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Ant Farm Creates Intricate 5K Ident for Amazon Studios

The LA-based creative agency used PipelineFX’s intelligent render farm manager to create the logo animation shown in films like Oscar-winner ‘Manchester by the Sea.’

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Amazon Studios has commissioned Industry Creative, the theatrical division of the award-winning creative agency Ant Farm, to produce a full-CG animated ident to play at the head of Oscar-winner Manchester by the Sea and all of its future motion pictures.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1996, Ant Farm is one of the world’s leading full-service entertainment and advertising agencies -- creating, marketing, and distributing content for a diverse client portfolio.

Amazon Studios’ 22-second opening logo animation draws the viewer into the pages of a high-tech pop-up book. The book’s cover opens to reveal a miniature city block as the buildings assemble from the ground up. The street unrolls like a red carpet before the camera comes to rest on the Amazon Studios logo, displayed on a movie theater marquee.

“We pitched a very wide range of ideas to Amazon, from sculptural art to six-foot-tall stop-motion animation, but the idea of starting with a book really spoke to us,” said Doug Brandt, CEO of Ant Farm and Executive Creative Director of Industry Creative. “We are visually referencing Amazon’s origins, then showing how they are building a new film community around breakthrough filmmakers.”

The full 5K resolution logo animation occupied the entire 43-node render farm at Antenna, Ant Farm’s motion design studio. To ensure that hardware resources were distributed optimally, Antenna turned to Qube!, PipelineFX’s industry-leading render management solution.

“The most challenging part of the job was the volume of animation,” says Lucas Christman, Antenna’s Creative Director. “We rendered using After Effects for compositing as well as Maya for 3D, with 20 different render passes and tens of thousands of frames running through Qube! -- all without a hitch.”

Ant Farm’s relationship with PipelineFX began long before the Amazon Studios logo. Qube! has been utilized in production for most Ant Farm’s projects over the past 10 years.

“We tried a number of different render management solutions and were drawn to Qube! because of its ease of use,” added Christman, “but at the same time, it’s flexible enough to handle complex workflows. It truly gives the artist the tools necessary to deliver projects on schedule.”

Flexibility is important, since Antenna uses a wide range of software in its work, including 3ds Max, Cinema 4D and Maya for 3D animation, After Effects and Nuke for compositing, plus a variety of third-party plugins and renderers.

“Of the solutions we tried, Qube! was able to provide us with the best blend of user-friendliness, application support, OS support, and technical support,” said Christman. “Render management tools are imperative for anyone doing multi-machine processing. Qube! provides micro-level management tools in any modern render farm workflow. It’s a rock-solid product and a tool that Ant Farm and Antenna use constantly, day in, day out, without any downtime or issues.”

Source: Ant Farm