Unlike nearly all other companies, the ‘face’ of Facebook is its users; You. When asked to make an iconic figure for a company that is historically known only for its simple “F” logo and the color blue, we were immediately confronted with a number of problems. Their product is ethereal by nature; giving users the ability to share their thoughts at the speed of light to everyone across the world.

This ability to share information so quickly is capable because of a large network Facebook maintains precisely. Hosting the busiest site on the internet with nearly 1 trillion page views every month means they rely on one of the largest network infrastructures on the planet. This network, made up of many data centers, this represents the physical product Facebook offers.


Bridging the concepts of speed-of-light communications with the physical data centers became the design goal of the project. Early in the design phase we used an old cartoon character from the 80s, named Voltron, as inspiration. In the carton, this Voltron is created by combining smaller constructs together to create a much larger robot. For our purposes, it would be energetic comets of data that would come together and create a new robotic infrastructure named Infrabot.


3D, lots of 3D. From modeling the robot, to simulating particle effects. It took a total of 168 rendering hours to bring Infrabot to life. The project’s schedule was only 3 weeks, so this often meant we had to render some elements while still designing others in order to get everything done on time.


Before you can start modeling a large 3D robot, you have to know what it’s going to look like. This meant time spent behind an old fashion marker and paper, drawing concepts for the client to approve. We love the fact that we can use traditional artistic techniques when the time calls for it.


Rendering simulations for things like water, dust and debris can be time consuming, and when you’re working in a compressed schedule you have to find creative ways to maximize your time. We used HD cameras to save time by film elements such as splashing water and dust explosions. We then composite these elements seamlessly into the final 3D animation.


We didn’t just do one animation. Monitors were everywhere and we wanted to make sure the attendees felt like they were entering Infrabot’s world. To accomplish this we made many animations of our energy element that lead viewers down tunnels and around the hall. Immersion is an important element of any design.


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Sound is the glue that holds all animations together. It adds tension, suspense, and action. It helps punctuate moments and give the audience a sense that they are in the middle of scene.

Early in the design phase for this project, we decided not to use music and onto to use sound. While music adds to the cinematic experience, it’s also a component that doesn’t occur naturally throughout life. You don’t wake up to theme music. Instead, we wanted to use isolated sounds that were tied directly to the action on screen to give the view a sense that what they were seeing could be real.


None of this effort means anything if the client doesn’t feel your design accomplishes the needs they initially approached you with. In the end, the video we created for Facebook both met and exceeded expectations on both sides.

We think our client said it best after seeing the animation for the first time,

“Wow. This is bad a$$.”

Cidar Labs