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The Year in MoGraph - 2020

By Joey Korenman, EJ Hassenfratz, Ryan Summers

Motion Designers Joey Korenman, EJ Hassenfratz, and Ryan Summers on the Highlights of 2020 and What to Expect in 2021

2020 was...well, it was certainly a year. Not just for the MoGraph industry and for School of Motion, but for everyone. We know you don't need a recap of all the challenges and craziness that made this year what it was. Instead, we want to focus on the positive. While 2020 certainly presented a difficult road, we have seen our community emerge stronger and better than ever.
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As we turn the calendar page to 2021, this is a great time to reflect on the 366 days we all just went through (2020 was a leap year).
Before we dive in, all of us at School of Motion want to know how you're doing. This year, in a lot of ways, really really sucked. But it’s over… and one of the things we’ve learned over time is that difficult things eventually come to an end. It may not feel that way while you’re in the middle, but this too, shall pass. If you're hurting, reach out. If you need help, ask for it. And above all, know that you are never alone. We are all with you.
Whew… didn’t mean to get all heavy on you there, but we do appreciate you and your earholes immensely, and everyone here at School of Motion wants to say thank you; thanks for your support this year, and let’s head into 2021 with our heads held high. 
For the final podcast of 2020, our founder Joey Korenman is joined by  Creative Directors EJ Hassenfratz and Ryan Summers—and a special guest—to talk about the artists, studios, tools, trends and events that made MoGraph news in 2020...plus all the exciting plans (and bold predictions) for the coming year.
Get a comfy cushion and a BIG bowl of candy canes. It's time to sit back and reflect on another year in Motion Design.

The School of Motion Podcast: The Year In MoGraph - 2020

Show Notes

Artists

Studios

Resources/Tools

VFX For Motion Expression Session Cinema 4D Ascent Cinema 4D Basecamp Design Kickstart Lights, Camera, Render! Level Up! Camp MoGraph SOM Community Inclusion Scholarship Forward Motion SOM Podcast Episode 100: Andrew Kramer SOM Podcast Episode 104: Glen Keane Netflix Apple SOM Podcast Episode 90: Kris Pearn Adobe Max Joey's Adobe Max Presentation Kyle Hamrick's Adobe Max Presentation Sarah Beth and Nol's Adobe Max Presentation Holdframe Pitch Motion Hatch Nike ABC Video Copilot Zoom Facebook School of Motion Workflow Show Livestream w/ Hobbes The One Club Young Guns Award Ringling College of Animation SOM Podcast Ep 97: Nuria Boj The Emmy Awards Art of The Title Daz-3D Marvelous Designer Z-Brush Gumroad YATATOY Disney Princess Filter Unreal Engine Maxon Rokoko Suit Jonathan Winbush SOM Article Red Giant Redshift Trap Code Adobe After Effects Adobe Premiere Maxon One Substance Houdini Soft Image XSI Cavalry Blender SOM Workflow Show Livestream Adam from Cavalry X-particles aescripts Cavalry Importer SOM Podcast EP 103: Victoria Nece Unity Delta Mush Physics Whiz Adobe Sneaks Scantastic Adobe Sneaks Comic Book Blast Adobe Sneaks Adobe Illustrator Squarespace Adobe Dimension Apple M1 Chip Nvidia Maya Octane Puget Systems Shake Xserve Apple Motion World Creator EmberGenFX Octane Multirender Black Magic Card Opencolor.io Autodesk Jonathan Winbush Unreal Tutorial Rocket League Nvidia 3090 Plugin Everything Deep Glow FXAA Cartoon Moblur Fable Figma Skillshare Spline 3d Frame.io Mighty Google Chrome Alienware Wordpress 3D Studio Max SCAD Lightwave Grayscale Gorilla SIGGRAPH Adobe Video World Maxon 3D Motion Show The Staples Center The Dash Bash Blend Pictoplasma conference Disney World Cryptoart Etsy Ebay Spark AR Beanie Babies SuperRare dada.nyc Lamborghini Logic ProTools FinalCut Pro X Supreme Tropicana Coca Cola Behind The Scenes Article A52 Nike Commercial Five Nights at Freddy's Hulu Luminar Vimeo Behance SIGGRAPH Technical Papers 2020 Adobe Sensai Amazon

Transcript

Joey Korenman:
This is the School of Motion podcast. Come for the Mo-Graph stay for the puns.
Joey Korenman:
2020. You know, that number used to represent perfect vision. It was a good thing. This year, though, I think that number turned a little bit, and it's going to mean something completely different to most people. And as we turn the calendar page to 2021, this is a great time to reflect on the 365 days we all just went through. Actually it was 366, because 2020 was a leap year. But in any case, a lot happened. Like, a lot.
Joey Korenman:
To recap the many, many, many things that happened this year and to prognosticate about the ripples that these events and developments will create moving forward, I am joined by my friends and colleagues, Ryan Summers, and EJ Hassenfratz. We also have a special guest dropping by for a bit, more on that in a few minutes. Before we dive in, I just want to say that I really hope you're doing okay. This year in a lot of ways, really, really sucked, but it's over. And one of the things I've learned over my career is that difficult things eventually come to an end. It may not feel that way while you're in the middle part, the dip, for those who are Seth Godin fans, but if there's one belief I still cling to in the midst of 2020, it's that this too shall pass.
Joey Korenman:
Didn't mean to get all heavy on you there, but I do appreciate you and your ear holes immensely. And from everyone here at School of Motion, I want to say, thank you. Thanks for your support this year. And let's head into 2021 with our heads held high. So now without further ado, the 2020 recap.
Joey Korenman:
All right. EJ, Ryan, we meet again at the end of a long, long year. How are you guys doing? You guys ready for this?
Ryan Summers:
I can't wait for 2023, how about you EJ?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. Yeah. Anyone that thinks they're just going to magically get better by the clock striking 12:00 on December 31st. I don't know.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. Don't say that. Don't say I see. I need to be, I'm a professional optimist. All right. And I'm claiming clinging to my optimism. I actually am pretty optimistic. So let's jump right into it, 'cause there is a lot to talk about this year.
Joey Korenman:
So I want to start the way I always do. Just kind of updating everybody what's been going on at School of Motion this year. And obviously this was ... this year did not go the way that I thought it would go. There was definitely a curve ball thrown. However, we did actually grow quite a bit and had a great year and did a lot of things that I'm super excited about.
Joey Korenman:
So to briefly recap, just a few of the things that happened at school motion. We started the year with, with a team of 16 and that's just the core team at school of motion. We have many more teaching assistants all over the world. We are ending the year with 27 people on the team, which is a pretty significant growth. I think we have almost 70 teaching assistants now. They're all over the planet. We have more than 10,000 alumni, so another awesome, huge growth year for us with all of the good and challenging things that come along with that. At the very beginning of this year, we launched VFX for motion taught by Mark Christiansen, and expression session taught by Zach Lovatt and Nol Honig. And those classes have been really popular. A lot of students have gone through those and they've been really fun.
Joey Korenman:
But this year we actually launched four classes, which I think this is ... I don't think we've ever launched four classes in a year before, which is pretty nuts. We launched Cinema 4D Ascent, which is the followup to the very popular Cinema 4D Base Camp taught by our own EJ "Hats'n'pants".
Joey Korenman:
We launched ... everybody who's hearing this, I think you should just start calling him that. I think we should try to make that a thing. We'll have to think of something clever for Summers too. Yeah, exactly.
Joey Korenman:
So Design Kickstart also launched, taught by Mike Frederick. That's the sort of like the prequel to Design Bootcamp. It really gets into the fundamentals of design and how they apply to motion.
Joey Korenman:
Lights, Camera, Render recently launched, and EJ, can you maybe just sum that class up really quick? It just launched and it's insanely cool. So talk like maybe for a minute about that.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's a giant kick in the pants for anyone who's been struggling with their lighting skills, their composition skills, their camera. You're going to be like a digital Steven Spielberg by the end of this. I equate it to ... I've been working in motion design for so long, but I never properly went to school for it. I learned nothing about cinematography, and especially for people that are in the 2D world, very rarely do you even have to consider lighting or anything like that. But you might have really good compositional skills, but to translate that into the world of cinematography is just totally different. But to go into this class. I equated it to like seeing the code in the matrix, where now I'm actually watching movies, I'm watching shows, and I'm seeing like, "Oh, that's a reverse shot," and like, "Oh, they just keep going in the reverse shot. And they're not crossing the line." Like my vocabulary, as far as cinematography goes, it has skyrocketed, as well as my lighting skills. So this class is just a masterpiece of cinematography and for anyone who really wants to up their game in 3D, like this is the class that's going to get you to that next level.
