2024 Showreel

2024 Reel

Kill Code – Part 3

Kevin and the Christmas Factory

Aldi Christmas Advert 2022

Animation Action Contest

I Love You, Colonel Sanders!

 I Love You Colonel Sanders! A Finger Licking’ Good Dating Simulator, was 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 the release proved to be even more 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.

Four for the Holidays

In 2014, Argonaut approached Psyop to help develop a cast of quirky animated characters for Cricket Wireless to be the brand’s spokespeople. In the years that followed, this cast of characters grew, as did Cricket’s unaided brand awareness (which rose by 12 points). With fan bases of their own – our CG characters were mini-celebrities in their own rights.

The Ask

For their Holiday 2018 campaign, Cricket challenged us to think of a way to take our now familiar characters and use them to engage audiences in new and surprising way.

Our Approach

Psyop collaborated closely with Argonaut, Shareability and Cricket to bring the beloved characters out of the animated world and into the real one via a multi-faceted approach: 

1. A Hollywood-glam, 3-min film and content blurring the lines of commercial and entertainment co-directed by Psyop founder Marco Spier and Psyop’s rising star Jack Anderson. 

2. Magical activations that blurred fantasy and reality helmed by Jack. 

Using our real-time animation system utilizing Intera/Mocap suits and face tracking technology, we hosted a Facebook Live and Twitter press junket featuring CG characters Dusty and Rose alongside celebrity Mario Lopez making it the first time an animated character appeared alongside a live person in real-time. 

We also used this system again in a responsive OOH billboard activation where holiday shoppers could talk, direct and interact with Rosie, making a traditionally passive medium – the billboard – larger than life.

A Christmas Carrot: A Tale by Charles Chickens

If there’s a character you should root for this holiday season, it’s the award-winning Kevin the Carrot who is back and better than ever with Aldi UK. Six years on, and everyone’s favorite festive vegetable is still as fresh as when he first appeared on our screens. ‘A Christmas Carrot: A Tale by Charles Chickens’ is the latest installment in heart-warming journeys Kevin has embarked on for the better part of the last decade. In the film brought to life by Psyop founders/directors Todd and Kylie, along with Psyop co-director Kyle Cassidy, through McCann UK, Kevin teaches Ebanana Scrooge, and us all, about the true spirit of Christmas. 

“We fell in love with this project from the very moment we saw it. Come on, a carrot who wants to meet Santa… What’s not to like? Our goal with everything we direct is to get the viewers to feel something. Not exactly an easy thing to do inside sixty seconds. In any case, hopefully people will come away feeling some Christmas spirit.”

-Todd + Kylie, Directors

Burger Vigilante

Summer Nights

Life on Treat Street

Mural

“Who hasn’t dreamed about graffitiing an entire city? Sending your spray painted creatures on a wild goose chase through the vertical expanse of a concrete jungle, that’s even more fun than duct-taping your roommate to the wall. We had a great time collaborating with Golden Wolf on the animation and even a better time filming in wonderful Buenos Aires. We even got to shoot with a fancy laser scanner system that we used to create a super detailed 3d map of the locations we shot it. Overall it was a wildly fantastic production. Now we just gotta refill our spray paint collection.”

– Todd Mueller & Kylie Matulick, Directors

“First of all, to get all the corny stuff out of the way, it’s been a real dream come true for myself and a lot of the Golden Wolf team to work on something like this for Coke. Having been hugely influenced by Happiness Factory and all the early Coke stuff from Psyop, it’s always been a client we wanted to get together with, so a big thanks to Todd, Kylie and the team for getting us on board!

What was particularly rewarding about the spot was working with T & K on defining the characters’ personalities and how their individual styles would affect how they move and act. For example, Jessica the cloud is a “throw up” so she’s messy and erratic, whereas Desmond the robot is a wheat paste poster, so he’s a bit slicker and more agile.

We loved being on board for the live action shoot. It was great to see the evolution from the original footage to the final result, with our 2D characters composited seamlessly into the live action. We’re so excited that they’re finally out in the world!”

