Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chromatic March: Eye Candy, by Superfad

Motionographer posted an incredible piece of motion graphics, created by NYC studio Superfad for Sony. Please... view it on Motionographer and be riveted.

According to Motionographer, this is actually broken into three chapters... once you know this, you should be able to pick them out... especially when you know their titles: "Birth of Color," "Explosion of Color," and "Release of Color." I may not have guessed this structure on my own, but now that I know it, it's very clear.

It's worth noting, here, how the colors are placed in a black field (much like they are in Suspiria), which really brings them out. The emptiness of a black space on a monitor (or TV screen) is a powerful factor in digital design that simply doesn't hold so strongly in print. Sure, you'll see people on white backgrounds in TV and film (THX-..., for instance), but it happens a lot less in video than it does in print, where the standard is color (or black) on an empty white page. Paper is bleached white, and gallery walls are painted white, but when visuals are created for film or video, they often use black as their default background color.

This is probably, if anything, an effect of the physical medium itself. In a gallery or on a page, the white background reflects all the available light, so it provides a standard for the rest of the image. Even in neon or tungsten light, if you have a white page, it will take on that tint, so the other colors on the page will at least look reasonably accurate in relation to it. This is the idea in art galleries: the overhead light is as neutral as possible, and the white walls reflect all that light perfectly evenly, so the art has the correct context for its color.

On a video screen, light isn't reflected... it's emitted. Thus, it's more appropriate for the baseline to be black, which is basically a synonym for "emitting no light." After all, any color emitted from a video screen isn't going to change before it reaches the eyes, even if it's going to be mixed somewhat with the environmental light of the surroundings.

And so Sony gives us a white circle in a black space... an explosion of blue and yellow, and burst of purple dust... and finally, in one of the most compelling images of the spot, a beautiful, slow-motion bird revealing yellow and blue under its wings as it flies through the empty space of the black background. After all, Sony wants to show us how perfect its colors are, but also, how perfectly black its blacks.

And so, they've created this killer little spot, probably at great expense, so the colors can become subjects in themselves, living and dying on a palette of nothingness, the empty black of a visual void and a blank screen.

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