EJ Hassenfratz:
And like I said, it's going to make you see code in the matrix and allow you to be able to execute this, all this amazing 3D work that you're seeing from Elastic and stuff like that. It just demystifies, like, "Why does that look so good? How can I get things to look that good?"
Joey Korenman:
Love it, love it. And I should mention David Ariew is the instructor for that.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Oh yeah, that guy.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. Yeah. AKA Octane Jesus.
EJ Hassenfratz:
He's pretty good.
Joey Korenman:
And it's funny because before I met him and I heard that his nickname was Octane Jesus, and I didn't really understand why, I thought, "Oh, he's really good at Octane." And then when you see his hair, then you get it.
Joey Korenman:
He needs a longer beard. So anyway, and then the last class that we launched, it's actually a free class taught by our own Ryan Summers. Ryan, why don't you talk about Level Up a little bit?
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. Level Up is kind of a direct response to ... kind of this time last year, EJ and I, I think, were both there. We went to Camp MoGraph. And we did these fireside chats, and I asked these three basic questions. "Are you where you thought you would be when you got started?" "Do you feel imposter syndrome?" And, "Are you happy?" And the responses ... we had this big group of like a hundred, 125 people. And it was really interesting to see, and the conversations that kind of spooled out of that, I wanted to capture it. So it's really a class that talks about some basic things. Like, "Where are we going as an industry?" "How do you get confidence?" "What do you think you might be missing?" And, "How do you take control of your career?" And it's really short, it's binge-able. You can watch it in a weekend if you want it to, but we talked to a lot of different people across the industry about all those different things. And we try to get people to start thinking about what's next and taking back the kind of control of your career arc.
Joey Korenman:
Love it. Well, as I mentioned, it is a free class. Thousands of people have signed up and gone through it already, and we're going to be linking to every single thing we talk about in the epic encyclopedia links show notes that will be accompanying this episode. So check that out.
Joey Korenman:
So a few other things, we launched a community inclusion scholarship this year. We've always been sort of like behind the scenes doing scholarships for students that need a little help. And this year we just sort of put a framework around it. And so there's an application process, and every single quarter we're sending lots and lots of students through our scholarship program. And sort of in conjunction with that Alaena Vandermost, our president, started a sort of side thing. It's going to be a nonprofit. We don't have non-profit status yet, but it's called Motion Forward.
Joey Korenman:
And the goal of this organization ... and there's a lot of partners involved. The goal is basically to make Motion more accessible, because the training for Motion ... there's a lot of free stuff. There's inexpensive stuff, there's expensive stuff, but even things like access to software, access to hardware, access to mentorship, that stuff is definitely not democratized. And so Motion Forward's goal is to try and use all of the connections and resources that School of Motion and our partners have, to make it just a lot easier to get into Motion.
Joey Korenman:
So there's going to be a lot of progress done on that next year, which I'm really excited about. This year, I mentioned we grew a lot as a team. A pretty big part of that was we built a development team. So up until this year, we've been sort of outsourcing almost all of our software development for our platform that runs the classes.
Joey Korenman:
Now we have a full blown, amazing engineering team. And so there's been a lot of work done behind the scenes. And students who are taking classes will have seen the new learning portal and our learning management systems updated. And there's a lot more upgrading, new features we're adding.
Joey Korenman:
One thing that was really cool this year was we hit our hundredth episode of the podcast and Andrew Kramer came on, and we got to talk about the fact that his dad used to make fishing tutorials. And so kind of everything comes full circle.
Joey Korenman:
And then we had some insane guests, though. Ryan, I'm just going to throw you a softball here. Who was your favorite guest that you got to interview this year?
Ryan Summers:
I've never been more nervous in my life to talk to anybody for an interview, for anything. I got to talk to Glenn Keane for like 20, 25 minutes. If you don't know who he is, you actually do know who he is if you've watched animation ever. He's behind Beast, Tarzan, Ariel, one of the best living animators of all time. And he had just directed his first film, actually, for a guy who's, 60 plus, I don't know his actual age. He just directed a movie on Netflix called Over the Moon, and it's a CG movie. So actually, it was a lot of great stuff to talk to you, but you couldn't have asked for a more warm, interesting really introspective dude, and his animation knowledge is astounding.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, it's an incredible episode. Everyone should, should check that out if you're into animation at all. And in addition to Glen Keane, one really cool thing that's been happening this year is we've started getting people reaching out, like PR people from Netflix and Apple and other places that are making content now, and giving us these incredible opportunities to talk with people like Glenn. We got to talk with Chris Pearn who was one of the co-directors of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, and directed The Willoughbys on Netflix. So it's really cool. I'm excited about the opportunities that are going to pop up next year too.
Joey Korenman:
This year at Adobe Max, which was the first year they did a fully virtual conference, and it actually was amazing. The School of Motion had a pretty significant presence in the motion design side of it.
Joey Korenman:
I got to give a presentation, which is also on our YouTube channel now. And actually all of these presentations should be on our YouTube channel by the time this episode drops. But I gave a presentation. Kyle Hammerich gave a few, Null Honig and Sarah Beth did one together that's pretty amazing.
Joey Korenman:
And then last but not least, there's something, and I can't talk too much about it because we're kind of in the final stages of finishing it, and putting it together. And I like to hype things up and be squirrely with releasing information, but suffice to say in January, we're going to make a very big announcement related to an interesting partnership. The School of Motion now has withhold frame.
Joey Korenman:
And that is why ladies and germs, Joe Donaldson is also here. Hello, Joe, how are you?
Joe Donaldson:
Hello, nice to be here.
Joey Korenman:
So suffice to say, in 2021 in January, there's going to be some really crazy news. Your head's going to fall off when you see what we're putting together.
Joey Korenman:
And so with that, let's get into what actually happened this year. And Joe, since you're here with us ... and Joe is actually still in the industry working at a really high level. So I thought it might be interesting to start just talking about what the effect of everything that happened this year has been on the industry. And Joe, I'd love to start with just hearing your thoughts, 'cause you're in it.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. So, this year has been kind of a shitshow. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say that.
Joey Korenman:
Well, yes. Yeah. And that's probably the nicest way to put it too.
Joe Donaldson:
Okay, obviously 2020 has been very trying. If you have small kids in their home, you definitely under understand that. Or, even just with COVID, if you know anyone that's been diagnosed or anything like that. So it's been a really hard year, and there's obviously been a lot of ups and downs. And I think one of the, I guess, silver linings, if we can even call it that, is just what it's been doing to the industry at large and how it's been, in a way, democratizing a lot of the opportunities.
Joe Donaldson:
Kind of one of the things that Joey was alluding to is I stepped down from my role with Buck back in LA back in 2016. And I've been teaching since, and for the longest time, that just seemed like that was the end of that road. I was no longer in major markets, I was now living in Florida again. And to do that type of work at that kind of level at that type of pay for those types of clients, just seem kind of like an impossibility.
Joe Donaldson:
But then we have a pandemic and all of the work went remote. And since, I'm now going on seven months, being back at Buck, working as a CD, helping out on internal projects, and it's been really crazy to witness. I mean, I can only speak from my own story, but I literally have moved across the country three times in the past decade for these types of opportunities. But now because of 2020, and what's happened, I'm now in my tiny little office in Florida right next to my kid's room and working on jobs with like million dollar budgets and crazy shit like that, which again, wouldn't have been possible had it not been for this year, or even if we rewind the clocks like 10 months, I wouldn't have thought that would be possible. But now it's kind of the new reality, which is just mind boggling.
Joey Korenman:
Well, let me ask you this, Joe. The remote thing, I've been all in on the remote thing for a while. And it was always kind of strange to me that there was such a reluctance to try it in the studio world. Well, some studios have been doing it for a long time, but sort of the legacy studios who had pipelines and had their way of doing things seem to be the ones that just wouldn't do it. They wouldn't try it. And maybe like in some small circumstances with artists they know really well, they would.
Joey Korenman:
So obviously there's necessity, but why do you think there was such a resistance? Because now it's clearly been proven that it works. It's possible.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. Well, it's definitely a case by case basis. And I think the benefit here is a lot of the hesitance, and a lot of the like red tape that surrounded this idea, has been kind of dispelled or broken away. So if you're working on something that's really hands-on, and it's a mixed media project, and everyone's just wearing a lot of different hats, that's something that you really do want to have everybody in the same room and jamming on it together. But you also have to look at the fact that that's like maybe 10 to 20% of the jobs that are going on.
