Since working on the motion graphics for LP Giobbi’s Coachella performance last month, my mind has been completely absorbed in creating original motion pieces.
Although I’ve spent the past 45 years studying and then working in industrial and graphic design (applied arts) producing creative solutions for clients, my BFA was in painting and sculpture (fine arts). Family life and parenthood put the fine artist mostly in the background as the applied artist took control through the years. My paintings still hang on our walls, and my furniture designs are in our rooms, but since the computer entered the toolset, my creativity is mostly digital rather than physical. The first transition was digital graphic design, then came 3D modeling and animation, and in this decade motion graphics and special effects have become the next evolutionary phase.
So, when I first started playing with special effects software in 2011 to develop “spells” for Mage Life, an online game app, it was the first time in years I felt I was creating pure art again. Abstract art. The opposite end of the spectrum from the photo-realistic art I create for my clients. In fact, it was the art I most enjoyed creating back in my early days. It’s the art that still hangs on my walls, reminding me every day of where I started. But since Mage Life eight years ago, the abstract artist had retreated again.
Now, with the Coachella Festival performance wall art behind me and potentially more on the horizon, that side of me has come roaring back. Painting and drawing tools have been around since the beginning of humanity. The digital versions we have today are infinitely more complex, and the learning curve can sometimes be daunting. The best tools don’t get in the way. The best tools feel like extensions of ourselves, adding to and multiplying our creative powers, like a hand saw for example. With most digital creative tools, from painting to some degree, on up to making CAD models, contact is two or three layers removed from actual touching. It’s only with extended time that the tools start to become more invisible extensions of our creative process.
Most of the time, designers work with constant deadlines and creative constraints, so developing a certain set of skills and tools helps us achieve our creative solutions quickly and easily. The straightest line from point A to point B is sometimes the “best” solution.
Working with effects is not like that. Exploration is the whole game. A “wrong” path might return beautiful unexpected results. The artist can use the tools in a completely Zen-like way, trying thousands of random “tosses of the dice” to see what comes up. But by diving in and learning the inner workings of the complex filters involved, a certain level of control over parameters of the randomness can produce a different style of creativity…not better, necessarily, but certainly different. And that freedom is what creative exploration is all about.
A major difference between physical painting and digital painting is the potential for animation. Effects can produce endless still frames that are each a piece of art. But with time added to the mix, a sequence of those frames can come alive and move!! The magic is what happens “between” the frames. Wow. Nothing quite like it! It’s hypnotizing. And so fun to see where the new creative worlds take me. I’ll keep you posted!Share this: