IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PROCESS
Here at First Fight, our methods for taking a project from start to finish are tried and true and revolve around a few core concepts: Concept, Develop, Design and Execute. This is the approach that we take for every assignment we take on, whether it be illustration, animation, VFX or editing. In this example we were approached by a local agency to make one 30 second spot and two instructional videos for the release of a new app for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Check out how we implemented our plan of Concept, Develop, Design and Execute to solve our client’s problem.
We start with an idea. It can can come straight from the client’s brief or begin by simply listening to their needs and formulating a way to fulfill their requirements. It usually starts with a bit of both; collaborating early on as partners in the form of a kick-off meeting or a simple drink at the bar.
Once the concept has presented itself and is agreed upon, we move straight into development. In animation, we call this pre-visualization. Where all ideas are thrown on the table in order to find best solution. The key ingredients here are elbow grease, #2 pencils and lots of planning.
Simple rough sketches are the way to go. First coming up with a rough layout, composition or storyboard. From there we further refine the story we are trying to tell with more detail. In animation every shot is storyboarded and framed. In illustration, every composition is sketched and considered until we find the winner. Drawings are evaluated and values are checked and signed off on; all in order to ensure that our final results are exciting, readable and able to tell the story that needs to be told.
Now the real fun begins. We have our structure and are now looking for our style. Inspiration can be found all around us and is often found in the everyday, past or present. We take our inspiration and use it to craft a unique look and feel for every project we do. Like the early planning stage, we find our style through exploration, iteration and collaboration with our new partners. Here we are starting to craft finished art. We concentrate on line weight, color palettes, form and shape language. Style frames are made to show how the finished product will look. Only when we have settled on a look and feel that we all love do we move onto the next stage.
Now that every path has been considered, we can find our way home. Fair warning: at this point you may not hear from us for a few days, since we will be holed-up in the studio, bent over our desks cranking out the final results. Here is where there are no questions and it’s all about craft. We render. We paint. We animate key frames. It’s a smooth path from here on out as everything has been fully developed. Now it’s a matter of putting our heads down and getting it done on time. Let’s celebrate.
In preparation for the release of the new Ghostbusters feature film, First Fight was able to work hand in hand with Sony Pictures, ICE and Dave & Buster’s on a slew of promotional materials that mixed the best of the old movies with some from the new! We had our hands in a lot of different projects; from the Dave & Buster’s tie-in spots all the way to actual arcade game cabinet design and in-store signage. Cabinet design is a bucket-list job and we were super excited to have the opportunity! It was a complete blast and an honor to be a part of this movie’s promotion!
Take a look at a few of the pieces in which we played a part!
Cabinet photos courtesy of Arcade Heroes
A while back, medical supply start-up Access Relief contacted us because they needed help with their fledgling company. They had a great idea for a product and the means to sell it, but had little branding experience and no corporate identity. First Fight was able to provide help in all areas. Originally interested in a short video, we provided Access Relief with everything from identity and print marketing materials to previsualization and concepting of the actual product, the Patient Comfort Pack.
Below is a small sampling of some of the process work that went into these creations.
This is a classic example of First Fight taking something all the way from an early concept to final execution. Getting in early and having a creative say throughout the entire process is so fulfilling to us and crucial to the success of a project. Have a look at some of that process now!
We begin with storyboards. The "bones" and structure behind everything we do. Down and dirty and sometimes rough looking, this is probably the most important step in the entire process. Here we focus on story above art. It really lays the groundwork for the entire project; helping to explain the story as well as expectations for what the project will be. A tiny misstep here can cause a ripple effect throughout the work and totally screw up a timeline!
Next we move onto concept art and style frames. This is were we first see hints of the style and flavor of a project. This is also one of the most enjoyable steps along the way. It's important to explore at this stage to come up with the best solutions to meet the needs of the project.
Once a direction is chosen, we can do a tighter style frame so that the client can see exactly how things will look in the final product.
We do this for all characters and locations as well. Look and style are vital and must be decided on early.
Once all characters and art are approved, only then do we move on to the animation and completion!