Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Merry Christmas One And All!

From us here at Picasso HQ and from all of our Directors, we wish you the very merriest of festive seasons amd beyond!

Here, to play us out, is our annual Christmas card designed by our own Mia Nilsson.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

tokyoplastic debut stunning short at Whistler

Fresh from the Whistler Film Festival in Canada we bring you Princess, a beautifully traditional story of true love and happiness...or is it?  

This stunningly animated spot was created by tokyoplastic and produced by Picasso Pictures for Dare Canada as part of a 3 spot campaign which has become a viral spotlight on Canada's most unique film festival.   

The film starts like any other predictable Hollywood movie…but takes a hard left turn. Inspired by Disney favourites, what seems an idyllic princess story quickly turns into a scene you'd sooner expect from a movie sharing a shelf with Scarface.  Just like the festival itself,  expect the unexpected…

“Mainstream movies are predictable, with the same stories told time and time again. Hardcore film buffs who attend festivals like Whistler want to see something new and original. They enjoy the experimental nature of festivals—sometimes they get something good, sometimes terrible, but it’s always original and unexpected.”  Dare's Executive Creative Director Rob Sweetman.

The resulting work, 'Princess', premiered to a raptuous reception. and has very quickly spread virally with over 35,000 views since its debut. We're thrilled to be able to share this work with you and hope you enjoy this surprisng take on this classic genre as much as we do!

Production Company: Picasso Pictures, London
Executive Producer: Jane Bolton, Richard Price
Producer: Richard Price
Director: Tokyoplastic
Agency: Dare, Vancouver
Creative Director: Bryan Collins, Rob Sweetman
Copywriter: Mia Thomsett
Art Director: Rob Sweetman
Producer: Mike Hasinoff
Music/Sound Design: Adelphoi Music, London
Music Producer: Greg Moore
Composer: Jamie Masters
Sound Design: Andrew Sherriff
Sound Mix: Koko Productions
Sound Producer: Steve Lowe
Sound Engineer: Chris Hobbs

Steve May for Sam Frank's 'Simple Life'

The ever so excellent Steve May has lent his abundant creative talents to creating this stunning music video for Sam Frank's latest single 'Simple Life'. Featuring May's inimitable drawn style, this video is sure to be another knockout hit.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Festive Twitterings

For the festive season we've had ourselves a merry little revamp of our social media home! Thanks to the wonderful Shelley Revill for the photoshop help, it's much appreciated!

Seasons Greetings from all here at Picasso HQ!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Fresh Out The Oven!

Well this has certainly been one exciting week for new work by some really exciting artists.

We have the wonderful Brazillian BEELD's channel idents hot off the presses for Megapix, rejuvinating the brand and creating an entirely new and exciting aesthetic for the channel. They had this to say about the project:

'We teamed up with Megapix to develop the first update to the channel's on air package design since it's launch in 2008. The main goal was to reinvigorate its visual identity widely recognized by the green hue and cube shaped elements. The targets that guided the creative process was those of extended durability ( project life cycle) and maintenance of the strong differential among other cable movie channels. The result is an identity that's extremely consistent and functional, easily renderable to other media, that brings in each fragment the distinct presence of the channel brand.'
Now you can watch them below...

PIX Id C from BEELD.motion on Vimeo.

PIX Id A from BEELD.motion on Vimeo.

Not only that but the gang have also made this stunning channel ident for Telecine called 'The Man Who Had Never Been To The Movies'. They had this to say of the project:

This short film was created for the "Go to the movies" campaign of Telecine Network. It tells the thrilling story of a man who dreads the darkness of the movie theatres. The narrative unfolds into a mix of different techniques and animation languages; an authentic visual experiment
Catch the sublime piece of work below...
Then we have some beautiful work by the talented illustrator/animator Steve May, who brings us this short piece called 'Amp', check it out below...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Picasso Pictures Voted in Top 30 Best Commercial Production Companies

We're chuffed to bits over here at Picasso HQ as last week the fantastic Televisuals Magazine has included us in their Top 30 Best Commercial Production Companies. Thanks to everyone who has enjoyed and supported our work this year, here's to an equally prosperous 2012!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Cesar Pesquera's Circle One Released

The fabulous Cesar Pesquera of Picasso Directing team Actop, has released his amazing new short film Circle One. Watch the film and a Q&A session the director had FormFiftyFive below...

Circle One (Círculo Uno) from César Pesquera on Vimeo.

