Makers At Heart | Design Lead Austin Marola on creating surreal motion design & crafting Pause Fest’s latest title sequence

Community March 19, 2021

We are Makers At Heart. We create the extraordinary.

As the creative engine room of the world’s biggest brands we are driven by one purpose: to solve our client’s toughest briefs beautifully. Our Makers believe in the power of cooperation and partnership to deliver ambitious ideas to that break new ground and deliver awe-inspiring creative work.

Everything we do as a team makes great ideas come to life. We are thinkers, designers, artists, directors, producers, developers, colourists, coders, technicians, editors, animators, writers, doers and makers.

In our Makers At Heart series, we introduce the people behind the projects to hear more about their inspirations, motivations and creative insights. We spoke to Design Lead Austin Marola on creating surreal motion design & crafting Pause Fest’s latest title sequence.

If you had to choose a project that defines your career, what would it be and why?

I think the most pivotal project I worked on until recently, would be the HBO ‘Stories Like No Other’ image spot. At the time, it was a chance for me to explore a broader scope of responsibilities. It also leaned heavily on my personal favorite “flavor” of motion design: a type of surreal, magical mechanic, that blends the real world into something conceptual. In this instance, it was manifesting the iconic HBO static into 3D transitions between footage.

Are you working on any passion projects at the moment?

The Mill was fortunate to have been tapped to create this year’s main title sequence for Pause Festival – a dream passion project!

Rather quickly, this became a technically ambitious venture, especially since we had to pivot away from any live-action captures (due to COVID safety concerns) into a fully CGI pipeline. This presented a unique creative challenge that the team and I were eager to jump into. We wanted to craft something earnest and inspiring, which to be honest is sometimes hard to convey, particularly through “cold” computers.

I was lucky to be able to direct the piece and collaborate with artists from all of our studios. While the project was built and rendered primarily in C4D, we had the technical might of The Mill’s CG artists for some crucial aspects like the hair groom and simulation, FX, and some amazing sculpted assets. We leaned into our design roots to develop bespoke type and animation for the titles and had the pleasure of having composer Maverick Dugger join us to create the score, which was a wonderful experience.  I hope the final piece exudes warmth, humanity and truly shows the passion and care that everyone poured into this.

Check out more Makers At Heart features here and get in touch with our VFX team regarding any upcoming projects here.