yU+co, the eponymous film design company headed by Founder and Creative Director Garson Yu, has created yet another memorable title sequence for the latest Hollywood blockbuster, “Tomb Raider.” Known for their extraordinary creative work crafting title sequences for top feature films and TV series, including “The Walking Dead,” “The Fate of the Furious,” “Silicon Valley” and “Kong: Skull Island,” the creative studio produced and directed the opening prologue sequence for “Tomb Raider” that provides crucial backstory. yU+co also designed and produced the entertaining main-on-end titles.
Setting Up The Story:
For the prologue sequence, the yU+co creative team was given an array of maps, illustrations and ancient looking books, most actual props from the film, and arranged them as if on the desk of Richard Croft, the eccentric adventurer who vanished when his daughter Lara was barely a teen.
As the camera slowly pans across the candlelit desk, lingering in close-up on disturbing Japanese folk-lore inspired images, the voiceover of Robert Croft explains the film’s backstory, specifically the origins of ancient Japan’s evil Queen Himiko and her dark magic. She and her power are still buried on an island in the middle of the treacherous Devil’s Sea, and he needs to find it first even if that means leaving his daughter behind.
“Our first objective,” Yu says, “was to explain the mythic backstory. Next, we needed to illustrate the importance of Richard’s mission to prevent that power from falling into the hands of the evil Trinity organization.” “This sets up the reason for his absence and his presumed death at the beginning of the film. The challenge for the yU+co creative team was to create something that was supernatural and scary, but also plausible. We found ourselves walking a fine line between the occult and the real world. ”
The work of yU+co on the production of this opening sequence reflects the fact that the company is more than an award-winning motion graphics company, but rather a full-service creative studio. The “Tomb Raider” project offered an opportunity for them to showcase their full visual story-telling talents, from writing and research to live action production to inspired design and animation.
Entertaining End Titles:
Contrasting the dark, narrative-driven tone of the prologue is an ending title sequence that is pure entertainment – especially for those who experience the film in 3D.
Again, taking inspiration from the trappings of the Tomb Raider universe, namely historical locations, ancient temples, artifacts, traps, magic and a myriad of weapons and puzzles, the ending titles weave those 2D and 3D images into a sequence that keeps audience members engaged after the movie has ended thanks in part to its numerous sweeping camera moves that abruptly change perspective, as well as 3D elements that rush toward the viewer.
yU+co’s design team was inspired by the tools that Lara uses throughout the movie – she’s an archer, she’s good with puzzles, maps, reading diagrams of the tomb and the traps within — so they used the ending titles as a way to revisit those elements from the movie and interpret them through her eyes, as if Lara was sketching them out. And because they knew the film was going to be in 3D yU+co creatives exploited it with a screen filled with objects shooting towards the camera to really take the audience on a thrill ride.
Founded 20 years ago by visionary creative director Garson Yu, yU+co is a digital innovation studio designing memorable visual content for every medium. They are a collective of designers, filmmakers, creators and storytellers forging emotional connections and pushing the boundaries of design, specializing in crafting unforgettable content and experiences that captivate, inspire and bring people together. From film title design to VR, yU+co creates content for traditional and unconventional formats. With offices in Hollywood, Hong Kong and Shanghai, yU+co continues to offer boutique style creative and production services, collaborating closely with clients to achieve the most effective end product. For more info https://www.yuco.com
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Project: Tomb Raider opening, main and main-on-end tltle sequences
Production/Design/Post: yU+co, Hollywood, CA
Director/Creative Director: Garson Yu
Executive Producer/SVP: Carol Wong
Executive Producer: Reno Robertson
Associate Producer: Johnny Ellsworth
Designer/Art Director: Edwin Baker, Mert Kizilay
Writer/Researcher: Rick Spitznass
Designer/Typographer: Yuanchen Jiang
Illustrator: Bryan Kim
DP/Cameraman: Alex Pollini
Line Producer: Nicholas DeSantis
Editor: Luis Ochoa, Sam Schlenker
CG Compositor: Johnathan R. Banta
TD/Finisher: Gregory Jones
Designer/Animator: Ilgi Candar
Animator: Takayuki Sato, Jim Pierce, Yuee Seo