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.
© Lutjens Animation
Artie Logo Exploration with 3D Renderings
April 12, 2022
Here's an example of a recent Cinema 4D project that demonstrates how 3D animation can add considerable value to selling brand/logo identities through to your clients. This particular project was for NY based metaverse-gaming company, Artie. The design exploration was done by Anthony Gaddis and Todd Hippensteel, and Lutjens Animation provided the 3D renderings.
3D animation can add considerable value to selling brand/logo identities through to your clients.
These are rendered in Octane with a glossy plastic texture, on an off-white cyc wall, with studio lighting - allowing for them to be experienced as blank canvasses of sorts. The complete package gives the client a variety of design options, as well as how it could be used in animated, and real life three-dimensional applications. See below.
© Lutjens Animation
Emerald Club: Character animation
March 2, 2022
A compelling animated character that connects with viewers and leads them through a narrative is a powerful tool. These figures serve as our spokespeople, and we tell our stories through them. For projects that involve character design and animation, one of the first questions to ask is, “what does this character need to communicate?”
Paradowski Creative asked me to create an animation that introduced an exclusive rewards program for Enterprise Holdings. To this end, the lead character needed to appeal to a diverse audience, communicate openness and positivity, all while building anticipation for the program.
Here are some of the illustrations that led to the final character:
When it came to making her move, I used the same principles that guided the design process. How does a confident professional carry herself? How do I maintain a fun and compelling story that communicates all of the necessary information? Here are some of the stages in the development of the character’s walk cycle:
Nelson Mandela: Exhibit Video
January 4, 2022
I was contacted by Chicago based ad agency The Specialists to create an animated piece for The Illinois Holocaust Museum‘s exhibit detailing the social and political work of the late, great, Nelson Mandela.
Mandela: Struggle for Freedom traces the history of the fight against apartheid in South Africa, with Mandela as one of its central figures
With immersive environments, Mandela promotes human rights with a clear message: all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You can learn more about the exhibit here.
The script highlighted the power of hope, even in the face of immense obstacles. One of Mandela’s well known quotes is, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” To help reinforce this central idea, I wanted to make sure that the animation was celebratory and positive in it’s look & feel. The completed animation delivers its message with a quick, sticcato motion and uses bright, African-inspired color and pattern. The final key was the addition of music that characterizes so much of South African music’s energy and vibrancy.
Check out the complete animation here.
Tough Times Call for Good Feels
September 10, 2021
Meleah Maynard at Mograph.com interviewed me recently about my latest endevor with Director Anthony Gaddis.
Jon Lutjens breaks down his recent 3D-animated video journey, Good Trip.
The last time Motion Designer Jon Lutjens collaborated with
Director Anthony Gaddis they were part of the team that made Mac Miller’s posthumous Good News video.
The duo describe their latest work Good Trip, as having a similar vibe in that it was “engineered for good feels,” and takes viewers on an animated journey “to the edge of the imaginable universe” and beyond. Using Cinema 4D, After Effects, Trapcode Particular, Photoshop and Premiere Pro they created the video with the goal of promoting feelings of calm and balance.
We asked Jon Lutjens to tell us about himself and the making of Good Trip, and here’s what he had to say...
Check out the complete interview on Mograph.com here.