It's been an honor to work with such a massively influential band and to collaborate directly with band frontman and series creator Billy Corgan. Translating his narrative vision into cinematic form has been a fun challenge for our team. There’s a lot of nuance.
With this in mind, we created this dark futurist-goth art style, leveraging the traditional techniques of aquatint and ink washes, while using line-boil to feed the rough and energetic look. There is a living line quality to each character. It’s very raw. You feel the artist’s stroke on every frame. It’s nostalgic, yet intentionally present and rooted in the moment.
Deep Sky took on the ambitious project, knowing it would be all or nothing, and the artists really crushed it. There’s a lot of love and thoughtfulness in the approach. It was incredible to witness what the team pulled off on a daily basis.
To learn more about the production, head to Animation World Network's article: 'How Deep Sky Created The Smashing Pumpkins 'In Ashes' Music VIdeo Series'.
Interview with William Corgan on the production of the animated series: "Billy Corgan Talks The Smashing Pumpkins ‘In Ashes’ Music Video Series".
Episode 1: "As The Crow Flies"
Episode 1 ("The Colour Of Love") is our first look into this world The Smashing Pumpkin have created, establishing a bridge between objective and subjective. It’s like an impressionistic painting. The creative choices are intentional, but their meanings are more personal.
There’s a roughness, a toothiness, to the environment’s style. It’s retro meets futuristic, but the feeling is now. There’s a definite mood that lives somewhere between the world we know and a lucid dreamscape.
Episode 2: "Inspirations, Aspirations"
"Confessions Of A Dopamine Addict" is stylistically a deeper dive into this world created by The Smashing Pumpkins, into group dynamics, and into how each person is defined and expressed through a struggling sense-of-self. Here we used color to anchor the visual explorations of each character. We are rooted in an existence with crumbling rules, so it’s important we have something to hold onto, a baseline to track through the chaos, without limiting the journey. There is so much here to take in: a fun madness.
Episode 3: "I'm In Love With Your God"
"Anno Satana" is another jump into this rich and creative landscape, created by The Smashing Pumpkins. As we witness a concert-like ritual, lighting and color take on a more physical presence. From hinting at emotion to providing stability, we now use color and light to assert dominance. It’s no longer just a tie to reality or a subtle hint. It’s evolving. Each change of color and lighting takes on a manifestation that frames each shot: from bars to beacon.
Episode 4: "Owl Wait"
"Wyttch" builds on the language of color and motion from previous episodes. Transitioning from dance to conflict, control to chaos, we explore the blurred lines between ritual and revolution. In this transformation, we both figuratively and literally show the loss of humanity as we hint at the occultists’ true identities.
Episode 5: "Lost IN The Dream Factory"
Episode 5 ("Purple Blood"), the final video from the In Ashes series brings together all the themes from the previous episodes for a memorable conclusion. Deep Sky focused on heightening character development by building a strong atmosphere, using color, shape, and symbolism. Every scene needed to tie into previous events, while also hinting at things to come. Sometimes the answers are harder than the questions.
Amazing people who contributed to this project
Client: The Smashing Pumpkins
Label: Sumerian Records
Writer: William Corgan
Production Studio: Deep Sky
Producer: Jared Hobbs
Director: Mike Anderson
Creative Director: Barret Thomson
Art Director: Sandra Lanz
Project Manager: Jack Ellis
Production Coordinator: Pro Bagchi
Creative Strategist: Seth Chaffee
Animator: Matthew Seely
Animator: Gaby Breiter
Animator: Lyla Hammar
Animator: Aggelos Papantoniou
Animator: Mei Mei Leonard
Animator: Jon Buffman
Animator: Chi Nguyen
Animator: Adam DiTerlizzi
Animator: Jordan Heard
Animator: Elliott Bynum
Animator: Alem Pilav
Backgrounds: Barret Thomson
Storyboards: Ebru Cetiner
Lead compositor: Esli Becerra
2nd Compositor: Zack Dixon