Everybody Loves Colonel Sanders

This week Psyop and KFC released I Love You Colonel Sanders! A Finger Licking’ Good Dating Simulator, developed at our Los Angeles studio and published to PC & Mac via the Steam store. 

The announcement of the game “took the gaming community by storm,” as Paste Magazine put it, and we are pleased to see that the game’s release has been equally as successful. 

Only a day after its release, the game had already garnered a large and diverse fanbase across the web, with hundreds of players recording their live performances of the game and some even dressing up as the Colonel himself.

The game has received 95% positive user reviews, with many calling it “the best game [they’ve] ever played,” as well as being highlighted by sevral online publications; Eater likened the graphics to “a highbrow shoji anime.”

If you haven’t played I Love You Colonel Sanders yet, the game is currently available for PC & Mac via Steam.

Psyop signs Shane Griffin

Psyop is excited to welcome the incredbily talented director and visual artist, Shane Griffin, to our Psyop roster. 

An Irish visual artist & director based in NYC, Shane pioneers a conceptual & artistic approach to not only film, but sculpture, animation, design, and large screen visuals. 

Named an ADC Young Gun in 2012, and PRINT Magazines New Visual Artist in 2015, Shane’s style is constantly evolving and setting new trends. In 2018, Shane’s art film Chromatic was screened at the annual TED conference.


Psyop directors Marie + Marco take viewers on a visual teleport around the world and across cultures in the latest film for Corteva Agriscience. Working with Corteva’s advertising partner Ogilvy & Mather, the film’s core story puts a magnifying glass on how farming, by nourishing our bodies, propels societal progress.

Created in exquisitely detailed CG, the film jumps through space and time with a fluid freedom that’s unique to animation. However, freedom never comes without costs, and with Corteva that meant intense, technical and creative problem solving at every stage as Psyop’s post artists found themselves in a race against time to launch the film at the NYSE when Corteva officially announced their IPO.

The scale of this project was really ambitious,” recalls lighting artists Thao Dan Nguyen Phan and Anne Yang, “We had so many assets to create in such a short amount of time and with shots going from wide to close up, we had to render all the textures in super high res with some shots having hundreds of items within them.”

Another creative challenge became clear during early animation was that the original static storyboards, didn’t come close to conveying the amount of actual shots needed to cover the sweeping camera moves that kept the film in perpetual transitioning movement – a visual conceit that conceptually pays off Corteva’s tagline “Keep Growing” and the core story of farming’s place the evolution of our world.

Like a live action director covers off wide, medium and close up shots, the Psyop post team, did the same – by creating for every creative eventuality. “Every single character you see in the film, you can zoom into and see them down to their eyelashes, or their arm hairs just to make sure we’re covered for whatever camera move is needed,” explains Briana Franceschini, Technical Director.

Before production, the post artists were also given a detailed inspiration deck that helped guide them throughout the process with a bit of ingenuity and rapid prototyping thrown in along the way. “We had a nice specific selection of reference photos we could use for comp to get the light and colors in the direction of choice,” recalls Matthias Bauerle, Lead Compositor, “Marco also liked the unique look of anamorphic lenses. So we tried to mimic that on top of the CG renders. We watched a lot of test footage on how the real lenses react visually and then I rebuilt it as a little tool for all the compositors to use.”

The team also came up with other unique solves to the production including bringing in matte painters at the onset and also deliberately blurring the lines between post artist roles. “Lighters, for example, were given entire scenes to create – where traditionally they’d be paired up with layout artists. I don’t know how we would have gotten it all done if we hadn’t all stretched outside our boundaries a bit,” recalls Franceschini.

Director: Marie Hyon, Marco Spier
Executive Producer: Eve Strickman
Senior Producer: Suzie Cimato
Associate Producer: Jodi Kraushar
Designer: Alex Dietrich, Kim Dulaney, Joshua Harvey, Dor Shamir, Pedro Lavin, Andrew Park, Guzz Soares
Storyboard Artist: Ben Chan
Lead Technical Director: Briana Franceschini
Previz Artist: Pat Porter, Michael Sime, William Burg, Ryan Moran
Lead 3D Animator: Pat Porter
3D Animator: William Burg, Ryan Moran, Michael Sime, Jessie Wang
Modeler: Ieva Callender, Justin Diamond, Casey Reuter, David Soto, Alan Yang, Briana Franceschini, Nitesh Nagda, Eric Cunha
Lead Rigger: Zed Bennett
Rigger: Aton Lerin, Matt Kushner
LookDev/Lighter: Ieva Callender, Eric Cunha, Briana Franceschini, Nitesh Nagda, Todd Peleg, Thao Dan Nguyen Phan, Anne Yang, Matthias Bauerle
VFX: James Atkinson, Eban Byrne, Cristina Camacho, Kevin Gillen, Michael Huang, Nico Sugleris
Matte Painter: Susie Jang, Henrik Sang
Junior Matte Painter: Zi Xu
2D/Comp Lead: Matthias Bauerle
Compositor: Aaron Baker, Herculano Fernandes, Carl Mok
Editor: Loren Christiansen
Flame Assist: Andrew Malvasio

Cannes Lions 2019

We had a great week at Cannes this year, taking home awards in several different categories! 

