Posts tagged Nice Shoes
TED-Ed and Nice Shoes Pose The Question “Does Time Exist?” In New Animated Short

The passage of time has been pondered by brilliant scientists and popular culture creators alike, and the two worlds come together in a delightful animated short from TED-Ed and creative studio Nice Shoes, “What Is Time?” The piece dives into the existence and meaning of time with the aid of an adorably rendered Albert Einstein as well as a number of Easter Eggs referencing surrealist art and classic sci-fi films.

From a script crafted by the TED-Ed team, director Harry Dorrington developed an approach that parallelled the subject matter, simulating how time only flows forward in one direction by taking the viewer through the story with no edits. Dorrington worked closely with design director Yandong ‘Dino’ Qiu, to develop an illustrated, 2D style for the overall piece as well as the Einstein character.

“The concept was very inspiring, and presented us with a rare opportunity to tell a story with a brand that wasn’t tied to a particular product. To match the fluid nature of time we wanted to explore this concept in a way that was innovative and engaging,” said Dorrington. “When you cut, you have the ability to jump through time and space. We thought it would be interesting to embrace the linear nature of time and take the audience through the piece with one continuous shot.”

Following explorations of the look along with the single-take approach, it was decided that the piece would be animated in 3D, while keeping the feel that Qiu and Dorrington had presented to TED-Ed. Nice Shoes engaged Animanistan as a creative partner to aid in accomplishing the complex animation, with director of animation Nikola Vulovic expanding on Dorrington’s vision and choreographing a seamless journey through space and time.  

“Animanistan, and Nikola’s particular style is very fluid, flowing animation which lends itself really well to this, and why we brought them on as a partner studio,” said Dorrington. “The film introduces and explains a number of abstract and complex concepts across a short period of time, and their team was instrumental in maintaining synchronicity between the visuals and the script, while keeping the viewer engaged.”

CG director Andy Zazzera and CG lead Alex Kline collaborated with Qiu to match the look of the styleframes.

“We often need to make elements that are indistinguishable from real life objects. To be true to the spirit of this piece, we needed to deliberately break the pipelines we normally use and develop a new workflow to wrap the animation in this rich, storybook texture,” said Zazzera. “We ultimately developed some in-house tools and techniques in order to bring what Harry and Dino envisioned to life.”

As the colorful look was integral to the piece, Qiu would take stills from greyscale animation and paint the frame to provide color direction throughout the production. Using the techniques they developed with Qiu, the CG team added final color and lighting throughout the piece.

“We utilized bold, bright colors, which helped in conveying the passage of time from day to night, throughout the seasons, and to imagine an alternate universe Einstein who exists in a reality where time flows in reverse,” said Qiu. “Working with this palette was key to making these complex concepts accessible to a wide range of viewers.”

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Comedian Hannibal Buress and Director Kristian Mercado Figueroa Set Out to Make a Charming and Surprising Piece of Content for Car Sharing Marketplace, Turo.

Comedian Hannibal Buress and director Kristian Mercado Figueroa aka Kris Merc set out to make a weird, charming, and surprising piece of content for car sharing marketplace, Turo. Building on a relationship that began as a podcast sponsorship jingle, Turo hit up Buress, to expand the partnership into larger format content.

“The beauty of this collaboration is that Hannibal is a genuine Turo enthusiast. We kicked off our relationship when he organically mentioned the “buttery” Tesla he booked on Turo during his podcast,” said Turo CMO, Andrew Mok. “The videos we created with Hannibal and his team represent the Turo story – we have the perfect car for every occasion, even if that occasion is getting a burrito at a drive-thru”.

Buress brought on Merc along with writer Haji Outlaw (The Eric Andre Show) to develop the concept, giving viewers a glimpse into a big night out for the star (trip to the burrito drive-in) and how Turo makes the journey possible.

View the piece here:

Go behind the scenes on the shoot:

“When I started discussions with Turo about potentially doing videos for them I immediately brought up Kris Merc,” said Buress.  “He has the ability to make anything pop visually.  I've worked with him on a handful of things before and he brings lots of fresh ideas and elevates whatever project he's working on.”

Along the way, Buress and Merc plotted a surprise for the crew - and ultimately for the client. With fifteen minutes left in the shoot day, the crew was surprised with an on-the-fly music video shoot for “Turooooooo.” Merc started screaming get that hot pink, and neon blue on set, let’s do this. As he blasted music from a speaker, flipping the script in an instant. Check out the resulting music video:

“This wasn’t something they had requested. It was something fun and spontaneous that came out of working on this concept with Hannibal. Me and Hannibal kept talking about making something with the song, and the idea of the music vid at the end of the day kind of happened naturally. It just left everyone smiling,” said Merc. “It’s making me wonder how to end shoots with surprising finales or unexpected pieces of branded content that feels fresh and cool…”

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Boulevard Arts and Nice Shoes Break Down Barriers to Art with Augmented Reality

A velvet rope and a stern security guard that’s just itching to say “don’t touch that” are normally in between the museum visitor and a work of art. Now, thanks to Boulevard Arts, a company committed to developing arts-based experiences shared through augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies, and creative studio Nice Shoes, art connoisseurs, educators, and students can all get closer to art than ever before with Boulevard AR.

The Nice Shoes team was led by AR/VR creative director Tom Westerlin, and head of production Nancy Giandomenico, who along with executive producer Angela Bowen, have grown the studio’s immersive capabilities, delivering the AICP and Ciclope-nominated Mio Garden roomscale VR experience as well as Flexon Eyewear’s mobile VR application. The collaboration with Boulevard Arts marked the studio’s first delivery of an augmented reality experience.

