Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More from Gears of War 2

So, as promised in my last post I'm back with a couple shot break downs and the one piece of content from the site that was entirely mine start to finish.

First off are the break downs. They're fairly simple and self explanatory.

And lastly there's the "Last Flower" content in which Cole is practicing his sharp shooting on what may well be the last batch of flowers on Sera. Truly a tender moment. For this I tried to go a little overkill given the short turn around but I think it came out well.

I tracked footage I shot to give it that hand held wiggle, and then layered a bunch of pre-rendered 3d objects into 3d Space in After Effects. A little particle effects for the popping flowers and a little smoke for atmosphere and it all stitched together quite nicely.

Well, that's it from me for this project, but the site is still up and everything is unlocked now so by all means give it a look and check out all the other goodies that everyone put together.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gears of War 2: The Last Day

The Last Day is an experiential website that takes you through a destroyed city on the day that humanity burrows underground to fight The Locust. Viewed from the point of view of JACK, Marcus Fenix's companion robot, who awakens to find himself in the midst of destruction.

This project probably pushed me farther out on a limb than I've ever been before. Reason being that we were tasked with creating the entire experience with in game graphics, and that we were going to have to build all of our assets with the Unreal 3 development engine. As the only member of my team with any real experience doing any kind of 3d production I was picked to receive training.

I spent a week training Alex Okita at Black Point Studios in SOMA. After 5 days of intense learning I came back to my office and over the next month built all the navigational assets for the site and provided assets to several other artists to be assembled into various content pieces for the site.

The environment in the site is a manipulated version of a previously assembled level. The bulk of my time was spent rearranging and retexturing objects, re-lighting the scene, and animating the camera. Another mandate was that we never show a "still frame", meaning that every time the camera stopped on an object there had to be a looping background video available. All in all there are 26 stopping points.

My two favorite shots from this project are the final lockup of the sunset and the reflection of JACK in the side of the van in a pile of rubble. The sunset was a favorite because It involved a fair amount of polishing after we got a render out of the unreal engine. The reflection is a favorite because in involved a fair amount of roto and matchmoving to get it to look right. Below I've posted a video of the complete fly through without any of the programatic distortion that was done in flash.

There's more content pieces and shot breakdowns to come, but for now I'd recommend that everyone should get the full experience and check out the site.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gears of War 2


So a few weeks ago the site I've been working on for the last few months went live. I've held off until now because when it first launched there wasn't much to look at other than to scroll through the navigation.

now, a few weeks later, about half of the content is unlocked. Give it a look and check back after the game comes out on November 7th to see a full post (with video) of everything I worked on for this project.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gears of War: Emergence Day

My work here was part of the experiential site for the first Gears of War game. In this site you're looking through the eyes of Marcus Fenix who's in jail remembering the events that led him to being incarcerated through a series of cryptic flashbacks.

This was my first project where I was leading the video production. This could have something to do with the fact that I was the only guy doing any of the video production work, but I like to think that's cuz they wanted to give me a trial by fire.

My task was to create videos for the 4 different flashbacks. This was very much a precursor project to the Iris work I did for Halo 3, in that I was given a selection of stock footage, game footage, and a dev kit to capture more game footage from. What I couldn't get from that wound up either being quickly made in Maya or got composited together from high res concept art.

One of the cool things about this project is that Epic Games gave us the entire sound library from the game. So when you're hearing the sound effects and the Locust are screaming at you, you're actually hearing what you would hear in the game. The VO is mostly made up of talent we pulled from our office, with a few choice tracks of Marcus and Dom scattered throughout.

I spent 2 weeks on this project. The last 4 days were spent working without sleep, at the end of which my body just about gave up on me and I came down with what is to date the worst cold/flu/debilitating sick feeling I've ever had. I actually tried to come in and keep working but was turned away with the same kind of regard people used to give to leper. I took the hint and ended up relinquishing the last few corrections of work to my good friend Caio who added the finishing touches to the gritty masking effect and handed off final assets to the developers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

AKQA: Woof

These are a selection of clips from the 2006 AKQA holiday card that I worked on. This was a very short project, but was a lot of fun.

We shot the various office dogs against a white background and then got to come up with a number of ways to kill them. the hardest part of all of this actually turned out to be finding a loop-able chunk of footage for each of the dogs we worked with(except for Chad, he's a consummate professional).

I was responsible for doing everything for the various 3d elements in the shots, and once that was done I got to do full assembly for the Anvil shot (which has been my favorite shot since the initial concept).

