“Your Love Is My Drug” Inserts by Lizzi Akana

Lizzi Akana created these Peter Max-ish inserts for the Ke$ha music video “Your Love Is My Drug.” Here’s a Quicktime link to the entire piece, directed by Honey, that shows how the animation fits into the primarily live-action video. I asked Lizzi if she could share details about the production and this is what she said:

I would say the bulk of the animation was completed (from design to final product) in around 2-1/2 weeks, give or take. In total, including added revisions at the tail end, I’d say the animation took a solid month. The animation was created exclusively in Flash and composited in After Effects.

The label and director wanted a psychedelic “Yellow Submarine”-inspired animation, so they thought I would be a good fit based on the work I had done on the MGMT video “Kids” that Christy Karacas directed. From the beginning, the idea was there to have animated elements integrated with the live action, which would then build up into fully animated scenes. The desert had to transition into an underwater scene, but in the end I was pretty much free to come up with whatever I wanted within that context for the first chorus. The second chorus was also wide open, so just tried to come up with images that I thought would be striking for that section. I obviously looked at a lot of Peter Max and Alan Aldridge, but I also found Moebius a huge source of inspiration.

This is my first time directing animation for a large commercial product. I was in charge of the concept/design, rough animation, and compositing for both choruses. The animation that was combined with the live action worked a little differently–with those scenes I was asked to create specific content and gave the clips to the video compositor as separate elements to integrate with the footage. In both cases, some additional animation effects/transitions were added after the fact during the final composite in LA.

There is no way in hell that I could have gotten this music video done without the help of some of my very good (and talented) friends. Henry Thurlow (who also worked on the MGMT video) and Gene Lee were my animators. We were all assistant animators on Superjail and contributed a ton of hard work to this project. Sarah Orenstein did the color design for my characters/backgrounds, and helped me come with with a lot of the texture effects in the video (the paper-y overlay, the glitter, etc.) Leah Shore came in to help as an animation assistant with certain shots, coloring scenes and animating small elements.


  • Randy Koger

    Great animation.
    Man, that is one LAME song.

  • http://handdrawnrevolution.blogspot.com/ Rodger Perry

    That was awesome! That’s some of the best Flash work I’ve ever seen, I honestly thought it was composited hand-drawn sequences until I read the production note.

    My only complaint is there is not more of it to amaze me.

    Way to go Lizzi, keep up the good work!

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Looks great. Accurate evocation of the style. Nice work on a tight deadline.

    Having said that… the music is not good.

  • http://sirrichardwentworth.bandcamp.com/ Sir Richard

    I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever seen such a pairing of excellent visuals and asinine sounds… nope, can’t think of one. Really cool animation.

  • Scarabim

    Wow, I love this. Imaginative designs that please, rather than offend, the eye. And of course it brings back fond memories of Yellow Submarine. Great work! Kudos!

  • http://joelbrinkerhoff.blogspot.com/ Joel Brinkerhoff

    This may seem petty but as animation historians you should know Peter Max had nothing to do with Yellow Submarine. Heinz Edelmann is the only designer on that film. Max blatantly associated himself with the movie for years but in truth never worked on any aspect of the film.

  • http://www.twinkleland.com Gary Leib

    Great job! The sixties poster art style is tweaked out with original fun.

    Congratulations!

  • elle

    @joel

    hate how Max tried to crib Edelmann’s style and then insert himself as his “inspiration” … ugh.

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    Worth watching the full version – there’s some great tracking and compositing of the animation elements into the live action that leads into the FANTASTIC work by Lizzi and her crew.

  • KeyframeGrunt

    Quite stunning visuals, love how smooth the transitions flow. I’m quite impressed that this is flash based too. It just seems like they managed to get enough erosion and grit in there to set it apart. Im guessing they must of added some cool post production tricks in AE. Nice job for the time frame too!

    On the contrary, I can’t seem to find much appeal to the music. Perhaps 13 year old girls might say otherwise.

  • http://thebighook.blogspot.com Louise F.

    This animation is simply gorgeous. It’s similarities to “The Yellow Submarine” by no means detract or overshadow the piece as the beautiful, solid and confident work of film.
    Shame it’s wasted on Ke$ha. But hey, if this is how artful animation has to sneak into mainstream culture nowadays, so be it!

  • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Niffiwan

    The animation looks rather good, though I couldn’t stand the music.

  • Marc Baker

    Wow, Ke$ha may be a no talent drunken slut who’s destroying pop music, but that video looks very impressive.

  • brak

    Lizzi Akana is a brilliant animator–I always love the work she does!

  • Carol Jennings

    Geez– this is some pretty groovy work. Ke$ha, like many young “musicians” today, are not worth the talent behind them. Nonetheless, this shows a dexterous hand and deserves quite the round of applause. Hopefully Lizzi will be able to work on much more laudable musicians’ videos in the future– those on par with her vision and talent which, by the looks of it, seems endless.

  • Brendan Spillane

    YELLOW SUBMARINE is my absolute favorite animated feature film- which is more than I can say for this REALLY ANNOYING song from Keh- dollar sign- Ha. I can think of an ENDLESS amount of genuinely talented bands whose music would be better suited for the way-cool animation.

  • Donald C.

    The only thing I hate about that is Kesha’s singing.

    Does she need to sound drunk all the time?

  • http://www.lizziakana.com Lizzi Akana

    Wow- thanks for all of the kind words, everyone! As a post script to my production notes, I really want to emphasize that Henry Thurlow and Gene Lee’s contribution to this project can not be overstated. It was truly a team effort to complete the animation within the time constraints we were given, and they also deserve much of the praise you’ve been giving this piece. Just wanted to give a shoutout to my homies, who totally had my back throughout this process.

  • Lindsay

    I keep coming back to watch these animated segments, but every time, before it starts, I can not remember the tune of this song’s chorus at all. It’s scary how forgettable and downright crappy today’s music has become – seeing as the “mainstream” stuff that most are exposed to is corporate, manufactured tripe.

  • Rob Fendler

    Go Lizzi! Awesome work. You’re doing some really cool projects.

  • Randy Koger

    Lizzi, your work is FANTASTIC! Great job, and your talent is obvious.

    The same CANNOT be said for the song used with the film. It’s tuneless and annoying. Chose carefully what music you animate to. The work is almost unwatchable with the sound on.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Lizzi, you and Henry and Gene are ALL to be commended. YELLOW SUBMARINE is my all-time favorite animated feature (I’ve seen it in theatrical screenings over 100 times) and your devotion to the source material is very impressing. As fleeting as your animated scenes are, they are perfectly timed and contain very specific visual references to YS. I smile every time that fish smiles at the viewer. You REALLY nailed it! Thanks for your outstanding work!

  • http://voodoochild9.blogspot.com Amanda H.

    I checked out the video to see how the animation fit in with the live action parts of the music video and its really well done. I could definitely see an big “Yellow Submarine” influence, especially in the design of the fishes.
    And that kaleidoscope effect, oh my GOD mindblowing.

    But the bad news is I have that song stuck in my head now >_<