Chicago-based Vitamin has produced a rugged new promotional campaign for FX Network’s Sons of Anarchy. The Vitamin team conceptualized a unique hands-on approach for the package, employing a technique that gives it the feel of something out of a sketch book. Using a combination of hand-painted graphics and prints of 3D silhouetted motorcycles, the spots take us on a rumbling ride through barren oilfields and dark highways.
The feel of the campaign, which will be used throughout the show’s fourth season, is tense, taut and moody. “We wanted to create something that captured the style, tone and aesthetic of the show,” explained Vitamin creative director Danny DelPurgatorio. “We wanted to make it raw and energetic, with a hand-crafted vibe.”
And, in fact, the animation is hand crafted. The show logo and environmental elements were all painted by hand, which itself is marred by cracks and scratches, and then photographed stop-motion style, one frame at a time. As a result, the graphics have a loose, jumpy appearance that lend a nervous energy to the piece.
“There’s something about capturing the imperfections of an artist hand that we really liked,” DelPurgatorio said. “It gives you a sense of the technique, which makes every frame completely unique.”
The hand-crafted graphics were then combined with prints of 3D motorcycles on a highway. “Our goal was to come up with camera moves that were impossible in the real world, yet at first glance seemingly plausible,” said 3D lead Linas Jodwalis. “There was a balance that we had to strike knowing how all of the 3D elements were going to be used in the end. What we animated had to have a great pace and energy but also needed to compliment all of the hand-painted elements.”
The dark figures of the motorcycles are contrasted by cloud-streaked skies that are given a blood red cast. “Early on in the conceptual phase, everyone really gravitated to the idea of silhouetted riders. They feel almost ghostlike, which gives the campaign such a different tone than the previous seasons,” DelPurgatorios said.