Micro-Star International (MSI) Process

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We released the Director’s cut of our work for MSI just last week and we thought it’s high time we shed more light on the entire process.

We spoke to Rachael Lum, our lead designer and Rohan, pronounced as rə́wən or “ROH” + “uhn”, to learn more about what went down during the project.

Ideation

Rachael: The client came to us looking for a video showing the new and improved Tomahawk B450 Motherboard, with all of its fresh and upgraded bits. We didn’t want to deviate too much from the actual product, and how it was assembled, which ultimately led us to the sequence of events/ order of revelations that our final video showed. Everything in the video, from the order of events to the details and colours all came with purpose and helped to emphasise the features of the new motherboard.

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Rohan: We wanted to take on a more metaphorical and narrative approach towards the video with evil space pirates and flying tomahawks. But we realised later that that approach will distract the audiences from the product itself.

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Rachael: Yeah, Rohan came up with the idea of space pirates and although we did away with it, we kept the spaceship and used it as a “lead” within the final video. We wanted something that the viewers can follow, so using the spaceship to navigate through the products and motherboard was a perfect idea, considering the fact that we wanted the whole concept to be video game-ish too!

Rohan:The spaceship also helped to give the viewers watching the video a sense of context. If not it will just be aimless floating, you know?

When we were designing the spaceship we took inspiration from the MSI logo, the tail of the dragon. We offered up 2 variations of the spaceship, but went ahead with the other variation in the end.

 MSi Logo // cr: MSi

MSi Logo // cr: MSi

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Design

Rachael: We did a lot of research not only on motion graphics works but games as well, focusing on how we wanted to portray the motherboard. We knew that we wanted to do a stylised version of it, so from there we started looking for inspiration.

Rohan: We settled on Ghost In The Shell and its projections, holograms and futuristic aesthetics as one of our main sources of inspiration. Using that we designed the motherboard. The client loved it so we locked that down and used the same direction for the rest of the video.

Rachael: As mentioned before, we wanted to incorporate some gaming elements into the video since the product was made for streamers. The entire concept coupled with the spaceship worked out really well to meet our desire for a different user-interface art direction.

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Techniques Used

Rohan: There was a lot of Cinema 4D and compositing. We used chromatic aberration together with glitches and distortions to add realism to the entire piece.

Rachael: The distortion helped to keep consistency in the art style. The tunnel, for example, was done in 3D using Cinema 4D and After Effects. We layered over a lot of different effects on top of Trapcode Particular - which definitely played a big part in making the video.

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Difficulties

Rohan: We spent a lot of precious time waiting, because we had to render it from 3D followed by the compositing. We worked on this project with 3D artists from another studio, which meant that Rachael spent quite a bit of effort and time translating and communicating messages.

Rachael: You’d think that designing is as straightforward as it gets. But no. We had to look at the work and anticipate problems that may arise from it, and solve it before it can cause us any trouble, haha. The glitches and distortion in the video also posed as a challenge as we didn’t want to add too much if not it would have looked messy - it was all about striking a good balance.

During the start of the project when we were trying to figure out the sequence of events, we had to work within the limits of the product itself. We took into account the nature of the product, figuring out the ones that can be featured and the ones that cannot be because at the end of the day, the video had to be realistic and also be an accurate representation of the motherboard.

 MSi B450 Tomahawk Motherboard // cr: MSi

MSi B450 Tomahawk Motherboard // cr: MSi

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Improvements

Rohan: Definitely the workflow. Looking back at it now, I would have reduced the polygon count which would have made the entire rendering process faster, which meant more time to perfect and better other elements within the video.

Rachael: We definitely could have taken more time to play around with the composition of the visuals within the video. Maybe like what Ro said, adding details and polishing everything up because we could still push it further.

Rohan: Yeah, things like the text, the motherboard at the start of the video and the highlighted features could use more detail, maybe through the use of accent colours etc. But everything is a learning process and its all about learning as you go and now we know!

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What You Enjoyed

Rohan: I thought Rachael’s tunnel part was pretty sick and well-crafted. She may not have enjoyed doing it as much but at least I like looking at it, haha.

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Rachael: I think we both enjoyed the initial part of the project when we were experimenting with the visual aesthetics of the project. It’s always fun - well, for the most part of it.


We hope you enjoyed reading about the process and took away a thing or two from this. It definitely was a journey from start to finish. Have you watched the video? If not, enter the Tomahawk B450 with us below!

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