Joe Donaldson:
And so I think before, since the, there was this idea that being in the same room is the best thing, or is the only way of doing certain jobs, all jobs are kind of painted with that same brush. And again, I'm very lucky. I have a long history with Buck. I've been working with them since 2013. So me being able to like move right back into their pipeline and into production was really easy. But I think a lot of it is just necessity having to adjust to the times because otherwise we wouldn't be able to do anything. And hopefully that's something that continues on. I mean, there's still a lot of hurdles to work through. If you're working on anything with really strict security parameters, you're actually working, remoting into a computer that's on a closed network and you're using like a computer at some office somewhere else and you're not working locally, and there's a lot of kinks that need to be worked out. But I think the need has facilitated those questions being solved.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. So Ryan, I'm curious what you've heard too, from your friends in the industry, as far as the ... maybe we could talk a little bit about the financial impacts of this, because I think there were good and bad, frankly, and some of it's counterintuitive. That some people actually did really well because of this, and some people didn't. And so do you have any sense of sort of what the overall impact has been?
Ryan Summers:
Yeah, I talked to a lot of different people. I have a pretty good friendship with Joel Pilger, and I've been on the inside of seeing people in real time as part of a program where I was talking to probably 10 to 15 other shop owners while this was all going down. And I want to kind of piggyback on what Joe was saying. I think the industry itself has been struggling to grow up and take itself seriously. And it's weird to say this, that with COVID coming at such a heart-wrenching time, it's actually been really positive, because I think we've realized how flexible and fast we can be compared to other creative arts industries and how we can take advantage of it. And I'm not just talking about like live action. Obviously there's been a big push to go to animation, and it's harder for a large TV animation studio to make the change, or a feature animation studio, or visual effects, but they're doing it.
Ryan Summers:
But because of the kind of Wild West nature of our work, our highly collaborative nature, and we changed so quickly, I think motion design studios in particular have been able to scoop up a lot of work that they wouldn't normally have access to. And I think the big question right now is if you want to be a temporary gold rush that then crashes when everything in quotes "returns back to normal," or is this something that we can kind of create a confidence check and actually make a lasting change because of it, in both the individual operator as a freelance kind of sense of things, but also in the larger scale studio sense, right?
Ryan Summers:
Like there's so much work available to us that I don't think we were mature enough to realize we could grab for it. We were always just saying, "Oh, this is what we always do. Here's how we're going to do it." But with technology coming online and not just Zoom or Hangouts, but the ability to kind of work collaboratively, even in a pitch stage, right? Like we saw a new technology called Pitch come out recently where you can build your deck, but you can work collaboratively all in the same place. You have Version Control, all that stuff is ready to go. And I think studios that were smart enough to understand this and change very quickly, it may be a lasting change. It may be something that actually ... the weird thing is that the studios who you would expect to be doing really well, some of them aren't.
Ryan Summers:
Like you said, the legacy studios, if that's what we're going to call them. They have not been able to position themselves in a way that breaks from the way they used to work. Right? Like very slow, everything about coming to the shop to see the pitch, physically going somewhere to do the pitch with a client, very long in the wool kind of old pipelines, they haven't really reacted quickly to technology change up till now. They're hurting. There are studios that are really, really hurting and they're barely hanging on by a thread.
Ryan Summers:
But there's a lot of like mid-size studios or younger studios that are honestly getting so much work, they're having to hire people they've never worked with before as creative directors, as freelance, remote creative directors, to try to capture this work, hoping that they'll be able to hook on clients that can become longstanding clients. It's really interesting. And it's honestly never been a better time for our School of Motion alumni, because there are so many opportunities just waiting for people. And it doesn't ... I'm going to say the opposite of what I normally say, it doesn't mean that you have to be in New York or LA to do it, right? Like we've always said, "If you want to have a turbo boost in your career, it's a hard pill to swallow, but if you get to LA the opportunity is there." That opportunity is there for everyone right now.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. So EJ, I know you're friends with a lot of artists who are freelancing and getting out there and doing it. What have you been hearing from people who are freelancing or looking for jobs, stuff like that?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah, it's funny because it's almost like going through a pandemic, you rip up the floorboards and you see if structurally everything's sound. If you were doing all the right things before this, going into it, you're probably doing even better coming out of it. But if you had really bad habits, like for example, you weren't promoting yourself online, you weren't placing an emphasis on building relationships with people in the community, and stuff like that, you probably were not doing too well. The people that I talked to the most are people that are very active in the community, they promote themselves all the time. They're on social media a ton. They were getting overwhelmed with the amount of work they were getting.
EJ Hassenfratz:
So if you laid the groundwork, you're doing amazing, and you're really cashing in on all that work that you did to promote yourself, to have that online presence. Because a lot of people I know, they've been remote freelancing for forever. And to go to Ryan's point about, you don't have to be in New York or LA. I have a buddy who used to work at The Mill and PSYOP and all this stuff in New York. And he was like, "You know what, I'm out. I did that for seven years and NYC's like ... I'm moving to Philly and settling down." And has a wife thinking about kids soon. And he actually got laid off from like a legacy type of studio that were stuck in their own ways. They did a lot of production, just didn't know how to pivot. And so he got laid off along with a lot of his team.
EJ Hassenfratz:
And what he found is because of his really good relationships with a lot of people that were still in New York City, he was working remotely for these big projects for The Mill and stuff like that.
EJ Hassenfratz:
So it's definitely ... you can come into the pandemic one way, but hopefully you're building the habits that come out of it a better person. And I always liked this phrase of "don't focus on the fear, focus on the gifts." Like if you're taking this time to realize that you pull up the floor boards and you're like, "Wow, that's a lot of termites. I should probably exterminate that stuff." And you fix it and you build on from there, like that's the most important thing. And there's no better time to focus on yourself and do some self-introspection than a pandemic where you're just by yourself all the time now.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. Drink some Ayahuasca.
Joey Korenman:
Joe, I wanted to ask you about ... so one thing that I've been hearing ... at the beginning of this back in March, I emailed a lot of artists and studio owners that have been on the podcast, people I know, and I just basically said, "How are you doing?" Like, "Are you okay? Has all the work gone away?" And what I got back, and it was pretty consistent at big studios, little studios, it didn't matter, was there was this initial, "Oh my God, all the work's gone." And then when the world realized, "Okay, this is going to take a while to get through this, this isn't like a month or two," A lot of the live action work, which became basically impossible to do, or much, much harder, turned into animation jobs. And a lot of studios, all of the sudden, had too much work.
Joey Korenman:
Do you have any insight into how that's affected a studio like Buck, or other people that you know in the industry?
Joe Donaldson:
Well, I think to like echo your point, everyone has just been extremely busy. And so yeah, there is still live action that's happening. I worked on a piece over the summer, and I can't say what it is, but they ended up having to like ... the agency had to look around the world at where the pandemic was doing well. And instead of shooting normally in LA or New York or wherever, they ended up shooting everything in Prague, and just established everything where they had a team go over there, a local team. And they just did the shoot with like the actual agency and client people on like Zoom or whatever.
Joe Donaldson:
And so shooting is still happening when it's a hundred percent needed, but a lot of the ideas definitely are pivoting to animation based projects or design, 3D based projects.
Joe Donaldson:
It is worth noting it's like a huge like point of privilege, for sure. Like when I kind of am recapping my last eight months or so and how this has been, it's definitely very fortunate. And I think, to EJ's point, those people that were established or have some skin in the game or whatever have been adapting really well. The hard point, and I've seen this from teaching, is a lot of the students that haven't had a first job yet, and had like internships canceled, or they do have their internship, but they're not in the studio now, and they're like at home with their parents. So there's this weird, like double-edged sword to it where it's like, if you've been around, if you've kind of established yourself, if you have relationships, it's been going really, I guess, well. It sounds silly, weird to say that. There's lots of work.
Joe Donaldson:
But I guess the bottom of the totem pole, or the people that are really just trying to get their foot in the door, are really excited about that first thing, I do know they have been experiencing some issues with that. So it's like, there's definitely two sides to the coin.
Joe Donaldson:
But I think that the hope with any of this ... obviously that's always the case to some degree. I think that the hope is that as things continue to evolve and the studios are taking on this work and seeing how this works, it's mainly like, I think the term that's been used a lot is like a "blended model" where some of the team is going to be remote, some are going to be there only on Mondays and Wednesdays, some are going to be there five days a week.
Joe Donaldson:
So really even if it's tough for anyone listening to this right now, the carrot at the end of the stick, or the silver lining here, is going to be that the opportunities will change either currently, or after this is done, for sure.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. I just saw right before we started recording, I think Haley from Motion Hatch shared something that one of her mastermind students had made. And we can find it and link to it in the show notes, but this motion designer basically put together a survey. And I don't know anything about the survey other than the animation that this person made afterwards with the results of it. So I don't know how many people were surveyed.
Joey Korenman:
But it showed that there was a fairly significant dip in income for like, I think 10 to 15% of artists. And there were obviously artists that were laid off. And EJ, I think something you said, it really kind of stuck with me. It's what you were saying about, "if you didn't have good sort of business habits before this, it was probably a lot harder for you than if you already knew how to like get work and prospect and do things like that."
