yU+co Explodes with “300”
Inspired by the artwork from Frank Miller’s graphic novel, yU+co, the award winning design studio founded by creative director Garson Yu, breaks new ground with the title sequence design for the highly anticipated film, 300 (Warner Bros). Set to be released on March 9th, 300 tells the story of the famous bloody Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. when a small band of 300 Spartans died in a heroic last stand against a massive army of invading Persians.
In an electrifying color palette of red, white and black, the main-on-end title sequence combines film story battle motifs with the visual style of the graphic novel, complimenting director Zack Snyder’s (Dawn of the Dead) stylized approach of mixing live action footage with virtual backgrounds.
“I look at title sequences as part of the movie, not just as a way to get people’s names up on the screen,” explains Snyder. “I want you to feel that in some way it’s the end of the film but at the same time also the birth of the film, not only where it came from but also where it’s going. yU+co was able to capture that perfectly.”
yU+co’s involvement with 300 began early on in the development stage before any film was even shot. “We were privileged to be part of the process from the very beginning when Zach and producer Mark Canton asked us to help depict the story in a visual presentation for a pitch to Warner Brothers,” Yu said.
Using Frank Miller’s comic book artwork and a voice over narration, yU+co. put together a 60-second montage trailer sequence, illustrating the battle scenes and introducing the main characters in a two-dimensional moving plane. The presentation was very successful and Warner Brothers gave Snyder and Canton the green light. “yU+co. worked on this film from almost its inception, so it is fitting that the last images you see of the film are created by them,” added Snyder.
Yu points out that the end title sequence not only reflects the visual style that Snyder established in the film, but also creates a new visual language. “We wanted to use Frank Miller’s artwork and came up with the idea of putting two-dimensional artwork in a 3D space to summarize the story of the movie,” explains Yu, “then we pushed the envelope more by doing the look through the entire end crawl, using blood splashes as a unifying element.”
The use of 2D blood in a 3D environment is a signature for the movie that’s carried over to the title sequence. “I was obsessed by this 2D blood we had in the film and I wanted that experience to continue in the title sequence,” Snyder said. “Throughout the film I wanted to use the blood almost like a paintbrush stroke and I think you feel that when you see the title sequence. It’s an artistic stroke rather than just blood.”
yU+co. simulated the process Snyder used for creating blood in the movie. “That actually tied the whole thing together because it feels like the blood is the center of attention and makes the piece feel very energetic,” lead designer/art director Yolanda Santosa said.
Knowing that Snyder wanted the audience to enter the mood of the movie quickly, yU+co also re-designed and customized the graphic elements of company logos in the opening sequence. “We wanted the logos to reflect the same style of the movie, so the main title motifs are based on lightning,” explained Yu. “We use lightning flashes to introduce the imagery and put them in a stormy environment with clouds.”
Snyder added, “My experience with yU+co. was awesome and I think that they’re an amazing company. I can’t wait to do my next thing with them as well because I think they understand that aesthetic experience of creating titles.”
Recognized as an industry leader in design and motion graphics with offices in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, yU+com specializes in main and end titles for film and television, trailers, theatrical logos, commercials, TV show opens and network graphics packages.
Project: 300 title sequence
Client: Warner Bros
Design/Animation: yU+Co, Los Angeles, CA
Creative Director: Garson Yu
Executive Producer: Claire O’Brien
Lead Designer/Art Director: Yolanda Santosa
Animator/Designer: Kamal Hatami, Nate Homan
Producer: Reno Robertson
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