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First Image rock at the NME awards

We’re still buzzing from an amazing night at the NME awards in Brixton last week. And what a night it was. From inspired performances by Bastille, Skepta, Wiley and Dua Lipa to a suitably honoured ‘Godlike Genius Award’ for the Pet Shop Boys. The evening ended on a high with a dance set from the electronic duo complete with a spectacular ‘get your hands up in the air’ laser fest.


Our contribution to the night started 6 weeks ago when approached by our friends at Reality to create the on-screen content to run throughout the entire show. Immediately inspired by the brief to create 16 glitchy, typographic animations introducing each category we got straight to work on our ideas. We took a very collaborative approach to the brief as each category had to feel different to the next. We explored a variety of techniques to create an 8-bit feel to our work. This ranged from hand drawn type, repetition techniques and inverting to dragging printouts of text across a scanner and digitising it again.

Our animations would need to work across a huge 55 x 27ft LED screen backdrop, plus 8 walk up LED columns and another large portrait LED screen behind the presenter. We encountered a few challenges with the screens along the way. Mainly working with a high res LED which sat in a smaller pitched LED backdrop. Our Technical Director Joe McLaughlin spent a day at PRG XL Video in Hemel Hempstead configuring our graphics to the screens.

There were some interesting resolution issues which we worked through with team at PRG XL. The modular LED panels meant they could integrate a higher-resolution area in the huge screen to run the nomination videos as crisp as possible but switch to our low-fi graphic treatment using a cheeky ‘patch’ to knock out pixels for the full screen typographic moments. It went against everything we know to do this but it worked really well…”


Our work on site began 3 days before the event with our Motion Graphics Designer Jamie Thodesen being on hand to adjust any last minute changes and re-render out.

“It was an amazing opportunity being backstage for the setup of the NME Awards. The crew worked tirelessly for three days and it’s astonishing to see just how much work goes into the setup of an event this size. Seeing our graphics come to life on the big screen during rehearsals after so much hard work really brought home just how striking the final result was going to be on the night. We had a few last minute finishing touches to make but we wrapped it all up in time, and the show ran seamlessly on the night and looked fantastic!”

We’ve had an overwhelming response from Alice at Reality and the team at NME.

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all your hard work making the graphics. They looked fantastic on the screens and the client was really really pleased with how it all worked. Special thanks to Jamie for being on site and making all the changes we need once we saw it on screen. We’d love to do it with you guys again. Yes please!!”.


On the night the graphics looked awesome if we do say so ourselves. We felt so proud to have been part of such a great night and hope to continue working closely with the team at Reality and NME.


Get to know our Cian in 90 seconds…

1. Where did you grow up? 

I grew up just outside Dublin, Ireland in a place called Ashbourne. It’s a small enough town so tend to head towards the city center for spending free time.

02. What’s your favourite pub and why?
I like the Haggerston in Dalston. Its a great place to spend a Saturday evening. Also friends with the barman so cheap beers which really helps.

03. Where do you find your inspiration?
Old print work a lot, record sleeves and cartoons from my youth. Pinterest is convenient but if possible I will try to look further afield.

04. What tune would you put on at a party and why?
Gimme The Loot – Biggie

I like to play gangster

05. Are you a dog or a cat person?
Dog 100 times over. My parents own a french bulldog called Alf who’s a great little dog.

06. What’s the best thing about working at First Image?
Everyone is so helpful and made me feel very at home and at ease from day one. I like the quality of the work which comes out of the studio. It’s a great job!


07. What are your top three favourite cities?

Dublin, Berlin and London (wahay)

08. How do you like to spend a Saturday?
Seeing friends and exploring London when the weather allows me too. Looking forward to the weather improving so I can go further afield.

09. What aspects of design interest you most?
I really like to work with type. But mainly image making and so on. I really enjoy experimenting and trying out new processes/ways of working. I try to make time for myself to do this as I find it important for a young designer to stay fresh. I really do enjoy most parts of my job!


10. What’s your favourite childhood TV program?
The Simpsons 100%. Watched the bulk of season 5 last weekend it never gets old and tired (new episodes are no use)

11. Hand drawn or digital?
Small sketch or two then onto digital usually would like to get some hand drawn work in soon.

13. What’s been your best experience since joining the team?
I really enjoyed my birthday meal in Chinatown, thanks for that guys! I also think it was great to see the process behind and even work on a small part of the NME awards title videos.

14. And most importantly what’s your favourite food?


Thanks Cian and welcome to the team!


What Car? Car of the year 2017

Scary monsters super geeks

Playful animations with lots of LOLs for the Brand Film Festival

Our Review of Cinema 4D R17’s new features

We’ve recently updated to the brand spanking new edition of Cinema 4D Studio and we’re loving the new features.  First thing’s first, it looks nicer! It’s had a few UI tweaks that make it feel like you’ve upgraded.  There are tons of new buttons to press but my favourite new feature is one of the simplest. Lines! Well, better lines.

The spline tools have been completely reworked and are now far more intuitive. The new pen tool has consolidated most of the previous spline tools into one and it’s very adaptable. With the Spline Arc tool you can create mathematically precise curves, and easily tweak them. Spline Smooth does what it says on the tin, but very nicely, not to mention the extra options to Flatten, Random, Pull, Spiral, Inflate or Project your path.

Spline Arc

In the past I tended to draw my paths in Illustrator and import them as it was so much easier than fighting the limited capability of Cinema’s spline tools, but now Cinema has just as much functionality. There’s also a selection of pathfinding options, such as Intersect, Subtract, Union, And, Or. It’s basically a 3D Illustrator toolbar. These new spline tools alone are worth the upgrade, but there are some other cool new features worth checking out such as the Take System and sculpting improvements, but that’s for another day. Follow us on Instagram to see our latest work.


Here’s one we made earlier…



6 things you should know about our Animator Will Chappell

1. He’s well talented! We’ve already put him to work on some great character animations for an upcoming project and they are looking fab.

2. He loves to draw! – Will goes to life drawing classes on Thursday, and is always making sketches of things he sees in his mind. See, he’s doing it there in the picture below….


3. He’s been animating for years. Will loved animation from an early age. He was in Animation Club at school, and tells us he has won awards. (We like having award-winning animators in the studio.)

4. He’s passionate about Storytelling.  His favourite Disney film is Sword in the Stone – so that’s proof.

5. He’s got loads of followers on instagram – more than First Image annoyingly. Follow us

6. Best of all – he’s ready to work on your next project – To see Will’s Skills bring your ideas to life, contact

The making of…

Watch our behind the scenes peek for M-pin


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