Joey Korenman:
And one of the things I'm wondering about, and I mean, Joe, you're in the belly of the beast right now, you're in a place where there's a lot of freelancers. One thing that I think could be ... I think it's good in the short term, in the longterm, I'm not so sure, I'm curious what your thought is. For freelancers now, where even a studio like Buck is totally open to the idea of you working remotely from Sarasota, Florida, or, Topeka, Kansas, it doesn't matter, wherever you want to live, Honolulu. That also opens up the opportunity for this other thing, which I haven't really seen in motion design yet, but I have seen it in web design, and I've seen it in a sort of illustration, the kind that goes on websites and stuff like that. And that is this sort of currency arbitrage thing where you can hire someone who lives maybe in Indonesia, and you can pay them $25,000 a year, US, or $30,000 a year, US, which is an amazing salary there.
Joey Korenman:
And you're getting high, super high level work. It's really good, right. Just as good as you get in the US, but it costs one quarter of it. And this is one of those things where it's like you can see, I mean, there was just a big thing actually that went through our government recently, where they're allowing, I think more visas for people to come in and work. It was basically like lobbied by the tech companies and stuff. And there's obviously like, great things about that. And then there's also this other side that I guess we may want to talk about, which is eventually the fact that you can live anywhere and work anywhere could actually drive what you earn down, because now you're competing with people in these other countries.
Joey Korenman:
So I'm curious, Joe, if you've seen any of that. Are there freelancers that are living in places where it's super cheap but getting like a US day rate, and conversely are there people that are from Poland or something, where the cost of living is lower, and so their day rate is just lower, and it saves Buck money?
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. I think it's too early to tell where that's going to go. I think there's always the fear of being like outsourced, and we have seen that in motion design specifically. I mean, many years ago, if you were working on a job and it needed to be rotoscoped, some poor soul at the studio would have to rotoscope it. But for years now, all of that work has been outsourced to other countries. I don't want to say any specifically, but that's very ... if you're at a motion design studio in 2020 er on, and you're doing rotoscoping, that's like pretty rare. And it used to be a really big part of the job, or something you were unlucky to do every once in a while. So we already have seen certain aspects of the work become outsourced, and there's always is the worry that that will happen to other aspects.
Joe Donaldson:
And that's where if you look at like cartoon production or something like that, where ... I think I'm probably going to butcher this or mess it all up. But like Futurama as an example, when that was being made, all of the key frames, all of the storyboards, everything was done in the States, but then it went over to rough draft in Korea to actually be in between and actually created. So it's something there's a lot of things parallels for. I think the only thing I can say about it is you have to kind of analyze what part of the food chain you're in. And there will inevitably be skillsets, or techniques, or trades, or aspects of what we do, that can and possibly will be outsourced. But one the things that is going to be harder to are the things that are more, I guess, cultural, or kind of directorial or conceptual. Those are the things that are always going to be much, much harder to outsource.
Joe Donaldson:
And as of right now, all the studios that I know of, everyone is like just paying the rates and everything's fine. [inaudible 00:30:50] a lot of the people that I know that have been remote for a long time, many of them have some of the highest rates that I know of. So we haven't gotten to that yet where that's actively happening, but there is always a risk of it. So I think if someone is listening to this and thinking, "Oh crap, is this a real fear?" You have to look at can what you're doing be outsourced? Are you communicating directly with the client? Are you really shaping the production? Are you bringing to it something that you can't just write an email, or provide a storyboard for, and have somebody else do? And if you're doing that, the chances of being outsourced are much lower, but it may come a time when even that happens as well. But no one really has that solved yet.
Joey Korenman:
I can see Ryan itching to jump in. I think he has thoughts.
Ryan Summers:
Well, I agree with everything Joe is saying, but I think it's also important to remind ourselves that this is a global audience listening to this show, and the amount of opportunity that this affords everyone, not just for people in the states to move to a cheaper city or to move out into the country, but the fact that there's so many people who have the skill, and have the capability who have not had the chance to raise their hand and be involved at the level that they deserve to be, and that their work really deserves to be at.
Ryan Summers:
I think there's a lot of fear-mongering right now because we do look at the examples of animation and VFX and even maybe gaming, but we have to remind ourselves also that our base of possible customers is so much larger than all of those other creative arts industries, right?
Ryan Summers:
Like in visual effects, it makes sense to send the work out as much as possible to chase tax dollars and free money because there's only so many movies that are going to be made. Even if there's 1,500 shots per movie, right? There's only five studios, or however many there are now when Disney buys the next one. But the amount of actual customers we have, really goes back to some of the stuff, not to talk about that level up class again, but it really goes back to how do you brand yourself? How do you position yourself? How do you market yourself? Even if all you're doing is the equivalent of rotoscoping, if you're the easiest to work with, best communicating, fastest rotoscoper, guess what? People need you, because they know they can trust you and they'll be willing to pay a premium if they know they can get it done for the job that they have at hand.
Ryan Summers:
And it goes back again to be very careful about what you wish for. Everybody's been saying over and over, "Man, I wish I didn't have to go to LA or New York City to be able to do this work." Well, guess what? Now you don't have to but that also means that the work's now been opened up to everybody. So it's this, like you said, it's a double-edged sword in so many different directions, but I think in the end, the globalization and the opportunity is really great for everybody. It opens up so many more possibilities, so many more voices, not just for us, but even for our clients, right?
Ryan Summers:
There are people out there that haven't had a chance to work for Nike, haven't had a chance to work for those great agencies or those great projects or products that I think we finally will see it. Hopefully, it will change the way our work actually even looks.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. I kind of think of this as a different kind of perspective as far as people have been fear-mongering forever and undercutting themselves. And I feel like I have to say this every month on Twitter but I was like we need to start realizing our own value. We as a community have such little self-confidence that, Ryan, I think you posted a tweet on a laundry list of the skills that this one company was trying to fill a position. It was this laundry list of like you must have five to seven years of experience, web development, [inaudible 00:03:16], all this stuff, and it was listed as an entry level position.
EJ Hassenfratz:
And I was like, "You know the sad part is?" This ad is going to get hundreds of applicants because people just are so desperate. There's this false sense of... There's this scarcity mindset all the time, and it's not a problem. We're just saying there's a ton of work out there. Well, what's the problem? It's us, it's our attitudes, it's our self-worth, and we just place so little worth on our skills.
EJ Hassenfratz:
We have to learn so many things. More and more and more we have to learn so much yet I guarantee you, the more we learn, we're actually getting paid less for all these new skills that we're learning. And that I think is another kind of aspect of this whole conversation where we all as a community need to realize our value. And that at that point it doesn't matter if you're in India or whatever because we know that, "Hey, I'm a really good rotoscope artist, I'm great to work with. And you know what? I'm one of the only people that can get this done on time and on budget," and what's more important at that point?
Ryan Summers:
EJ, you said something that I think, Joey, Joe, I think you guys probably have experienced this as well, but there are not enough talented artists out there for the work that is needed to be done. I can't tell you how many times I get a Slack, a text message, a phone call, an email from 10 different studios every week saying, "Hey, do you know anybody available that can do X? Because everybody I know is booked. They're not available. My Rolodex is empty. The people who I always try to book are on hold." And that's been going on for the last two or three years, at least in my perspective. There's no shortage of it, so it goes back to the question of if you're listening to this, why are those studios not finding you? Why are you not getting the call, right? There's so much work out there still.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, Joe, actually, I was curious your take on this too. This is something that we're going to get into, I think a little bit later, but... Because every time Ryan gets one of those messages, he'll send me a Slack or something like, "Hey, do we have any alumni that fit the bill?" And sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. It's like there's this gap, it feels like, and I think Joe, you're in a position where you might fill the gap more of there's a certain type of work that a really good motion designer can do. And then there's this bar, where it's like, "Okay, we're going to do, we're going to go freelance at Buck or we're going to do something that's going to end up winning an award or something that," where the air gets pretty thin.
Joey Korenman:
And it seems 2020 has kind of exacerbated that. It's made it actually harder to find talent because everybody who can hang at that level is just booked all the time. And obviously that's good at brings up other, new talent, there's new opportunities. But it seems like as someone who's a creative director or if you run a studio, it's actually pretty challenging to find talent. So have you seen that at all?
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. Well, I think the good aspect of that or not the good aspect of that specifically, but everyone goes through that stage. Very few people just open almost... I was just going to say nobody just opens Photoshop and is making the most beautiful style frames immediately or Buck level or whatever. Everyone goes through that stage. With my own personal journey with this, I started for years working at an ABC news station, and everything I made was horrible. It was just like video copilot rip offs and stuff like that. So everyone goes through that stage where they have an application of the skills, or they have an understanding of the skills. It's mainly experience and opportunity that sets that apart. And that's where, again, going back to the double-edged sword aspect of this, the best way to get good is to go somewhere where you're definitely the worst person.