-Ingi Erlingsson, 2D Animation Creative Director

PRESS

Ad Age: Cute Mural Creatures Escape Their Concrete Prisons In Search Of A Cold Coke – Brand Debuts Tale of Escaping the Heat During the Winter Olympics in South Korea

It’s Nice That: W+K Portland’s Charming New Spot For Coca-Cola Features Three Graffiti Characters

Laughing Squid: Thirsty Street Art Murals Shimmy Up City Buildings to Pursue Their Goal of a Refreshing Coca Cola

Ninjago Legacy Shorts

A lone warrior arrives at the shores of a grim, desolate wasteland. He is determined to reach his destination, but first he must face the danger that lurks in the shadows…


Lego reached out to Sun Creature to produce a short for the 10-year anniversary of their Ninjago franchise. The mandate was clear: rethink the artistic direction of Ninjago and include a dragon! And so they did. The result is a cryptic and epic short, that not only presents a new and darker visual direction for the franchise, but also teases the existing fans and challenges the perception of the brand.

Stylistically Sun Creature wanted to draw inspiration from the cinematography of Kurosawa’s samurai films of the 60s. They wanted to keep it consistent throughout the film, but also allow themselves freedom to break the rules as the narrative progressed. They wanted to find a balance between big establishment shots with lots of details, contrasted with more simple backgrounds for action driven shots. In each shot it is either the background or the action that drives the narrative forward.

This project was created with a small, nimble and highly skilled team and was directed by a good friend of the house, Ben Marsaud.

‘Sabah’ Teaser Trailer

Apex Legends: Emergence Launch Trailer

A Coke is a Coke, Super Bowl 2019

“As millions of families, friends and rival fans huddle around screens big and small for the Big Game kickoff, Coca-Cola will remind them that togetherness – and differences – are beautiful.”

Learn more at the Official Coca-Cola Website

Nacho Fries

Shredder’s Revenge

Ball Whisperer

Holiday Gift Card

Shhhh

Optimum “Wash & Dry”

Tarantino

FLEE Trailer

National Institute of Yerba Mate

Syndrome

The Super Duper Minecraft Musical

“We got the script from 215 McCann to create a musical, which of course is such an exciting prospect because the nature of musicals is just so playful and inventive. Creating this sort of musical theme around Minecraft felt appropriate because the nature of Minecraft is to be so playful.  We see our singer come out, the curtains open, and then all of a sudden we see this beautiful Minecraft world. Something we’ve always enjoyed doing at Psyop is to invent new ways to create a voice for different brands.”

-Director Kylie Matulick



“One of the things we loved about this is that you start from literally a sketch on a piece of paper. then we have designers do a style frame where it’s a full color sketch. Then we start working with set designers and they start building the things that were in the sketch. We’d seen everything grow from figment to fulfillment, and then Melissa (Benoist, star of Supergirl) gets there and starts performing, it just brings all this life to it. It was breathtaking. Our highest personal accolade is when our commercials are entertainment. So how do we expand the brand’s identity and package it into a beautiful commercial? Hopefully that’s what we’ve done!”

-Director Todd Mueller

AWARDS

WEBBY AWARDS – “Best Animated Film (Branded)” – Nominee

PROMAXGAMES AWARDS – “Best TV or Theatrical Ad – Nominee

IN THE PRESS

Adweek: Minecraft’s Upgraded Look Is So Special, They Made a Glee-Caliber Musical About It

Ad Age: Minecraft Made a Musical to Promote its ‘Super Duper Graphics Pack’

Mashable: Minecraft Goes Musical with Supergirl to Promote Its Graphics Pack

INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING + GAMING

Lockdown orders are being lifted. Vaccines are being distributed. The day we’ve been waiting for is nearly here: our re-emergence!

Every day, more people around the world are stepping out of their homes, back into the world and now it’s your turn. Like a baby fawn, eyes blinking in the morning sunlight, legs wobbling under the weight of your quarantine 15, you must find your footing once again as you set out into the brand new (but actually old) world.

This open-world adventure filled with fun characters and challenging mini-games gives you the experience of what it’s like to re-enter the world after a year-long stay inside.

Born This Way

More than the animated hero piece for LUX’s #IStandWithCaster campaign, Born This Way is a collective statement on how one’s craft can transmit deep emotions and generate empathy towards those fighting the odds, challenging the establishment in the name of equality, and rising above through sheer tenacity.

Produced with their sister company, Final Frontier, and created with agency Wunderman Thompson Singapore, Le Cube presents this cel-animated, action-packed, emotional piece that represents what South African Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya stands for — fighting for your place in the world, no matter who you are.

