The Art of Trailer Design

We have just released our brand new Accolades trailer for Rigid Force Redux, which you can check out further down below. In line with this topic, we talk to motion graphics designer Teemu Åke today – about his job, his workflows and the games of his childhood. You can read the complete interview here. Enjoy!

Teemu, thanks for giving us this interview! Please tell us a little more about yourself and your work.

A: Thanks for the chance! I am a motion graphics designer living in Helsinki, Finland. I am a freelancer and work mostly in TV and film designing title graphics and opening sequences.

Q: How did the opportunity to work at Rigid Force Redux come about?

A: Lucky accident I guess. My friend, the synth wizard Lauri Turjansalo was working as a composer for the game. He knew that com8com1 was looking for someone to do the trailers and suggested me for the gig. This is pretty much the story of my career, always stumbling into the next surprising direction.

Q: What is your usual work process? What tools do you use?

A: The process depends a lot on the material that I’m working with. Often I have to design the whole graphic style of say a whole TV show from scratch. But in the case of RFR there was quite a lot of graphic material already present, because the game had a logo and a whole visual world designed behind it. So in this case my graphic approach had to consider and play along with the game’s overall style. In general, the process always starts with the source material and respecting the vibe the client is going for.

I work in the Adobe realm, Premiere and After Effects are the tools I use pretty much in every project. I do most of my 3D stuff with Cinema 4D. Recently I also took a stab at learning Blender, a very familiar tool for game designers I’m sure.

Q: What are the most important design principles for a convincing trailer?

A:  If you think about the average viewer, these days they see an overwhelming amount of videos and commercials each day. So you have to start strong and have some kind of a hook right at the start. It has to get you glued in at the first frame. After that It’s all about rhythm. You kind of have to get into the right groove and give the material the right beat. My editing preference is that you should jam in as many of the key shots as possible but always keep the shots short enough to leave the viewer hungry for more. And of course, right music is key. In this project we had many big synthwave bangers to choose from thanks to Lauri.

RFR was so much fun because I had to crank the retro vibe all the way up – there was no other way to do it right.

Q: What inspires you the most in your daily work?

A: The fun part about working on different TV shows is that you can try out a whole range of styles. One day I’m doing graphics for a gritty car show, the next a rosy wedding show – or a trailer for a retro shoot´em up game. It is much more of a playground feeling than I would get doing serious business graphics.  RFR was so much fun because I had to crank the retro vibe all the way up – there was no other way to do it right.

Q: Was this your first experience working on a trailer for a game?

A: Yes. RFR was really a jump into the dark for me because until now I was totally detached from the whole gaming industry. But that is exactly what made it sound like a fun chance. I learned many interesting things about what makes a good game trailer, for example that showing certain gameplay elements is crucial. You can’t just use cutscene after cutscene because players want to know what it’s like to actually play the game, not just what the graphics are like.

A few graphics cards from along the way: Many different designs were created during the trailer production for RFA and RFR.

Q: What’s your normal field of work?

A: My day-to-day work is doing graphic design for TV shows and editing opening sequences. My clients are usually production companies who make the show. They hire me for the specific task of putting together the opening sequence and logo of the show.

Q: Are you a gamer yourself? If so, what are you playing at the moment?

A: I am ashamed to admit that for the last 10 years I have been quite out of touch of gaming. In my teens I was a serious adventure game addict. I have fond memories of many Lucas Arts games. The Dig was the first store-bought game I got when my folks bought a computer in the 90s.  I feel my generation was pretty lucky to see the whole development of the game medium from pixel ping-pong to big blockbuster games. In the last couple of years, I have been trying to get back on the horse again and trying out some indie game titles like Gone Home. Last Christmas I played the quirky indie adventure Samorost with my 8-year old and we both enjoyed it a lot!

Q: Please send some greetings to the players!

A: Oh man, I really struggled to beat those aliens. My SHMUP skills are not what they used to be and Rigid Force really put me on the spot. So please, save the galaxy for me, won’t you?

Thank you for your time, Teemu! If you want to see more of Teemu’s work, check out the brand-new trailer below, or head over to his portfolio!