A client just asked, “how much time does it take to make a 13-second animation like that?” A sourcebook editor who is featuring the work asked, “who was the art director?” A friend who is a graphic designer said, “I can’t believe you do it all from start to finish. You should show your process, no one ever realizes what goes in to design and images!”

So, I thought I should explain my process.

Since I am quarantined with the SF Bay Area “stay safe at home” program and was a pastry chef and I love to art direct, I did everything from start to finish in about 8 hours in my new studio in my house in Castro Valley.

Here are the steps from start to finish:

  1. Set the studio for the final shot. I chose antique barn wood and brown seamless paper. I also chose all the props to ensure they are just right for the look. It took 4 lights to create just the right mood.
  2. Make the set for the process shot. Set the camera at an overhead angle on the tripod and tether to a computer.
  3. Test the shots with the camera tethered; adjust the lights many times.
  4. Mis en place. Assemble all of the props and materials to make the pretzel basket:
      • the cutting board was chosen for size, shape, and color
      • cut the parchment paper to match bowl and board size
      • find a brand new bowl and wrap with plastic wrap twice
      • find a copper container to hold the pretzels
      • pretzel sticks from 2 bags so they are all similar in size
  5. Turn the air conditioner on so the room is a little cooler, ensuring chocolate success.
  6. Temper the couverture chocolate and test it to make sure it is tempered
  7. Dip a pretzel into the tempered chocolate and place it on the bowl then record an image. Repeat 150 times.
  8. Allow the chocolate to harden about 90% of the way then remove from the bowl.
  9. Remove the pretzel basket from the bowl and then let it harden the rest of the way
  10. Prepare the fillers: truffles, dried fruits, nuts
  11. Style the finished basket with the fillers on a pedestal
  12. Shoot over the top
  13. Shoot side view hero shot
  14. Adjust all variables on the raw files in Capture one and output to jpeg
  15. Bring the jpeg photos into a Photoshop timeline and make the animation using just the right timing  while creating a few transition layers
  16. Output to mp4 and gif
  17. Voila! Share with you!

Behind the scenes set:

Thanks to @doe_steve for the barn boards, @beesboards for the cutting board, @callebaut for the chocolate, @EdibleEastBay for the idea and for choosing me for your ebook, @lindt for the truffles, and @berkeleybowl for the pretzel sticks, beautiful dried fruits, and nuts.