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Psyop Creative Drums Up Drug Free PSA

New York design/visual effects house PSYOP Creative has just wrapped on a new PSA for the Partnership for a Drug Free America about the dangers of inhalant abuse. The spot uses an innovative animation technique in which colored inks are poured over carved glass illustrations and filmed at high-speed. "What intrigued me most was how to visually communicate a feeling of drug-induced paranoia, agitation and ultimately the shattered mental-scape," said director Todd Mueller. "I'd previously experimented with digitally sampling real liquids as art director for the SCI-FI Channel, and I felt elaborating on this technique would perfectly capture the necessarily terrifying emotional impact." Inspired by the style of acclaimed illustrator Ralph Steadman, the PSA abstractly depicts an animated head sniffing inhalants while the words "Sniffing can toast your brain" appear around him. The head gasps for air until a wave of black ink engulfs him. PSYOP Creative recreated illustrator Paul Dallas' illustrations on 12 flat glass sheets carved an inch or so below the surface. The etched glass sheets were then placed on a camera stand and filmed from below at high speed 90 frames-per-second, while ink was poured over it. Afterwards, the images were manipulated using flame*, AfterEffects, Softimage and Commotion. "We generated high-def plates of the face coughing and sniffing and then brought them into the flame*, where we created kind of 'a living drawing' in high resolution," explained Mueller. "We used Softimage to create four separate camera angles with various shots and close-ups, which we then edited."

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Rick DeMott
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