HOLLYWOOD - Yu + Co created the main title sequence for the new Disney film, "Herbie: Fully Loaded." The sequence uses newspaper clippings, scenes from the four previous Herbie films and other media to look back on the famous VW's life.
"The Love Bug" premiered in 1968. The montage includes memorable clips, including a shot of Herbie driving along the top of the Golden Gate bridge from the 1974 film "Herbie Rides Again." Clips are punctuated with images of newspapers with headlines identifying the car with real historic events. The sequence also includes fabricated shots in which Herbie was digitally grafted into historic settings and old television shows and films. The car is spoted hanging around outside New York's Studio 54 and, later, parked in a romantic spot with the black Trans Am from the TV series Knight Rider.
"We set out to create sympathy for Herbie, to form a bond between the audience and him before the movie has even begun," says Yu + Co creative director Garson Yu. "It evokes the heart of the film. We wanted to appeal to a broad audience. There are plenty of visuals that will make kids laugh, but much of the humor is sophisticated and is aimed at the adults in the theater, many of whom will recall seeing the original movies when they were kids themselves."
Tying the design together are patterns of colored dots, like those used to create photographs in newspapers. The dots animate through the frame in 3D space, creating seamless transitions between the film clips and newspaper photos. The dots are also used to introduce and punctuate title, cast and crew graphics. "The dots were inspired by newspaper halftones, while their colors relate back to Herbie. That helps to unify the design," notes Yu + Co art director Yolanda Santosa.
The newspapers were produced by designers and 2D artists using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Clips from the previous Herbie films presented a different challenge. At 40 years old, some of the source material showed signs of age. Artists performed digital color correction and repaired dust and scratches to bring the material up to current standards and to create consistency from shot to shot.
The most difficult shots were those that involved compositing Herbie into archival material. "The historical material needed to have an iconic quality," Santosa recalls. "People needed to be able to immediately identify the setting and its era. Once we selected those scenes, we then had to comb through the analogous Herbie movie to find elements that could work with the background - the angles had to be right."
Credits for Yu + Co include Claire O'Brien, executive producer; Ryan "Reno" Robertson, associate producer; Edwin Baker, Harkim Chan and Otto Tang, 2D designers; Etsuko Uji, Nick Baquero, Hiroshi Endo, Jason Doherty, Brian Hayes, Calvin Lo and Zachary Scheuren, 2D artists; Chris "Vinny" Vincola, 3D artist; Elika Burns, matte painter; David Fogg and Vincent Nunez, Shake artists; Ryan Miller and Zachary Scheuren, editors; Danny Mudgett and Zachary Scheuren, Inferno artists.