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Showing posts from 2019

How 321 Next Reality uses AR/VR to Recruit and Train Employees

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Our home base was recently featured in a news story on Business First AM. Virtual, Augmented and Immersive Reality is set for explosive growth, and reporter Diane Moca got a first hand look at how 321 Next Reality and 321 Fast Draw use these types of innovative technologies in the office.


After trying the headset on and speaking with our staff, Moca explains how companies are using AR/VR for training as well as relaxation in the office with Virtual Reality mini-vacations. If you've never heard of a VR mini-vacation, read our previous post here. We're excited to see what the future holds as this technology develops and expands!

Watch the full Business First AM segment in below:



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Young African Leaders Initiative at 321 Fast Draw

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321 Fast Draw and its new mixed reality division, 321 Next Reality, recently welcomed 25 mid-level professionals and entrepreneurs from sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Nelson Mandela Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This 6-week program, coordinated through Northwestern University's African Studies department, exposes these professionals to various companies, innovation hubs and nonprofit organizations throughout Chicago. We started by showing the group The Potato Caper, one of our favorite hybrid 2D animation videos. You can watch that video here!





The next stop was to our storyboarding studio. This is where the magic really happens! Our creative directors and illustrators stop in here to get their creative juices flowing, and develop the unique storylines you see in our animations.




Finally, our AR/VR division shared some games and virtual environments from our newest immersive reality developments. Many of our YALI guests participated by putting on VR headsets and were …

Million Dollar Results on a Budget

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A client of ours - a large packaging company - wanted to make a big splash to announce an international merger. They wanted it to be fun, irreverent, and colorful.

The idea we pitched? Dancing packages!


So... how did we do it?

We could have gone 3D all the way along with integrating motion capture technology to animate complicated dance sequences...but we didn’t have the time or budget for that. So we opted for a more novel approach.

Using a motorized lazy susan, we filmed high-resolution digital stills of each package spinning in a complete 360 degree circle.




Then we used After Effects to key out the background and exported the spin as a QuickTime video with alpha (animation codec).

Next, using the puppeting tool in Adobe After Effects, our talented animators were able to choreograph simple dance moves and used the time remap tool to spin the package as needed.

via GIPHY

To further enhance the dancing effect, we filmed professional dancers from the Joel Hall Dance Company to be used…

A Day in the Life of 24-year-old MVP Winner Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Milwaukee Buck Giannis Antetokounmpo just won the Most Valuable Player Award and he's the third youngest to do so in the last 40 years. You may wonder what the 'Greek Freak' does to prepare for game day like an MVP. After getting the inside scoop on his game-day routine, 321 Fast Draw illustrated the fascinating methods used by of one of today's best NBA players.

What does it take to be the best in your field? The answer may surprise you.  Find out the secret to being an MVP in this full color animated video that we helped produce for ESPN.



"Giannis Antetokounmpo routinely torches his opponents on the floor, but his practice and pregame routine with the Milwaukee Bucks is as specific as they get and gets him in the right zone to play at an MVP level. Malika Andrews documents." - NBA on ESPN

Read more on ESPN:Giannis is third-youngest to win MVP in 40 years.


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Career Day at Columbia Explorers Academy in Chicago

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School isn’t out for summer just yet!

While CPS students across Chicago are winding down the school year and counting down the days to summer break, a standout group of 7th graders from Columbia Explorers Academy, 4250 So. Kedzie Ave, had an opportunity to end the year with a twist.

This year’s annual Columbia Explorers Academy Career Day featured a group of diverse CPS volunteers to talk about what they became when they grew up! 321 Fast Draw was invited to participate in this event and had such a wonderful time connecting with the future screenwriters, illustrators, editors, and animators of tomorrow.

When speakers Diane and Jackie from 321 Fast Draw arrived, they were welcomed by two smiling students ready to escort them to their first meeting room with snacks and other friendly faces, including administration and other career day volunteers.

The school signage and artwork in the hallway was uplifting and captivating at every turn, and showcased a variety of cultures and langua…

Then vs Now: The Evolution of Animation

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With several blockbuster hits being released in 2019, one of the most anticipated movies coming out this summer is Toy Story 4. The final installment of Pixar’s Toy Story series has come a long way since the release of the first film back in 1995, and features many of the same voices including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusak. What has stuck with us throughout the years are the charming and relatable personalities of each toy and their ability to connect with us, the audience. The evolution of animation has given story writers, voiceover talents, and visual artists the opportunity to change the way animated storytelling is brought to life. 



