• Client
  • Ansible
  •  
  • Project Type
  • Animation
  •  
  • Roles
  • Design
  • Modeling
  • Lighting
  • Animation
  •  
  • Partners
  • Tim Kiernan
  • New Kind

Ansible Tower



In June 2016, I was hired to make a video for Ansible to help promote their newly updated flagship software. Partnering with Tim Kiernan and New Kind, we pitched a few ideas that ultimately led to a script with a direct approach — briefly illustrate the importance of automation then show off the software's new features.

The project did not call for anything complex. We originally thought it might just be screen capture footage mixed in with simple 2D animations or live action b-roll. However, because of the trust and freedom Ansible gave us with the direction of the visuals, we ended up creating something much more meaningful without increasing the budget.

  • Design
  • Modeling
  • Lighting
  • Animation

Ansible is in the business of making complex tasks easy to manage. They wanted a visual style that was inviting and friendly but still reminded the viewer that Tower is an enterprise product.

They knew that they wanted the video to be set in an office environment. Instead of shooting live action footage, we decided that we needed the control of an illustrative approach. These were some of the first 3D mockups I presented to the client.

I wanted every item in the office to have a unified and minimal look so I opted to do the modeling myself. This way, I had precise control over the level of detail in the models.

My workflow involved creating comps in 3D with a live GPU preview turned on and then screensharing with the client so I could implement feedback in real time.

Originally, a building wasn't part of the scene in order to help the environment feel more open and inviting. However, without a building with windows to create shadows, some morning and evening scenes ended up looking a little flat. I added a big box around the entire scene and poked holes in a couple of the sides.

This resulted in more interesting lighting for a few key shots.

One of the main themes in the video is solving a problem, so we needed a way to visualize that. I researched some puzzle visuals and came across a math text with some cool 3x3x3 cube puzzles. I went with the cube style because it felt very modular, much like Ansible Tower.

The entire cube rig was procedurally animated using shader and delay effectors in Cinema 4D.

All of the 2D animation was done by taking screenshots of the interface then animating the important bits.

My favorite part of this project is how the visual style took on a life of its own after the video was finished and is now influencing other areas of Ansible's marketing.

Behind the scenes.

About Me

I describe myself as a designer but I'm more of an obsessive generalist. I just love to learn new things. Throughout my career I've found myself working on a range of different projects like creating an employment branding strategy for a global company to filming medieval vikings in the snowy mountains of Utah.

These days, I'm busy hanging out with my daughter and making animations from my home studio in Raleigh, North Carolina.