Ember Creates for VH1 and ESPN

Design and animation studio Ember took on high-profile projects for two of the country’s most popular networks this fall by creating a stunning campaign for VH1’s annual “Hip Hop Honors.” They also left viewers wanting more with exciting new packaging for ESPN & Lexus’ New Monday Night Football Half Time Show. According to Ember Co-Founders Jason Ett and Shane Zucker, these new projects for VH1 and ESPN showcase the talent and versatility of their studio.

For the VH1 “Hip Hop Honors” the annual event, which recognizes the Honoree’s historical contribution to the music and the culture – the cable net approached Ember about designing and producing the 2007 show package, as well as the promotional campaign: “We were looking for an interesting way to animate some graphic illustrations portraying various hip hop artists,” says Phil Delbourgo, SVP, Brand & Creative for VH1.

“The illustrations, created by Dutch designer, Pascal Duval, were a compilation of hundreds of individual hip hop related graphic elements forming the faces. Ember took those illustrations and brought them to life in 3D creating an effect that was both random and mesmerizing. The animation was truly unique and allowed us to create a perfect expression of our print campaign. The graphics brought an intense energy to our promos and to the show itself.”

“Pascal’s artwork was our jumping off point,” explains Ember’s Jason Ett. “We conceived an internal rationale for how this iconic hip hop universe would operate and then extrapolated from there.” “We did a series of elaborate animation tests, and a phase of R&D to determine how best to capitalize on the initial artwork,” adds Shane Zucker. “We also had to build quite a bit of flexibility into our creative process and particularly the Particle tool set that the 3D animation team built, because the confirmed lists of artists for the show was constantly changing.”

ESPN’s David Saphirstein needed a new graphics package for Monday Night NFL Football Half Time Show, and its sponsor Lexus. So he also turned to Ember. The studio was able to produce designs that integrated the slick elegance of Lexus while embracing the fiery and energetic spirit of ESPN. Design and production was accomplished in a very tight, 10-day turn-around – creating all HD elements, which included the 10-second open, bug, transitions, bumps and on-set loop-able animations.

“The guys at Ember were able to nail the design fast,” says Saphirstein. “This made it possible to hit our 2-week deadline. They were able to deliver a look that worked for us while maintaining the Lexus Brand.”

“The timeline on the ESPN project was the biggest challenge for us,” agrees Ett. “They needed to revise the package for their sponsor Lexus, and they wanted the look to be specific to Lexus. We created a design that showcased the sleek class of the brand.” “Working with the ESPN clients was a great experience,” concludes Zucker. “They approved every stage quickly. And our team was excited about the project, and where it was going to be seen.”

About Ember:
Ember was launched in January of 2006 by Co-Founders/Directors Jason Ett and Shane Zucker. The duo had met while collaborating in Berlin, Germany on Volkswagen’s Vision World for the Glaserne Manufaktur. Inspired by the experience of a new world canvas for Design and Animation, the two began a friendship and creative partnership with a passion for moving design into a visionary future: design for multi-sensory experience that extends beyond the limitations of a television or film screen. Starting 2007, its second year in business, off to a successful start, Ember moved into its new space in Venice, California, a long-time haven for artists. Ember’s new studio in Venice is surrounded by fine artists, architects and sculptors, as well as designers and animators.


Credits on Vh1:
Creative Director: Shane Zucker
Executive Producer: Jason Ett
Producer: Craig Houchin
Senior Designer: Shaun Collins
Designer: Martin Surya
Designer: Bryan Louie
Lead Animator: Mike Navarro
Art Director/Animator: Magnus Hierta
Animators: Ian Townsend, Raymond King, Clayton Anderson, Ben Hurand

Credits on ESPN:

Creative Director: Shane Zucker
Executive Producer: Jason Ett
Producer: Garrett Braren
Senior Designer: Shaun Collins
Animators: Ian Townsend, Ben Hurand, Masan Yi

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