The evolution of animation hasn’t only affected Pixar, but it has made a huge, positive impact for our team here at 321 Fast Draw. For us, the way we create whiteboards has evolved over the years as technology has changed and software has upgraded; however, it's never stopped us from showcasing the message we're trying to get across w…

Storytelling Throughout the Ages: Hieroglyphics to Emojis

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Have you ever sat down to text your friend an emoji and thought about how one simple thing like the smiley face ever got started?

When people think of storytelling, they seem to forget how far back it began to connect people across the globe. As early civilizations evolved, their visual languages expanded and became more communicable. And we thank the ancient Egyptians for creating a clear, efficient way of telling stories through their use of hieroglyphics.

The term “hieroglyphic” originates from the Greek words hiero (‘holy’) and glypho (‘writing’). The Ancient Egyptians began using hieroglyphics (also referred to medu netjer, or ‘the gods’ words’) as a way to communicate. By using symbols strung together, the first visual stories were born. This culture believed stories were divine in nature and something that would be carried on far ahead into the future. Turns out they were right!



Hieroglyphic symbols eventually grew more complex as they added vowels, grammar, and syntax to add …

Will Dallas Maverick Luka Dončić win the Rookie NBA Award?

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We created an incredible full color animated video that alerted the world to the story of Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks. It inspired him to have one of the best seasons of his career! And now he's on track to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award. The winners of these awards will be revealed at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT. The third annual NBA Awards will take place at Barker Hangar in Los Angeles. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George and James Harden are also finalists for the 2018-19 Kia MVP Award.

We're waiting for our thank you, Mister Luka.




But this isn't the first time this has happened. We also discovered an NBA Player early on in our existence. That's right - LeBron James. Thanks to one of our videos putting him on the map, he's had QUITE a career!





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It Starts with the Story

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, multiple pictures woven together to create a visual story is priceless. Why are people so captivated by visual storytelling - especially if these visuals are illustrated and animated? Here at 321 Fast Draw, our award-winning team of artists pour their blood, sweat and tears into the animated videos you see on screen. We are passionate about transforming complex messages into images that are easily understood. And it all starts with our favorite tool: storyboarding.











Storyboarding is the foundation for everything we do. When a new project comes through, we immediately reach for our two constants: pencil and paper. After a productive brain dump, our favorite concepts go up on our whiteboard and that’s when the creative juices really start flowing.

Storyboarding allows the client to work with artists in the animation and editing industry. It’s a crucial part of the storyboard dance where the words of the script and visual imagery come together to make…

New Tech Trend? Mid-day Virtual Reality “Mini-Vacations”

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321 Next Reality, a VR company on Chicago’s Southwest Side, is trying a new experiment in employee productivity. They say it’s an antidote to the early afternoon crash: Employees are recharging their batteries with a 30-minute Virtual Reality “mini-vacation” each afternoon.

“I just put on the headset, adjust the noise cancelling headphones, sit back, and the next thing I know, I’m soaking up rays on a tropical beach,” said graphic artist Mark, “It’s amazing how relaxing it actual is.”

“I actually cut my lunch a little short so I can get some extra time in Maui,” said project manager Joel, “but I’m still waiting for them to invent the virtual reality pina colada.”

Is it working? According to GM Kathy, the answer is a resounding yes! “It used to be that you would see productivity dwindle as it got closer to quitting time. Now, instead of people
talking about weekend plans, I see brainstorming sessions popping up at 4 o’clock, and 3D modelers working right up to and sometimes going past qui…

James Holzhauer is winning an average of 76 thousand dollars per episode!

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So, have you heard of this guy winning all this money on Jeopardy? His name is James Holzhauer and he is winning an average of 76 thousand dollars per episode! How is he doing it?
Number 1 - Instead of going for the $100 questions first, he starts at the bottom, and goes for the one thousand dollar questions. The ones that earn him the most money.
This allows him to pull away from his opponents quickly, leaving them in the dust before they even have a chance to get their bearings.
His second strategy has to do with how he acquires all that knowledge in the first place.
His trick - illustrated children’s books.That’s right, James has read hundreds of illustrated non-fiction children’s books on subjects from history, to literature, science and more. And the information has stuck. Why? Because children’s books are designed to be interesting to uninterested readers.They replace the blah blah blah with memorable metaphors. They get right to the point, they are entertaining, and the illustratio…