FIRST THOUGHTS Upon being given this brief I decided immediately that I would like to research into the area of motion graphics and 3D animation. They are the 2 areas which I find the most interesting and enjoyable that I have yet to come across in this course. I have often combined the 2 making videos which make use of both aspects. As I did my research I found that this is becoming more and more common with the industry and other artists.
1. How they approach a project, what steps they go through start to finish. 2. How companies and freelance designers get themselves known. 3. How long briefs can take. 4. Advantages/Disadvantages of working as a freelance designer or in a studio. 5. Where they get their inspiration.
I decided to look at individual free-lancers as well as those part of a group or studio. I originally came up with a series of statements that I would have liked to find out by the end of the project. I did this as the brief is essentially a design investigation.
6. How they work/ work ethic. 7. How they go about finding work, through self-advertisement or approaching the companies themselves.
I also decided that I would find out about possible internships, who offered them and how to go about applying for one. The area of research I have been quite interested in for a while now. Even before the project started I was asking any available graduates from GDNM how they found the third year and what they are doing/done to get work as well as what success they have had. They were all very keen to talk about it and gave advise about what I should do. A key point that seemed quite consistent was that I should specialize in a particular area and concentrate more on that rather than just being a jack of all trades. They also talked about techniques they were using
to spread their work around. At the end of the day its not what you know but who know. Regardless of how amazing your work is, you will never get hired if no one has seen it. You have to be a little bit savvy in how you approach people as it can be quite difficult to persuade people to see your portfolio.
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RESEARCH To start my research I decided to look into which designers/ studios practice motion graphics and 3D. I would have a brief look over all of them and them select a couple in particular to talk about more in depth. To the far right is the list I made up covering first the UK and then some more companies from over seas. To start with I decided to do some research into Psyop. I’ve seen a couple of pieces of their work before but never in my depth so I was keen to get to know them a little better. I sent them an email but I think It was a little late in the project and still haven’t got a reply. As I knew this wouldn’t really be an option I decided to look for interviews which had been made by other people and work from them to find out all the information I needed. I went to the website, Motiongrapher. This website is great for keeping up with design and what is new. They often do interviews with people and provide in depth knowledge from the artist/ teams point of view. As it happens a new piece of work by Psyop was being covered on there so I decided it would be a great place
to discover more information about them. FAGE PLAIN “Psyop” (2011) Interview conducted by Motiongrapher. Here is a small extract. “Shooting mostly locked plates was an alternative approach for us: after all, we’re known mostly for being a post house, and on typical shoots, we’d be creating elements that we could composite with. In this case, we were reliant on a strong shoot that would give us beautiful pieces of film. As a result, nearly every shot in this spot was filmed, with the exception of a purple drip that occur at the end, and two macro shots of the flower detail in the middle. Probably the most exciting comment for us to hear is “What part of this is CG and what is real?”. It’s a really exciting place to be in when you can combine techniques so much that the medium becomes obscured.” This was really interesting looking at this interview as it gave insight into how they
achieved their outcome, thought process and the processes they used. They talk about their decisions during the project, short time frame, unrealistic to bring in too much 3D. They had the studio for 2 days and during that period they tested what worked best, their idea was to experiment to try and achieve as many “cool looking” shots as possible. They used rigs to move substances that looked like yoghurt and honey. They also had to find people to get involved and collaborate on the project, Christopher Doyle, cinematography for example. They noticed him through his work on “In the Mood for Love” and “Hero”. I was also surprised just how many people it took to create the piece. You can also see they clearly all had very separate roles to play. This shows how important it is to define a specialization.