“When Boulevard first got in touch, we collectively considered the project for VR, but as the Boulevard team gathered feedback from the National Portrait Gallery, it evolved into an AR concept,” said Westerlin. “The timing couldn’t have been better, with Apple making a huge push for AR adoption. The Boulevard AR app stands out as an effective educational and promotional experience, as it both brings the museum to the user, while also creating a desire to visit the museum itself.”

The first painting available at launch is The Portrait of Sir Henry Unton from London’s National Portrait Gallery. Users scan their environment, and choose where they’d like to place the portrait. Using ARKit 1.5, the painting can either be mounted on a wall using a device running iOS 11.3, or standing on an easel when running a previous version of iOS 11. Boulevard AR is the first augmented reality app on the App Store to incorporate this functionality, detecting and applying context for where the art is displayed, introducing a new level of believability to AR.

Once the painting is placed, Charlotte Bolland, the Gallery’s Curator of 16th Century Collections introduces the viewer to the painting, and they’re able to move as close as they’d like through the window of their iPhone or iPad, exploring an 8K rendering of the portrait. Bolland then takes the user through nine individual vignettes highlighting Sir Unton’s life.

The ability to place the portrait anywhere offers a unique and entertaining aspect to the app, as the painting can be placed in the user’s home, classroom, office, in the middle of Times Square, or at their own local museum. “We’ve been encouraging everyone who has tried it so far to #ShareYourUnton,” said Giandomenico. “The app is very effective at educating the user, but the magic and fun aspects of augmented reality make it a shareable experience. You can’t help but want to call over your friends, or screenshot where you’ve hung this iconic painting. We’d love to see screenshots of the painting from all over the world!” “The team at Nice Shoes is great to work with as they not only have the high-level talent, but also clearly understand our fundamental goal of blending museum quality content and access with innovative and engaging immersive features and functionality.” Co-Founder and CEO Elizabeth L Reede said. Boulevard AR was constructed by Boulevard Arts and Nice Shoes, and the two companies expect to develop more AR projects for the app with special objects and paintings from museums, private collections and arts institutions from around the world.

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Creative Director Matt Greenwood’s Animated Character Exploration “Final_Final” Debuts at Pictoplasma Berlin

When presented with a ‘drawing-a-day’ challenge by fellow animators, designers, and illustrators, Matt Greenwood decided to take it a step further, deciding to produce one evolving animation per day over the course of a month. The result? “Final_Final,” a whimsical character animation short in which imaginative, poppy characters transition from one to another. Greenwood premiered the piece at the 14th Pictoplasma festival in Berlin, where it will be featured alongside an exclusive, curated selection of animated work from artists all over the globe.

Greenwood is a creative director at Nice Shoes, based out of the studio’s Toronto location.

Throughout his career, Greenwood has always sought out personal challenges in order to refresh, experiment, and learn new skills. Previous personal projects have seen him explore design with the aptly titled “Elements of Design,” as well as the morals and creativity of people on the street with the multi-city installation “Take Picture, Don’t Steal.” With “Final_Final,” he saw an opportunity to expand his character animation skills.

“I set some boundaries for myself. There had to be one animation a day. It had to be against the same yellow background, and every character had to look like they were made out of the same kind of material. The transitions also had to feel natural. If something didn’t feel right, it went on the cutting room floor. The process felt almost like doodling or a stream of consciousness so it was a very experimental way of working”

The title “Final_Final” hints at the need of an artist to continually revisit a piece, as Greenwood did despite the self-imposed time constraint of a month. The piece sparked an interest in pursuing more character work, both on personal projects and with clients.

“Final_Final” is now available to view on Vimeo at


Director/Animator: Matt Greenwood

Sound Design: Apollo Studios

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Volt Studios and Nice Shoes Minneapolis Move to Spacious New Studio
Nice Shoes - Volt 3 copy.jpg

Leading post-production companies Volt Studios and Nice Shoes have moved to an expansive new location at 733 South Marquette Avenue, building off of a successful four-year partnership, as well as Volt’s 11 year legacy of providing high-end production and post production services to the Twin Cities advertising market. Both the move and the build-out are a response to evolving client needs, resulting in a modern, friendly space designed with scalability and future expansion in mind.

Each of Volt’s partners - Nice Shoes, Gasket Studios, Schnitt Edit, SisterBoss, Black Label, Cine-O-Matic and F:30 Films - had a say in how the space would be constructed, resulting in a collaboratively shaped environment that’s conducive to clients engaging one or all of the companies at all steps of the post-production process.

“The new location is up and running, and our clients are going crazy about the inviting and warm feel,” said founder Steve Medin. “Internally the collaboration generated by all of the partners working together has been marvelous. You can feel the energy between all the companies under our roof. We predict that not only will clients enjoy working in the new digs; they'll just wanna hang out. It’s that nice!”

The partnership between Nice Shoes and Volt began in 2014, first through a partnership that connected all of Nice Shoes’ colorists to Minneapolis clients, then later in the year when the studio signed senior colorist Oscar Oboza to officially launch Nice Shoes Minneapolis out of Volt. At the time, the two companies made use of an available room, but the new space offered a blank canvas and four years of client feedback to shape a new workspace together.

“We just completed the move, but we’ve already seen a very positive response from clients who have seen our teasers on social media,” said Nice Shoes colorist Oscar Oboza. “People have been requesting tours, and we’ve been thrilled to have them come by to explore the new space. Anyone who hasn’t come through yet, please reach out. We’d love to have you over for a visit.”

The studios will be hosting small networking events throughout the spring leading up to an official launch party in the summer.

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