Opening titles, mograph, animatics and 3D rendering – these are esoteric terms whose essence very few can explain with the same clarity, eloquence and childlike zeal of a given few. But professionals from an industry called motion graphic design, responsible for some of the most creative works of our time live and breathe these jargons that inform the works of art they so passionately create. Their work seen in many of the TV commercials, movies, music videos and digital marketing campaigns we witness every single day.
The biennial creative conference F5, held for the second time in New York City last weekend, provided a platform for motion design professionals to present their work and creative process. Organized by Motionographer.com, the world’s largest blog for the motion graphic industry, F5 is the equivalent of a South by Southwest for the most dynamic and accomplished motion designers and animators in the world. Amongst those present are the industry’s top producers and creative directors, established filmmakers and visionary entrepreneurs, transforming the Roseland Ballroom into a Mecca of motion design.
Kicking Things Off
Starting the F5 fest was a magically crafted opening title by commercial animation studio, BUCK. Fusing hand-drawn animation, live action and the age-old appeal of puppets, the captivating opener was a well-made video that serve as an apt introduction to the powerful roster of creative talents and executives about to take the stage. The festival’s first speaker, Neil Huxley of the visual effects studio Digital Domain, presented his work on Watchmen and James Cameron’s Avatar. Huxley hailed his involvement on Avatar as a realization of a life-long dream: the chance to work with James Cameron. Part of his presentation included an exclusive peek of the film’s behind-the-scenes process, effectively mesmerizing his listeners.
Character animation studio Nathan Love, and motion design studios Onesize and Buck were some of the notable presentations. Nathan Love infused humor into every presentation, sharing work done for top-tier clients, such as a retro inspired network promo for NBC and a slapstick comedy ad for Baskin Robbins.
Onesize lifted the veil on their own creative process —a mix of organized chaos that, somehow, always yields an exceptional quality of work.
In doing so, it was a presentation that almost every designer and artist could relate to, in terms of the often unorthodox approach to the creative process, whether it be commercial or non-commercial. After all, design as its most avid practitioners defend, is an art and not a science. The Onesize team garnered thunderous applause from a delighted audience who identified well to the speakers’ struggle in trying to accomplish a creative task in a systematic fashion.
Buck’s design genius, represented by their top artists and a sidekick puppet, lightened up the mood of the room as they explained how they concocted the F5 Fest’s beautiful opening title sequence.
Aside from motion design studios, two business executives were invited to present their work and speak on their philosophy of design and business. Adam Bly of the Seed Media Group and founder of Visualizing.org, spoke about the power of data visualization and how this artform is crucial in interpreting modern pools of information. Scott Belsky, founder of the Behance network, explained the power of making ideas happen —an ethos that serves as the foundation of the pre-eminent social network for creative professionals.
Interspersed throughout the festival were presentations and showcases by artists like Shantell Martin, who shared about digital VJ’ng and the interactive shows she has held. DJ Kid Koala and audiovisual remix masters Eclectic Method also showcased their work. Interesting presentations by Heather Knight on robotic entertainment, Adam Sadowsky of Syyn Labs on their creative engineering work for music videos and Adult Swim’s Jacob Escobedo and his edgy designs and concepts made up for a line-up of creative influencers from diverse artistic backgrounds.
The highlight of F5 came from its final presenters. Mark Romanek, revered by the design world for his visionary craft and masterful storytelling, was interviewed by Bevin Mcnamara for his groundbreaking work on music videos. He also shared a live commentary on his movie, Never Let Me Go, and shared his creative process on his very first and critically-acclaimed film, One Hour Photo. One of the most interesting segments of his interview was when he disclosed how he came about shooting the viral music video Hurt, covered by Johnny Cash before he passed away. Fusing authentic and disarming humility with straightforward chatter on his work and passions, Romanek charmed the audience as he discussed his creative inspirations and milestones.
“Best Investment of my Creative Career”
Concluding two full days of an inspiring event was a dazzling talk by Wayne White, whose work as the art director of Pee Wee’s Playhouse has become the stuff of legend for the 80’s generation. His comical act spliced with profanity and unapologetic mockery of the fine arts glued the F5 audience to their seats —and earned him the only standing ovation from F5 attendees.
With more than a thousand attendees from across the world F5 has established itself as the leading gathering point for members of the motion design industry. Tweets like “it’s the best investment of my creative career,” and “inspired to get out the sketchbooks” peppered the Twitter stream of #f5fest hashtag.
A mainstream audience would rarely hear about the men and women behind the opening titles of our most-loved films or the animations of our favorite commercials, but F5 has put the spotlight on the designers and animators who has tremendously influenced the way the world is portrayed in motion media.