UK Noah Harris BEEPLE The Mill Tin Spider Mainframe Scorch London Shoot You Foreign Office Studio AKA Neil Grunshaw Vector Meldrew Ted Design Glassworks Brand New School (UK & USA) Dreamshock (UK and USA) Shynola Huge Design Nexus Productions Daniel Kleinman ABROAD Psyop F5 Prologue/ Danny Yount JESS3 Nomint Analog motion graphics, (berlin & USA) Eyeball NYC MK 12 Transistor Eloisa Iturbe Studio Onesize Studio Freak Shadowplay Studio Imaginary Forces Logan Voodoodog Left Channel Numb Robot Scott Makela
FAGE PLAIN “Psyop” (2011)
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RESEARCH 2 Next I decided to look into the company One Size. They are quite a favourite of mine and I love their style. Before now I had only looked at their work so it was interesting with this project to look at where they came from, how they work and where they get their inspiration. Having found the interview for Psyop on Motiongrapher I decided to see if they had a similar interview with One size for me to use. Low and behold they did. It covered the work the did for the playgrounds festival. I found the interview to be really insightful as it covered what they hoped to achieve, why they came up with the idea and the techniques they used to get there. On the other hand I also wanted to find how they came to get into the public eye and recognised by some bigger clients. Therefore I went about trying to find some more interviews/articles on them. This I managed to find on their own site interestingly enough. They had a image
of a magazine article which featured them. This was just the information I was looking for as it went into a lot more detail concerning how they got to where they are. Below is a link to an image of that article. http://www.onesize.nl/assets/images/blog/ Brief_magazine_jan_2009_lores.JPG In particular this part was of most interest to myself: “Their fascination with motion design started while they were still in school. Instead of doing normal graphic design, Hendriks and Verweij made experimental motion graphics movies and animations on their own dime hoping it would lead possible clients to discover them. Needless to say, it worked. While their first reel mostly consisted of experimental projects, it got them noticed by Nike, who found it on the Internet and approached them about doing a job for an in-store video. After that, they were off and running and able to move into motion design full
time. “We were completely overwhelmed and very excited. It was amazing,” Hendricks said. “When you have one big name in your very, very little client list, other companies feel more confident and the ball starts rolling.”
They got discovered through doing experimental motion graphics videos and putting them across the web. First by Nike, then other companies took interest. They also have quite a distinctive feel to their videos and there’s a certain uninformatively that flows though that gives them a Onesize feel. This shows that if enough people see your work and its of a good standard or is particularly experimental that it can get noticed. This was also probably a little down to luck as well. I really like their story how they have been freelance all the way. I know it can be difficult and a little uncertain in terms of work but I would love it if I could make enough money to sustain me while taking
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RESEARCH 3 Some time ago, motion graphics designer Noah Harris gave our university a lecture. For a previous brief I decided to film the whole thing. It proved very useful as he covered alot of useful information. He talked about where he came from, what sort of work he created, how he got recognised, what work he is doing now and where he plans to go. This was all very useful as he covered what he went through to make the jump to doing more higher profile jobs for clients. He also talked about 2 of his most major projects, E4 branding and an advert for the ford fiesta. He covered his research, his idea generation, how his ideas came to life and what it as like working with other people
as a director. People had different roles in their creation and he managed what they did and the general creative outcome. I filmed for almost 2 hours and for that reason I couldn’t upload the footage, even compressed the footage was around 10gb. Re-watching this was again very beneficial. I’m glad I recorded it because I’m sure I will watch it again in the future. Internships As another part of this project I decided to look at internships, who does them and how you apply for them. In particular I looked at “The Mill” and ”Glassworks”.
The Mill “We are able to offer a select few talented individuals a two-month internship programme to gain invaluable experience working in our worldclass digital media and visual effects environment prior to the completion of a degree course. The programme is available in London, New York and Los Angeles on presentation of a valid work permit or visa.” Glassworks “Glassworks is interested in developing emerging creative talent, and so we offer 2d and 3d internships. Although
flexible, internships ideally last for 6 months, allowing your existing skills to be developed and eventually tested in actual productions.” During this project I couldn’t find the time to apply for an internship but following it’s completion I would love to put together a show reel and apply for an internship. It would be very unlikely that anything would come of it due to the huge amount of people applying but I think its worth a shot.
