Ed Atkins at Serpentine Sackler Gallery

Category: 3D Animation, Film / Multimedia, Fine Arts

High definition CGI is not a common presence in the fine art world, and I was surprised to see images of a digitally rendered human figure so prominently displayed at one of the the most important contemporary art galleries in Britain. The troublesome looking young man is an avatar modeled on Ed Atkins, the artist himself. Ed Atkins had somehow slipped my radar, but the more I’ve learned about him the more intrigued I’ve become with his work. His multi-channel installation Ribbons (2014) occupies several spaces and screens in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery until 25 August. The video follows the protagonist as he drinks, smokes, swears, mutters, gets naked, tries his luck with a glory hole. It is accompanied by large boards bearing blocks of texts with scribbled-in margins, and disturbingly realistic human skins, or UV maps of the avatar, on display like scientific specimens or conquests.

Atkins is skilled in coding, and creating 3D animation, though he did solicit the help of an expert to produce elements like the astoundingly hyper-real render of a whiskey glass that appears in the video. He pushes CGI far enough to remind the viewer that its’ most prized achievement, hyper-realism, undoes itself as, no matter how close the image gets to looking real, it will forever fall short of life. The avatar is so meticulously rendered, and yet so vapid, vacant—he is but a shell of code, stretched over an artificial structure.We see ourselves reflected in him, and but that which becomes apparent is our comparative physicality, flesh and mortality.

Ed Atkins is heavily influenced by literature and poetry and the written word play an important part in his creative process. Here is a beautiful performance of a piece called Depression from last year. If you happen to be in London definitely check out the exhibition, and I’d recommend reading some interviews with him, he is a fascinating artist. Here is a good audio interview recorded at Chisenhale Gallery in 2012.

Anna Tokareva

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

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Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

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Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

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Bachelor of Art in Painting and Visual Arts
Bachelor of Art in Media Design and Multimedia Arts
Masters of Art in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies
Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

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Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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JohnnyExpress

Category: 3D Animation, Film / Multimedia

Here’s a wee bit of fun for your day. JohnnyExpress is the latest out of Korean animation and production studio Alfred ImageWorks (great name!). The short film tells the story of Johnny, an intergalactic deliveryman who’s rated top of his field, although that credit is questionable after watching. Upon waking at his latest delivery destination, Johnny quickly finds himself up against a major hurdle, and the lives of those inhabiting the planet up against an even bigger one!

This is one great little piece of work. Aesthetically, the clean use of colour and matte texturing of the 3D models works perfectly for me. That paired with great character design, and a seriously good dose of well timed humour makes for a winning short film. Alfred Imageworks obviously know their 3D, their game trailers are epic and incredibly well put together. Click here to have a look.

In the meantime, give JohnnyExpress five minutes of your day. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

Logan Bradley

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

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Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

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Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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‘Mine’ By Tell No One

Category: 3D Animation, Fashion Design, Film / Multimedia

I’m very excited to share this film with you! Directed and produced by Tell No One, a talented duo consisting of Luke White and Remi Weekes, Mine is yet another short that cements the pair even higher in my ‘I want to be like you’ list.

Tell No One produce abstract films that go beyond what we’re used to seeing. Using visual effects and a good dose of trickery, they create work that surprises, is often dark, and is sometimes very, very fun to watch. Mine fits into the latter. Created for Nowness, the motion touch enabled video allows you directly click and shop the items shown in the film. In an interesting twist on the concept of online shopping and the grab mentality of fashion, Tell No One enlisted Italian choreographer Paolo Manigiola to translate the ‘frenzied desire of online gratification’ into a compelling and vibrant routine. The combination of this beautiful choreographed dance piece, with wonderful direction, perfect styling and surprising visual illusions, makes for an incredible work. I’m so intrigued by the method of this film, of how it’s all done. For me it’s just like a great magic trick, but a beautifully art directed one

An aspect that I really appreciate about Tell No One is the approach to experimentation in their work. Their short films, majority of which are labelled as experiments from one through to ten, allow them to investigate a technique thoroughly, which in turn, creates stunning visuals. I’ve been following these guys for a while now and you can really see the production values step up as their experiments go on. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Since you’ve probably gathered I’m a fan by now, you may expect that I’ve written on Tell No One before. Well, you’d be right. Check out my previous articles on this talented duo here, here and here.

Logan Bradley

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Contemporary Music

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Troll Identity by Pacifica

Category: collaboration, Design, Graphic Design, motion graphics


I’ve written about Pacifica, one my favourite studios, before and now it’s time to rave on about them some more. Their latest identity project for Troll, a post-production company based in Berlin, is a good example of a successful design originating from a really simple idea. Taking the company’s name at face value, they have utilized the fortuitously-shaped set of letters in the word Troll to create a character to represent the brand. The imagery may have fallen flat on its own, but they have taken things a welcome step further and used motion-capture technology to turn the 2D logo into an animated 3D figure. Since the character’s movements trace those of a human actor, the animation of the identity feels very fluid and natural. This little troll gives off a very amiable vibe, despite the malicious attributes of its namesake.

The friendliness of the character has been offset by gorgeously gloomy art direction from Pacifica, infusing the collateral and photography with plenty of sooty blacks and backdrops of cracked dusty stone and graveyard granite. The styling of the photoshoot conveys the mood of the brand beautifully, toying with the viewer’s imagination and drawing us into a dark, mysterious wonderland. The potential of the character is demonstrated in a little teaser, made by fellow Portuguese creatives Loopa. They collaborated with Pacifica to animate the identity, elaborating upon it in the teaser, to depict the troll emerging from a spooky forest scene. The short recently won them bronze at Cannes Lions. You can find a couple of making-of videos on Loopa’s Behance page—worth a watch!

Anna Tokareva

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Media Design School

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http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)
Bachelor of Media Design (Graphic Design, Interactive, Motion Graphics)

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art in Media Design and Multimedia Arts
Bachelor of Art in Graphic Design and Art Direction
Masters of Art in Communication Design
Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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Snoopy will be back looking great!

Category: 3D Animation, Animation, Film / Multimedia

When I first heard about Schulz’s ‘Peanuts’ getting a 3D animated feature makeover I got excited and worried at the same time. Now the first teaser trailer is out and from what I see, this is looking very promising.

Most concerns have been put to rest when I heard producer Craig Schultz (the son of Charles Schultz, creator of the original comic strips) insists on handling the legacy with respect and creating something timeless that is true to the original generations have grew up on in the US. Snoopy won’t start talking and Charley Brown won’t be Facebook chatting on an iPad.

From what I can see in the trailer, the visual style got an elegant 3D makeover that does not go overboard. The characters look exactly as you remember them, the animation style follows the jagged movements of the old cartoons and they kept textures to a minimum. Incredible restraint and a refined approach get the concept exactly right. We also have comic strip style hand-drawn movement indicator lines and circles added, which I find clever and cute.

I am excited to see how the story and the characters will turn out. The premier is a long time away, the Peanuts movie will open November 6, 2015.

Kyle Glass
Source: FOX Family Entertainment

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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