Apex Legends: Legacy Launch Trailer

Knockout City Official Reveal Trailer

Clash of Clans: Bye Bye Builder!

Clash Royale: Star Levels

“With this quality of animation, they’ll earn millions by making a movie”

-Thanos, Perceptive and Absolutely Correct YouTube commenter

The Suitcase

Clashmas: Log’s Revenge

Mass Effect Trailer

Snowbuddy

Clash Royale: The Last Second

Castle Glu Sorcerer’s Arena

Camp W

Camp W is a story-rich visual adventure game about friendship, mystery, and (not) fitting in.

Camp W puts you in the role of a young Witch experiencing their first ever summer away from home at sleepaway camp. But there’s a twist! (Isn’t there always?) Though you’re from the Witching Realm, where magic is commonplace, you’ll be enrolling at a summer camp for Humans who have long since forgotten that Witchcraft exists. While summering in the Human Realm, you’ll have to conceal your identity and make sure not to get caught practicing your craft. Make friends, cast spells, and uncover secrets during your first ever summer away from home.

Doodle Monster

REAL TIME CHARACTERS

King of Clash Trivia Show Promo
King of Clash Trivia Show – Invitation to Lady B
King of Clash Trivia Show – Invitation to Galadon
Behind The Scenes

Christmas 2020: Journey

Kevin the Carrot is back for his 5th consecutive year in holiday marketing for Aldi thanks to Psyop Founder/Directors Todd + Kylie who gave birth to this anthropomorphized root vegetable 5 years ago and have since proven that sequels can in fact be just as good if not better than the original! This year, partnering with McCann Manchester, they delivered a fresh and creative story that perfectly adds to the Aldi repertoire. Opening with a teaser that pays homage to Top Gun in which Kevin gets lost after falling out of a fighter jet, this festive spot lives up to the hype of its predecessors and is sure to leave fans satisfied. On a mission to be reunited with his family in time for Christmas (a la Home Alone), Kevin treks across a snowy landscape to make his way back home but not without getting into some crazy antics along the way. The film is adventure-filled, heartwarming and of course sprinkled with cultural references, an Oscar-worthy performance by Jim Broadbent as Santa Claus, and subtle nods to other iconic films, E.T. and Pirates of The Caribbean, as always. 

Lost and Crowned

Spiderman ID

Care

At the start of April 2020, we were tasked by the creative team at Sedona in collaboration with Che Proximity, to produce an animated story that depicts the unique struggles of people working during this difficult time, specifically young moms. With the goal of shining a light on these unsung heroes, Psyop developed a heartwarming story that captures the intimacy and connection between loved ones that are forced to be apart during these trying times.

The story follows Esme, a nurturing mother, a caregiver, someone that provides for the community. As an essential worker at a market and a new mother, this time is particularly difficult for Esme as she struggles to balance work and life. As her workday unfolds, a pattern and rhythm is developed that highlights the challenging nature of her repetitive and physically demanding job. Esme stocks and restocks the shelves at the market until she is able to steal a moment of privacy in the intimate confines of the storeroom where WhatsApp allows her to connect with her family and be with them.

“We wanted to craft a story that conveyed the intensity of the moment, and the deep importance of feeling connected to loved ones in these times which are often so isolating. It was important to me that the animation be nuanced, reflecting the stillness of our world and the uncanny tension all around us. It was refreshing to see a brief that spoke to the heart of the moment. How people who are otherwise often overlooked in our society have become our heroes.” -Eve Strickman, Executive Producer

The 2D animation and cinematographic style of this piece were very purposefully chosen with the intention of creating a sense of realism similar to live action films. The delicate quality and fine lines of the 2D style perfectly capture the fragility of the world at this moment in time, while the sparing use of camera movement emphasizes the quiet stillness that everyone is feeling around them.

The project’s quick turnaround time combined with having to navigate newfound obstacles that come with working from home were the biggest challenges faced while making this project. The restrictions of Covid, however, allowed for a newly effective working relationship to develop between the studio, agency and client that was much more collaborative and communicative. And despite the time crunch (the project was pitched in only one day over Memorial Day weekend), the team was able to churn out an incredibly powerful piece that speaks to this unique and unparalleled moment in history where time with loved ones has become both precious and uncertain.