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RESEARCH 4 I went to look at some more interviews. I decided to look at studio AKA. After a bit of searching I found an interview with director, Philip Hunt. The full interview can be found at: http://alternativemagazineonline. co.uk/2009/11/21/interview-in-conversationwith-philip-hunt-studio-aka-director-of-lostand-found/ Thank you for your time Mr Hunt, can you tell us a bit about yourself please? “Hello Mr Mulrooney. I’m an animation director, and one of three partners at Studio AKA – a studio of some 30 people in London – where I am also creative director. I’ve been working in the industry since the early 90’s and I’ve been with AKA doing this job for around 10 years; making commercials, short films and keeping the wolves at bay. I started out wanting to be a sculptor, side-stepped into Graphic Design at Saint Martin’s School Of Art (Class of ‘88) and then came back into making things while studying stop motion animation at the Royal College Of Art ( CO91). I also spent a very defining year at the Filmakademie Baden Wurttemberg in Germany (CO94) – as the result of wining a scholarship prize – where I made my short film AH POOK IS HERE.
Three Peach Animation and this experience gave me a solid foundation in working within constraints and to deadlines. The last decade spent working with producers Pam Dennis & Sue Goffe at Studio AKA has been where my interests have been focused across all facets of animation. I like having a lot to do, I work best under pressure – especially with freedom – and I love working with talented people who inspire me. I don’t always get the freedom, but I’m lucky that my role at AKA gives me the rest in heaps.” Its interesting to see peoples varied paths to where they have got. He started off wanting to be a sculptor, ended up winning a scholarship meaning that he could do a years film directing course in Germany. This enabled him to create a short film which got him noticed and from thereafter was known and got work. He is quite interesting as he does thought development and makes the creative decisions without actually making the finished product.
BEEPLE I decided to look at BEEPLE as I like Mike Winkelmann’s way of working. He specialises in 3D and motion graphics, usually using a mixture of the two to create his final outcomes. Everyday he does something creative. He creates a still images and posts them to his site/ facebook on almost a daily basis as well as doing VJ clips and other 3D animation/ motion graphics work. I think this a very influential and good way of working, he is constantly experimenting and pushing the programs to create creative outcomes and as a result he has made some very varied work. Another side of him is that all of his work he makes available free under creative commons for people to remix and use. He’s a relatively new designer on the scene most famous for “Kill Your Coworkers” by “Flying Lotus” and “Instrumental Video Nine”. The later is a personal favourite of mine and led me to do an earlier piece inspired by it. I decided to send an email to BEEPLE and he was the one guy I got a reply from. However before I sent it I decided to look
at other interviews to get an ideas of what I wanted to ask. I did this as I didn’t just want to ask questions that I could find elsewhere. I found 2 interviews: One with REEL blog: The REEL blog: BEEPLE interview (20/10/2010) And another done by a fellow student via skype. He created a hand transcript on his blog: http://devon-stern.blogspot.com/ From this interview I found the following answers particularly interesting. “…Have you found a particularly effective way to promote/advertise? MW: I would make sure your stuff is on sites like Vimeo. Don’t get worried about people taking your stuff. Get it out there first; get found. You also need to distinguish yourself too. I noticed that doing big projects gains more attention. Sub Prime was five months and that was long for me, but in the end it really paid off. With reels, make every little portion really tight, do not
make your reel long. Keep your viewers attention. If it’s not cool in 15 seconds, people will move on… As a final note, there are a lot of people that find themselves stuck, are there any words you can give to those out there? MW: Something that helps me immensely is one a day projects. Posting something online because then you are accountable for that. Even if it sucks, because that will drive you to improvements. For me it has to be every day. Missing a day makes it too easy to miss the next day. Honestly most days you wont want to do it. Right now I am working on a project that is taking me a long time to finish and I am sick of looking at it, but I have to finish it. If you force yourself to plug away everyday on something, that makes you required to show up and make the best of that day. In the end, doing it this way will make you better so much faster. Plus you’ll have tons of content to sift through and be able to get inspired on past work as you get better…”
Thereafter I worked variously in the US and London as a freelance director, before settling more permanently in London. I’ve worked on countless Ads and animation projects, covering a wide spectrum of styles and techniques. I began working in stop-motion & motion control, but I’ve been directing in 3D CGI for the best part of a decade. My first professional work was done at
Philip Hunt “Lost and Found” (2009)
BEEPLE “Pattern and Grid World” (2010)
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CONTACT BEEPLE “Endless Planet” (2011) I emailed Mike Winkelmann to see if he could answer some of my questions. He is reasonably new on the scene so I thought it would be reasonably likely that I would get a reply. Below is the email I received from him.
of emailing/contacting people. If you don’t ask you don’t get, build contacts, let people see your work, could lead somewhere. I would like to sort myself out with a decent reel of work which I could show.
