Manhattan
Main Title / Role: Art Director
I worked with Dan Gregoras and the Imaginary Forces team to create the opening title sequence to WGN's Manhattan. The show is set during the creation of the first atomic bomb during WWII, but focuses on the lives of the scientists and their families as they wrestle with secrets, both big and small. The juxtaposition between the work of the scientists and their lives at home is one of the main themes we honed in on, all illustrated in a diagrammatic style suggestive of the revolutionary work being done in physics and mathematics.

This title sequence received an Emmy for Outstanding Title Design, won a SXSW Excellence in Title Design Award and was featured on Art of the Title and in Communication Arts.
Reference & Design
Reference
Storyboard designed by Griffin Frazen
Animation
Sekani Solomon set the tone of the animation, using Cinema 4D to render 3d paper moving around a virtual desk. In the end, the majority of the sequence was rendered as empty pages, with the content added later in the composite. This allowed us to quickly iterate and update diagrams up to the last minute, without having to wait for the 3d to re render.
Walking Figures
The original storyboards Griffin Frazen designed included little architectural figures inhabiting the diagrammatic world. This gave the overhead scenes of Los Alamos a scale and life that we all loved. The challenge became how to bring these figures to life. CG was an option, but our team wasn't set up to model, rig, and animate the number of individual characters we would need. Instead I decided to set up a shoot that took advantage of the location of our New York studio.
Leaning the camera out the 6th floor window, I captured IF staff walking back and forth, performing various actions, over a large sheet of paper. We turned these into looping animations, and had a cell animator create shadows to match the action.
Architecture
Los Alamos was one of the first planned communities in the country. It was transformed from empty wilderness into a city in months, and we wanted to accurately depict the unique architectural look.

Based on reference photography, Dan Gregoras and I modeled simple low polygon buildings. I then used the Sketch and Toon renderer in Cinema 4D to quickly create aerial views of the city that appear to have been drawn by a draftsman.
Credits

Produced by Imaginary Forces

Director: Dan Gregoras
Art Director: Jeremy Cox
Executive Producer: Gabriel Marquez
Producer: Jon Hassell
Designer: Griffin Frazen
Animator: Sekani Solomon
Cel Animation: Peter Ahern
Editor: Karl Amdal
Additional Designs: Audrey Davis, Tim Haldeen