“We seek space to console one another in these isolated difficult times.  WhatsApp provides us with moments of intimate private connection with our friends and family. Our work, our families, our lives have changed in ways we never would have imagined, and being able to connect one on one, quickly and easily makes navigating these changes a little easier.” – Marie Hyon, Director

The Path, An Ionian Myth: Spirit Blossom 2020 Trailer

On the journey to his afterlife, a hero is lured off his path by evil spirits. Soon a series of events unfold, sure to leave you on the edge of your seat.

In close collaboration with Riot Games, Sun Creature directed and created this three-act short story full of mythical references, unpredictability, drama and of course the mandatory heart-pounding action scenes.

ACT I
Our hero wakes up on a shore confused and scared. As a fox guides him through serene and beautiful nature, we begin to sense an eerie and ominous presence. The world reveals its dark and dangerous sides, as an evil spirit attempts to lure the hero off his path.

ACT II
Our hero steps off his path and is surrounded by darkness immediately. The horrors of his death are revealed to him as the demon feeds on his despair and anger, awaiting the perfect moment to strike.

ACT III
As the two are confronted, darkness dissipates. They are trapped in the hero’s soul, frozen in time. The demon appears out of a sea of anger. The fight is epic and aggressive and the outcome will surprise you.

This project got us excited right from the get-go. The folktale storyworld and the anime style of animation are both near to our hearts, so we didn’t spare any effort making this film as epic as we possibly could.

In close collaboration with Riot Games, Sun Creature directed and created this three-act short story full of mythical references, power, unpredictability, drama and of course the mandatory heart-pounding action scenes.

The three acts each have their own visual expression, mimicking the hero’s emotional state as the narrative progresses.

The visual style is cinematic and inspired by East Asian art and culture, adding history, myth and lore, and creating an array of truly captivating scenarios resembling the feeling of walking through an ancient fable.

We were greatly inspired by anime references known for mixing moments of stillness and contemplation with extreme movement to create contrast and shifts in intensity, giving the film its spectacular and versatile look and feel.

Piper’s Sugar & Spice!

Series Trailer

Be Mine Tonight

Whole New World

Great Big Network

Cricket Wireless “Anthem Promo”
Cricket Wireless “The Wireless World”
Cricket Wireless “Phone Party”

ReCore E3 Trailer

Rush Wars

Clash Royale: Elixir Golem

Lineage Red Knights

Lineage Red Knights : Bling Bling
Lineage Red Knights : Oh! Hello

Adidas x Bape

As a sports buff, I had the extraordinary pleasure of unveiling Adidas’ latest football inspired collaboration with legendary streetwear brand Bape for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Spearheaded by the wonderful folks at Kamp Grizzly, we created a Saturday morning inspired animated series to help launch the new gear. The three part series is narrated by non other than Atlanta native Quavo and features a plethora of my favorite NFL athletes. With this many folks involved, the project was a true collaboration all the way around.

140 Hours Inbound

There is Mambo! There are Pink Flamingos, and there’s a taste of all you can do in 140 hours in Miami.

Hyatt’s The Confidante Hotel created a Twitter competition where people would describe their best way to spend 140 hours in Miami. Our job was to give life to the best tweet.

Drink Right, F*ck Right

The new campaign for responsible drinking from Brazilian beer SKOL (AB-Inbev) brings a edge and very realistic concept: “Drink Right, F*ck Right”. 

To get the public’s attention and build a dialogue, Wieden+Kennedy São Paulo had an insight on a subject that has never previously been mentioned in campaigns: sex. Hard-partying types with a harder fact – binge drinking and alcohol abuse in general leads to underwhelming sexual performance.

We created a non-stop animation with so many movements and elements to recreate the feeling of trying – and usually failing – to remember a crazy drunken night.  There are more elements and movements than it’s possible to handle, not least in bed.

25 Years

Cartoon Network has always been an inspiration for kids everywhere.
So much so, that even many grown-ups who work in animation do it exactly because of how much they loved Cartoon’s creations when they were young.

That’s why it was such a gigantic honor for us at Le Cube, after we too were not so long ago just kids sitting in front of the TV amazed by what we saw, to create the channel’s 25th-anniversary celebration film.

