Forbidden Drives | Intro Animation

My assignment was to create a graphics package for a new show called Forbidden Drives. The show is shot internationally, and features cars that are banned in the US.

Around the same time that I started pre-production, I was going down the rabbit hole of vintage racecar artwork, fascinated with old Martini racing prints, classic LeMans posters, as well as some newer artists, like Tim Layzell and Cale Funderburk. I loved the bold palettes, minimalism, and use of negative space in some of this imagery. My favorite, most striking pictures featured these incredible long shadows that became characters as prominent as the vehicles, themselves. Interestingly, for all of the static illustrations in this style that I came across, I found almost no animations like them.

When I started to explore the idea of using this aesthetic in my graphics package’s intro animation, the pieces quickly and naturally fell into place. Toon-shaded 3D models of US-banned cars would race through their native locales, cleverly cutting from one place and car to another. Sparse buildings and monuments would help establish scale and orientation, ground the vehicle, and create depth, while at the same time lend obvious clues as to which city or country each car ‘belongs’ to. These structures would also would serve as gateways from one locale to another.

My first, test shot was of the Porsche 959 (in Germany) driving through the Brandenburg Gate, transitioning into the Skyline GT-R (in Japan). Although the result didn’t feel quite like the vintage racing posters that inspired me, I was pleased with the results and convinced this was the style to pursue for the rest of the animation.

As the sole artist on this project, the animation (just over 30 seconds long) took me several weeks to complete. Time was mostly split between cleaning up, re-texturing, and re-rigging third party models, lighting each shot separately to get just the right highlights and shadows, and animating some pretty tricky camera moves.

DJ Bobby B polished everything off by adding some killer sound design. In the end, I was really happy with the animation, and was thankful to be given the time to make it the way I had hoped.

SOFTWARE | Cinema 4D, After Effects, Illustrator
CLIENT | TEN: The Enthusiast Network
Concept, Art Direction, Animation | Jiro Ietaka
Additional Art Direction | Levi Rugg
Sound Design | DJ Bobby B and Nick Sanders
Music | Rock ‘N’ Paris from Monorama Studio on Premium Beat