yU + co Catches the Drift of ‘Fast and the Furious’

yU + co designed and produced main title graphics for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Universal Pictures’s new action film which opened June 16th. The studio elegant 3D typography is woven seamlessly with live action and designed to evoke the spirit of the film by mimicking the ‘drift’ driving technique employed by the cars in the story. yU + co also created the film end crawl.

The main title graphics appear over the first scene of the film, which follows the main character Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) as he arrives for a drift competition at a packed sports stadium. Graphic elements float through the frame from all angles and twist in slow, graceful arcs. Their motion is styled after ‘drift,’ a specialized racing technique in which drivers over-steer their cars so that rear of the vehicle appears to chase the front end around turns.

‘We faced an interesting design challenge inasmuch as the back-plate is very important to the film narrative,’ said yU + co creative director Garson Yu. ‘Of course, the information communicated by the graphics is important too, so we had to find a way to make both elements coexist in harmony.

‘The typography is integrated with the live action in a very organic way and it is paced to match the speed changes incorporated into the live action editorial, so rather than distract from, the graphics support the narrative.’

yU + co design team worked directly with Justin Lin, the film director, in placing and designing the motion of the individual type animations. ‘The idea behind drift driving is to maintain a balance between freedom and control,’ said lead animator Etsuku Uji. ‘It is very dynamic. Our challenge was to capture that dynamism without being too assertive.’

For the end crawl, the designers came up with a very different twist on the drift theme. As credits scroll up the frame, silhouetted tire marks cut through the frame in swooshing curves. ‘Because this is an action film, the conventional choice would have been for very bold graphics, but this design runs completely counter to that,’ said yU + co executive producer Claire O’sBrien. ‘It subtle and that what makes it so powerful?‚àö√묨‚àÇit the power of understatement.’

Credits for yU + co go to Garson Yu, Creative Director; Claire O’sBrien, Executive Producer; Ryan ‘Reno’ Robertson, Producer; Yolanda Santosa, Art Director; Etsuko Uji, Designer/Lead Animater; James Hurlburt, Shawn Le and Johnny Wong, Animators; Zachary Scheuren Editor/Inferno Artist.

yU + co is located at 941 N. Mansfield Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038. For more information, call (323) 606-5050 or visit www.yuco.com.

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