Joe Donaldson:
And that's what the cities facilitate. We were just talking before this, I'm... The chances of me ending up back in New York are extremely high, even with the cost of living and everything in Florida. So it's like, I'm a huge advocate for New York City specifically, but one of the biggest benefits in the way that these people, everyone, myself included, everyone here included, the way we got better was we left our small towns, presumably, and we went somewhere where we were the worst in the room. Whether that's a big city, a medium-sized city, who knows. And that's something that I think the pandemic will complicate because it goes back to those, the students or whomever that are just graduating, or just trying to figure things out, and it is making it harder to be in the room with those people.
Joe Donaldson:
And that's something that goes to like, it's too early to tell how long that will be or how that shakes out in the end. But that's really the only... It's not genetic. It doesn't matter where you went to school. There's not anything that matters. It's usually when you look at someone's work, you can tell if they've stayed in a relatively smaller market versus a larger market. And it's not even just quality-wise, it's more of opportunity-wise. And there's a lot that they pick up through osmosis in those experiences. And they're the same artists that they were when they lived in, I don't know, you said Topeka in Kansas or New York. It's not like a light switch that happens, but there's just so much you pick up along the way from that life experience. And so that's the biggest aspect of it, is just putting yourself in that situation, which a lot of people can't do right now.
Joey Korenman:
I want to just call, I'm not picking on Topeka for any particular reason. I'm fine with Topeka because I'm... I've never been, I'm sure it's [crosstalk 00:39:52].
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. I've never been there. I'm just using Joey's reference.
Joey Korenman:
Don't counsel me. So, all right. So to sum it up, this year, it created a lot of new opportunities. You can work from anywhere, and that's been proven over and over again by the biggest, best studios in the world. It also creates challenges, and actually, Joe that's when I never really thought about. That's very insightful that it's that iron sharpens iron thing and when the iron... But over Zoom, iron doesn't sharpen iron, maybe. So it does make it harder, I think, to be the worst person in the room. You can be the worst person in the Zoom. Oh, somebody trademark that. Somebody trademark that now. I'm always the worst person in the Zoom, obviously. But obviously, I think, my gut is this will be... Once we get through this, and we're vaccinated and microchipped and all of that, I think we'll... There will be a return to studios, and being in the room and all of that.
Joey Korenman:
But I hope that there's this lingering effect of, but also you... Obviously there's a big difference between being in the office at back in New York, and being in the Zoom for Buck in Florida, but that's still a pretty awesome opportunity for artists, that's the right life situation for them. So I hope that that sticks around. I think that's a good thing.
Ryan Summers:
And I will argue though too, just to add to that, that I think iron will start to sharpen iron as we all start getting used to it, just from the examples from all the other related fields I look at, right? I'm looking at people who are character animators at Disney Animation Studios, and they are stuck and they've been working on feature films, through all the same process, right? Through Zoom. Clients are going to start getting used to doing this as pressured, as hard as it. My friends that work on TV shows, they're writers' rooms. That's probably the most kind of a pressure-filled everybody in the same room environment. They're finding ways to get it done too, right? So that's why I think the biggest question on this whole conversation for me is, do we think this will stick and how much of it will actually stick?
Ryan Summers:
Even if we go back to blended, those all those awesome opportunities we're talking about right now, do we think that door will close when this does get under control in a year, two years, three years, or do we think that parts of this will actually become the new, I hate this term, but the new normal?
EJ Hassenfratz:
I see iron sharpen iron all the time in our Facebook groups for our classes. Everyone's remote, everyone's at home, but I am seeing leaps and bounds changes in the ability of our students, and that's pretty stinking and inspiring to me and just, I've seen so many jumps and things people are experimenting with. So I think, it's like you have to have a certain personality to work remotely, to work freelance and to be okay with just being five steps from your bedroom, and that's your office. So it definitely takes that time of self-starting mentality, but for the people that can do that, well, these people are really thriving in this environment.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. So I think it's definitely going to be a net positive. And obviously that's coming from a very privileged perspective right now. I've been very lucky work-wise during all this, but I think if you're not, if you're listening to this and that hasn't been the case, I think the takeaway is that, in the end, I do believe it will be a net positive because it's only going to open up those opportunities that didn't exist, even eight months ago, yet alone, 10 years ago. Again, I had to move three times across the country from Florida to Chicago, Chicago to New York, New York to LA just chasing these opportunities. And now for those of you who might be starting out or in the middle of things or whatever, that might not be entirely necessary. Before, if you wanted that job at Buck or Psyop or wherever, you had to relocate. There's no option.
Joe Donaldson:
And that might not be the case, depending on the role that you're filling, whether that's in the office five days a week like it used to be, or just a couple, or just going up quarterly or whatever. So it's like, even if it is challenging, even if it is hard, it's creating opportunities that didn't exist 10, 12 years ago when I was starting this, or really any of us, yet alone, even just a year ago, like I said. So I think there are tremendously positive implications for all of us with that. Much cheaper U-Haul bills for moving.
Joey Korenman:
Preach.
Ryan Summers:
Believe me, man. I don't want to have to pack these books up another time, ever again in my life.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. But I sadly have to hop over to my next Zoom meeting. So it was nice chatting about the craziness of 2020, and yes, as Joey alluded to, there's lots of exciting stuff with Holdframe and School of Motion coming soon. So hopefully, you'll see all that soon and you'll love it.
Joey Korenman:
Awesome. Thank you, Joe.
Joe Donaldson:
Bye.
Joey Korenman:
Well, now, we can talk about happier things. Actually, it was a really interesting conversation, I'm glad Joe was part of it, but now let's talk about some studios and some artists that we really liked this year. And there's some old favorites, some new faces. So I'll go first. So I put Gunner/Hobbs at the top of my list because one of the most mind blowing things I saw this year was the music video that Hobbs created using drones. And it was amazing for a million reasons, mostly because it was everything I love about motion design. They have these ridiculous technical problems to solve in cinema 4D, also technical problems to solve with physics and reality. And the fact that there's laws about how fast the drones can move in real life and stuff that. And they synced it all up to music, and they made this giant 300 foot tall face in the sky, singing a song.
Joey Korenman:
It's amazing. Again, everybody we're going to link to all of this stuff in the show notes. There's also a behind the scenes conversation that we had a School of Motion livestream with the Hobbs team. So that was one. I also want to call out one of our alumni. He doesn't know I'm going to do this, but he's, he's going to be happy, Tony Agliata. This guy, he's been in the School of Motion family for awhile. Students been a teaching assistant, and it's been really fun to watch alumni, when, when I get to see them for two and three years, and then they hit an inflection point. It's like, Whoa, okay, now, wow. Now something's happened. And I've seen that. Yeah. I've seen that with several people. So Tony Agliata, I think this was his breakout year. I think he really is pretty amazing.
Joey Korenman:
Oh. And Ryan's pointing up to me that he is actually featured in our level up class. So yeah, Tony, congratulations. You're doing great. Check out his new reel, we'll link to it. Ana Perez Lopez is another one of our alumni. And by the way, when I say alumni, I don't want to imply that these people learned to do motion design at School of Motion, right? They took a class. That means they're an alumni. We have a lot of alumni that have taken many classes, and many that learned motion design through us. But Ana, I suspect did not learn it solely through School of Motion. I believe she actually went to art school, but she won a Young Guns Award from the One Club for animation, which is amazing. And it just, it's one of those things where I always think it's cool when, someone takes a School of Motion class, and maybe it had nothing to do with that award.
Joey Korenman:
But just the fact that someone at that level is still seeing the value in learning. I think that's a superpower, being a lifelong learner, especially this field. I also want to call out Doug Alberts, who is very young. I think he just graduated from Ringling last year, maybe scary, talented. And you're going to be, I promise you, you're going to be hearing from this young man a lot in 2021, I want to call out Nuria Boj who was on our podcast this year. And she came onto my radar because I saw her design work for our School Motion manifesto video that came out last year, and it just completely blew me away. And I went and checked out. I checked out her portfolio probably once a month just to see what she's up to. Everything she does is incredible.
Joey Korenman:
And I think she's undervalued in the industry. I think if Nuria was a stock, I'd go all in right now. I would buy a lot of Nuria Boj stock. So check her out. And the last person I wanted to call out is another person that wasn't on my radar until this year. And I saw her on a Motion Hatch live stream. And Ryan, I think you were on the live stream too, but Monique Wray. And there's a lot of reasons. I love Monique. First of all, she has this really interesting illustration style that you just don't see in motion design very often. It's I don't even know how to describe it. It's just really cool, but it's lo-fi, there's a lot of that. Like, you can see the human hand in it.
