Adding Dimension to the Birds of Prey End Credits image

Adding Dimension to the Birds of Prey End Credits Penelope Nederlander on sneaking illustration into motion graphics

Penelope Nederlander is a two-time Emmy-nominated art director, motion graphics animator and digital artist who has worked in the industry for more than 17 years. Recently, she worked with Shine Creative Director, Michael Riley, and Executive Producer, Bob Swensen, on the 3D-animated end credits for Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.

Among her other many credits are: title sequences for Pitch Perfect, Temple Grandin and both Kung Fu Panda films, as well as VFX for Aviator, Iron Man, and Superman. Nederlander also created the most recent high-resolution stereoscopic version of the MGM lion logo and has worked as a VFX supervisor on music videos for Dolly Parton, Sean Lennon and the Killers.

At Maxon's virtual 2020 NAB show on, Nederlander demonstrated in her presentation how she used Cinema 4D to add more dimension to the end credits of Birds of Prey.

Here she talks about working with Shine, how she enjoys “sneaking” illustration into her motion graphics and hopping around in different tools.

Michael Riley and I really like drawing in Procreate. It’s become a thing we talk about, and we share drawings and tutorials. He thought of me for the job because he shared some of his recent illustrations with me, and I shared some of mine with him and, all of a sudden he was all ‘You know, Penny, I think you’d be great on this upcoming job. I totally forgot you draw.’

Michael developed the look and boards with these very sketchy, drawn images and I was very excited to bring them to life while staying true to the look DC wanted. I’ve always loved sneaking illustration into my motion graphics. I’ve done a few animated illustration, paper doll or shadow puppet projects, but not much that was really big.

I’m very interested in new tools and pipelines. Not so much for the sake of something being new, but for what new things you can actually do. I’m actively trying to teach myself some game engine tech, and I’m still fairly new to third-party render engines. I only started using Redshift a couple years ago, and not seriously until last year.

I used to be more into practical cel-style animation. I had a great light box, a home-built overhead photo rig and everything. But these days, I’m a little more into digital cel. This project let me do some simple cel particle and a blood-dripping animation in Photoshop. I guess I do like integrating real textures, such as watercolors and the like.

Yes, my work is very varied. One of the nice things about being a generalist is that I can hop around between many different styles: 3D, 2D, drawn, vector, live action, comp—whatever. They’re all tools in my toolbox. I also really like the chance to jump from objective graphic work to subjective graphic work. Comp is very objective. It either looks right or it doesn’t. But design is about what the client feels. Both can get tiring, so it’s really nice to hop onto some roto after a more abstract gig. It feels like it activates and satisfies different parts of my brain.

I don’t really have any big, notable projects right now. I’m more trying to keep busy and take any down time to learn and improve or chill and relax. I’m not generally one to consume my life with my work. But I am pretty curious, and I very much enjoy problem solving. As sort of a mini personal project, I applied some new techniques I’m working on to my new 2020 reel and intro animation. There are several elements I’ve never attempted before, and it incorporates the combination of stylistic, illustrated 2D characters in rich, 3D environments, which I’d very much like to do more of.

Watch the recording of Nederlander’s NAB 2020 presentation on our YouTube channel.