From the early 1970’s into the 80’s, Robert Abel and Associates were pioneers in the use of computer graphics in TV commercials. His style was clearly influenced by Peter Max, Yellow Submarine, Milton Glaser, Stan Vanderbeek, Fillmore poster art and psychedelic culture in general. In addition to commercials, Abel did special effects work for films like Tron, The Andromeda Strain and Star Trek.
Abel’s style was nicknamed ‘photo-fusion,’ the combining of still photography with video. In his 1975 7-Up commercials, Abel used back-light techniques called ‘candy-apple neon,’ a highly stylized type of animation that created a day-glo effect. In 1982, Abel used ‘candy-apple neon’ to create the look of Tron.
Here’s a selection of Abel’s trippy commercials. The 7-Up ads are particularly lysergic. In addition to the commercials, I’ve included demo-reels and a short documentary on Abel.