In the first of a five piece series on new animated shorts from Universal Music Group’s °1824 division, AWN shows how artist Carolyn Knapp used pieces of paper, gold foil, even her own clothes, along with Photoshop and After Effects, to create an innovative 2D film.
AWN is pleased to share a series of innovative, animated music videos produced through Universal Music Group’s °1824 division, showcasing a group of young artists that helped the company’s record labels create engaging shorts, using all manner of digital tools, during the pandemic.
Without access to live filming, °1824 tapped the creativity of college students and recent graduates, working with the latest technology, to produce engaging content for prominent artists including Queen, Adam Lambert, Jessie Reyez, White Buffalo, PUBLIC, and others.
Built and run by Todd Goodwin, the SVP of the Marketing, Content, and Experiences team, °1824 is powered by young artists and serves as UMG’s internal creative solutions team; 85 reps in 50 markets provide services including content creation, live events, experiential activations, college media outreach, A&R scouting, tour marketing, digital marketing, and campus and lifestyle visibility. This team has become UMG’s talent incubator for the music industry, placing more than 80 reps into full time positions (and 50 at UMG alone) since 2015.
All °1824 content creators are paid employees and members of the UMG team. They don’t outsource, and all their assets are created by teams of compensated employees. All content is produced for their labels/artists for °1824; individual creators are credited for their role in the content creation.
Prior to the pandemic, many °1824 team members were more focused on videography than animation and motion graphics. However, with time on their hands during quarantine, they’ve taught themselves new skillsets to pivot into new areas of digital creativity. Fueled by instructional YouTube videos of Adobe After Effects, and tips from colleagues with animation experience, the team evolved to produce captivating animated music video content that you’ll see in this series.
The first in the series is Maya B’s ‘Sink (ft. SAINt JHN)’ music video, animated by artist Carolyn Knapp.
For Knapp, the pandemic meant time to study animation; she integrated her new use of After Effects with her foundation of visual arts and 2D collages, developing a signature style that incorporates tangible depth and textures, many of which are from scans of her own clothes.
According to the artist, “As a videographer and multimedia artist forced into quarantine in March 2020, I found the newfound time to teach myself animation. My background in painting and collage inspired me to incorporate physical multimedia art into my work. The vision for Maya B’s Sink visualizer came from Maya’s own original zine of still art. I turned graphics from the zine into collaged animations that were directly inspired by the lyrics.”
Take a look at her work:
“One of my favorite sequences is in the lines, ‘I don’t trust no one, they turnin’ on me. I don’t need no one to keep me on my feet, nah,’ where I used gold foil to illustrate someone smoking, who then turns to whisper a secret down a row of women,” she continues. “The last foil person pushes a final woman cut out of metallic rainbow paper off the edge, and she falls down into the titular sink.”
Knapp explored and combined mediums, including paper and cloth collage, with digital illustration using the Procreate app. “My process began with collecting objects, papers, and textures (including my own clothes) that coordinated with Maya's art and the song’s lyrics,” she explains. “I cut and collaged the items by hand before scanning them into Photoshop. Finally, I used Adobe After Effects and Premiere to compile each animated scene from the layers.”
“Sink is the first full-length animated music video that I’ve created,” she shares. “The process was very experimental, a constant game of trial and error, and I am so proud of how it turned out. I am honored that Maya trusted me to transform her own 2D art into an animated video format. It was such a fun and inventive process to share creative minds with her.”
Click here to stream/download "Sink (ft. SAINt JHN)."
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.