Computer Graphics World

April-May-June 2024

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24 cgw a p r i l • m ay • j u n e 2 0 2 4 H ead Shoppe is the latest creative effort from Eric "Ca- shew" Harding, who was previously in Eagle Winged Palace. The self-titled album, set for release on June 7th, was produced and mixed by Kenneth James Gib- son at Meadows Heavy Recorders in Idyllwild, California, and mas- tered by Shawn Hatfield at Audible Oddities. The instrumental album blends hallucinating classical guitars with whirling vintage synths, damaged tape loops, and haunted field recordings. The single "Séance" was released on May 9th and includes an animated music video that was created by Studio Sparks. The vi- suals were inspired by Italian horror movies from the 1970s, which were known for their use of saturated colors and mysterious kill- ers. In it, a shadowy figure with a knife slowly pursues a woman, who runs away in an effort to escape the stalker. Imagery of flow- ers, blood, a black cat, and an antique chandelier are woven to- gether to amplify the sense of danger. "Aesthetically, we used the same style we did for another Head Shoppe video for the song 'Chapultepec Parque,'" explains Stu- dio Sparks' Lucas Moreira, who is a partner in the Porto, Portu- gal-based creative studio with Cristiana Figueiredo. "That style is achieved [by] focusing on bright and flat colors in contrast with lots of blacks and black outline." The studio primarily used Adobe Aer Effects for animation, along with a 3D-based particle plug-in from Video Copilot called Element 3D. "[It's] a very old piece of soware…but works fine for what we need, and it's pretty simple and fast," notes Moreira. "We are able to render in real time and see the final look as we go." For modeling and animating the characters, Studio Sparks used Blender. "[It's] a free soware that is growing so much recently, and has a great community with a lot of add-ons and plug-ins," he notes. For character animation, Moreira says the studio will oen use Mixamo, a free character library that offers them lots of move- ments and the possibility for customization in Blender. "We basically make things in Blender—with some animation from Mixamo—and we export to Aer Effects, where we put ev- erything together and create the final look: a 3D animation that looks 2D." For this specific project, Moreira says they decided to use blended transitions rather than cuts, and therefore didn't require any editing soware. Instead, they completed the entire video in Aer Effects. Ultimately, Moreira says the inspiration for the visu- als all came from the music itself. "The inspiration for colors, characters, the transitions, the rhythm of the transitions, and Eric's music has been an incredible source of inspiration for us, and we think the videos we did for him are some of our best work. At the same time, they are some of the ones we had more pleasure in doing." MUSIC VIDEO: "SÉANCE" ANIMATING STRIKING VISUALS INSPIRED BY 1970S ITALIAN HORROR. BY MARC LOFTUS

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