Hello César, I’ve just watched Circle One for the third time, it’s both beautiful and harrowing, can you tell us a little about your influences and inspiration?
—César Pesquera
Thank you. I am glad you like it enough to watch it three times. It all started with the idea of something happening or appearing in you daily life, in your normal environment. At the end of the day if you think about it all the horror movies are based on that, something strange, disturbing, unknown that produces a destabilisation in someone’s normal life. Then I had this image in my mind of someone walking down these corridors, very much like in THX 1138. I finally borrowed some elements from Dante’s Divine Comedy and that gave me some sort of scaffolding to start writing the script.
But I guess the central idea behind the film is to what extent those seemingly traumatic events are unconsciously caused by ourselves in order to facilitate the escape from a trap that is essentially of our own making.
In terms of influences, as I said, the film is a combination of the influence of mainstream directors like George Lucas and Stanley Kubrick, whose work I consider visually fascinating and, let’s say, more art house directors like Tarkovski, Bela Tarr or Michael Haneke, whose films I love and whose influence can be seen in Circle One’s pace and atmosphere.
Corridors seem to play a big part in sci-fi films, could you talk about the environment in which René is living?
Yes, actually this image of someone walking down these big corridors was present in the project even before any narrative element, so I knew that these parts where going to play a big roll in the film. Somehow I am fascinated by these kinds of transitory spaces, the idea of non-place coined by Marc Augé, they are places without history that affect our notions of space, our relationship with reality and with others. Can be supermarkets, highways or hotels. René is living in Circle One which in Dante’s Divine Comedy is the Limbo so somehow I liked the idea of him living in a massive non-place. It has also to do with the idea of liminality, the idea of being in some kind of transitional state, like René is. He is in a no man’s land somehow.
That’s really interesting, I’m a big fan on the non-place myself. I guess this must have been what attracted me to the film.
I noticed that some of the music was composed and performed by yourself, you must feel very passionately about it. How important do you think the sound design is?
Sound design is essential, but not only in terms of music but also in terms of the whole atmosphere of the short film. We worked a lot on that aspect, if you listen carefully you’ll hear these rumours, like engines. Somehow in my mind I was imagining that this world is formed by nine circles (like in the Divine Comedy’s hell) that are actually moving until their position periodically allows the redistribution of people between the different circles. That treatment in sound design gave the film that atmosphere of unease that I was looking for. Quique Montaña and Pau Tolosa from La Fabrica de Carbon did a great job with sound design. Vicent Fugere composed the track ‘Le Cycle Sans Retard’ and I composed ‘Architecture Of Uncertainty’. We are now thinking of remixing each other and releasing a limited edition of the soundtrack in vinyl.
It certainly produces an uneasy viewing experience! Makes me think of what a combination of Clint Mansell’s soundtrack for Moon and The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place by Explosions in the Sky would sound like.
You can see Build’s Grid-Based-Clock in the trailer — I personally love the light switch in René’s room, can you tell us little more about the technology in the film?
Those little details tell the viewer that the action is not taking place here and today but somewhere else, in a different time, in this case in an hypothetical future. That was important to me since I didn’t want to tell the story of one person, someone that could be your neighbour, but I wanted to tell an idea, a concept, like in a fable. Michael C. Placekindly allowed me to use his Grid-Based-Clock and I designed the rest of the graphics in order to portray, with just a few elements, an alternative world. In fact I even created an alternative alphabet in order to achieve that.
You did a great job. I like the fact it’s still believable, nothing too extravagant.
What are your plans for Circle One and the future?
At the moment I want to show the short film as much as I can at festivals. In June I’ll be talking about it at OFFF 2011 in Barcelona, and now I am working on a new short film that will close some kind of trilogy about transitory places together with Circle One and my previous short film Passer/8.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Introducing Sam Hope!

The last few months here at Picasso HQ have been busier than a fancy hat shop during Ascot with two new Directors coming on board, a mountain of stupendous new work from Holbrook's Film's viral for Baileys to Mia Nilsson's work with Gulf Air and so much more. However, this week sees one more milestone for the year, the addition of the wonderful Sam Hope to our Production team.

There's nothing nicer than filling the office with smart, creative types and Sam is as smart and creative as they come. Having dipped her finger in every pie from Producing the visuals for Rihanna's Rated R tour to founding the Animation division at production company HSI London in 2002 and to being on the board of almost every Animation Festival from here to Chicago. We sat down, in so much as our desk is next to hers, to talk shop, sweets and success...

