Let’s take a look at the commercial success of Buck, one of the industry’s fastest growing and most-renowned motion design studios.
Top image from Buck
Motion design studio Buck was started in 2004 by Jeff Ellermeyer, Ryan Honey, and Orion Tait. Since then, the studio has gone on to develop long-lasting relationships with clients like McDonalds, MTV, ESPN, and Nike. These relationship have allowed Buck to expand, with studio locations in Los Angeles and New York.
Image from Sherwin Williams “Adventure” Spot.
But Buck didn’t just get these big name clients overnight. No, the designers at Buck worked extremely hard to develop an impressive portfolio. Like many other design firms, Buck made sure to diversify, producing a wide range of content, from live action to animation. Through it all, Buck stayed true to its roots in animation — and became masters of the craft.
Let’s take a peek into the portfolio treasure trove that is Buck.
Brain-Melting Liquid Motion
The artistic movement of liquid motion design in advertising has been pretty amazing to watch. Like many other design studios, Buck has has developed commercial design animations that are absolutely stunning.
In this series of animations, Buck did a great job of maintaining a theme: strikers executing a goal. However, Buck incorporated each striker’s style of play into the animation.
Wieden+Kennedy London tapped us for the launch of the new Nike Hypervenom II boots. The campaign is centered around Nike’s star athletes, as we literally go inside the mind’s eye of several of the most deceptive and deadly strikers in the game.
ChildLine: First Step
In this animation, Buck used a child-like artful animation style to convey the deeply emotional and serious subject of child sexual abuse. Pay special attention to the way Buck connected the animations and intercutting conversation sections together.
For this project, we were approached by YCN Studio in London to craft an animated piece that would help children who are considering contacting ChildLine feel comfortable about the process of speaking with a counselor about sexual abuse.
Good Reads: Metamorphosis
Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is without question a mind trip. However, Buck takes this to another level by morphing and visually connecting each scene together in a wickedly beautiful animation.
It is not very often that we have the opportunity to create a graphic equivalent of a drug-fueled rant bringing all of our collective skills to bear. And it is almost unfathomable that we could actually do something like this and benefit a good cause.
Bringing Motion to the 2D World
As any motion design artist knows, the ability to animate vectors can get you a lot of commercial work. There is a just a nice commercial quality to this type of design. Expanding on the liquid motion animation, Buck has several well-developed vector animations that are short, sweet, and to the point.
McDonald’s: Arch Enemies
The ‘Arch Enemies’ commercial spot for McDonald’s blew up on the internet when it first came out. The animation is wildly smooth. There are no harsh movements; the movements flow, which helps to give the elements weight.
Spread the Love! Our latest collaboration with Leo Burnett asks even the worst of arch enemies to put down the gloves and bring in the hugs in this all out love fest for McDonald’s.
Mastercard: Priceless Surprises
The amazing part about this particular animation is how Buck was able to utilize the Mastercard color scheme and move us through the different seasons and moments of the year. The other impressive aspect of this animation is how Buck utilized the visual real estate by connecting the animations over the various different visual services.
To celebrate a year of Priceless Surprises, we crafted 12 unique stories, one for each month of the year.
Hello Hulu: Seinfeld Promo
Here we see Buck utilize two major creative themes. One is the Hulu color scheme. The other is the narrative aspects from Seinfeld. By using specific elements from the dialogue, Buck was able to morph from one scene to another easily and effectively.
Exploring the 3D Space
Now, not everything Buck does is in the 2D space. They branch out quite often in the 3D space, building their visual narrative based on specific elements that will help the audience identify the client. So let’s take a look at some of Buck’s best 3D animated advertisements.
Sherwin Williams: Adventure
What Buck did here is just plain impressive, taking the color swatches Sherwin Williams is known for and using them to populate a world of color.
Fruit Snacks: Fire
When you’re trying to sell a product for children, you need to make it as fun and funny as possible. Kids today know quality 3D animation when they see it, so you need to bring your A game. Buck did exactly that for this Fruit Snacks ad. Quick-paced action and deceptive sizing between the characters helped to make this ad successful.
Once again, Buck developed an ad for the youth market. What is really great about this animation is the solid motion of the characters. Animating characters with dynamic motion is one of Buck’s great strengths, and it’s something every animator should strive for. Just remember that in a cartoonish and comedic environment like this, you have leeway with motion.
Who are shaped like a box, descend from Europe, have Golden Arches sticking out of their heads, have enormous grins, are constantly giggling and are filled with hamburgers and fruit? For the past year we have had the pleasure of goofing off with these little red dudes with our friends at Leo Burnett.
Wicked Live Action
Buck isn’t just adept at animation. They develop live-action content too. let’s look at some of our favorite live-action productions that Buck had a hand in producing.
The Bravery: Slow Poison
Music video work is a pretty impressive gig if you can get your foot in the door. In this music video for The Bravery, Buck give us a great example of creating an expanded visual universe and seamlessly blending it into live-action footage, transforming it into a retro spectacle.
With a four week production schedule and a love song of sorts, we travelled back in time to the late seventies and joined a cult of psychonauts to make a video about alien panther love, ontology, and inter-dimensional space travel.
Got Milk: Battle for Milkquarious
Want to see something that will really blow your mind? Then check out the 22 minute short film Battle for Milkquarious. What we think is really impressive in the following scene is Buck’s ability to make sure the animation fit the style and feel of the film. Not every animation you develop for live action needs to be some mind-blowing CGI.
For this 22 minute short film, dubbed “Battle for Milkquarious”, Buck had the honor of contributing about 3 minutes of mind-blowingly retro-inspired sequences featuring White Gold himself, Strawberry Summers, the evil Nasterious, the valiant Jug Life, and Bovina the unipegacow.
X-Games 2012: Invasion
This is one of our favorite Buck commercial spots. Here we have an amazing example of taking archival footage and building an additional narrative on top of it by way of animation. Notice how the animations blend perfectly with the existing material. This took a lot of time and prep. It paid off immensely.
Across two spots, we made LA even more dangerous for these guys though a mix of traditional Cel, 3D and 2D animation.
What do you think of Buck’s awesome portfolio of work? Feeling inspired? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!