Method creates titles for Netflix's <I>Avatar: The Last Airbender</I>
March 20, 2024

Method creates titles for Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender

LOS ANGELES — Method Studios ( collaborated with Netflix on the recently-released, live-action adaptation of the hit series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. The series was developed by Albert Kim and follows young Airbender Aang and his friends as they fight to end the Fire Nation's war and bring balance to the world. 

Director and executive producer Jabbar Raisani approached Method Studios to create visually striking title cards for each episode. The titles not only recognize the original animated series, but live up to the visuals featured in the new adaptation.  
Creative director Wes Ebelhar led the Method Studios team, concepting and pitching several different directions for the titles before deciding to move forward with one called "Martial Arts." 

"We loved the idea of abstracting the movements and ‘bending’ forms of the characters through three dimensional brushstrokes," explains Ebelhar. "We also wanted to create separate animations to really highlight the differences between the elements of air, earth, fire and water. For example, with air, we created this swirling vortex, while earth was very angular and rigid. The 3D brushstrokes were also a perfect way to incorporate the different elemental glyphs from the opening of the original series."
Giving life to the different elemental brushstrokes was a challenge, and the studio created a custom procedural setup in SideFX Houdini to generate them.

“Once we had that system built, we were able to pipe in our original previs animations and they matched the timing and layouts perfectly,” says Ebelhar. “The animations were then rendered with Redshift and brought into After Effects for compositing. The compositing ended up being a huge task as well. It wasn't enough to just have different brush animations for each element, we wanted the whole environment to feel unique for each - the fire title should feel like its hanging above a raging bonfire, while water should feel submerged with caustics playing across its surface."

Many people were involved in bringing the titles to life, and Ebelhar calls attention to Johnny Likens, David Derwin, Max Strizich, Alejandro Robledo Mejia, Michael Decaprio and producer Claire Dorwart. 

“It was a really great experience working with this team and we are all very proud of the results. It was a huge honor to work on the next chapter of a series that we have so much love for."
All episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender are now streaming on Netflix.