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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

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.

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

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

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Camp Festival 2016 was a two days event of creativity, art, design and technology. Due to the nature of the public is aimed for, this title sequence needs to reach a high level on the three aspects mentioned above, and it really achieves it. This is the main reason why I choose this sequence.
In spite of being a very abstract piece that isn't related to an specific story it allows the viewer to perceive that the event promoted is top notch one amongst these type of event. Maybe the main theme from this piece is complexity coming out of simplicity. Simples spheres come together attracted by some type of force and form a cluster, this union creates a new type of energy that destroys the balls but creates a newer and more interesting form and really more complicated.
I reallly like the highly desatured color pallette chosed for this work and how contrast is achieved through value, shapes and textures.
Two type fonts are used first a sans serif typeface: Centrale Condendesed Sans Pro or very similar which is used for the names of people and institutions and secondly a serif typeface for attributes such as job positions that could a Cardiff BoldItalic or similar
The only thing I see that could be improved it´s animation. It´s a little bit clunky and would probaby go for a more stop motion like style.
In this part the institution that organizes the event is introduced. Text sizes are very small so the contrast required for its readibility is achieved through value. In terms of composition it´s very interesting how the negative space between the two main shapes in the middle of the screen attracts the viewer eye to the title. The DoF it also helps to make this shot even more interesting.

Now those two lonely spheres are part of bigger cluster attracted by some sort of force that pulls theme together. Again the use of negative space, DoF and value contrast helps to create a very pleasant image. Most of the action is set in the two thirds on the left. The third on the right is kept with little action and the titles are displayed there. It has also a great balance between, Big and small shapes.

Now we can see the cluster on the middle third. The authors are showing us the importance of this cluster of spheres. Negative space on the sided thirds ares used to display titles with such a great contrast. The light from the top also helps to set the viewer´s eye on the set of balls.

Now the action goes to the left side of the screen on the first vertical third. The new chips of energy that came out from the cluster collapse start moving guiding us to the new spot for action.

It´s amazing to see how this frame adjusts to the second compositional grids. The creators use those guides to create a very pleasant image made of basically lines and spheres.

Now the new lines have created a very interesting pattern on the center we can see a sphere very similar to those first ones. Composition is clearly focused on the center. The pattern created is based on a curl noise projected on some geometry. Really pleasant. The camera angle is very different from the previous where the camera is positioned in front of the objects. Now all is seen from above with bird´s eye perspective.

Now to finish we have a shoot from above wher the final name of the subject is revealed. Main subject is positioned on the center with a really straight forward composition.

I selected this title sequence for many reasons. The main one is the intention of this pieces. It tells us how Song of Fire and Ice (Games of Thrones) is all about. A fight of power amongst different families that controls several territories. The camera is moving all across the the terrain as it was flying. Showing us the different places controlled by each lineage. Not only they shown us the places but also they show us the size of each city, fortress, distances amongst places, type of vegetation, seas and more. It´s a great way to introduce us to the universe of Fire & Ice, I can find a better way to tell what Fire & Ice is all about in more or less one minute.
This first image is very interesting I like how they put the stripe in the diagonal to make the image por interesting also the contrast create between the bright burning background and the dark stripe where figures are more brighter. Compositional weight is set to the center

Now we can see a broad shoot where almost one third of Westeros and also an importante part of Essos is shown.

Now we can see the main fortress and city of Song of Fire and Ice. The main towers of the Red Fortress are set on the intersection of lines. DoF is used to set the foreground and the background.

I have selected this frame because it´s one of typical flyovers that you may encounter during the piece. The more interesting thing is the camera angle that is set to a bird eye´s perspective. I thought it was significative as a sample of all those camera flyes.

Here the middle vertical third holds the total weight of the composition where the wall and the Black Fortress are showned. I also love the nice contrast of the icey lands beyond the wall.

Finally at the end the title of the show is revealed and the piece finishes almost as it started the difference is at the begining this insignia is placed on a diagonal tilt. It´s nice to see how this composition fits enterely with the second type of guides.

I choosed this piece also for several reasons. First when I was younger I read most of the novels from Isaac Asimov and I´m a big fan of this story in particular. Personally I have the opinion that Asimov´s Science Fiction novels don´t take at all about tecchnology, the just use it as a vehicle for exposing more important things such as consciousness, humanity and sense of life. Anyway that´s maybe just my bullshit.
From a storytelling point of view, this title sequence acts not as abrief of the movie. It´s used to put the viewer on perspective. The three laws that govern the acts of that new of army on aware machines are not perfect as they pretend. Here we can see one moral conflict that arises from this spartan application of these laws, the robot saves an adult instead of child due to proability calculus. This causes a sever phsicological impact on the protagonist of the story that makes suspicious about this new type of technology. This lack of confidency towards robots will play a major role on the history developoment.
From this frame I really love the cool colors an the blurry background. While from a compositional arrangement the arrangment doesn´t follow strictly any compositional guide. The image created is very pleasant.

Now the composition follows the second compositional guide, with the main title perfectly framed on the centered rectangle. I really love the constrast created with dark and hot colors versus the cold ones of the previous frame.

Now we have cold colors with a darker even bakcground. The center of the screen is used to show one of the three laws that will have such an important place on the on the movie plot.

In terms of composition the center continues carrying the main weight. I love how those bubbles are use to make the text transition.

Now we get to a less straightforward frame where we go from an horizontal alignment to a vertical one. The dramatic situation of the girl trapped inside a car.

With a pretty similar arrangment we find the final frame where the robots saves Will Smith. This fact that happens before the timing of the history, but this issue will play a major role in the history. Suddenly the movie starts af is this sequence was just a dream of the protaghonist.

Analyzing Titles.

The Spy Who Loved Me - 1977
Designer: Maurice Binder

A classic Bond film I first saw as a child kid in 1977 and a title I first appreciated about 10 years ago when seeing again on Youtube.

This was a breakthrough title sequence in the series that set the standard for the proceeding ones to follow.

The parachute (first still) provides a clever transition from the films opening action scene to the start of the title sequence and then sets the tone perfectly using beautiful silhouettes forming strong compositions.

Simple monotone use of colour and good use of blank space allowing each frame to breathe and display credits clearly.

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.