Picasso: So tell us, why are you currently packing pic'n'mix into tiny plastic bags right now? We thought you were an Animation Producer, are you branching out into Tuck Shops?

Sam: Its very important work actually, I am making “Thank You for Listening” Sweet bags to hand out at the end of my lecture for the IPA Producer’s Course.

P: You're obviously very dedicated to the next generation of production talent, how comes?

S: It’s the old Nature /Nurture thesis - where there is an inherent talent, sometimes a little bit of nurturing can go a long way in getting it recognised and appreciated. Basically, I love being inspired.

P: Tell us about how you got started in Animation, when did you know it was your 'calling'?

S: I was working for a company that did both, back in 97. I thought I wanted to pursue a live action career, but fell in love with animation and never looked back. It becomes a way of life, you have to love animation to work in it. I even once dreamt I was dreaming at the wrong frame rate and adjusted it accordingly whilst still asleep.

P: You've worked on so many amazing projects, which sticks in your mind most?

S: Gosh, I have loved loads. Each job is different. I guess I am proud of the Rihanna Rated R Tour visuals, the whole process was incredibly labour intensive, but it was so satisfying to view the work on such a large global scale. Also, I loved a cinema commercial I did for Buxton, incredibly talented directors with an exciting technique, which made it a great experience.

P: What brought you to Picasso and don't say it's the tea-on-tap!

S: Well I have known Jane [Executive Producer] for a while and always respected Picasso since I started in the Industry, so I feel honoured to become part of a great animation institution and see what I can bring to the team.

P: If you couldn't be a Producer, what would you have been?

S: Ooh, I would have liked to have been a tour guide in a museum or national trust property, telling people how the house was lived in, and getting swept up in the history and romance, except I am scared of ghosts, so would be rubbish once it got dark, or I was left alone. And another career could have been teaching, it must be really satisfying to help mould young minds, or maybe that sounds too much like an evil mastermind.

P:You look ready to get stuck in, what's next for Sam Hope?

S: Working hard and being nice to people.

P: Finally, what is all this talk of 'cheese' we keep hearing?!

S: Oh, when Claire said you were going to ask me questions, in a panic I randomly thought you were going to ask me what my favourite type of cheese is. But then soon realised that was unlikely, so no need to worry. I still can’t decide, so don’t ask me.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Motomichi for Pictoplasma

Big news for Picasso Director Motomichi Nakamura who is a featured artist at this year's Pictoplasma event in Paris!

The incredibly talented Japanese artist, who since going to school in the US at 16 has spent his life and career developing his aesthetic internationally, brings his eponymous style to the famed Berlin based project.

Now living and working in Ecuador, Nakamura brings his work in digital and traditional media to the proceedings and will even contribute with a live-VJ set and an installation piece called 'Missing Link' to be held at the Gaite Lyrique museum.

This comes hot on the heels of news that Nakamura  is collaborating with onedotzero on an artist's pack for the iPad app Granimator and his participation at Coidigra festival in Venezuela from Nov.14-18where he'll be giving a workshop and lecture.

We can't wait to see the results!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Big News this Week!

So it's been a hugely busy week for everyone here at Picasso HQ, with lots of lovely new people (more on this at a later date!) joining the ranks to make this Winter a bumper-season all round. Let's take a look at the big news swirling round the office right now...

The Perfect Stocking Filler

The wonderful British Animation Awards have released their 2011 DVD collection featuring work from 3D imagery, 2D loveliness and even puppetry. You can have a look at the trailer above and check out their site to buy your own!

Steve Lenton Gets Ready For Christmas
The amazing Steve Lenton, aka 2D Scrumptious, has produced this rather cute Advent Calendar to feast your eyes on. It's got us feeling all festive!
Encounters is Upon Us

The ever exciting Bristol based Film Festival Encounters comes to life this November complete with showings from two Picasso Directors. See Damian Gascoigne's MusoSoup, which will have its debut at the fest, trailer above top and Mia Nilsson's Eskimo Above below

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Chatting with Projection Gurus NuFormer

Netherlands based NuFormer are Picasso's 3D Mapping Projection superstars, working with brands as diverse as BMW, Parker pens and Toshiba to create beautiful, custom projections on great architectual landmarks. We caught up with the team to discuss life, work and what's next...

Picasso: So, who is NuFormer? 