The rest of the shots were assembled by Caio Lazzuri.





One last note: I strongly recommend checking out the site  the clips I have don't have the final audio and the Anvil shot comes alive when the sound is on.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Halo 3: Believe


Immediately following the work I did on the IRIS campaign I started getting briefed on Believe. This was to be the experiential site that was going to accompany a larger TV campaign. The Agency in charge of the TV spots had commissioned New Deal Studios to build a 30x40 foot diorama of the Battle of New Mombasa (where Master Chief saved the day... yet again) which was populated with several hundred figurines made by Stan Winston Studios.

The whole thing was shot on 2 motion control rigs over 2 days. The footage was then stitched together and had the sky roto'd out.

My involvement was doing the sky replacement (including learning how to do 3d tracking with no prior experience), roto for the various rotating characters that appear when you click one of the floating icons, and the motion tracking for all the clickable hotspots in the timeline.

Executive Creative Director: Rei Inamoto
Creative Director: John Jakubowski
Associate Creative Director: Thiago Zanato Tripodi
Creative Lead: Hoj Jomehri
Art Director: Kevin Hsieh
Copywriters: Joel Kaplan/ Keith Hostert
Creative Developer: Jason Gatt
Title Sequence: Caio Lazzuri
Senior Designer: Alex Lyman
Motion Designer: Matt Law
Associate Motion Designer: Rian Devos
Producer: Nancy Cardillo/ Larry Ewing
Senior Technical Project Manager: Kirk Kepley
Group Account Director: Simon Jefferson
Account Director: Erica Power
Senior Account Executive: Nicole Biondi
Diorama: New Deal Studios (Director - Matt Gratzner)
Figurines: Stan Winston Studio
Sound Design: Richard Devine

The Together Experience

This was another project for Xbox. It involved a lot of actors drawing illustrated objects in the air. The bulk of my involvement in this project was in the planning stages to figure out the most effective way to achieve the drawing effect given the limited in house resources and budget available to us.

The method we decided on was to do point tracking in after effects and use Trapcode Particular to emit a trail of particles for the line writing. For some of the larger objects in the site we just made the trails wider and used them to mask on pre composed objects and type.

In the end I wound up only producing 2 of the final shots (seen below). Both shots are for idol loops that play when the site has been sitting undisturbed for a bout a minute or so. These are only 2 of about 12 that were embedded in the final sight. So if you're looking for these in the actual site, it may take a while.



Visit the site here

The vast majority of the videos produced for this site were done by Jeremiah Wassom and Stefan Belavy.

Jeremiah's site:

Stefan's site:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Halo 3: Iris

Iris is one of my favorite projects I've ever worked on.  By the time it got to me the idea and structure had been flushed out but all I got was "we're going to make an ARG, it will be long and complicated, and at the end of each part we want there to be a video being played through an alien server."

When they asked for that they had no idea what anything was going to look like. The server, the environment it was housed in, and the video itself were all up for grabs.  So I along with my immediate supervisor set about designing the actual servers themselves.  We each came up with 4 different designs, and internally decided on 1 that could be subtly modified and repeated to create 5 different servers.  Mine didn't get chosen which meant I was tasked with the rest of the materials needed to make the servers.

This turned out to be the best job I could have ever hoped for.  I wound up being put in charge of all the environments that the servers would be housed in as well as all of the content videos that would play when the user figured out which symbol to click on.

There were Five in total.  For the most part they were edited with Final Cut Pro, and tweaked, colored, and effected in After Effects.  When the videos called for assets that couldn't be bought as stock footage, or shot locally, I wound up doing some work in Maya to fill in the gaps.

Below are the 5 videos:

Server 1

Server 2

Server 3

Server 4

Server 5

The Ball is Already Rolling

Hello, my name's Matt.  As of this moment right now I'm working as a Motion Graphics artist at AKQA in San Francisco.  I've been working there for 3 years and 7 months, which is 2 weeks longer than I've been out of school.

Having now been out in the working world for longer than the sum of my post high school education, I've decided it's time to seriously consider my career and maintain my work, achievements, and personal projects in a single location.  Somewhere I can easily update and watch my body of work grow and evolve.  I also want to have a place to refer potential employers to.

So here begins what I am going to be treating as a constantly updating portfolio. It will end up being more than that, but for now I’ll be posting about projects I’ve worked on along with video clips of my work.

If you’re interested in learning more about me / e-stalking me.  Feel free to check out the following links: