'Safe & Free'


Recent, Animation

Imagine the deep green and peaceful sounds of a foggy rainforest, cut with an unusual sight: the graceful form of an enormous humpback whale, gliding between the trees and erupting through the leafy canopy. That’s immediately where our brains went when we started working with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. We wanted to build something abstract and surreal, something that made you stop and take notice. By taking the whale out of its cavernous ocean environment, we created this surrealist moment that put these animals’ true size in context, prompting the viewer to think about them in an entirely new way.


Production Co / VFX: Scholar
Creative Directors: Will Johnson & William Campbell
Executive Producer: Lindsay Bodanza
Head of Production: Rachel Kaminek
Senior Producer: Emily Gleicher
Technical Director: Henry FosterMatte Painter & Designer: James Levy
3D Modeling: Derrick Sesson, Tim Hayward & Tucker Corson
3D Animation: Tyler Mele
Texturing: Tim Hayward
Lighting: Henry Foster
Houdini/FX: Eli Guerron
Compositors: William Campbell & Henry Foster
Client: The WDC

“Our goal is to be always working on something different, something surprising – to be open to all clients at all times for all ideas, and Safe and Free is yet another example of the sort of thing we are capable of when we throw our resources into it.”

Getting Technical

Our biggest challenge was making something surreal that was still hinged in the real world. We needed to transform an abstract concept into something photographic, and created a quietly building cinematic piece that builds with momentum. We focused on making every detail of the sequence seem as real as possible, from the whale’s path through the trees to the movement of surrounding leaves as the humpback glides past.