R!OT Santa Monica has created some wild visual effects for the video for Ludacris' latest single Stand Up.

Ludacris
R!OT Santa Monica has created some wild visual effects for the video for Ludacris' latest single Stand Up.

R!OT studios in Santa Monica has once again teamed up with director Dave Meyers on a music video - providing visual effects, computer animation, and finishing services for the new Ludacris video Stand Up.

The video for Stand Up, the first release from the rapper's new album Chicken'N'Beer, follows Ludacris into a crowded dance club where things are much larger than life - LPs, beer bottles, pieces of chicken and body parts of certain female guests. The rapper himself appears in ever more bizarre forms, including a rapping, dancing baby boy and - in the video's final scene - sporting an incredible five-foot-tall Afro.

Ludacris
Led by visual-effects supervisors Les Umberger and Ryan Thompson, the R!OT team contributed to nearly every scene in the video. "The great thing about this job was the concept," said Umberger. "Ludacris is known for being wild and eccentric, but this video takes it to a new level. At our end, it involved a lot of work. We spent two days on set with Dave Meyers, supervising the shooting of all of the greenscreen elements. Then we entered an intense process of post."

Stylized animation

The video features a lengthy animated sequence that appears halfway through the video in which stylized images of Ludacris and other people appear over a series of pop art backgrounds. "The look is similar to Yellow Submarine only updated to a contemporary aesthetic," says R!OT Flame artist Kiki Chansamone. "Ludacris and the other talent were shot against greenscreen and we imported the images into Flame. We grabbed colours from their clothing and turned them into solid geometric shapes so that the images became flat and simplified like animated characters," she explains.

Ludacris
The backgrounds for the sequence were created as digital paintings, and the R!OT team produced various 2D animated elements, such as the spray from a bottle of cologne and a winking moon that bears more than a passing resemblance to Ludacris. These elements were composited in 3D space, to give the animation depth-of-field, and the frame rate of the sequence was altered to enhance the animated look.

Ludacris as a baby was a compositing trick pulled off by Umberger and Inferno artist Sean Wilson. Ludacris and a baby were shot separately against greenscreen, with a stage hand dressed in green holding the baby by his hands and causing him to 'dance'. "We had to shrink Ludacris' head to fit the baby's body and warp his neck to give it the stocky look of a baby's neck," explains Wilson. "We also grabbed a line of drool that came from the baby and comped it in so that it seems to be coming from Ludacris' mouth."

R!OT's Claus Hansen had the pleasant task of creating a stream of yellow liquid in 3D to represent the baby peeing when its nappy is changed. The giant Afro sported by Ludacris at the end of the video is a 3D element composed of some 20,000 strands of hair. "I performed a test early on, even before they began shooting, to see what we could do with a large Afro in terms of motion," computer animator Hans Payer explains. "Could I make it bounce and would it look natural? It would have to move correctly to look right. In order to exaggerate the movement slightly, I assigned the hair to deformers and animated it by hand so that the bounces conformed to the music."With the exception of Ludacris and a woman who sits at his feet, the entire Afro sequence is artificial. "That was the hardest scene because there were so many variables," recalls Umberger. "Ludacris' environment was a very large matte painting. The shots involved a lot of tracking and painting to get the bizarre environment to play off correctly."