Amazing In Motion is a series of projects we created for Lexus exploring motion through film, photography and technology. The first project ‘Steps’ is the story of two 11-foot tall figures that were brought to life by five puppeteers as they moved through a city in search of each other.
The solution to telling this story consisted of a set of films, social content and a ground-breaking interactive experience that took you through the creation of the figures and how we brought them to life. Below is a quick overview of how we told the incredible journey of creating every element of 'steps'.
To do this we pushed the limits of what’s been done in a tablet’s browser by leveraging their gyroscopes to move in a 360º space and touch to scrub through integrated video – without installing an app. Using fluid interface design, ground-breaking use of HTML5 and original content, we told a story that pulled you through a wonderful and inspiring experience.
The design of the figures featured in ‘Steps’ began with sketches and clay models to help find the core shape and proportion. Their geometrical shells and skeletons were then modelled in 3D and animated to understand their core movements and to inform the puppeteering. As the final design became clear, weight would be key the challenge to overcome to ensure that the 5 puppeteers could move the figures with real human grace and fluidity. Only then would the figures become alive.
Solving the weight and control challenges resulted in fabricating carbon-fibre skeletons and using 3D printer technology to create the super thin, yet strong outer shells. The final step was hand-finishing every inch of the outer shells to create the polished look of the figures. In the end, the design process and innovative use of new technologies ensured that our figures were stunning to see, light enough to puppeteer and graceful enough to create Amazing In Motion.
Standing over 11 feet tall, the figures featured in ‘Steps’ were made of Carbon Fibre skeletons and 3D printed shells so they were light enough to be controlled by 5 incredibly talented puppeteers. Each of the artists that brought these figures to life had individual performances to give, while also syncing perfectly with the group for one fluid performance. The core weight and momentum of the figure was resting on the shoulders of the center puppeteer.
Even further back another puppeteer controlled the torso and made the figure bend down in perfect coordination with a puppeteer controlling the head remotely. Finally two other puppeteers controlled the arms and mechanical hands. The combination of countless rehearsals, precise choreography, shear physical strength and each puppeteers immense talent brought a life and spirit to these figures – resulting in something that was truly Amazing In Motion.