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Lesson 1

1. Analyzing Titles

  • instructor

- Ash Thorp

  • apprentice

- Jama Jurabaev

  • apprentice
  • learn squared

- Florian Aupetit

  • apprentice
  • learn squared

- Tim Zarki

What exactly is the function of a title sequence? To get things started, Ash will walk you through various examples and dissect what works and what doesn’t in title sequences. Study how the Greats are able to capture a unique glimpse of the story in a short amount of time.



Analyze one (1) of your favorite title sequences. Capture six (6) key moments from the sequence which you find to be purposeful.

Extra Credit

Analyze three (3) of your favorite title sequences. Capture six (6) key moments from each sequence which you find to be purposeful.

Student Gallery

Finished the Mindhunter series and thought that before I continue watching something else, I should at least work on my homework for Main Title Design.

Long time user, first time poster, thought I'd share some stuff and get involved with the community here.
I looked at a ton of title sequences but seeing as there's some common favorites up already, I settled on Godzilla (2014), also Rubicon and Man in the High Castle are pretty good. Peace!

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) 1,85:1
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Title design: Saul Bass

This title design is elegantly simple. The name of the film dictates the direction of the lines, that run from the north and northwest to create a perspective grid. The grid then distorts the names of the cast and crew.

Before the green background fades and the building with the reflection of a city traffic appears, we don't even realize that type is situational, which was a new thing at the time.
The movement fo the text is rapid, machine-like and together with Bernard Herrmann's score creates a feeling of suspense and anticipation.

A significant change in the storytelling comes with a cut to a building entrance (which may very well be the same building we see before, so the viewer is following an ordinary city life in a chronological order) and we finally abandon the graphical master shot to establish the viewer in the film and it's tempo.

A set of 7 shots of the city and the rush hour follows. The type keeps it's movement and emphasizes the hive-like movement of the people in different corridors and in the streets. In this space of around 30 seconds we only see two names (associate producer and the director at the end) and a text claiming names are fictious, coincidential etc.

The Crown: Opening Title Sequence by Elastic

This title sequence takes the viewer on a macro focus journey through the formation of the crown of the British monarch. We are introduced to the crown in its most basic elemental form as gold mineral nestled in a bed of rock. As the gold forms and reveals itself as a branching liquid, themes such as the family tree, the royal bloodline and antiquity and the passage of time are introduced. Over time the molten forms the shape of the crown which is revealed through various camera angles detailing its many ornate intricacies.
The serif typeface appears to be from a roman family – possibly Garramond or a close variant.

Frame 01:

Gold lead forms from ancient mineral rock nestled in the mists of time. The frame is composed along thirds with diagonal movement from the lower left third to the top middle.
This is countered by a second strong diagonal from the forming gold forming an X. Matt Smith’s name title sits just above the bottom left third helping guide the flow of movement from left to right

Frame 02:

Molten gold continues to form an arc from the bottom left of frame to the tip of the top right third. The name title floats comfortably and balanced in space on the right horizontal third. The next frame symmetrically counters this one by using a similar arc form running in the opposite direction. This counter movement helps establish a gentle rhythm throughout the piece.

Frame 03:

A simple but beautifully composed frame with the arc of the crown formation sitting on the left third of the frame. The name title sits just below the upper third on the right and becomes the focal point. The shape of the arc is also echoed in the previous shots camera move that rotates on its z axis which serves as a gentle geometric echo of the previous movement in this frame.

Frame 04:

A centred composition featuring the crown band. This shot trucks backwards in z space and is an echo of the previous shot which has the same movement. Interestingly in the shot before frame 04 we are focussing on a different section of the band. When we cut to Frame 04 the camera has shifted right so that we are centred around a different section of the band geometry which smoothens the transition between the shots.

Frame 05:

Another centred composition framed around a blue jewel of the crown. The shape of the jewel forms a descending V which along with the other dominant ornaments creates a powerful X shape. The name title sits in the centre top third

Frame 06:

The final frame before the show title “the Crown” featuring a silhouette of the fully formed crown rotating in a circular turntable motion. The composition is centred. The crown is backlit through mist throwing light rays from the silhouette. A visual metaphor here could be that the crown is a lighthouse - the monarch acting as a beacon to the British people during tumultuous times, for example World War 2.

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True Detective Season 2, Man in the High Castle, Cowboy Bebop

True Detective Season 2, Man in the High Castle, Cowboy Bebop

Lessons in this Course

Software Used: 
Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Bridge
Optional Software: 
Font Explorer, Mind Node, Adobe InDesign, Cinema 4D Studio R16, Octane Render, Marvelous Designer

Im very thankful that we have lifetime access to the class! Work has been insane lately and I've had to put my classwork on the backburner. Thanks for looking out for us dayjob slaves!!!

Thank you for sharing.