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Bent Image Lab Showcases Surreal CG Spots

Joshua Cox and the Bent Design Lab team evoke imaginative landscapes in CG shorts “Clouds,” “Cards,” and “Circus,” as part of a web and print campaign for Cramer Krasselt and ArcBest.


Director Joshua Cox and the Bent Design Lab team crafted three metaphorical, animated online spots for Cramer Krasselt and multibillion-dollar freight and logistics solutions provider, ArcBest, for a campaign that spans the web and print media.   

“Clouds” features a semi-truck towing a cumulus cloud in the desert; “Cards” shows a cargo ship deck stacked with playing cards in a storm, and “Circus” portrays a forklift moving with an elephant, strongman, juggler and acrobat all in balance. Each animation was also created separately in CG for print in the Wall Street Journal, FORBES, and Bloomberg Businessweek.

About the campaign aesthetic, Cox said: “I always liked the simplicity and restraint found in Salvador Dali’s surrealistic landscapes. I think these images seek to have that same visual strength to them. The matte paintings, lighting and 3D elements were carefully selected and thoughtfully rendered to create striking images of simplicity coupled with reality. We knew it would be a great feat of VFX and animation to get the visual balance right. I think we proved something to ourselves on this one. We were excited and thrilled to take it on!”


Additionally, the Design Lab CG team focused special attention on the atmospherics and physics for each animation to ensure the illusion was based in reality. The truck moving across a desolate desert towing a fluffy cloud; the shifting, wobbling playing cards flexing to waves; the pyramid of characters balancing on forklift tines; all of the collective attention to detail from the Design Lab team adds up to an amazing yet believable world where the “unimaginable” does in fact happen.


About the challenges the team faced, animator and visual effects artist Patrick Coan said: “We created the cloud and truck scenario by using a voxel-based fluid dynamics system. The challenge in the cloud was depicting a turbulent and ever-evolving ball of gas that moved at a rapid ground speed and didn’t evaporate under its own velocity; all while adhering to close art direction to produce a resolution appropriate for screen and print. The stormy sea ran into similar challenges ... Natural waves crash much slower than we typically imagine, so choreographing the physically accurate swells to move in time with a ship balancing a house of cards was its own juggling act.”


Design Lab is a brand coming out of Bent Image Lab in Portland, OR. Created by Directors Solomon Burbridge and Joshua Cox, Design Lab is a carefully curated team of highly ambitious directors and creative designers, animators and innovative thinkers who are pushing the envelope in VFX and ID work using a combination of non-traditional storytelling, stop motion, CG and 2D platforms.



Source: Bent Image Lab