Joey Korenman:
It's not vector perfect art. It's really, really, really just interesting and cool. But the other thing that, I've learned by researching her, and we are going to have her on the podcast in 2021, if she will come on, I would love to have her on is that she seems to have built a pretty diverse practice. So she illustrates obviously, but she also animates, and she also does micro animations, like gifts and things that. And then she's also made an iOS sticker pack. And I love when artists do things that, they have multiple streams of income and different ways of, getting clients like, "Oh, maybe someone found the sticker pack and, but they work for, Facebook or something and they think, Oh, this is cool. Let me hire her."
Joey Korenman:
By the way, her sticker pack we'll link to it. But it's called Brown skin Ladies and she wrote a blog post about it. It's brilliant. But the way she described it is amazing. It's a sticker pack of animated, melanin, beauties emoting. So she's also an amazing marketer and writer. So anyway, so that's my list and yeah, I think, I could have listed probably 50 other people, but this podcast is going to be long as is. So yeah. And either of you have thoughts about my list, did they leave anyone off?
Ryan Summers:
I love what you said about Monique because I really think, and we'll probably say this multiple times. I think she's a great example. Doug is a good example too of people who, they're the next wave of motion design, right? a lot of times people came in from design, and they just kept on working a design or they were an animator, and they start doing motion design, and maybe a little bit of character. But I think the new breed of animators out there are the people or motion designers, other people who fulfill both sides of the coin, right? I can't wait till we get to the point where you're not just a motion animator or just a designer. And I think it's going to come from new people coming up through the education system. But I think they're great, right? If you look at Doug's stuff, it's super cool to see really cartoony, 2D influenced 3D characters, and not just in the design, but also in the motion.
Ryan Summers:
Right? it's poppy. It has, I talk about textured timing all the time, but it's not just all on ones. It's not just stop motion. It has that into the spider first feel where it's using timing for the right things at the right time to express an emotion or express a theme. I'm super, super excited to see what they do, but who comes in their wake, right? We've talked about Doug a couple of times on these, we've mentioned his name before, he's the one on the radar now he's there. What happens when more people see what he's doing? where does it go after that? It's super exciting for his crazy years. We've had it. It's great to see the new faces coming up.
Joey Korenman:
Love it.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. Doug, for example, he did some work on Cinema 4D Asset one of the project files and I was like, I think Doug's the guy that was at Ringling, right? And like, Oh, he's definitely at a studio now. And it's like, nope, he was still at school because I was like, "Oh, you're not," I didn't have, he's done so many things before he even graduated. It's insane. I'm like, "Why are you even there? Just quit and just go, you're done just kind of," and Monique and we're going to talk about this a little bit later on throughout this podcast. But yeah, I love seeing artists, like Ryan says, treating themselves as artists and thinking of different ways to use their art for different mediums outside of just client work.
EJ Hassenfratz:
And I think that's really exciting sticker packs, spark filters. There's so many different avenues crypto art, which we'll get into, but there's just all these different avenues. And it's so exciting to see that like, "Oh, I can actually do other things than just posting on Instagram where I get no money for it. And Instagram is just making money off me." I'm really excited to see, how can we switch? How can we flip that script on that?
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. It's not just making tutorials and selling texture packs, right? It's not just selling yourself to the rest of the other people, your peers, the content you create has value beyond just the 32nd commercial, or the studio that needs to hire you right now at the moment that we do have the ability to create way more value. That being said, talking about studios like Elastic is still one of those studios that stands out, right? Every year, year after year after year, even though they've seen some people leave, right? And the artists that I really, really wanted to focus on, they are a freelancer, I believe. I don't believe that they are actually staffed there, but I had the chance to work with them when I was at Royal. Heidi Berg just exploded to me on a scene this year in a big way.
Ryan Summers:
And they're one of my favorite people to work with the attitude and the confidence that they exhibit is amazing even when you meet them in person. But if you look at the work they were nominated, I believe for The Politician this year for the 2020 Emmy's for title sequence, which was my favorite. It didn't win, but it was my favorite. But the work that they've actually put up, you have to look at their site. But if I look at Art of the Title, I Am the Night, Carnival Row, The Terror, The Alienist, The Politician, Ratchet, the Semi-Permanent Sydney 2019 titles. It's crazy the list of work and the variety, but it's all super cinematic. So it's neat to see the same thing, a freelance creative director, going to Elastic and creating work that stands out amongst everyone else. It's pretty exciting. Another person I really want to talk about is I hope I'm saying his name, right? Travis Davids. EJ, you know about him. And I think he might've contributed to LCR if I remember correctly.
EJ Hassenfratz:
He contributed to both Cinema 4D Asset and LCR. He's one of the most generous artists out there. He's incredibly generous with not only his talents, but in his assets, but his knowledge as well, he's always out there teaching someone how to do something for free.
Ryan Summers:
And he's again, doing that thing that I always talk about that don't just exist in that echo chamber of motion design, bring something from outside in. He has a lot of fashion knowledge, and just working with textiles. I haven't seen anybody work with marvelous designer the way he did, and then share that information, whether it's actually talking about weave textures or patterns or how to work in marvelous designer, not the way we work, thinking UVs, but actually thinking like somebody who works with fabrics, and his work is awesome. He combines a lot of really interesting tools that aren't typical motion design tools, Daz, Marvelous Designer, ZBrush. But like you said, he shares everything so well in a way that I'm always amazed that he actually puts up as much as he does.
Ryan Summers:
His Gumroad site is full of really good tutorials. A studio I have to pull it out for. It's probably the last time it's ever going to be talked about on this show, but Digital Kitchen. I was there with the Titanic while it sank it was pretty exciting, but if you have to sink, how great is it to actually win the Emmy for main title as your parting shot, and really what the person you really need to talk about if you're talking about Godfather of Harlem was Peter Pak. He deserves a shout out for both the concept, and the actual execution. It was a very reverential piece. He based a lot of it on artists that he loved, but you have to go and take a look at it. He got to do the MoGraph tour after that.
Ryan Summers:
Right? I believe he was on Art of the Title. He showed up on Christos, The Future, great interviews around really, really passionate artists, both conceptually an animation that people don't know his name, or maybe, hopefully they do now, but it was great to get that last wind for DK. And then for me, there was just this group of artists that I had never been introduced to before, but I was trying to eat a little bit of my own advice. I started looking back at photographers, finding people who their work actually looks a lot concept art. It looks digital art that's created not photographed. And a lot of that is through their color treatments and their layouts and their compositions. But I'll just give you this list and you can go through the link of them, Henri Prestes, Simon Aslund, Elsa Bleda and Marilyn Mugot.
Ryan Summers:
The four of them, their work looks it's coming from animated films, or it's coming from key shots that people are using to pitch a feature film. It's pretty amazing. And it's, again, that influence that's coming back into motion designer into the creative arts from outside. And then for me the drawing MoBlack, the animating MoBlack, designing MoBlack movement that hopefully we talk a little bit more about today. I was introduced to so many people that I never sadly, would have ever seen before that, but Temi Coker, again, black and white photography with a brilliant set of color palettes for their work designer. It's amazing. This probably is going into more about character animation, but I've tried to pull as much of that back into motion design as possible. Kofu Ofusu the character designs are insane like Street Fighter II classic character design level of concepts and the paintings are amazing.
Ryan Summers:
And then cruschiform, Mary Laurie Cruschi. She has a really cool designer animator. And then the one big name that I think we've talked about in the past before, but Filipe Carvahlo always seems to astound me. His growth is amazing. He's a title designer. He's worked with every studio you've ever wanted to work at before. I believe he put out a 2020 reel that is just a mic drop. It's like I think 10 years worth of work in a minute or two definitely search it out because it, he has a mood and he definitely has a tone, but again, in a world where you're competing with everybody, and you might start to get worried about, "Oh, will I ever get priced out?" If you look at Filipe's work, he has such a strong voice and such a strong vision. You could try to copy his art as much as you want to, but you never will. You'll always look a copy. A studio will always go to Filipe when they need him for that vibe before anybody else. So that's my list.
Joey Korenman:
I just want to call out I'm on Temi Cokers site right now. And it's just like, jaw-dropping the work is so good.
Ryan Summers:
Isn't it amazing? We always talk about how motion design seems like it's an echo chamber and everything feels the same, but doesn't that work? Just it just leaps off the page? And I haven't seen much in motion design that has that feeling. That just excitement and energy. There's a little bit of mystery. It almost vibrates. Just I still, if you can look at a still image and feel it just wanting to animate from one photo or one composition, it's such an amazing skill. I was shocked to see it.
