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Perception Hits Digital Homerun For ESPN Classic's Damn Yankees

Perception has created an intense new promo for ESPN Classic's celebration of The New York Yankees 100th anniversary that involved a huge amount of digital compositing, 2D graphics and organic texture creations. Perception was challenged by ESPN Classic to create a promo that would encapsulate the Yankee legacy in just 30 seconds and grab viewers' attention with arresting visual effects and graphic design.

"The goal was to make something visually powerful and evocative," said Jeremy Lasky, Perception's design director, "and also raise the bar about what people think can be done on a desktop system. Everyone who has seen the finished promo assumed we were using higher end systems." Perception used MAC G4 workstations.

Working with archival footage of great Yankee moments, Perception filmed a billowing Yankees' jersey lit with spotlights and a flashlight using a Canon GL-2. The archival footage was then composited with Adobe After Effects 5.5 onto the jersey giving viewers the impression the footage was projected onto it. Numerous intricately detailed textures and layers were created both digitally and organically from the jersey. Other tools in Perception's toolbox were Photoshop, Illustrator and Final Cut Pro.

To add to the spot's distinctive look, visual effects director Danny Gonzalez enhanced and accentuated the colors of the source footage. A bright, glow effect was added to isolated parts of the footage, such as Mickey Mantle's swing, imbuing it with a feeling of power. Gonzalez added another glow effect with After Effects to the infamous "broken bat" Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens threw at New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza during the 2000 World Series.

In addition to the glow effect, Gonzalez created numerous visual echoes within the footage. "Everyone has seen the old Yankee footage in its original form so it was important that we give it some new life by adding some surreal visual elements." Gonzalez did this by mirroring the same image on top of itself at a different size and opacity.

Editorial director Brendan Werner said using the Yankee jersey helped give the piece a sense of continuity and flow when he put it together in editing.

Perception ( was founded in 2002 by former R/GA creatives Lasky, Werner and Gonzalez to create world-class commercial visual art that challenges and changes the industry's idea of what can be accomplished on desktop machines. Powered by Apple computers, the company specializes in high-end motion graphics and visual effects for top advertising, broadcast network on-air design, show opens, film title sequences, trailers, music video, corporate video and Web design. Since its launch, the company has completed assignments for HBO, ESPN, ESPN Classic, Miramax, McDonald's, TVLand/Nickelodeon, Sony Music, Time Warner Cable and Playboy.