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Work / Animation

Mainframe turns the movements of recognisable objects on their head

Motion graphics studio, Mainframe, has created an in-house project that is extremely visually pleasing. “We’ve nearly always got an ‘internal’ project of some sort on the go,” says Chris Hardcastle of Mainframe Manchester. “The usual story goes something like this, ‘we’re a bit quiet let’s start an internal project’. We think of something (we think is) amazing, we get excited but then a paying project comes along and the time luxury suddenly evaporates.” However, For Approval broke this cycle, allowing the designers to concentrate on “a simple achievable idea”, taking recognised objects, movements, and turning them on their head

The initial concept for the animated short was, “simply to subvert the physical properties of objects and materials and have some fun with a viewer’s expectations of how those things should behave”. Retrospectively, For Approval “became a bit of an in-joke,” explains Chris. “We found ourselves agonising over getting something to look wrong, but in the ‘right’ way and it all became very reminiscent of the abstract conversations we often find ourselves in working through client projects. Being ‘right’ in our world is a very subjective thing!”

To create the mind-boggling short, Mainframe turned to Maya. "We’re enjoying a close working relationship with Autodesk following their acquisition of our plug-in MASH so Maya was a natural choice for us. We wanted to push the ‘motion graphics’ thing and use this project to play, experiment and dig deeper into the tools, while creating something we could be proud enough to share outside the studio.”

For Approval is a combination of seamless motion graphics elevated by the work of sound designer Max Greening, who transformed the original audio concept “into something witty and playful”.

“This project feels like something we can build upon,” says Chris. “Then again, maybe we’ll get distracted and start something else completely different.”

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Mainframe: For Approval

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Mainframe: For Approval

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Mainframe: For Approval