NuFormer: NuFormer is a Netherlands based multimedia company, specialised in video production and 3D video mapping projection. NuFormer has all the technical experience and expertise in house (3D modeling, 3D animations, character animation, motion graphic design, video editing, multimedia programming,audio production etc) and together with our design capacities we create a unique live and online experience whether its a commercial or cultural project or event. 

P. How did your unique projection style come about?

NF: After seeing some simplified and small scale examples of the 3D video mapping technique online (mainly of artists collectives) we were inspired to start exploring the possibilities. Combined with our experience in video production and 3D animation we wanted to bring the use of this technique to the next level. 

P: You've worked on so many amazing projects, does anything in particular stick in your mind?

NF: We are very lucky to be invited to the most unique places and spectacular events. From the climate summit in Copenhagen to the EUFA final in Madrid and from a historical European building or ancient Chinese pagoda to a museum near Central Park in New York. Working towards a custom fit for every client, brand, event, location, building and architectural elements makes every project special to us.   

P: NuFormer's work is often inextricable with the architecture it uses as a canvas, what is the process of selecting a building and developing a sequence around it? 

NF: There are quite a lot of technical and creative considerations to keep in mind during the building selection process. Each project has a different desired outcome and therefore calls for a different approach during selection. To us it's an inspiring challenge to be creative and make optimal use of the location and push both technical and creative boundaries whenever we can.    

P: Any hints you can give us about projects in the pipe-line? 

NF: Well August saw our projection opening the festivities of the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies in Yerevan, Armenia. Other exciting projects are coming up but we can't share it with you just yet. Sorry! Of course our own development never stops either. After executing 3D video mapping projections onto objects and buildings worldwide, the use of interactivity is the latest addition to the technology. To add to the experience of the spectators, interactive projection applications that are combined with the 3D video mapping technique are now being developed. All types of branded content, logos or product placement can be incorporated in these interactive projection applications. The spectators will become the controller and interacted realtime with the building by using gesture based tracking (Kinect). People can influence the content with audio or by using an iPad, iPhone or web based application made available for both mobile phone and computer. Social media integration is also possible

Have a look at some of their fabulous work below and stay tuned for more from this exciting bunch!

Ben and Julia hit New York!

After the success of their Pictoplasma talk state side (more to come!), German Directing duo Ben and Julia hit the streets of New York and send back these beautiful shots to show us all what we're missing!

Motomichi Nakamura at the Coidigra Conference

Catch Picasso's Motomichi Nakamura at the Coidigra Conference in Merida, Venezuela this coming November following his current solo exhibition at the Centro De Arte Contemporáneo. It looks set to be a great series of talks from Ferrari to Motorola so we're chuffed to pieces for Motomichi and wish him the best of luck!

See more about the conference and the programme of events here

Thursday, 22 September 2011

News News News

Hurray! Our Newsletter is going public with the latest just a day away, filled with all sorts of tid bits, stories and exclusives. You can sign up directly from our facebook page under the header 'Newsletter'.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Congleton Chronicle Celebrates Steven Lenton

The inimitable Congleton Chronicle has written a piece on Steven Lenton's new book deal with Children's Publishers Nosy Crow.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Introducing Beeld, Picasso's Newest Director!

They're bold, they're imaginative and they come from Brazil. Beeld Motion, the animation collective from Rio de Janeiro, join the Picasso family this month and bring with them an impressive portfolio of work for CocaCola, Telecine, Brazilian National Television and much more. We caught up with the gang to talk influences, the future and Brazil...

Picasso: Where in the world were you born/grew up?
Beeld: We were all born and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Two of us spent 3 years living and working in Barcelona, Spain, a really enriching experience that inevitably shifts the way you work.

P. How did you get into Animation? When did you know it was for you? 
B: As each one of the five partners has different backgrounds and work experiences, we got into animation in different ways. But we'd say it was mainly through broadcast design, architectural 3D graphics and animation series. 

P. Did you study film-making or animation? If so, where? 
B: Besides a graphic design degree and some animation free courses, most of our knowhow was attained during years of hard work in the market. 

P. How would you describe your style? How did it develop? 
B: We try to be versatile regarding animation techniques and graphic styles, and if we have a recognisable style it's happened unintentionally. Maybe it's emerged naturally as a result of the combination of different knowledges, personal tastes and abilities that coexist inside the studio. We wouldn't like to be defined by a particular style. 

