amid brought it up. After looking at the linked picture, it is pretty hard to say that they didn’t use that idea. They probably did a bunch of concepts that led back to Saul Steinberg.

  • http://www.daganm.blogspot.com Dagan

    Audi spot is superb. :)

    I don’t know Saul Steinberg’s work, so I can’t speak to that.

    Really beautifully done, though.

  • http://wardomatic.blogspot.com Ward

    “Its fun to watch, isnt? And who the hell is whoever you guys referenced to? Im not interested on the backstory of who copied who first, Im interested on what this ad shows to me in its style and composition… You guys take your analysis too serious…”

    That’s what we’re supposed to do here — a place for artists and animators to discuss what we do. I think we’re entitled to analyze to Timbuktu and back, for all I care; that’s what a site like Cartoon Brew is for.

    And for your comment about “I’m not interested on [sic] the backstory of who copied who first…” — all I have to say is YOU SHOULD. It’s very important, especially when you’re an artist, to know your history and know it well. Not only for inspiration, but for knowing who & what did what before you. Or else, what do they say? History repeats itself.

    I do enjoy the Audi ad, but not the fact that they are not even acknowledging Saul Steinberg. Interesting the fact that he came up with this concept in 1951, a full 58 years BEFORE the Audi ad.

  • Cadychan

    I’m certainly no industry connoisseur, but I loved the Bubblicious one! It actually got linked to me on Twitter a few days ago, and I can’t stop watching it! Very cute!
    The Audi commercial is very sweet as well. I’m sorry to say I’m not familiar with the work of Saul Steinberg, but I’ll take your word for the fact that he was ‘ripped off.’
    Still, both shorts were great! I’ve had that song in my head for days…

  • jc

    I’d put the blame for the lack of credit to Steinberg more on the agency/client side than 1st Ave or Passion. Knowing how these things generally roll (and from personal experience with BBH London), I’m sure there were endless rounds of characters designs and revisions, and in the end, the client probably latched on to one of the reference images the agency presented in their first meeting and forced their decision through. It’s possible that Aaron Duffy, being a young director, was not familiar with Steinberg’s work. In advertising, you only have so much creative leeway before the people with the money start taking creative control.

    Oh – and though Aaron is an accomplished stop-motion animator, the cardboard was all rendered out of XSI. It’s a credit to his skill as a director and designer (and Passion Pictures’ 3D team) that it came off as a real physical object.

  • http://www.sumoscience.com Ed

    I think Amid has it all wrong about ‘Bubblicious.’ I think it’s a great piece, such a simple idea and so well executed. The repetitive nature of the film suits the electro track. Most promos for that genre of music are repetitive and you can get away with it because the beat allows it. There’s no need for a narrative in this vid….its simply style over story and it works a treat.