[Dailies] Stunning Animation in Music Videos of the Last 25 Years

  • Published in Film

Part of a series of posts about great film, web, or design artists and their work abuzz online and in-person.

Coldplay's new music video

We’re seeing a lot of these lately. Coldplay just released an awe-inspiring one. Oren Lavie’s is still blowing up. Fortunately for audiences and filmmakers alike, the videos are quite good. So good, they spurn a lot of knock-offs. Especially in the ad industry. (To quote Charles Caleb Colton, and my father, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”)

There’s a few varieties of animation in music videos. We’ve got crisp CG animation with Flogging Molly, traditional animation with Pearl Jam, and then classic stop-motion animation with The White Stripes, even going back 25 years to Alan Parsons Project. Finally, there’s something from a book publisher that makes you smile as the pages come alive.

Without further ado, here are 14 favorites from the last 25 years by some great animators:

Chalk is huge right now:

Coldplay “Strawberry Swing” by Shynola (2009)


Bonus: Shynola also did Queens of the Stone Age “Go with the Flow” (2007) rotoscoped to look straight out of Sin City. They also did Junior Senior “Move Your Feet” (2003) which was animated in 256 colors using Deluxe Paint.

The Fray “Heartless” by Hiro Murai


The overhead, 2D perspective blew up with the recent popularity of Oren Lavie’s video:

Oren Lavie “Her Morning Elegance” by Oren Lavie, Yuval and Merav Nathan (2009)

(See our post on Tomas Mankovsky’s “Sorry I’m Late,” which used the same technique.)

We’ve also seen some other techniques, possibly as a result of DSLR camera use:

We Have Band “You Came Out” by David Wilson / W+K (2009)

More commonly, but just as labor-intensive, it’s CG framed up on photo plates or, in the case of Pearl Jam, straight up animation:

Flogging Molly “Float” by Karni & Saul (2009)

Minilogue “Animals” by Kristofer Ström (2008)


Pearl Jam “Do the Evolution” by Todd McFarlane (1998)


But let’s not forgot, we’ve had some really stunning ones in recent years:

The White Stripes “Fell in Love With A Girl” by Michel Gondry (2002)

Trivia: this video took 2 months to animate.

Sia “Breathe Me” by Daniel Askill and Sia (2007)


Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer” by Stephen R. Johnson (1986)


aHa “Take on Me” by Steve Barron (1985)


Alan Parsons Project “Don’t Answer Me” (1984)


Finally, making another exception here — more book promo than music video per se — for a 4th Estate’s 25th anniversary in book publishing:

4th Estate “This is Where We Live” by Asylum Films / Apt Studio

What’s next?

(via Jaraad Virani, @joshto, FastHack.com, CampCreativeGroup.com, Motionographer.com)


Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site


Great site, how do I subscribe?

Kelli Garner #

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Aaron Proctor #

Thank you for this collection. Love the videos. Quick question. How is the music video for Alan Parsons Project’s Don’t Answer Me done?

It’s fairly obvious that the characters are animated, probably FBF, but how about the backgrounds?

Thank you!

MidNight #

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