“The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” Main Titles by Arisu Kashiwagi

Designer/director Arisu Kashiwagi, who won an Emmy for her work on the Stranger Things titles, merges character and charcoal into a layered and atmospheric opening for The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey on Apple TV+.

Based on Walter Mosley’s acclaimed mystery novel, the series stars Samuel L. Jackson as Ptolemy, a man with dementia who regains his memories with the aid of an experimental drug in order to solve the murder of his great-grandnephew.

Arisu Kashiwagi in New York: “Inspired by the idea of memories as noisy secrets locked behind a door, we envisioned this title sequence as an illustrated journey inside Ptolemy’s chaotic mind where fragments of his memories are rendered as unfinished sketches.

After discovering that our first pass in pure black and white looked too stark and lifeless, we added warm undertones overall to create a sense of nostalgia.

“Weaving together key visuals and hallucinatory passages from the story, we travel through a surreal montage that navigates Ptolemy’s inner struggle and longing to grasp a reality where his past collides with the present.

“Key visual metaphors – truth and justice (lantern), violence (gun), regeneration (syringe + droplet), legacy (treasure box + coins), and love (hands) – are woven in as essential themes from the story.

“After discovering that our first pass in pure black and white looked too stark and lifeless, we added warm undertones overall to create a sense of nostalgia.

“One of the key challenges was figuring out which sections should be done by cel versus digital animation.

“In the end, we drew all the elements in each shot by hand, scanned them, and digitally comped layers in Photoshop, making sure there was enough separation between the strokes for the animation team.”
 
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Titles by Arisu Kashiwagi | STASH MAGAZINE

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Titles by Arisu Kashiwagi | STASH MAGAZINE

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Titles by Arisu Kashiwagi | STASH MAGAZINE

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Titles by Arisu Kashiwagi | STASH MAGAZINE

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Titles by Arisu Kashiwagi | STASH MAGAZINE

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Titles by Arisu Kashiwagi | STASH MAGAZINE

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Titles by Arisu Kashiwagi | STASH MAGAZINE
 
Client: Apple TV+
Executive producer: Diane Houslin, David Levine, Walter Mosley, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Eli Selden, Ramin Bahrani
Post producer: Catherine Farrell

Production: ARISU
CD/lead designer: Arisu Kashiwagi
Illustrator: Riad, Thomas Cian, Arisu Kashiwagi
Producer: Anna Kim

Animation: R79 Digital
Animation director/lead animator: Eric Demeusy
3D animator: Bhakti Patel
Cel animator: Mikhail Pakhomov, Stephanie Simpson
Animator: Cody Courmier
Editor: Rachel Ambelang
Producer: Dmitry Fitisov

Music: Craig DeLeon

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