"The break-up happens early on in the movie so the onus was on the title sequence to tell the story of this couple getting along for a two-year period," explains The Break-Up’s director Peyton Reed. "As soon as the sequence finishes, people have to relate to these characters and understand what the nature of their relationship was like through these normal photos. The challenge was to create an open that was simple and real in its storytelling, but wasn't visually dull. Imaginary Forces did a great job in figuring out the best way to coordinate these stills and to bring kinetic movement and interactivity to them."
Some 600-plus still photos were taken during the actual film shoot while Aniston and Vaughn were together and in character. IF's Brian Mah and his team then determined the best way to build a narrative of their relationship out of the photos.
"Peyton had shown us references from the film Blade Runner, where light streaks in and shadows come to life on a photograph," explains Mah. "We took that idea and created moments like this along the sequence by using subtle accentuations such as twinkling lights or fading smoke. The idea was to have the accents be so subtle that you feel them more than you're aware of them, which helped to bring the photos to life."
IF also included transitions between photographs to create a panning effect around the couple's photo collection instead of a slideshow feel. Since the stills were taken digitally, some compositing was involved to make them appear to be tactile photos with bent edges and texture. A combination of Adobe Photoshop and After Effects, along with an Avid and Discreet Flame were used to complete the job.
IF credits include art director Dan Meehan; producer Kathy Kelehan; designers Dan Meehan, Joan Lau, Ronnie Koff; and 2D animators Dan Meehan, Juan Monasterio, Orlando Costa, Sean Koriakin, Drew Tyndell, Brian Weaver.
Danielle White and Jeff Gornbein edited the piece. Nick Rubenstein, Rod Basham and Matt Spencer served as Flame artists.