Studio Spotlight: Psyop is an Industry Titan

Motion Design 09/08/2019 4 min read

For today’s Industry Spotlight, we are highlighting another titan in the U.S. motion graphics area. We’re talking about Psyop. Founded in 2000 in New York City, Psyop is one of the leading studios for commercial work in motion graphics, VFX, and animation.

But that’s not all. In recent years, Psyop has extended its grip into the worlds of animated series and VR. Let’s take a look at some of the pieces that made Psyop an industry leader, and some of the stuff that proves they’ll be leaders for the foreseeable future.

Our Favorite Psyop Works

1. Coke – Heist

The first thing that you might think when watching this spot is, “Wow, I can’t believe that’s five years old.” In an industry that changes as fast as motion graphics and animation, this spot holds up like something brand new.

It’s a great representation of Psyop mastery of 3D modeling and rendering. But, while the 3D is impressive, it’s also Psyop’s ability to weave an engaging and realistic feeling story, that makes this spot so much fun to watch.

There is not a blade of grass out of place here or one missed opportunity to immerse the viewer into the world of the commercial. And it was one that really moved Psyop to a new level.

2. Coca-Cola – Man & Dog

Fast forward a few years, and you get a totally different take on a Coke spot. This time around, Psyop perfectly crafted a Disney style cell animated spot about a man and his dog.

For this one, the team went in a totally different direction, but they pulled it off with the same seeming ease. Again, they got the story and timing right and nailed every detail of a classic cell animation.

Plus, that music, whoever picked it, is spot on.

3. Scottish Gas – There’s No Place Like Home

Here’s a spot produced for Scottish Gas that mixes the best of both worlds. Again, Psyop shows off how well they seem to understand the natural movement of animals with this 3D spot. But this time, they opt for a less photo-realistic approach than the “Heist” spot, and instead go with a stylistic approach like you might see in a Dreamworks film.

And again, Psyop seems to nail this style like they’ve been doing it for years. Well….they have been doing it for years, so that experience shows.

It’s because of spots like these that Adweek said “Psyop easily could be dubbed the Pixar of the spots world” in a 2015 article.

4. Clash Of The Clans – Revenge

In 2015, Psyop points out on their site that they produced the most-watched commercial of the year for Clash Of The Clans. That spot and several others had great success on YouTube where gamers were eager to see what was coming.

In this series of spots, Psyop developed a look and feel that would inspire a lot of game spots to come. It also helped them develop a huge market for themselves in game commercials and cinematics.

Psyop even began producing their own video games, with at least 2 in the works.

5. Kismet VR

Along those same lines, Psyop seems to be looking to expand its web by getting themselves into the world of virtual reality. There are lots of people excited about VR and lots of people who don’t even know what it is. But Psyop is making a bet that VR will be huge.

They have produced VR content for Clash of The Clans, and they’ve even put out their own VR app called Kismet.

Kismet takes you inside a fortune teller’s trailer and surrounds you with all sorts of mystery and mystique. It looks as beautiful as the spots they produce for major clients and it seems like it would be a lot of fun to explore. Kismet will have a limited audience right now, as it’s available for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but as more and more people get into VR, Psyop is preparing itself to be a leader in that soo to be crowded pack.

6. Sherwin Williams – Epiphany

Let’s take a look at one more piece that shows just how creative and imaginative the crew at Psyop can be.

We’ve all seen spots that involve ink or even paint in water. The way it interacts with the water can be an interesting and organic feeling. But, in most cases, the ink is just dropped in the water to do what it wants, and the results are hit or miss.

For the latest Sherwin Williams Emerald Paint spot, Psyop took this concept to a whole new level. They used a highly refined motion control rig and all kinds of mechanical devices to precisely release and mix paint in the water, all while getting the exact camera moves they wanted. They even edited on set to make sure the final result would be perfect.

The result is something that looks like the most beautiful liquid CGI ever because it’s all actually paint mixing in water and not CGI at all.

And in case you don’t believe us after watching that spot, here’s a little behind the scenes that will help explain further.

There is a reason that Psyop has been, and continues to be a leader in motion graphics, VFX, and animation. Well, there are lots of reasons.

Just take a look at the nearly 900 videos on their Vimeo page. Their team is full of super creative thinkers, tinkerers, and experts in their field. They are always looking for new ways to tell interesting stories, and it looks like they will be around for a long time, even as we move into new ways of computing and consuming our entertainment. For more information on Psyop, visit