Motionographer WARRIOR

Johnny Likens

From the creator:

Chinatown Smackdown.


50 years ago the martial arts legend Bruce Lee wrote material and pitched the idea for Warrior. In 2019, Cinemax finally brought it to life. The series creator Jonathan Tropper and his team approached Method Studios to create the opening sequence for the adrenaline-pumping new series.

Collaborating with the extremely talented designer Arisu Kashiwagi, we came up with the idea of introducing the audience to the world of Warrior through a heavily-stylized aesthetic similar to that of a graphic novel. Arisu established the minimal and controlled color palette, gritty textures, and the high-contrast look that was inspired by referencing retro Kung-Fu posters as well as contemporary illustrations.

We knew early on that we wanted to feature some Bruce Lee-esque, high-energy martial arts combat shots. To execute this, I developed a technique of using motion capture data of real kung-fu movements, simulated cloth dynamics on top of the animation, and dimensionalized all of the paint strokes to accentuate the close-quarters combat moves. My long time collaborator and good friend, Wesley Ebelhar, was also instrumental in bringing this sequence to life with his unmatched design and animation skills.


Method Studios:

Director: John Likens
Lead Designer: Arisu Kashiwagi
Art Directors: Arisu Kashiwagi, Wesley Ebelhar
Design and Animation: John Likens, Wesley Ebelhar, Nan Wei
CG Artists: Jeongyeon Son, David Derwin
Executive Producer: Adrienne Mitchell
Producer: Emily Schaeberle
Coordinator: Billy McMillen
Music: Reza Safina, H. Scott Salinas


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