First Blood

RGA Shanghai’s latest collaboration with Final Frontier and Le Cube is a berserk animation for Boxing Cat Brewery’s new Amber Lager, a theme-song-cum-opening-credits action film about a superhero cat boxer intent on ridding China’s cities of mundane liquor, one haymaker at a time.

Back to the Stars

We’re proud to share our latest project made for China with our homies from Final Frontier – a short film for Ritz-Carlton, Sanya made with Saatchi & Saatchi, telling the real story of hotel guest Soviet Cosmonaut Vladimir Kovalenok. It’s a touching tale of love, loss, and soul-searching.

La Mer

“In the spirit of Albert Einstein, we wanted to create a film that will challenge our imagination. We love the story of Dr. Max Huber and the myth behind his journey to find the cure to heal his burnt skin. We believe the myth is more powerful than the reality. Our film focuses on the poetic legendary tale rather than the reality and its facts. Besides, reality leaves nothing to the imagination. For the first La Mer film, we focused on introducing Dr. Max Huber and telling his story. For the follow up film, we focus mainly on the fascination of exploring the unknown. Curiosity is the key to staying young. And the wonders of nature inspire the curious ones to seek out its secrets, and question what is beyond or beneath the surface. La Mer Part 2 is inspired by light and the transforming effect it has to surfaces. This element of change is magical to us, from the spectacular colorful displays of a sunrise, to the northern lights, to the illumination of light on the surface of water or ice and even beyond the surface. Inspired by Dr. Max Huber, we will tell a story of one traveler who represents us all.”
-Marie Hyon, Director

Marie Hyon
Director

-ALBERT EINSTEIN

“I AM ENOUGH OF AN ARTIST TO DRAW FREELY UPON MY IMAGINATION. IMAGINATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KNOWLEDGE. KNOWLEDGE IS LIMITED. IMAGINATION ENCIRCLES THE WORLD.”

Lab

Love Out Loud, A Silent Film

“When The Wonderful Agency and Teleflora approached me with this project, I was captivated by the idea of working on a long format film with such a strong creative potential. It, alloweding me a better flexibility to set the context, the background and to develop in detail the evolution of the main character as we follow this man over a long period of his life -, from his childhood to adulthood. This sequence of “slices of life” reminds me of the introduction to Disney’s film “Up”, where the most important moments in Carl’s life play outfollow one after another.” “It was a rich and challenging experience to see the character’s design evolve throughout the film, both in terms of styling and the ageing of his face, while also working on a range of his multiple expressions.” “I come from 3D, so the creation of this universe in 2D all in black and whiteB&W (with a few brushstrokes of red to highlight the flowers 😉 ) was a great opportunity to create longer shots, a varied cast of various characters and to craftcreate a more elaborated narrative.”

– Gary Levesque, WIZZ director

Jump Start

Sun Creature was approached Josh Mullens and Micah Walker, co-founders of the newly opened creative studio and agency, Bear Meets Eagle on Fire, based in Sydney. Having seen Sun Creature’s work on Travel Oregon, they decided a similar Japanese Anime approach would be a great fit for the Optus campaign.

Sun Creature’s Guillaume Dousse co-directed this project with French director and former Pixar animator, Louis Clichy, whose affinity for character driven stories wonderfully complimented Dousse’s experience from working on the Travel Oregon films.

They produced the film in only 7 weeks time and the final product screened in cinemas in Australia as well as on Television and online. 

Clash of Clans: Magic Show

Clash of Clans: Party Wizard

Cinematic Trailer

Hunters

Yet another wonderful collaboration with the team at Sun Creature, this short film was very dear to our hearts. This was a sensitive story, a grandmother reflecting on her life and retelling the story in the form of a fairytale to her grandson. We wanted this film to feel as though it were being imagined through the eyes of a child; the innocence, the menace, the surrender and the salvation.

Kylie Matulick – Director

No Time to Explain

Only Slightly (More) Exaggerated

Inspired by the viral success of their Only Slightly Exaggerated campaign in 2018, Travel Oregon partnered again with Wieden + Kennedy and Psyop to tell part two of this magical tale.

With the creative learnings from the first film, directors Todd & Kylie with animation partners Sun Creature pushed up the dial on the fantasy this round. With more breathtaking vistas and fantastical creatures, hovering just in the liminal space between imagination and reality, Travel Oregon is at once a loving homage to Oregon and a celebration of that exhilarating feeling all travelers experience of the sublime places they carry back in their memories and hearts.

