Artificial intelligence – probably the buzziest phrase of 2023 – served as the inspiration behind Elevation’s 2023 Promax Awards opening sequence, which introduced Promax’s virtual North America and Latin America Awards celebration on June 22.

“Our field has been dominated by a massive story over the past year: AI. Mind-boggling advancements in AI-generated art and writing continue to flood the headlines. As a bunch of nerds, we’ve always been fascinated with the intersection of technology and creativity. Nothing quite captures that area of our curiosity right now like AI. It’s equally cutting-edge and controversial,” wrote Elevation’s James Grosch on the company blog. “Big questions began swirling around our industry and our team, from the practical – what does this mean for our workflows? – to the philosophical – is art defined by the creator or the end result? This topic was flooding our minds and our Slack channels.”

As Elevation drilled down into what it wanted to do for the piece, it broke up the process into six elements: idea, iteration, window, type, light, and of course, Promax’s awards statue, around which the entire piece revolves.

“We reinforced these concepts through different effects, such as distortion to convey iterative metamorphosis, fluid transparent glass to convey the overlap and spread of inspiration, and echoing layers to show how creative ideas can be like a game of telephone: sometimes duplicated, but altered as they are dispersed into the artistic ether,” wrote Grosch.

Beyond the six themes, Elevation also had to ideate custom concepts to service five different awards shows.

“Each part needed to feel distinct, but part of a cohesive whole,” wrote Grosch. “One of the core design elements for this project was light. When white light passes through a prism, we see glimpses of individual colors. So we gave each region its own color scheme, with the Global Excellence awards being represented by bright white light: the combination of all of the diversity among the regional awards.”

But light was just the beginning of the process—motion also had to be part of it.

“Throughout this exploration, our imagination was drawn to kinetic sculptures. They are set in motion by a catalyst that may be as small as a tiny push. There is no final form: just constant, beautiful motion, propelled by balance and thoughtful design,” wrote Grosch. “That perfectly encapsulates the experience of being an artist, and so these sculptures became the central visual motif for the opening sequences for the awards.”

Elevation then put together a team of four artists – including Creative Director David Hendrix and Senior Designer Sean Kiley – to work on the package.

To accomplish the customization of each of the five awards shows – Europe, Global Excellence, North America, Latin America and Local – Elevation assigned each one its own look, feel and palette, all of which feel part of an overall whole.

Creating these sequences required a combination of tools: Cinema4D, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Xparticles, and Redshift, according to Elevation.

“Our artists utilized a wide variety of advanced techniques, such as highly-detailed macro shots and fluid dynamics,” wrote Grosch.

The team also chose a bold, modern sans serif font for all five opens: ITC Avant Garde Gothic Pro.

The piece ultimately came together through thoughtful composition, lighting, and design to convey the journey from spark of inspiration to grounded idea to creative resolution in the form of the statue.

For the music, which uses strong percussion to drive the story forward, Hendrix searched through many libraries and custom options. Ultimately, he ended up customizing two different tracks, editing them together and adjusting the beats per minute to create a seamless soundtrack.

“The result,” Grosch writes, “is a series of openings for the 2023 Promax Awards that celebrates the artistic experience, while acting as companion pieces to each other.”

Check out the 2023 Promax North America and Latin America Awards celebration, held on June 22, to see Elevation’s work in action.


Client: Promax

President: Stacy La Cotera

Manager, Creative Services: Kayla Karlsson

Creative Project Manager, Awards: Megan Kessler

Production Company: Elevation

President/Executive Producer: Steph Carson

Executive Creative Director: Stephen Cocks

Art Director: Dianne Frisbee

Creative Director: David Hendrix

Senior Designer, Animator: Sean Kiley

Designer, Animator: Brendan Pritchett

Tags: ai animation artificial intelligence elevation motion graphics opening sequence promax awards 2023

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