Included in the email I sent him a link to my dubstep microwave video as it was through his work with instrumental video 9 that I got the inspiration to make it. He said he liked it which was cool.
Where do you get your influence for your work? I get influences from all over… mostly from other people’s work. There is so much great work out there being made all over the world. What other designers do you follow, whose work do you like? There aren’t a ton of specific designers I love, it’s more certain pieces or styles from a ton of different designers… If you could work with anyone, who would you like most to do a collaboration with? mmm, probably Aphex Twin… he’s been a hero of mine for quite sometime :) Do you have any future plans for Beeple? Finish the video I’m working on now, instrumental video ten. How did you first get recognised in the industry? Well, I’ve gotten a decent amount of exposure from the flying lotus video, but other than that, I’m still probably mostly on the edges of the industry at best… Ace work on that video sir!! Good luck with the rest of your schooling!! Thanks again for taking the time to email me! Thanks, m. I was a little disappointed at the shortness of his answers, however as this was my first email it has taught me the importance
Over all my research I have discovered that’s its important to be as experimental as possible as its those who push the boundaries and create off the wall work who get noticed. Beeple in particular mentioned about doing daily work so that you may improve a little each day.
photoshop. White parts heightened the surface, black kept it the same. This I put in aftereffects, added an offset effect so that the image could move across the video and appear on the opposite side (this was key as it was a sphere). I also animated its opacity channel to change depending on the waveform of the music I associated it with. Its quite a simple video but I think it does its job to explain Mike Winklemann’s approach to work. I added the simple sentence “EXPERIMENT AND DISCOVER” to the end of the video. This was to symbolize BEEPLE’s approach, discover meaning learning new techniques as well as ways of utilizing them. Over the summer period I plan to keep true to this myself!
This ethos drove me to creating my artefact based on Mike Winkelmann. He is all about experimentation and he strives to utilise as many processes within 3D, motion graphics and design as possible. Through this approach he creates daily pieces which change regularly and are always very conceptual and interesting. I think it is due to this that Flying Lotus decided to work with him on their music video. For the video I wanted to have a go with this ethic myself. In one of his VJ clips “Endless Planet” he creates a constantly changing terrain which flows with a fluid like consistency. I saw this clip and I wondered how he made it. I’m still not sure but I thought a still image like that could be created using a displacement map on the surface of an object using it as a material. That got me thinking that perhaps this method could be used in video form. I did a bit of playing around and created a short displacement video in after effects. Exported it, put it in Max and my theory worked. From there I created a map in
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EVALUATION Through this project I have gained a little bit more knowledge in how the industry works and how people have got to where they are. In particular I have learnt how important it is to try and get work into the publics eye as well as getting in contact with people. This has spurred me on and I defiantly want to keep up what I have learnt, get some more presentable work together, create a show reel and try and get it out there a little bit. Over the summer I would like to set myself some briefs and create some work especially for this purpose as currently I donâ€™t think I have much that is worth presenting. My time management on this project was shocking. With four simultaneous projects I concentrated on finished them and put this on the back burner and as a result it meant that this project had to be done quite quickly. If I had planned my time a little better I would have liked to have researched into further companies and made my artefact longer. I did like my final output however. I think the animated displacement mapping gives a really nice look and I would like to experiment further into how it could be applied. I would also like to continue working with how audio waveforms can affect animation. I have used this concept quite a lot in my work now but I think it creates cool outcomes.
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Portfolio sheets for a uni project