See Case Study

Creative Development

“We had such a wonderful and successful collaboration with Sun Creature and Wieden + Kennedy last year on our Travel Oregon film and it was exciting to rekindle those fires for a second time. This year we were able to launch right into creative development and production because we already had a solid working methodology road tested from the previous year.  As well as traveling through some of the beautiful Oregon landscapes we really wanted to expand on the magic and whimsy. We were able to create some great mythical creatures: a rocky turtle island that controls the rising sun, an old bathing tree that feeds the bees, a furry beast that enjoys feasting on doughnuts and majestic cloud giants. It was, once again, an amazing collaboration of incredibly talented artists pouring their passion into every frame and it shows.” 

Kylie Matulick, Director

Only Slightly Exaggerated

“When Travel Oregon approached us with their brief, we were beyond excited by the idea. The call for a cinematic short film that was hand crafted and fully animated, filled with the natural beauty of Oregon but elevated to new heights through magical realism was an instant “hell yes”!!!

We visited Oregon and began brainstorming the particular landmarks and narrative moments that could be heightened with native animals, some mythical creatures and a little animated magic. Every destination needed to have it’s own unique little moment and we had a great time experimenting with how to tell the story.

Once the general narrative was locked in, we collaborated with the amazing Sun Creature to bring this to life. They shared the same love and passion for this project and truly brought their A-game.

In the end, we hope that people watch the film and are simply lifted away to this beautiful part of the world. And then, go explore the real thing!”

– Kylie Matulick & Todd Mueller, Directors

Love Death and Robots Episode 17 *Animation Partner

How do you rain death, doom and destruction on history’s most reviled baddie? Sun Creature pushes the absurd with Headless directors Victor and Alfredo for Netflix’s Black Mirror-esq collection of NSFW animated shorts – Love, Death and Robots. Jello molds, robot armies and sex orgies – nothing is out of the question when it comes to taking down the Führer.

“Alternate Histories” crams a lot into seven-and-a-half minutes, and the fact that it does so with such ridiculous bite is a testament to directors Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres, here collaborating with Sun Creature Studio and regular series writer Philip Gelatt. It’s proof that Love, Death & Robots is at its finest when it’s short, sweet and satirically nasty.”

-Daily Beast

The Reward: The Legend of Alethrion

“In its first day on Vimeo, The Reward gathered 164,000 views, and many more followed. Its creators…channeled the hype into a crowdfunded series, The Reward: Tales of Alethrion, and launched Sun Creature Studio.

Through a combination of talent, ambition, and hard work, they’ve managed to create a franchise that rivals in quality anything produced by much better-funded corporate networks, and perhaps as importantly, they’ve also built a dedicated audience for their work.”

Cartoon Brew

Show Reel 2019

Crib

The Mermaid

The Postman

Clash of Clans: Winter Townhall

Brawl Stars: Brawloween

Overwatch League Grand Finals 2019

With the help of Blizzard Entertainment, Golden Wolf powered up the Overwatch League Grand Finals with an epic series of team spots featuring players moving through cities and larger-than-life manifestations of their team mascots and logos. 

CrossClimate

Stop the Abuse

League of Legends – Campaign

When Riot approached Sun Creature on an action-packed series of films for League of Legends, the team knew they needed to create something that felt authentic to the close-knit gamer fan base – a group that never shies from voicing an opinion.

Knowing that each script called for dynamic action, they brought on director Maremi Watanabe for her unique voice within this narrative style. They then surrounded her with a team of specialized artists who knew the genre inside and out from a character designer who played LOL on his off hours (which were woefully few during the intense production) to a Japanese studio who helped choreograph the cinematography.

The end result: non-stop action, swerving camera moves, a few cheeky winks and some very gorgeous films. 

DEVELOPMENT, CONCEPT, DESIGN

Greatest Show

“We can’t believe this is Kevin’s 4th year celebrating the holidays with us! Every year these spots seem to get bigger and bigger but certainly we seem to have blown the roof off this one. Regardless of the challenges, these spots are a total blast to make. We get to design, build, and film these incredible sets. Then we get to take the footage home and bring Kevin and his family into it all.

