Creating animation as content for online or broadcast platforms is a jolly good task to do for a living, also challenging enough to keep the heart beating. But animation as a genre doesn’t stop at advertising. It could be part of the play in the theatre, it could serve educational purposes in an online quiz and also complement the wonder of an exhibition. The possibilities are endless. The best thing is we already love what we do, but when such assignments come in it’s like an all-you-can-eat at Pierre Marcolini’s shop. We start to feel all shaky and dizzy. In a good way though, a huge rush of adrenaline, like during the first kiss, or like falling in a wingsuit. Depends on one’s taste for adventure.
Projects which are beyond the traditional animation approach are labelled media design. It can almost be anything that includes audiovisual elements, a glowing toilet seat or an interactive sculpture. These gigs require collaboration with pros from different crafts. An interdisciplinary workshop. Creative writers, producers, art directors, research crew, IT people and designers sit down and talk, and draw, and talk more, and argue, and then talk even more till they figure out some solution. Then the actual work starts: presentations, concept design, and production. This feels like navigating a cruiser across the Atlantic, only with less seasickness. But somehow despite all the tsunamis, all the thousands of pages of meeting reports, mile-long emails, contracts and design versions it somehow all makes sense. There is actually land at the end of the journey and so far we always arrived at our destination in better shape than expected. And that is a fun way of earning.
Playing ain’t easy. Just look at children, you’ll see it’s a serious activity. It always has a goal, something to practice for, achieve, or understand by recreating it. Participants are supposed to learn from playing, widen their knowledge, experience certain real-life situations and master their natural reactions. We very much like games with an aim for self-improvement. Learning by imitation with the necessity of failure and the ability of correction. Education is an important service that every society should provide for their young since they would be responsible for the future. After all, everyone has the right to learn and if we take education seriously there’s a good chance of development for our nations.
The process of creating such a game is all about learning as well. Meeting fantastic tutors, and specialists, putting together all the right pieces only to fail. Then make corrections, and repeat as many times as it takes in order to achieve valid results and the most fitting user experience. We live and learn.
Filmmaking is one of the best activities. We love shooting days deeply. Film crews are nice people, everyone seems to know their job and they’re doing it with humble smiles on their faces. As designers, our work has to complement the art of the DOP and the director. An honest job for craftsmen. A style exercise. There are wonderful examples of animation in live-action films (e.g. The Fall, The Empire Strikes Back, Grand Budapest Hotel) either being an abstract sequence or imitating reality. The title sequence in features is like an independent art form. Some are even better than the actual movies. Either way, featuring our animation skills in movies is always an honour and we take it very seriously. No, really…
Darkness and glaring lights. Empty silence surrounds you on the stage. There is that particular scent. The atmosphere of the theatre – the sacral home for audiovisual art performances. Unlike any other, it radiates a deep level of humility. At least it always should. Time and space have special meanings here. One moment you’re in a small room, the clock is ticking painfully slow and the next moment you see the history of time in a flash. It is truly amazing how many different worlds come to life on the stage. Like in the movies, but this is more intimate, more palpable. The magic happens even without any scenery or wardrobe. Of course, with more scenic apparatus, could come bigger wonder. The stage can hold many things with good intentions: actors, grandiose scenery, dance, orchestra, and even water. So why would animation stand out? Be it part of the set, or the act, it fits in perfectly. There is a sacral aura in performing arts, like group therapy, or a mass. You are always more after such an experience.
Probably the most complex task for a visual designer is to create an exhibition on a given theme. This is a bit different from the other assignments, regarding practical details such as crew members, schedule and production phases. Good thing we’re members of the designland creative community a company that specialized in interactive scenery and exhibition design, with professionals in architecture, interior, 3D visualization and media design. Great team, tough workers. Creating an exhibition takes a long time and lots of work and lots of design and lots of discussions, lots of decisions to be made. There are endless days of uncertainty and you spend more time on your phone than Robin Williams in Hook, but in the end, you guys made an amazing experience for the public and might score some awards too. We certainly did.
All in all, we are keen to experiment in most visual fields. We hope to think we’re worth it. This way we ride along in many amazing adventures with beautiful creative minds. Anyways it feels more alive moving out of the dark studios to getting our hands dirty with manual labour. There’s a lot to see and a lot to learn from. New venues, new situations, new people, and new ideas. Animation is a game and we take it very seriously. It has no limits, and neither has our will to keep on creating. Blessed to be craftspeople.