Design Indaba 09 || Day 2 || Animation

The second day of Design Indaba started with a number of South African animators.


First up was Craig Wessels from Wickedpixels


Craig showed us animation from an animators point of view.  On the one hand, he exposed the sheer labour involved in the process of animating, and on the other, the emotional pay-off when pictures start moving. “It still gives me goosebumps”

He stepped us through the process of creating the “MTN Sticky Man” ad, which is a stop frame animation using post it notes.

Its interesting to note that this add, in itself, showed what Craig was trying to explain to us:  the insanity of the process as well as the magic when it comes to life.

The ad portrays a group of young guys who decide to create a animated character on the side of some buildings.  Here are some stills:


You can watch the MTN “stickies” ad here at the wikedpixels site.

He reminded us that animation need not be complex to be powerful.  That the story is the most important thing, and not the animation technique.

He left us with this thought:

“Obstacles present opportunity to the creative mind”

Then we heard Roger Smythe of Masters & Savant

He also showed us the animators point of view, but this time focusing more on the creative process, and in particular, that of collaboration and peer review.

He did not speak much, but showed us a series of interviews with animators who work at Masters & Savant.

“Peer review is the conscience you don’t know you have”  Says one of them.  Its a painful process, but necessary for innovation.  “There are places your brain does not go”.

Its interesting that nearly every speaker at the Indaba spoke about the value of collaboration and peer review.

I was also interested that some of the animators spoke of how animation techniques themselves inspired concepts, which seems to contradict the usual “story comes first” message.

We were also shown some ads, like the “Musica” add in which a young man breaks through into a mysterious black and white world:


You can watch musica ad here

And another one in which a series of giants play soccer, using entire countries as their soccer field.  This was done for Titans of UEFA Euro2008.


watch titans add here

Then we saw Markus Wormstorm and Jannes Hendrikz from black heart gang.

Unfortunately Ree Treweek – the illustrator – could not attend.  Which is a great pity as she is the gang member I am most impressed by.

They showed us their well known animation “The Tale of How”, which is based on a poem by Marcus.  Ree produced a series of 13 prints of which this is one:


And the final animation is quite overwhelming in its baroque detail and operatic music:


image from Lines and Colors blog by Charley Parker

watch the tale of how

Ree Treweek and Jannes Hendrikz have their own company called “Shy the sun”. They showed us an advert they produced for United Airlines in which a number of Boshesque sea creatures salute an aeroplane:


Image from Aoki Studio blog

As well as an advert  for Bakers biscuits:


Image from Lines and colors blog – Charley Parker

Which are both very lovely and delightful.  Although I cannot help being disturbed at this talent being used to create…adverts for aeroplanes and biscuits.

I don’t mean to pass judgement on Ree and Jannes – who need to make a living.  I’m just mourning the fact that in our country, people with this level of skill and talent can only express their vision in…adverts.

You can watch the Bakers advert here, and the Sea Orchestra here, and decide for yourself.

Here is the making of the Sea Orchestra advert, and here the making of the Bakers advert.

You can read more about Ree here: Lines and Colors blog – Ree Treweek by Charley Parker

And here is the Aoki Studio interview

And you can look at more work by black heart gang here.

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