P. What has been your biggest influence in your career? 
B: We'd say our biggest influences come from movies and games. 

P. Where do you see yourself in five years time? 
B: It's hard to say because we don't plan so far in advance. Instead we prefer to let the new opportunities guide us. It would be great to be recognised by our creativity and professionalism and of course, to keep learning and enhancing the quality of our work. 

P. What has been your favourite piece of work so far? 
B: Our favourite piece of work so far is the Telecine Rebrand project. In that specific case we could fully use our major strengths: the ability to create characters and universes, to produce audio and graphics simultaneously, and to develop a wide design system that guides the whole process. 

P.Are you excited to be joining Picasso? 
B: We are really excited to join Picasso and to stand side by side with so many talented directors and designers. 

Dir - Beeld
Picasso Pictures

NuFormer for BMW, Madrid

Those talented Dutch Kids over at NuFormer Netherlands have treated us to another amazing 3D Projection, this time for car-making giants BMW in Madrid, Spain. Check out the amazing production below, and more of their work here.

'On September 15, NuFormer Projection completed its third successful 3D video mapping in Madrid, Spain. The projection marked the launch of the new BMW Series 1. The lively Santa Ana square formed the centre stage of the action-packed projection, revealing the two new BMW models on the façade of the Teatro Español.

The hundreds of people that witnessed the festive event responded highly enthusiastic after having seen the fast-paced animation topped with spectacular sound effects. In between the screenings, the audience was given an active role by projecting their first reactions posted on social media platforms onto the theatre.' says NuFormer

Script production in collaboration with Posterscope, CARAT and SCFP. Storyboard and content production by NuFormer. Interactive content by third party. Technical production by CT Holland/JVR

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Introducing Picasso's newest Director, niceshit!

niceshit, otherwise known as Silvia Casali, is the inimitable young Animator from Rimini, Italy who now lives in London to expand her already amazing portfolio after signing with Picasso. We caught up with the up and coming star to talk style, film and the future...

Picasso: So Silvia, how did you get into Animation? When did you know it was for you?
Silvia: During my third year of uni, when I realized that animation can turn an artwork into something way more special. Is nice watching your stuff taking life.

P: Did you study Animation originally?
S: No, I’ve studied communication design, that combines a wide range of subjects, from history of graphic and product design, to marketing, from interaction design to media languages...and so on. Anything but animation.

P: How would you describe your style? How did it develop?
S: I just try to design things as I would like them to be in real life. I tend to reproduce my own world’s idea, where everything is bold and nice, sweet and colorfull.

I guess that most of it comes from my passion for nintendo’s videogames when I was a kid.
I loved to spend entire afternoons projecting myself into supermario’s and Yoshi’s hyper pop worlds, listening to infinite loops of 8bit tunes. I’ve always extremely enjoyed the clean but bold aestetic of the landscapes and the twisted characters populating those worlds.

P: What's been the biggest influence in your career?
S: I could say that discovering 3D graphics has been one of the things that got me more involved, and that made me feel passionate for this job. I feel like it is a world that has always something to be discovered, its potential is huge and constantly expanding. I think that is a super powerful tool to shape what’s inside my head and create tasty things.

P: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
S: Being a full time belly dancer.

P: What's your favourite piece of work?
S: The next one 

P: Are you excited to be joining Picasso?
S: Sure, as for all the things at their start, I’m a bit nervous...but all the premises are really exciting.

See NiceShit's showreel below:

Dir - Nice Shit
Picasso Pictures

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Advertising Producers Association Show 2011

So last night was the annual Advertising Producers Association Show at the glorious V&A Museum in London. All the best and brightest in the Production industry gathered for the events, decked in their finery and mingled and mused on affairs whilst canapes and alcohol circled the room. As with every year, the ever-hilarious Beauty Booth was installed, the results of which give us a snapshot of the night.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The BAA Archive

So it's that time again. Every two years the Animation community of Britain and beyond gather together for the British Animation Awards lead by the inimitable Jayne Pilling. March 15th 2012 will see the event come to London again and to celebrate we look back at the amazing archive of the Awards prizes, each designed by an industry great. Enjoy then a round up of our personal favourites below....
1996 - Tim Burton
1996 - David Stoten and Tim Watts
1998 - Graham Ralph
 2002 - Derek Hayes
 2006 - Mario Cavalli
2008 - Pjotr Sapegin
2010 - Luis Cook
2010 - Toshiharu Mizutani