Get to Know: Reggie Butler + Andre Sam

The power of graphic effects to amplify the creative abilities of a piece of work is undeniable—our friends at Black Hole prove that time and time again.

We took a moment to chat with two of our GFX experts over at Black Hole, Reggie Butler and Andre Sam, to hear more about how they got their start in the GFX world, what their favorite projects have been thus far, and so much more. They’ve lent their skills to numerous spots—and that photo above? That was snapped at the Brooklyn Nets game where Reggie (right) and Andre’s (left) opening video played!

Reggie Butler

Tell us a bit about your background in graphic effects.
My career started with working on animated cartoons for TV such as Ninja Turtles. I’ve done everything from traditional animation to storyboards to background painting to directing for Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. Design has always been a strong suit as well and something I studied. Post animation, I ventured in network graphic design with specials and series for BET and Centric (BET her). I found that both the network and commercial arenas allowed me to put my best skills to use all in one place. Working on commercials these past years has been great. I always find pockets to push the limits.

What do you love most about GFX?
GFX allow me to fuse my favorites—animation, illustration, typography, abstract art and use of color. So long as you follow the basic rules of maintaining good composition and type placement, the possibilities are endless.

What are your favorite projects that you’ve worked on and why?
We worked on a Plenti Campaign a few years back. “Puppets on Green screen at a news desk”. The tone was fun and comical and the graphics supported that. Also animating the mouths of real chickens for Burger King’s Chicken Fries revival was amazing! First time for something like that but it felt natural.

Andre Sam

Tell us a bit about your background in graphic effects.
I was the kid always drawing in school and trying to make my own scenes from my favorite movies with my action figures. Without even knowing it at that time, I was trying to put together colors and character poses that made me feel a certain way. I then worked in network graphics for a while before television commercials and really enjoyed creating and animating different packages for A&E, The History Channel, FUSE and many more. I really learned so much about branding there. I also got to use my skills to create designs animations that had to be specific to each brand. A FUSE Network bumper animation style was way different than a History Channel show open. I also always loved visual effects and would always try to incorporate live action with the graphics when a project called for it. As I started working with more agencies on television commercials I found that my knowledge of branding ,design and animation was a perfect fit because it enabled me to know how to design, create and animate within many different sets of parameters and work with many different creatives who have different styles. My knowledge 3D and compositing skills also integrates wonderfully in the commercial world.

What do you love most about GFX?
I love that every project is a new challenge. Every spot can call for a different type of graphic design and animation. When I start a project its like I am starting a new book. Its a totally different project from the last one and brings new challenges to solve in design and animation. I love that Im not sure what Im going to get to do next and I will have fun exploring it and trying new styles and animation techniques. From elegant titles for a car commercials to making a photo real disco ball for a guy to swing on. Helping to tell a story by designing some integrated animated type with the live action that has to work in 30 seconds and not take away from the brand but draw you to it. Its pretty fun when you can nail a vision that a client has in their head and even get them to try some other things that excite both of us.

What are your favorite projects that you’ve worked on and why?
Oneworld_Airline Alliance: Had so much fun creating a entire CG Disco environment complete with spinning disco balls for the actor to swing on. This was a real fun challenge to get everything to look like it was hot on a set. It had to match the style and lighting of everything else shot on set.

Brooklyn Nets Stadium Open: Great fun integrating posters and typography with live action shots in Brooklyn. Comping posters on walls, subway posters, store windows, stores, cabs ,bridges, etc. We did lots of camera tracking and good old fashioned compositing to get all the graphic elements to sit in the shots.

Burger King Chicken Fries: How can you not love getting real chickens to talk? We had to use a lot of different techniques to get that to work. Im now intimately familiar with what the inside of a chicken’s mouth looks like. You don’t need to know. Trust me!

Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!