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The Spins


What happens when overnight success turns into a downward spiral? The Spins follows Russell, a small time DJ on his journey through fame to the brink of losing everything he loves.


This animation was created for our Term 4 Title Sequence at VFS. I had seen some really impressive student work from this particular class, and knew that I needed to come out of it with a strong piece for my portfolio. The goal was to create something energetic and upbeat, with plenty of movement and enough detail (and hidden Easter eggs) to entice the viewer to watch it more than once. I developed the following synopsis for the story, which ended up fueling most of the content for the sequence:

“Russell, a young DJ and producer from a modest upbringing, has finally recorded enough material to release his first LP and start playing live gigs. He has no idea what he is in for. His first show is a smashing success, and by some string of luck, a big-time promoter is there to witness it all, promising to turn Russell into the next big thing. He becomes an overnight success, running into fans everywhere he goes. But this success doesn’t come without a price – his naïve and unquestioning nature sees him quickly becoming involved with alcohol, drugs and women beyond counting, none of whom care for him as much as he might believe. Before long, his life begins to spiral out of control, and he gets into debt with the kind of people you don’t want to be indebted to. Russell comes face to face with his own mortality and must make severe changes, finding a way to escape his pursuers with his life.”


The goal was to mix modern hip-hop and electronic music culture with a vintage color palette and typography. By combining the two, a unique aesthetic was created, portraying classic funk/soul music and design in a modern light. I created a custom font in Illustrator, using Bauer Bodoni Black Italic as a starting point from which to build on. By turning its sharp edges into smooth curves, the letters became more playful. Every word was kerned manually, combining the names of my classmates into new names that paid homage to my wonderful colleagues at VFS. All of the illustration assets were made from scratch in Illustrator as well, each being divided into into multiple layers and brought into After Effects to light and animate.

I was fortunate to receive the rights to use a great piece of music by British producer Odjbox. The energetic pace of the song determined the timing for most of the animations. Certain beats and fills were represented visually by thinking in terms of onomatopoeia. Every scene was completely different from an animation perspective, and in many cases several steps were needed to achieve the desired effect.

In the end I logged countless hours designing, animating and refining this project, but am extremely happy with the result. I wanted my portfolio to have a showcase animation piece of a decent length, and I believe I succeeded with this title sequence project.



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