Lobo for Saturn and Suez

Watch Saturn “Transformations” | Watch Suez

Lobo (with The Ebeling Group) revisited the aesthetics of their Skank One Song project, but this time they did it for Saturn (co-directed by MJZ) and Suez. Both projects are variations on the original idea, and both, I think, are successful, even if they lack some of the heart of their common ancestor.

I think it’s okay to borrow from your previous work if all the following are true:
1. The approach makes sense for the message at hand
2. You’re not “short-cutting” through your own creative process
3. The audiences are distinct and separate

The biggest danger is that with enough repetition, a certain look or approach to problem solving can dominate your work. When you’ve learned to use a hammer, the whole world starts to look like a nail.

Lobo works on a wide enough variety of projects that they don’t have to worry about this too much, I think. One week they’re doing a car advert, the next they’re doing opening titles for an indie flick. But that’s not true for the vast majority of studios out there.

Purists won’t allow for any recycling or re-purposing of previous projects. But that attitude, while honorable, is ultimately unsustainable. To re-invent oneself completely for every project is not only impossible, it’s probably unhealthy, a catalyst for burn out.

Any body of work from an individual or a consistent team is going to have some common threads running through it. I think those idiosyncrasies and quirks are worth celebrating. That’s the voice of the creators, the DNA of a studio made visible. I’m not saying that’s what’s going on with the Lobo spots; that’s up for you to decide. But I do think there’s room for designers to borrow—and learn—from themselves.

Credits for Saturn “Transformations” | Credits for Suez

Watch Saturn “Transformations” | Watch Suez

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



It’s not that uncommon that boutique graphics houses reuse techniques and elements throughout their projects. A major part of keeping clients happy is giving them what they ask for – commonly this can be “the last campaign worked, more of the same please”. Also, a house style is established by building on methods that worked and junking approaches that didn’t work.

Brand New School springs to mind as a boutique who have retained a strong visual link between projects for different clients, from their weird tracked-in growing CG plants to the Diageo contract it landed them, there is hardly any visual disparity.

Surely it makes more sense to specialise, and evolve a unique style that runs throughout all your projects?


its odd you would bring the issue of recycling aesthetics up with these particular pieces, after the 5th gear piece you posted using ultra slow motion photography.. the 18th piece over the past month done in slow-mo. I think any studio working will be asked to repeat themselves at some point, and ultimately its the stubborn artist backed by their reps that will push the ad agency as far as they can… until they feel they’ve reached a middle ground of inspiration and new creation…


“18th piece over the past month done in slow-mo”

And perhaps the 1,800th since the advent of commercials.

It was, as far as I know, Matt’s first time to use the technique.


well sure sure, i didnt mean it as offensive as it looks typed (thank the internet for that) but I guess I was more just interested in the the relationship the two have. On one hand you have work that is being dictated mostly by ad agency folk, and on the other you have a free creative that doesn’t take many risk, and more of how the two subjects were addressed. I do understand the history of slow-motion photography, and as our technology improves it does open new and exciting creative roads to take — but i find the two in the same category of dealing with repetitive creative. Sorry if i’m not the best at explaining this… not always my forte, but hopefully that makes more sense of what i was trying to say, rather than sounding critical without merit

Marc B.

Ok james, how about you guys at mk12 stop using the posterize filter.




Have some times that the studio become victim of its own creativity. This guys have made a wonderful work and now every client want the same thing with her trademark at the end.

Here is another example. A pretty great ad made with the same technique by the same studio. (Very closer saturn`s idea, is not?)



I’m sure there are a ton of other examples too, but does anyone remember when Psyop got pegged as the toon-shader studio about 7 years ago? You could argue it put them on the map, made them a name with agency folk, and ultimately allowed them to expand creatively. So I’m all for finding your style, your voice, and perfecting it…


When I saw the commercial, it immediately reminded me of the video that Lobo had already done. I’m pleased to find out the same studio did both. Ultimately, they’re borrowing the money from their big paying gigs to fund their creative, more independent gigs… they just did it in the reverse order by creating the kick ass (probably low paying) stuff first, and stealing the idea from themselves (If in fact, the idea was theirs in the first place) for a big client so they can make a larger profit. 1st Ave Machine seems to have built a business off of that model. You get the best of both that way, since you’re doing creative work, and getting paid. Anyway, looks great. Nice work!… and yes, just as slow motion photography is considered a technique rather than an idea, this look will suffer the same fate; Lobo should take that as a compliment. Sorry, long winded, I’ll shut up now.

Gustavo Gripe


Maybe the ad agency ask to be the same aesthetics, but its really seemed and both maded by Lobo or VetorZero, VFX company sister of Lobo.

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