Coldplay Ink - An Interactive Journey
Coldplay’s “Ink” is an interactive story about a lost traveler who journeys to the ends of the world in hopes of finding his lost love. Viewers explore beautifully animated environments by making real-time choices throughout the video. With over 300 possible paths to take, each experience-altering decision changes the how the story unfolds.
Blind directed, wrote, and animated this visual spectacle for Coldplay’s fourth single taken from their worldwide number one album, “Ghost Stories.” The experience was published on Coldplay’s website here: coldplay.com/ink.
For best viewing experience, watch on a desktop computer.
Director Matthew Encina and a team of dedicated artist worked over a two month period to create Ink. This also included coordinating with an interactive team in New York, and the band in both L.A. and London, to bring this experience to life.
Building a Non-Linear Story
Creating a cohesive story across an interactive experience was quite the task for Director, Matthew Encina. The ideation process began with loose post-it note sketches, and evolved into a tightly organized story matrix of frames, outlining all of the possible paths the viewer can take. This served as the road map for the entire experience.
“The most challenging part of all of this was figuring out how to fully take advantage of the interactive medium,” says Director, Matthew Encina. “We had to create a story with inherently interesting choices to make, engaging viewers to wonder, ‘what would happen if I chose something else?’”
Bringing Ink to Life
Once the road map was clear, a team of designers, illustrators, and animators began giving Ink its visual aesthetic. To immerse viewers into the experience, we illustrated rich open landscapes to explore, and used a vibrant color palette to reflect the full range of emotions our character goes through.
“We emphasized the use of dramatic lighting and atmospheric texture, to create a minimal yet expressive style,” states Evan Viera, designer and animator on the project.
Our characters, who we nicknamed “Ulysses” and “Penelope” after Homer’s Odyessy, went through several iterations before we landed on a design that was sophisticated and would work well in animation. Our team used a combination of robust 2D character rigs out of After Effects, and custom cel animation to bring Ulysses and Penelope to life.
The Interactive Experience
To achieve a streamlined experience, we consulted interactive specialist Interlude, known for their amazing work on Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”. We utilized Interlude’s custom Treehouse platform to create the interactivity of the video.
“The Treehouse platform worked seamlessly in our pipeline,” says Director, Matthew Encina. “Early in the process, we were able to have a live interactive edit, allowing us to and test and refine the user experience along the way.”
To drive the narrative of the video, we had to create buttons that navigated viewers through the experience. The design challenge was to create integrated buttons that were an elegant balance of both aesthetic and function.
Perfect Harmony: Working with the Band
It’s no secret that the folks at Blind are big fans of Coldplay, so the opportunity to collaborate with them was something we couldn’t pass up.
When Matthew presented the initial ideas to Coldplay, there was an instant connection between the creatives. With Coldplay’s blessing, the team at Blind had creative freedom to craft the visuals that would depict the story of Ink.
“From day one, Coldplay was incredibly supportive and onboard with the creative. It’s an amazing yet terrifying feeling to have such high-caliber artists trust you completely to bring their song to life,” Matthew Encina, Director.
The band graced Blind with a visit to check out the work in progress. Chris Martin sat with artists, and was particularly interested in the creative process. The cherry on top was when they invited us to an intimate concert in Downtown LA – we were a little more than giddy to say the least.
“I’m a huge Coldplay fan so having the chance to produce a music video for them is a once in a lifetime experience for me. This project is one I will never forget,” Scott Rothstein, Producer.
It’s clear from the the amazing response to the video from fans, blogs, and most importantly the band, that we’ve created something memorable and meaningful. We’re excited about our role in developing the landscape of how users of all kinds, consume and interact with the content they love.
- Agency: Blind
- Creatives: Phil Harvey, Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, Will Champion
- Executive Creative Director: Chris Do
- Director: Matthew Encina
- Production Company: Blind
- Creative Director: Matthew Encina
- Executive Producer: Tobin Kirk
- Post Producer: Scott Rothstein , Amy Knerl (Head of Production), Jon Chavez (Production Coordinator)
- Art Director: Paul Kim, Matthew Encina
- Designers: Nicole Johnson (UX Designer), Matthew Encina
- 2D Animators: John Robson, Evan Viera, Wu Hyun Lew, Henry Pak, Daniel Zhang, Lawrence Wyatt, Oliver Wee, Jahmad Rollins, Dylan Spears, Matthew Encina
- Riggers: Rachel Yonda, Oliver Wee
- Storyboard Artist: Janet Chan, Erika Bird
- Illustrator: Paul Kim, Elle Michalka, Evan Viera, Bambinomonkey, Daniel Kim, Jenny Chui, Hana Yean, Erika Bird, Matthew Encina
- Editor: Andrew Truong, Stewart Schuster, John Robson
- Music: Coldplay: Ink
- Software: Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Flash, C4d