Joey Korenman:
The use of color is absolutely ridiculous. Everybody click that link in the show notes. Oh my God. EJ's got to list too.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah, I have a few. First off one person that I've been really, and I'm sure if anyone has seen any very simple shapes that are looping and has giant eyeballs like, googly eyes. If you've seen that work, that's Lucas Zenotto and that styles' his. He's like this animated mobile kinetic shape things. But it's really interesting to see what he's doing outside of that. He's actually has installation work on the side of buildings, and just the way he makes these animated loops is just so, so clever. And he's also getting the cryptoart game as well, which is really exciting to see someone who has this obvious style being able to cash in like, "Okay, I could see why someone want to own these little animated mobile things." And the funny part is like, they look like toys, like children's toys, little block shapes and stuff like that.
EJ Hassenfratz:
He actually works on apps and books for children under his company called YATATOY. And it's just so interesting. Again, we're talking about how these artists are making money, and creating a living creative life for themselves outside of just client work, and making these companies where they're making books, they're doing installations, they're doing this cryptoart. I think it's very inspiring to see that happen. I told my wife all the time, "We need," she's a teacher. I was like, "We need to do children's books or something that," but we never do it. We never get to it. The next two on my list are people that I feel are super, they're inspiring so many people as far as future tech, and the future of what you can do in our field.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Number one is Don Allen Stevenson, who you just might know by Don Allen. So he actually works at Dreamworks, heard of them? As a specialist trainer. So he does all this type of experimentation and stuff with AR. He's doing these spark AR filters. If you go to his Instagram right now, he's been playing with these... I have to just click it over. These cartoon lenses from Snap. And it turns you into a Disney character with the giant eyeballs, and very smooth skin. He looks Aladdin all of a sudden.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's really, really crazy to see all the crazy stuff he's getting into with the Spark AR development and VR. And another thing I want to call out with Don Allen is he is hustling on Instagram lives, and he's just talking all things future tech. So I actually tuned into one of his live streams a couple of weeks ago, and he was having just a conversation with one of his friends on cryptoart. And his perspective and his explanation of it all really made stuff click for me. He had really good analogies for, what crypto was and why artists should be paying attention. And again-
Joey Korenman:
We're going to get to-
EJ Hassenfratz:
... like teasing this. We're going to get to this later, but yeah, it's just, Don is really someone to keep an eye on as he does his thing, and just shows the possibilities of how artists can make work in AR and make money off of it. Another one, Jonathan, Winbush. Holy cow.
Ryan Summers:
Yes. Holy cow.
EJ Hassenfratz:
This guy. I mean, if you haven't known, he's just making content for Unreal Engine and he is pioneering in this space. He's the one setting out as far as, how can we use Unreal Engine that's typically live production or for video games, and how can we use that alongside something like Cinema 4D and use that within a typical MoGraph workflow. And he's kind of leading the way and experimenting and tinkering and it's really incredible. To the point where he's teaching Deadmau5 how to do certain things, which is pretty incredible. In his is a Maxon live streams he's getting these, like DJ Jazzy Jeff introducing him and Deadmau5 and all this crazy stuff.
Ryan Summers:
That's awesome.
EJ Hassenfratz:
And if you haven't checked it out, he just did a recent live stream for the 3D Motions show from Maxon where he did this pug dash, where he took this little pug character and he took it and rigged it up and animated it using his Rokoko suit, which Ryan, I think, is going to talk about this eventually. But Rokoko just takes your actual physical movements and applies it to this rig and how he can integrate that in Unreal. And he's like making his own video game as well. And he also shows how to use your iPhone as like a virtual camera where you can actually have this camera animations, camera performance controlled entirely by how you move your iPhone around in reality and it's pretty insane. An eye opening, what's happening. So those two, yeah. Don Allen, Jonathan Winbush. Man, they are really, really inspiring to watch and see what they're doing to kind of get a peak at how can we do motion graphics outside of your typical, "I'm going to render an MP4."
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. I think what's so exciting about all the people that we've talked about is that, I've probably lamented about this too much, but before motion design was motion design, which seemingly means Cinema 4D and After Effects and these very small set of echo chamber inspirations, motion design was the Wild West. It pretty much was all of the creative arts industries together. If you're into sound design, you can be a motion designer. If you like type, if you like photography, if you draw stuff, if you shoot video, you could be part of motion design, right? When it started calcifying into, "Oh no, it's just these two 3D renderers and this one program and these styles" it started getting a little...motions design just in general was boring.
Ryan Summers:
And I feel like we're right on the verge of motion design just exploding again with the technology, the democratization of just education, which we're part of. But just also all these people coming in wanting to do different things, like the stuff that's on the Mandalorian in its own small kind of way, that technology is to be accessible to us. Motion capture virtual cameras, the ability to do almost anything. We'll talk about it later with AI kind of getting these crazy techniques that used to be only available to huge VFX artists. We have it, but we do things differently than VFX artists do it. We do things differently than feature animation does it. Motion graphics can kind of reclaim its mantle again with all the stuff that's coming, the people and the stuff. It's super exciting times.
Speaker 2:
Yeah. I'm really excited about the list that we all put together. And right before we were recording I was talking to Joe and one of the things that, and some of this, I actually think probably most of it is just... I've been in the industry a long time and so I sort of have my favorites and I have my blind spots and so, when I started making the list this year, I basically went back through Slack and looked at people that I said, "Oh, I like their stuff" because I feel like I've created my own echo chamber sometimes. And I just keep, like Gunner and Hobbes, that was my first pick but I've liked Gunner for years now.
Speaker 2:
And sometimes it's hard for these artists that are doing stuff that isn't yet winning Vimeo Staff Picks and motion awards and things like that, it's hard to find them. And so I love that I hadn't heard of probably 80% of these artists before you two put your list together. So this is awesome. And I do want to give a shout out to Winbush because he's also one of the nicest dudes in the industry. And I'll say this too, this was the first year I got asked by a buddy of mine, he runs an architecture firm, and he was saying, "Hey, do you know any motion designers who know Unreal?" It's the first time I've ever been asked that and so I immediately went right to him and I'm like, "They probably can't afford you, Jonathan, but do you know anybody?" Yeah so, and he said he'd talk to them.
EJ Hassenfratz:
He's also got some articles on School of Motion for how does Unreal fit into this whole motion graphics world that we live in?
Speaker 2:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
I mean he's the best example of being the change, right? We all lament, we all complain, we all talk about, "Oh, I wish this were different," but he's even, from everything I know, he's one of the biggest voices for getting the development of Unreal to not forget about motion designers, right? Like I think we just got a new Unreal update that includes Cryptomatte in the render engine, right? That would have never ever been part of their thought process if it wasn't for somebody who understood that, on the motion design side, we really need that tool.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah, he's got a direct line to the higher ups at Epic, which is, that's really exciting. Plus the giant Epic grant which Maxon got, which well segwaying into...
Speaker 2:
Yeah, well let's segue away or... Boy, what an awkward thing to say, what an awkward...
EJ Hassenfratz:
Nice transition, super seamless.
Speaker 2:
It was the anti segue.
Speaker 2:
So, there were, gosh there were a lot of tool updates and news around the tools we're using, so let's jump into that. And let's start with the big one. Which is Maxon acquiring Red Giant, which is not something I would have predicted.
Speaker 2:
So how about this? I'll tell you what I know. EJ I think you've got a little more insight and Ryan you've probably, you probably heard things too, but-
EJ Hassenfratz:
I've got a theory.
Speaker 2:
You've got a theory. Okay, cool. So Maxon acquires Red Giant. And I'm assuming everybody listening understands Maxon makes Cinema 4D and they acquired Redshift, a GPU renderer, and Red Giant makes plugins and tools for visual effects, motion designers, Trapcode is a Red Giant product, things like that. But typically Red Giant, it's all After Effects and Premiere stuff, they didn't make anything for Cinema 4D.
Speaker 2:
So I was a little curious, like, "Okay, that's interesting that they're acquiring them, what's the play here?" And one thing that has been really cool is that they now have a subscription, Maxon does, called Maxon One where you can get a Cinema 4D, Redshift, and Red Giant, the entire suite, for one monthly price. I personally am a big fan of these subscription bundles. I think overall it's better for everybody to do it that way. I know that's kind of controversial. Other than that, that's kind of all I know about the merger. So EJ, why don't you start? What's your insights into this?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Well I'll let Ryan kind of dig into the Red Giant stuff, because to be quite honest, I barely use any Red Giant stuff, just because I am coming from the C4D angle of things. So it's one of those things where I'm like, "Did they acquire them so they could just trade Adobe for substance and then that makes a lot more sense?"
Speaker 2:
Our entire audience just said, "Please make that happen."
