Somethin’ Real

February 02, 2023

Jon Lutjens talks about the making of ‘Therapy Pt. 2,’ a musical collaboration between the late Mac Miller and Robert Glasper.

A reflection of the friendship and musical gifts shared by Miller and Glasper, the track was released on Glasper’s latest album Black Radio III: Supreme Edition,” and the video features Miller rapping joyfully among the stars backed by an eclectic parade of 3D elements.

Anthony Gaddis & Eric Tilford directed the video, adding to their long list of previous collaborations with Miller, including videos for tracks on “Circles,”Swimming,” “Self Care,” “Come Back to Earthand the posthumous “Good News.

We talked with 3D Artist and Animator Jon Lutjens, who used Cinema 4D, Octane and After Effects for the video, which came together in just nine days...

Check out the complete interview on here

© Lutjens Animation

Elpenthe Wolf : Looping Animated Gif

September 8, 2022

Animated GIF’s are an effective way to attract attention to your socials, emails and banners.

Above is an example of a seamlessly looping animated GIF we recently created for the L.A. based musical artist, Elpenthe. An animated GIF is a file encoded in Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), which contains a number of images or frames in a single file. The frames are presented in a specific sequence in order to convey animation. Unlike a video, it plays automatically and continuously.

In this particular example, we started with a custom illustration by Anthony Gaddis and manipulated it in multiple ways - i.e. flickering light and shadow, morphing of the leaves and the wolf’s fur - thereby creating a windblown effect.  We then imported those frames into a Photoshop animation timeline - and finally output to the GIF format seen above.

An animated GIF is a file encoded in Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), which contains a number of images or frames in a single file... Unlike a video, it plays automatically and continuously.

Let us know how we can be of help for your businesses animation, motion graphics and 3D projects!

© Lutjens Animation

Gucci Bloom : 3D Motion

August 8, 2022

I’m currently working with Anthony Gaddis, the director of Mac Miller’s Circles music videos, on a series of 3-D videos for a beauty and fashion portfolio he’s developing. It’s turning out to be a very unusual and creative use of 3-D technology. The first in the series, Bloom, is a trippy, free-flowing moving collage of Gucci Bloom bottles combined with the perfumes’ essential floral ingredients. Gaddis said he wanted the video to feel like a gravity-free, ever-blooming garden that completely envelopes the viewer’s senses. To achieve that, we utilized and built upon some of the technology developed in the R&D phase of the Good News music and tribute video - in particular, a self generating architecture created in Cinema 4D using their tried and true cloners and effectors. Once we had the motion dialed in, Octane Render allowed us to get the final look we were after. The end result is a vivid and hypnotic sensory experience.

Gaddis said he wanted the video to feel like a gravity-free, ever-blooming garden that completely envelopes the viewer’s senses.

Check out the final experience here.

© Lutjens Animation

Illinois Holocaust Museum:
Ghost Army Exhibit TV Commercial

June 28, 2022

We’ve recently completed a fascinating project for Chicago based agency The Specialists and their client, the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Their new exhibit, GHOST ARMY, tells the heroic tale of the top-secret U.S. Army’s Special Troops, known as the “Ghost Army,” and their covert operations across Europe that helped win WWII. This carefully selected group of artists, engineers, professional soldiers, and draftees saved thousands of lives and played an important part in Allied victory in the war. This top-secret unit was capable of simulating two entire divisions (approximately 30,000 men) and used inflatable tanks and vehicles, fake radio traffic, sound effects, and even phony generals, to fool German forces during WWII’s final year.

Working with just a handful of still images, we created a wandering p.o.v. that scans top secret photographs across a canvas-covered tabletop located “in the field” — complete with realistic outdoor dappled sunlight.

You can view the finished commercial here.

© Lutjens Animation

Recreating Dürer's Solid in 3D animation

May 3, 2022

I recently worked with Director Anthony Gaddis on a new music video/visualizer project. His concept for the artist, ELPENTHE, was to reimagine the artist as the central character in the classic Albrect Dürer print Melencholia 1. For those unfamiliar with the print, it's a Dürer etching depicting a melancholy looking angel absorbed in thought, surrounded by all sorts of symbolic objects, including an hourglass, weighing scales, a hand plane, hammer, saw, keys, a star, a weird flying creature displaying a typographic sign, and a magic square. The most prominent object however, is what's known as Dürer's Solid - aka, the truncated triangular trapezohedron-- which is an 8-faced solid geometric shape. Gaddis ultimately decided to limit the objects in this version to a star, a key, an animated numerical sequence (432), dripping gold typography, and finally, the aforementioned truncated triangular trapezohedron.

Recreating the shape in 3D was one of the most challenging tasks...

Recreating the shape in 3D (C4D) was one of the most challenging tasks I had as animator. After spending time studying obscure technical breakdowns online (check out this page for a detailed explaination of the object), I began with a simple cube, then rotated it diagonally, so that one corner sits directly above its opposite corner. I then stretched it vertically. Using a C4D boolean object, I removed the top and bottom corners with a second standard cube, creating a triangular plane that cuts through both the the top and bottom of the object, arriving at a close proximity to Dürer’s creation. We tried a number of materials in Octane and settled on a concrete material that feels very much like stone. Finally, I set up 2 colored area lights to match the lighting from the portrait of ELPENTHE (credit: Scott Lahn). It entailed a red/pink light on the left and a blue/purple source from the right. The shadow underneath the solid was created in After Effects.

See the final looping animation here, and the director's original inspiration, Melencholia 1 by Albrect Dürer, below.

Listen to ELPENTHE’s single Already Know (feat. Devan), from his Debut LP ELPENTHE 1 on Spotify here.

Melencholia 1, by Albrect Dürer

© Lutjens Animation
Thursday Oct 13 2022