Novation AFX Station Animation

Will Gibbons by Will Gibbons | Last Updated:   October 22, 2020

Client: Novation

Novation is one of Focusrite’s family of brands that develops and markets proprietary hardware products. Used by audio professionals and amateur musicians alike, its solutions facilitate the high-quality production of recorded and live sound.

Novation asked me to create an cinematic product launch video for the limited edition AFX Station, a signature synthesizer designed in collaboration with electronic music producer Aphex Twin and his visual collaborator Weirdcore.

Aphex Twin

Richard David James, best known by the stage name Aphex Twin, is a British Musician. He’s best known for his idiosyncratic work in electronic styles such as techno and ambient music in the 1990s, and has also been associated it the electronic subgenre known as intelligent dance music. 

Purpose

The goal of the video I produced celebrates and announces the collaboration between Novation and Aphex Twin and the signature series synth.

Art Direction

It was important to keep the feel of this video on-brand with Aphex Twin’s existing media. This meant incorporating digital noise in a visual sense. However, I didn’t want random, senseless noise. Aphex Twin has been known to hide messages and layer meaning into his work, and I wanted to take some inspiration from that and use his music to drive the noise the visual noise in the video.

Research & Development

To layer in some extra texture and noise, I explored a few ways to leverage Aphex Twin’s music. I began with the song he provided for the animation and I converted it to Binary and animated those digits in a waterfall effect for a backdrop.

In CGI, many aspects of a scene can be controlled with a simple grayscale image texture. When working with animation, you have a 3rd dimension (time) and so I chose to create a grayscale video map, controlled by the volume levels of the track used in this animation. This video map later would control the brightness of lights in my rendering software (KeyShot) and opacity of various channels in my editing software (DaVinci Resolve).

To inject some color into the animation, I used several glitchy animations and leveraged blending modes and some compositing tools within Fusion.

While exploring the worlds of Algorave, Ambient, Techno, Experimental and Electronic music, I thought the collaboration between man and machine was really cool. This gave me the idea to use some datamoshing for some more cool effects. After rendering some animations, I opened them in a hex editor and replaced some of the characters with the binary I extracted from Aphex Twin’s song. The result was some broken, glitchy video files that were used sparingly throughout the animation.

Format

This animation was designed to be broken into two separate pieces that could stand alone. The first 15 seconds would act as a teaser and announce the product. The 60-second piece would act as a full product video and highlight more product features.

Supporting Media

I like to find ways to extract more value from a collaboration whenever I can. In this case, a pack of media was produced to help with the launch of the AFX Station. I created several studio renderings as well as some looping videos formatted for use on various social media channels. The result was a collection of media, all with a cohesive look and feel.

Collaboration

Great work is seldom created in a vacuum. Novation is always great to work with, providing clear direction but also inviting exploration and input. I feel honored to have helped create a piece of media to promote a legendary artists’s signature monosynth. As a creative myself, I really enjoyed working on a video for a company that empowers creatives and artists.

Ownership

All imagery shown on this page is property of and published with permission granted by Focusrite PLC.

Process

CAD  – Provided by Novation

Music – Aphex Twin

Rendering & Animation  – KeyShot 9

Post Production  – Black Magic Design Resolve & Fusion

Effects – After Effects, 010 Editor

Will Gibbons
Will Gibbons is an industrial designer-turned rendering specialist. He's trained and worked with some of today's most recognizable brands and now is focused on creating the best product visualization content on the internet.