My task was to create a TV promo for Jon Hopkins’ new album release ‘Immunity’.


It was important to reflect the peculiar, abstract nature of Jon’s music so it couldn’t be a typical ‘in your face… buy this CD’ music promo. I explored the weird, jagged star shapes of the album artwork and compiled a variety of images, deciding that very little of the promo could be about trying to ‘sell’ the music, but would rather have to compliment the music, revealing the raw emotion and depth that the album possesses.
I decided to create an emotional journey of 3 young stars, drifting away from their mother star, searching for independence. The stars drift out into the darkness and are encompassed by a ‘virus’ to which they are not immune. The virus swarms them, circling in, as if about to pounce on their kill. Just as it appears too late, the mother stars appear from the cavernous black and fight away the virus, freeing their innocent young stars from the evil of infection.

The original storyboard for the project:

Immunity Storyboard treatment

I had my vision but needed to put it into reality. I decided the best way to reflect the abstract, underwater like nature of this eerie scene would be to build and animtate the majority of the project in Cinema 4D, this meant I could maintain accurate 3D space from shot to shot, and also give the stars a realistic look and depth.

Cinema 4d Jon hopkins model build

Also the benefit of using Cinema was the volumetric lighting and environment effects you could use together, creating a believable underwater-esque scene that actually interacted with the models.

After effects was the obvious choice for the remaining effects. Giving me the ability to maintain and adjust the colour grade from shot to shot, add surface reflection lights, adding particles to form bubbles and also make a more realistic glow effect for the ‘virus’.

shot breakdown

By rendering out of cinema with a separate multipass alpha channel, I could mask out in after effects the ‘virus’ models and separately add glow, blur and a grade to just those individual shapes.

Alpha mask break down

The project overall took its time, with each shot in Cinema left to render overnight, sometimes for the animation to be adjusted and re-rendered the next night. The final piece was edited together in Premier after each shot had been completed and come out of After Effects.

In all it was very interesting project that pushed me to develop my technical skills and let me explore new styles of animation, learning and creating as I went…