From prank to production: Unveiling Rick B’s creative crew

Have you ever tried pulling a prank on your CEO to get the green light for an experimental project? A creative group of Brick artists has, and they did not shy away from unorthodox solutions regarding the creation and promotion of an out-of-the-box animation project either. In this article and creative process interview, we shed light on the origin of the clip posted by the Instagram account digital_art_is_dead, a video that has surprised many viewers and stirred a lively discussion among 3D artists on AI’s effect on digital artists’ jobs.

digital_art_is_dead’s video surprised many viewers

Graffiti, AI and CGI

As we continue to strengthen our solid presence within the media and entertainment sectors, we are constantly on the lookout for fresh avenues to explore in animation creation. Just a few weeks back, we proudly presented the official trailer for Chaos Vantage 2, along with an insightful making-of video. In this project, we harnessed our expertise in storyboarding, previz, VFX, and creative direction. Yet, driven by our desire for technical innovation, we were determined to venture into uncharted territories and further push our capabilities.

Are digital artists’ jobs at risk due to AI?

That is when the idea came to create an animation so realistic that viewers would mistake it for real footage. The plot centers around a collective of artists involved in producing graffiti illicitly, featuring scenes of nighttime escapades. These figures, who have lost their jobs to AI, use the world as their canvas in a bid to protest against the technology that some view as a blessing and others as a curse. However, questions arose: How does a controversial project like this get the necessary funds? How does it align with Brick’s carefully curated profile and portfolio? And most importantly — do we have the technical ability to pull off such a stunt? 

The prank

Securing the CEO’s approval and, consequently, the budget for the production marked the initial step. The masterminds behind the project crafted a demo: a fully rendered 3D video featuring a hooded figure spraying our company’s name onto the wall of a nearby arcade on the street (clip below). The aim was to persuade our CEO that this was genuine footage, wherein one of our colleagues left the graffiti while the other recorded the act with his phone. 

The fully rendered 3D video deceived our CEO 

As spraying graffiti on public or private property is a criminal offense, our CEO became furious upon his initial viewing of the clip, which had been presented to him without comments. His reaction was a clear indicator that he had taken the bait. The team eventually confessed that there was no cause for concern, as they had created the video through digital means.

The fact that the team managed to successfully pull such a prank on our CEO, who is a distinguished 3D artist with a sharp eye, not only bolstered their confidence to continue with the project but also secured the necessary funds.

The creative process interview

The Devil in the details  

We found ourselves working with a tighter budget than we would normally do for such a project. Given that this was an uncommissioned passion project, we dedicated our gap hours and overtime to it, all while juggling our regular commitments. To be as efficient as possible, we crafted our own scripts to automate repetitive tasks. These scripts proved invaluable in achieving realistic movement—a critical aspect as we aimed to create an animation indistinguishable from genuine footage. As seen in the creative process interview above, these scripts, combined with a range of solutions from our R&D department, were crucial in realizing our desired visual aesthetic.

Hand animating 

The pinnacle of our efforts was the creation of a makeshift camera tracker. It played an important role in providing an in-house solution using a uniquely built setup that involved an HTC Vive controller connected to a live rig in 3Ds Max. In addition to this near-professional camera tracker, we drew upon an extensive library of graffiti video references. We experimented with diverse cameras, angles, camera rigs, and even photo scanning. To ensure the final result exuded photorealism and authenticity, we delved into studying color palettes and intentionally manipulated the quality, all in order to eliminate any suspicion that it wasn’t genuine footage.

Camera tracking

We paid attention to even the tiniest details. Since the video claimed to be shot in Austria, we made sure to stick an Austrian toll pass onto the speeding car’s windshield, and we added some splatters of squashed bugs to make it look real.

When it comes to graffiti, we couldn’t just take anything from the internet due to copyright rules. We got creative and came up with our own designs. Just like our characters who are critical of AI, our graffiti had a message too. Looking closely at these works, you would notice how AI churns out tons of content without real value, leads to addiction, and holds back our ability to think independently—all the while turning us into people desperate for likes and approval.

For a fair deal, we managed to get the right to use the tunes of Onyx – TurnDaFucUp, for which we are grateful to Snowgoons

The graffiti shown in the animation were all created in-house


During the early stages of production, we realized that posting this animation in the usual manner we share our commissioned work through Brick’s accounts wouldn’t be appropriate. The animation, after all, features raw content and depicts illegal activities. These are traits and actions that are far from Brick. That’s why we created an Instagram account for our artist collective featured in the animation – Baby Blue Crew, led by Rick B. Every now and then, we posted content from the animation under the account digital_art_is_dead, owned by Rick and his gang. We also aimed to initiate a discussion about the use of AI in the art industry, with some followers leaving comments under the posts. 

digital_art_is_dead Instagram account


The inspiration to engage in such guerrilla marketing came from Alan MacMaster, an aerospace engineer, who deceived the industry, media, and academia for a decade, making them believe he was the inventor of the electric toaster (read more about the prank and how it was exposed here). Pluto’s Mustache Power!  ad was also food for thought, as they released their perplexing animation without any explanation.

Our team revealed that Brick created Rick B’s animation within D2 Conferences

The reveal

A week after Rick shared the video, we reposted it using Brick’s account, expressing our astonishment at the extent to which the anti-AI sentiment has spread among artists. This sparked a debate beneath the reposted animation and garnered new followers for Rick B’s digital_art_is_dead as well. During the D2 Conferences, an industry event celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, the masterminds behind the prank and animation unveiled that Brick Visual is the force behind the animation. In their presentation, they delved into the steps, inspirations, and decisions that contributed to this unique campaign.

With this breakdown article and the creative process interview, our experimental passion project is now complete. We invite you to watch the ‘footage’ of the Baby Blue Crew, led by Rick B., attentively. Feel free to pause the animation – it contains numerous Easter eggs that point to Brick, waiting to be discovered by you.

Do you have a brilliant idea brewing in your mind, yearning to be developed and visualized in a similar manner?

Contact us today at, or request a proposal through the form below and one of our colleagues will assist you shortly.

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