When Season Two of the popular HBO series True Detective premiered on June 21, many viewers were able to immediately tell from the opening title sequence, which features bright colors and a crisp defiant song by the great Leonard Cohen, that the second season would be nothing like the first. The Creators Project spoke with lead animator and compositor Raoul Marks about how they went about accomplishing this effect.
The more gloomy monotone vibes of the first season weren’t going to work… We needed some brighter turquoise and reds. We relied heavily on still photography for a lot of the locations and textural elements in the sequence. In fact, the majority of imagery comes from still images. So a large part of production was bringing the photography to life. It needed to reflect our new setting of fictional Vinci, California, and feel like a lucid dream—unsettling and full of Californian heat. The goal was to be recognizable, but also to take a new angle on the iconic aesthetic of California. We were lucky enough to have been given a whole bunch of work by photographer David Maisel. He has some beautiful photographs that we referenced: high contrast black-and-white imagery of all the snaking freeways in Los Angeles, wider California and the Lake District, and also abstract aerial photography.