I can’t overstate how much we like this exact pipeline of comping CG animation into cinematography. Being able to work with the real world lighting in CG just makes everything look so dang good. The camera moves were particularly tricky this year around. In fact the camera kept smashing into the food and at one point there was potatoes and gravy dripping off the lens. The AC was none too happy.  Another tricky bit on this one was the way the main display of food came down into the set. We basically had 200 lbs of a double decker six foot wide platter of food descend into the shot on ropes. Again, the gravy really didn’t want to cooperate. I just can’t stop imagining what Kevin’s going to get up to next year!” 

Todd Mueller, Director 

The Heroic Quest of Prince Ivandoe

A fearless, young prince, a nervous but dedicated squire, a dastardly, evil poodle, the jokes abound in Sun Creature’s cheeky “The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe.” Working with Cartoon Network and directors Christian Bøving-Andersen and Eva Lee Wallberg their original series is ten episodes full of daring-do and very, silly fun. 

The team dived in from the inception, designing characters that could embody the outlandish personalities bestowed upon them by the creators and building magical, hand-crafted sets to serve as the backdrop to hilarious adventures. 

The series is currently only available in Europe, but if you shoot us a note detailing your best adventure… well let’s just say we always reward the brave of heart. 

Man and Dog

On any given day in the Psyop offices, there can be anywhere from a few well behaved dogs napping in patches of sun to a veritable pack of wild beasts, roaming the halls on the hunt for stray crumbs, bouncing tennis balls, or–honestly, it’s hard to say exactly what’s going through a dog’s mind at any given moment.

It’s this idea–the mysterious interior of a dog’s imagination–that was the inspiration for Psyop’s latest work, an animated spot for Coca-Cola called “Man and Dog,” devised in collaboration with ad agency Wieden+Kennedy.

Directed by Todd Mueller & Kylie Matulick, “Man and Dog” is the story one man and one dog, and the way they each experience a simple walk through the park. For the man, it’s another ordinary day, but for the dog… well, it’s not quite the same thing.

“Sure, occasionally one dials 911 or wins America’s Got Talent, but for the most part, dogs are idiots. That’s why we love them,” explained Todd.

“They have the curious, imaginative minds of a six year old–specifically mine–who thinks every stick is excalibur, every bit of string is a lightning whip,” added Kylie. “Dogs don’t see a heap of two-week old laundry; they see a castle ready to be defended, then napped in. Where we see a cumbersome vacuum cleaner, they see an alien robot loudly singing its home planet’s anthem. At least that’s what my six year old told me.”

The team had to walk a very narrow line in order to do this project correctly, making it feel not only familiar and classic, but also imaginative and fresh.

“We wanted this film to be genuinely drawn by hand, like classic 2d animation we grew up with, but with more depth and dimension”. “It’s nostalgic but new, it shows love and focus, it’s crafted but nicely flawed, we wanted it to have a truly original look that only exists in this moment.”

Throughout the film, the perspective shifts back and forth between man and dog, each view standing out stylistically from the other. The team achieved this by approaching both from different angles not only visually but technically.“To truly appreciate the unique feeling of looking at the world through a dog’s eyes, we had to make sure that his moments really set themselves apart from the rest of the spot,” Kylie explained.

“To achieve this, we did as much as we could to shift the feeling of the moment, from unique camera moves, the look and sound of the action. Things become brighter, more fanciful, and it’s clear that you’re seeing things in a new way.”

Environments were comprised of digital matte paintings that were first painted in Photoshop on layers and eventually broken up onto cards and projected across 3d geometry, using both Maya and Nuke software. This hybrid 2D/3D look was particularly important for establishing the dog’s unique POV, which drives the fun spirit of the spot. Objects seen in this perspective needed to be created in 3d, including pieces of the environment as well as additional characters that the dog encounters, such as the motorcycle-riding squirrels.

Casting the right man and dog for the spot was monumentally important, and was a process that saw the creation of dozens upon dozens of different canines and their potential owners before landing on the final look.

In the end, it was character designer Lois van Baarle who won the day with her scruffy protagonist, an interpretation that would feel comfortable coming off the pen of one of Disney’s “nine old men.” Additional artists then helped flesh out both the Man & Dog’s expressions and attitudes to prepare them for their starring roles.