  • A Gold Lion in Design Craft for our Nike “Never Ask” campaign by Wizz director CRCR
  • A Bronze Lion in Mobile for our Honda “The Magic Snow Globe” piece by Marco Spier + Marie Hyon
  • A Silver Lion in Digital Craft for “Instanovels,” one of which was created by Blacklist’s Studio AKA for “The Raven
  • A Bronze Lion in Digital Craft for our Cricket Wireless “Four for the Holidays: Live Press Junket” by Jack Anderson and Argonaut

Psyop and Golden Wolf Run For the Ocean

As part of their ongoing partnership with Parley for the Oceans, adidas unveiled a new UltraBOOST Parley running shoe, created from upcycled plastic waste, and has kicked off a multiplatform global marketing campaign to promote it. Together, creative studios Psyop and Golden Wolf were honored to create the centerpiece of the campaign: a new film demonstrating the positive, transformative nature of reused ocean plastic.

Working alongside adidas’ creative agency TBWANeboko, Psyop and Golden Wolf used a combination of live action and animation to show the way in which plastic waste threatens our oceans, but can be reclaimed and transformed for good. To approach such a complex idea, Psyop and Golden Wolf embraced a mixed media approach that reflected the spirit of community coupled with innovative technology that goes into a conservation effort like this. Each pair of UltraBOOST Parley shoes prevents approximately 11 plastic bottles from entering our oceans, as the bottles are intercepted from beaches and then transformed into a new material that makes up these unique sneakers.

Psyop director Marco Spier explained why he was so excited to create this film for adidas x Parley, saying, “This project is very close to my heart. I got involved with Parley for the Oceans from the beginning and having the opportunity to help spread the message together with adidas and TBWANeboko has been a great honor. Psyop is a collaboration partner of Parley, and it was great to see Psyop and Parley joining forces to create this and I can’t wait for the next opportunity. As Paul Watson the Sea Shepherd pointed out, the ocean will be dead by 2048. ‘If the ocean dies, we die.’ This is bigger than us. This is about survival. Ocean plastic is not just just the fiber used in the actual production process, from collected bottle to shoe, but is also very metaphorical. It’s the fiber, the thread that connects everything, always present. It shows how every action has a consequence. How the universe is connected and we can’t isolate one thing from another.”

“With everything going on in the world today it was a breath of fresh air to get to work on a campaign for a cause as good as Parley’s,” explains Golden Wolf director Ingi Erlingsson. “What really drew us to this project was that the challenge was both creative and technical, so it felt like a really perfect chance for us to collaborate with the team at Psyop, combining our trademark 2d style with their incredible 3d pipeline.”

In creating the spot, Psyop utilized a unique CG fiber and thread system to mimic the way in which the UltraBOOST Parley shoes themselves are crafted from ocean plastic fibers. “I loved the idea that the animation is made out of ocean plastic, but at the same time, we felt like not wasting actual ocean plastic to make advertising,” said Spier. “So we were excited to create our virtual yarn, still keeping the tactile quality of the material, but without creating any waste. All we have to do is to hit the delete button.”

“Working alongside Marco on this project was a really great learning experience for me personally. I really enjoyed the pitching process and the challenges that the shoot threw at us, it felt really collaborative and we were able to push the creative even further on the day,” added Erlingsson.

R&D LEAD, Jonah Friedman:

There are reasonable and unreasonable ways to do things. In the past when asked to make a Christmas sweater, we opted to create a system called the “Entwiner”, which makes woolen knits out of millions of CG fibers rather than a simple texture. Is that reasonable? Probably not, but it looks a lot better.

So when we were tasked to create patches, which would be made out of merely hundreds of thousands of fibers, what were we going to do? Is it even a question? Fibers!

There were challenges. First, our particular style of patches use sewing direction and stitching for effect – these are artistically created pieces and cannot just be translated from 2D animation by a CG sewing machine. Second, we needed to make hundreds of these, to animate stop motion, so we also had to be very efficient.

Our solution was a new system, called the “Patchtwiner”. The Patchtwiner was a system and toolbox for artists to turn 2D animation into properly “Entwined” patches.

Every frame of our animation looks as though an artist stitched a bespoke patch, creating contours and laying down stitches to represent the image in the best way possible.

Stop motion is difficult, and results in imperfections, and we recreated those for ourselves. The patches are differently deformed on every frame, as if they were sewn to a piece of fabric that wouldn’t sit still. The light jitters on every frame, and the effect is complete: artist created stop-motion patch animation.

LIGHTER, Thao Dan Nguyen Pan:

adidas UltraBOOST X Parley was a challenging project where every part of the process was an exploration. Jumping around as different roles, doing R&D, lighting & rendering to comping, I got to have the freedom to test different ideas.The goal was to find the right amount of imperfection… distortion that makes it realistically hand-crafted. It was a frame by frame process: from stitching the threads to moving the fabric, changing the indentations and shifting the lights. We literally did stop motion in 3D.