French directing duo Double Ninja contstruct a beautiful, ornate, gold-dipped CGI extravaganza to tell a tale of love and creation in their promo for Magic by electronic singer/producer Mystery …
Die Antwoord ft The Black Goat 'Alien' by Ninja
Die Antwoord's latest video is another boundary-pusher by the South African rave-rap group - directed by the band's Ninja from a story conceived by him with bandmate (and wife) Yolandi Visser – that skewers America's made possible by the work of LA-based visual effects studio JAMM.
Shot in Detroit, the video for Alien features Yolandi as a hoodie-wearing, insect-resembling alien. As she walks through a gritty and starkly real world, her non-citizen status denies her service at a diner, forcing her to trawl the streets alone.
Amidst the bleak background, a glowing centipede-like creature encircles the alien girl. She catches it, and eats it – ravenously – tearing into its carcass and gooey entrails. A metamorphosis begins, as a webbed cocoon begins to grow and glow around the entire shape of her body. The process becomes even more gorgeously realized through another transformation from unreal to real, as a second creature breaks through the cocoon. Emerging through the webbing, a human girl is revealed (played by Sixteen Jones, Ninja and Yolandi’s real-life daughter.)
Ninja's typically idiosyncratic parody on attitudes towards outsiders and migrants came out of his own sense of otherness that Die Antwoord felt when they came to the United States. He was introduced to JAMM by editor Leo Scott, his goal for the VFX was to create something never-before-seen yet authentic-feeling, a creature transformation which could exist within the pages of National Geographic.
“Ninja has such a strong vision,” says Andy Boyd, VFX Supervisor at JAMM. “He knows exactly how he wants something to look, and he works with you to get there and get it onto the screen.”
References from the natural world - moths, plants, coral and growing mushrooms - were interpreted to create the cocoon-like formation. JAMM made a custom digital mould that could evolve, with thin threads of webbing that would grow down the contour of her body. As the webbing grows, there is a physicality to it that grows denser and denser.
“We're used to doing complex creature work... the cocoon was a new type of challenge,” says CG artist Zak DiMaria, who led the JAMM team through the cocoon FX simulation, the most challenging aspect of the VFX process. “It was important to Ninja that the cocoon looked very real, but also unlike anything people had seen before. We based the material of the cocoon on different moulds and fungi to ground it in reality. Then we simulated it and allowed it to evolve and grow on its own into a very detailed and beautiful structure.”
Another exciting aspect for this project was creating a photorealistic centipede with the wings of a damselfly, explains animation supervisor Stew Burris. “Ninja had a clear idea in his mind of how this creature should move and behave. He didn't want it to look too Tinkerbell or Fairy-like. Because this creature does not exist in nature, I used a combination of damselfly and centipede references to find a believable middle ground. These are the types of challenges I truly enjoy as an animator.”
Additionally, JAMM created the CG opening titles featuring the neon-lit insect encircling the Die Antwoord logo and song title. The sequence sets the mood for the entire film, a bizarre visual feast enhanced by JAMM’s attention to detail, from the creation of the centipede’s glowing internal organs to the delicate webbing of the cocoon.
|Director of Photography||Alexis Zabe|
|Other credits||Story By: NINJA & ¥O-LANDI Conceptual Designer: AARON BECK Alien Girl: ¥o-landi Vi$$er Human Girl: Sixteen Jones Practical VFX: JASON HAMER VFX Supervisor: Andy Boyd FX: Zachary DiMaria Animation Supervisor: Stew Burris CG Artist: Brian Burke Lead Flame: Patrick Munoz Production Coordinator: Justine Pregler Executive Producer: Asher Edwards Additional VFX: BIG LAZY ROBOT|
Double Ninja (aka Thomas Vernay) brings an appealing Metal Hurlant style to this cartoon adventure for Mystery Skulls.
Hang on, that's not YoLande...
Written and directed by French creative director duo Double Ninja, whose previous music videos for the Parisian band Caravan Palace include the hugely and popular Lone Digger, and Miracle.
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