When I see art that catches my eye, I'll often think two things:

  1. What is it about the image or animation that lights up my creative brain and engages my eye
  2. How was it made, and do I have the skills to recreate such a work?

On this last point, as evidenced on materials I've posted on my website, often it's in trying to recreate an artist's work that I learn techniques or go and learn how to do something I'm unfamiliar with. And more often than not, it just goes to increase my admiration for the wonderful digital artists out there, many whom I'm sure learned skills and techniques from previous generations, or were inspired by their works (such as the great Constructivist school).

Whilst studying the fantastic graphic below, I thought just for this blog it might be interesting to note the various lines that make up the composition, and the relationships between them. There are strong diagonal lines made by the flag poles at 118 degrees, with a column on textural content at a perfect perpendicular angle of 28 degrees (118 - 90). Bursting out to the right are radial lines forming almost sunbeams of content - planes and text affected by perspective. Into this are placed the strong figures of a pilot, and engineer perhaps, and 3 standard bearers, aswell as some references to music etc. 

In the cyclist illustration below that, I just wanted to see how the lines flow - and it was a lovely exercise then to use the Live Paint Tool to colour in the graceful shapes, drawing a bounding rectangle on the artboard just to complete all the outer paths.


constructionist copy analysis


cyclist abstract

Having just written about Scanimate and the origins of Motion Graphics in the 70s and 80s and the stunning visuals which defined the look of a generation, here for the 20th anniversary of Photoshop is a short LinkedIn Learning documentary on capturing that 80s vibe in a commemorative poster using today's Adobe Creative Suite.

I learned to much in watching this - not least watching the process from start to finish, and why the artist is doing each step to perfect a visual final achiemenet. 

And in it is the useful reminder - which we keep needing to hear - to start drawing on paper and thinking things through, and not just jumping onto the computer and ultimately wasting time (but kidding on you're productive). 

James White's Laser Horse Illustration: Start to Finish - Film from James White's Laser Horse Illustration: Start to Finish by James White

Whilst I was enjoying a motion graphics course on Cinema 4D from LinkedIn Learning, I realised that I would likely benefit from a full introduction to the typical workflow of 3D animation using this software. I was thrilled to discover the perfect course for that - Getting Started with Cinema 4D with EJ Hassenfratz, who produces motion graphics for clients such as the NBA and NHL, ESPN, and Discovery Channel.

Hassenfratz is not only a master animator and mograph artist, he is a superb teacher as well. The pace of the course is perfect - introducing key concepts in each lesson:

Primatives, Extrusion, Lathe objects, Deformers, Fields, Organic modelling, Mograph, Animation, F-curves, materials, 3 point lighting, HDRIs (High-dynamic-range imaging), 3D cameras, Optimisation, the Take versioning system, Render settings and the purpose of Multi-pass rendering into image sequences for maximum options for adjustment & editing in post production software such as Adobe After Effects

I am so glad that I took the time to study the whole of this course - my knowledge increased significantly, as has my imagination of what is possible using this software and workflow. It was worth it in the first few lessons to learn to orient objects rather than just automatically rotate them - as that throws their 3 axes away from the universal 3D world axis, so that you don't know which way is up or down!


In amongst studying Adobe Illustrator this afternoon, I chanced upon two LinkedIn Learning documentaries. The first was on 80's graphics being recreated for the 20th annivesary of the birth of Photoshop. I'll refer to that in another post.

But that documentary led me on to the most facinating educational documentary I have ever seen on the origins of Motion Graphics. Today that artform is also ubquitaously associated with animation software like Adobe After Effects, so maybe I always just assumed that that was how Mograph originated?

Not so - the unqiue quality and look that defeined the early decades were due to the technology used - it was analogue and hardware generated. Introducing the great people and technology which created a whole new field of visual art ......

Scanimate: The Origins of Computer Motion Graphics - Film from Scanimate: The Origins of Computer Motion Graphics by Dave Sieg and Nick Campbell