Project Type
3D Animation
Director, Animator

The Context

Monkeys in the Middle is a music video project for a song by electronic duo Profits, created for a senior capstone project at Loyola Marymount University. The video uses 3D modeling and animation to explore themes of virtual reality, the blurring of real and unreal, and the overwhelming, enveloping nature of today’s vast digital landscape. While Monkeys in the Middle was originally named after monkey recordings sampled in the middle of the song, it has come to fittingly describe the sensation of existing in the modern digital media era – the sensation of seeing vast swaths of content every day while never being able to grasp onto it, or comprehend it’s totality and ephemeral nature – as if you are the monkey in the classic keep-away game. The project mostly focused on animals and organic imagery to highlight the contrast between the natural world and the virtual.

The Process

All 3D assets were created, animated and rendered using Cinema4D. The project used a mix of original models and free 3D assets. The final video compositing was done in Adobe After Effects with additional 3D renderings executed with the Trapcode Form plugin. The music was written and produced by Chase Mouser and me in Ableton Live.

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Outcomes & Takeaways

Monkeys in the Middle was one of the most challenging and large projects I have undertaken. As someone who is still learning the complex world of 3D motion graphics and rendering, making an entire music video in a very limited time frame was quite an undertaking. As a result of not having mastered Cinema 4D yet, I set out on the project with a somewhat vague script for the video because the project was really going to depend on what I could accomplish with my foundational skills and a drive to learn along the way.While focusing on your strengths/what can be done for a project is certainly an important lesson, this project really showed me the importance of going through a thorough pre-production process. This is especially important for an animation project that entails music, because if you don’t plan well and render out enough frames of each scene in order to time your cuts to the music you’re going to be extremely crunched for time as you re-render projects.

As the deadline for this project neared and I simply did not have enough time or the option to tie up my computer with more hours-long renders, I found a perfect solution that fit my existing theme for the video. I decided to re-use my3D model assets with the Red Giant Trapcode form plugin in After Effects to thematically transition from a glitchy, retro-3D rendering style to the more polished, plastic look of Cinema 4D renders throughout the course of the video – which lended itself quite perfectly to the project’s theme. This was a good lesson in thinking outside the confines of your original idea when you’re in the 11th hour of a project.


Music Chase Mouser, Mathew Martini | Director Mathew Martini | Animation, Rendering & Compositing Mathew Martini


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