Character designs were then brought to Duncan Studio in Pasadena, who collaborated with Psyop on the 2D portion of the film, from rough sketches and blocking down to inked and painted final cels. In addition to the characters being hand-drawn, colors, shadows, and highlights were also added in the final hand-drawn animation phase. While animators at Duncan Studio focused on character animation, Psyop added additional effects, color trails, smoke, dust, and more, all in 2D.

The final step was the compositing stage, where Psyop’s artists completed the production puzzle by integrating 3D renders with 2D animation, and laid them both out together among the film’s painted environments. When all was said and done, the resulting spot became a uniquely modern piece of art, combining techniques and styles from across generations for a one-of-a-kind result.

AWARDS

ANNIE AWARDS – “Best Animated Television Commercial” – Winner

STUTTGART INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ANIMATED FILM – “Animated Com Award” – Winner, Grand Prix

“In the computer-animated world of today, this spot is a rare piece. While it was inspired by traditional animation and drawn by hand, it plays with new depth and dimensions. This has resulted in a small piece of art, combining the techniques and styles of several generations of animated film. A simple story – a man walks his dog – thus makes a shift in perspective possible which can change the world.”

SHOTS AWARDS – “Best Use Of Animation” – Winner

ADDY AWARDS – “Best Animated Advertisement – Winner, Gold

CICLOPE AWARDS – “Best 2D Animation” – Winner

WEBBY AWARDS – “Best Online Animation (Branded) – Nominee

Vole

Happiness Factory

Emmy Nominated

Sea

Twinings “Hill”

Wall and Chain

In May 2012, an Airbnb guest, Cathrine, told us a powerful story of a trip she took to Berlin with her father, Jörg, a Berlin Wall guard at the height of the Cold War. She wanted to show him the vibrant city Berlin had become, but it was the man they met at their Airbnb apartment that changed everything for Jörg.

AWARDS
WEBBY AWARDS – “Best Online Animation (Branded)” – People’s Choice Winner
D&AD Awards – “Animation For Film Advertising” – Graphite Pencil
ADC Awards – “Advertising, Digital & Motion” – Bronze Cube
AICP Awards – “Best Animated Advertisement” – Winner
Shorty Awards – “Multi-Platform Campaign” – Finalist

PRESS
Ad Age: How Airbnb Brought Two Berlin Wall Border Guards Back Together – Lodging Website Uses True Story to Illustrate the Power of its Brand
Mashable: Airbnb Turns a Touching Berlin Wall Anniversary Story Into Ad Campaign
Adweek: VCCP, Airbnb Animated By Cold War Memories
Campaign: World’s Talking About Wall and Chain
Brandingmag: Airbnb Breaks Down Walls While Opening Up Doors
INC: What Airbnb Can Teach You About Content Strategy
Contently: How Airbnb Is Using Content Marketing To Stay On Top

Enchanted Forest

“It’s been five years since Psyop made their mark on the industry with Happiness Factory — the high flying, CG fable that defined a commercial genre they helped to create. If it’s not broke, then don’t fix it, and once more, the studio plays with the textbook devices that make Psyop distinctively Psyop. In their latest work, magical imagery and a wizardry of craft assure that Enchanted Forest stands shoulder to shoulder aside a long line of Psyop classics.”

  • Motionographer

“FedEx touts its low emission vehicles and sustainability efforts with a nicely produced spot out of BBDO NY and Smuggler/Psyop. Set in an enchanted forest with a deep-voiced narrator, the spot tells the story of how a shipping giant befriended a forest. Forest backplates were created with live-action with lighting drawn from that, and then integrated with animation.”

  • Creativity Magazine

Garden Party

The Route: Phil’s Unfinished Story

Welcome to Retropolis

Wire Cutters

Clash of Clans: Magnificent 25

Theatre Montage Campaign

As a result of our collaboration with branding agency Bailey Lauerman, AMC Theatres introduced a whole new pre-show, on-screen experience that has been entertaining patrons as much as the movies themselves.

These 16 original pre-movie vignettes — everything from theater cell phone policies to emergency exit location information — playfully convey necessary information while creating a fan base all their own. Partnering with AMC to modernize their graphics, Psyop brought the brand to life in a zippy new world that creates excitement for the audience while still conveying important theatre policy and safety information.

To do this, we designed, scripted, and produced more than two dozen story vignettes in multiple genres, including stereoscopic versions, to keep AMC moviegoers aware, informed, and engaged.

Clash of Clans: Legend of the Last Lava Pup