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. It's like, "I got this chip, now you want to trade?" I think one of the most exciting things, as far as coming from the C4D side of things, is Scene Nodes. And this is outside of the Red Giant acquisition, but who knows maybe Red Giant and their development team actually has a huge role in whatever is eventually going to be the finished version of Scene Nodes.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Scene Nodes, for anyone unfamiliar, is basically... I don't know, I can simplify this by saying it's Maxon's answer to like the Houdini workflow where everything's nodes, it's super powerful. You can have millions and millions and millions of clones in your scene and it's like super smooth, buttery smooth, real-time in your viewport. And I think this is such a huge pivot for Maxon where they're directly saying, "We want to roll with the Houdini crowd and we want to have that type of functionality," because there it's going to take a total rewrite. That's actually been happening for the past couple of years and we're just starting to see the fruits of what that's going to be. So Scene Nodes is definitely something to keep an eye out to. And it's one of those things where everyone who doesn't use Houdini is like, "It's way too hard. I can't do this." And basically it's like, well, if Maxon can do their Maxon thing and make it super artist friendly, but have the power of Houdini, watch out. Cause that's going to be massive. But yeah, as far as Red Giant stuff, I'll defer to Ryan there.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. I want to first just say the Scene Nodes thing I think is a huge play towards the future of just Cinema 4D. And if you're old like me, there was a tool called Softimage XSI that halfway through its lifetime they stopped development and then released a thing called ICE, which was basically the entirety of the program. All of the actual program was accessible as these little nodes. And you could basically take a tool open up the tool's node and see all the miniature nodes that connected together to make it, and you could pull those out and rewire them to make your own tools. But it extended all the way to compositing. It basically was the guts of the program open to you. So, if you've ever used After Effects and you're like, "Man, I wish I could just do this with this effect," but you can't, with this mentality you can actually dive into the visual programming version of the code and rearrange it, repurpose things.
Ryan Summers:
And that's the core, besides the speed functionality, besides the dealing with the hierarchy issues like having to go from the top down in the object manager. And if you've ever done animation, sometimes in Cinema 4D the animation lags a frame behind from the bones. A lot of that is going to disappear when Scene Nodes becomes fully enabled and switched over to.
Ryan Summers:
But I think that the single biggest story this year is the one that everybody is sleeping on. And no one's even thinking about it, but Maxon just announced and released a subscription service called Maxon One, in big capital letters, "One." I literally think that Maxon wants you to, in the next couple of years, abandoned Adobe Creative Cloud and they're coming after them. Because I think if you really look at it, it seems really weird that the first thing that you see as the result of this is Red Giant Looks is in Cinema 4D. That seems like the last thing you'd ever want, right? EJ, would you ever think, "Oh, I need to see Looks in Cinema"? I'd do that afterwards in After Effects, right?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
But if you really ask yourself, "What does Cinema do?" Cinema makes great images. What does Red Giant do? They process those images, right? They let you do whatever you want to. You can do color correction. It's got Colorama and Magic Bullet Looks, it's used by editors everywhere, it's used by After Effects artists. The hint is Maxon very quickly was able to get Red Giant to bolt in image processing into Cinema 4D. And not just in the picture viewer, which is where you think it would live, right? Their image processing on top of the live view as you tumble around the 3D scene, you can literally turn on Looks and in your 3D scene, before it's been rendered, it's doing image processing. To me, that seems way faster than what you even get an After Effects, right? You render out, you ran [inaudible 01:13:46] image, then you see the Looks on top of it, and you play it back. How long do you wait to see what your thing looks like? But you could hit play and you can literally see it there. I think that's huge, as big as you could possibly get.
Ryan Summers:
And maybe this should just go into the prediction section of our talk, but I really think that in the next year or two you're going to see Supercomp be part of the picture viewer. And you're going to be able to do compositing in Cinema 4D on top of your rendered views. But think about if you actually had access to all the 3D data that you would normally have to render passes out to. And then think about, "Well, I'm already doing nodes for textures and for shaders. What if those nodes extend into the compositing of the live data that..." Imagine if you wanted to do a depth pass. You normally have to write out a depth pass. Imagine you have to do a crypto mat and you didn't render it in your first thing, you've got to rerender it. Imagine if all that data is just there and that data, it's just numbers that could be piped directly into your image processing engine that's baked into your picture viewer.
Ryan Summers:
All they would really need to do is buy an NLA or a Photoshop competitor, offer that as part of the subscription, and who's going to be getting Creative Cloud? I think it's shots fired across the entire industry.
Speaker 2:
Interesting, interesting. That's a bold prediction, man. I'm not sure I'm there. I'm not sure I see that play simply because... It's funny, I was talking... I forget who I was talking to. I was talking to somebody the other day about, there's always this question of, "When is someone going to come along and create a real competitor to After Effects?" And we're going to talk about Cavalry in a second, but the problem is not just recreating all of the functionality. And I do think you're right that the talent stack now at Maxon plus Red Giant, which now its just Maxon, it's pretty awesome. They have the capability to do what you're talking about, but I think about it like, "Okay, from a business perspective, you also have this network effect of like every ad agency, every studio, there's Adobe certified training everywhere and Maxon is going to be ramping that up too." So, it's not just the software that would have to change to turn that into a viable thing would also be, the talent pool would have to start working a different way. Yeah. I guess we'll find out who's right, Ryan.
Ryan Summers:
Well, I mean here's the big question you have to ask yourself. And I have no skin in the game because I use both. It doesn't matter to me. But just playing armchair quarterback, would it be easier for a company that's fully understanding 3D and is ready and just flip a switch will be part of the real-time revolution that's coming to bolt on image processing and 2D animation or compositing? Or would it be easier for a company that's really good at 2D image processing to bolt on real-time 3D working in a 3D workspace? We've seen how hard it's been for Adobe to get 3D right, right? The other side of the question is, how hard is it going to be able to convince people to do compositing or VFX inside whatever it would theoretically be on the Maxon side?
EJ Hassenfratz:
So, here's something to add to that equation. Maxon got a giant Unreal grant, or Epic grant, millions of dollars. And you're just saying all Cinema 4D needs is a non-linear editor. Well, isn't Unreal working on having that feature built in?
Speaker 2:
Interesting times. Interesting times.
EJ Hassenfratz:
You know, that could be the thing.
Speaker 2:
I love it.
Ryan Summers:
We'll see 2021 shows are going to be very interesting to check back on this.
EJ Hassenfratz:
I mean, After Effects aside, more and more I'm seeing more 3D artists using Redshift, Octane, whatever, and doing everything in camera, so they don't have to deal with passes. And if you can use Red Giant to comp in sparks and all the smoke effects or whatever, just having that alone, not having to go to After Effects to comp all that but seeing that live in your octane live view or whatever, if you just give me that I'm super happy. We finally get Cryptomattes and that works really well and the EXRs are fast in After Effects. It's like, "About time," but maybe we're on the cusp of not even needing that.
Ryan Summers:
Well, that's why I always talk about what we do as part of the creative arts industry as an ecosphere, right? Because maybe seven or eight years ago, this is the kind of conversation in terms of methodology that feature animation was going through, right? Some studios were like, "We don't want to do any compositing. We'll just do as much as we can in the renderer and then we'll just have a paint fix department to just literally brute force any of the little things that don't work." And then other studios were like, "We're going to do everything because our story changes so much and we don't want to throw away anything if we can get away with it."
Ryan Summers:
So, if we have foreground, middle ground, and background characters separate with all of their passes, if I have to swap something or change an environment, I don't want to have to go back to my team and have to rerender the whole thing. And that's an argument that's based on studio philosophy. It's cool because now we can have motion design studios that are basically built on totally different actual pipelines, right? Different methodologies on how to create the final image.
EJ Hassenfratz:
I love it. I love it.
Speaker 2:
All right. There's another thing I wanted to bring up in this conversation, which is Blender. Which I think we're going to get to shortly. But let's talk about Cavalry really quickly. So Cavalry launched for real this year. There was a School of Motion Livestream where I think Adam came on and talked a little bit about some of the features and he showed off some of the things it can do. And I think Ryan you've described it before as the ultimate plugin for After Effects, currently. It can't replace it currently, but it is the ultimate MoGraph module for After Effects. And so I haven't really gotten to play around with it too much. I've played a little bit with it, but I'm curious what your opinion of it is after it's been launched for a little while.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. I think some people would probably just a little bit disappointed because they haven't seen it revolutionize the industry at scale, right? I think the lesson about Cavalry is that there's a reason why nobody has actually defeated After Effects, right? For as much as we just talked about Maxon taking down Adobe, they have the high ground in every sense of the phrase, right? Like I think Calvary did a really great job building a core animation system quietly and fairly quickly, and then came to market. And maybe the subscription, the price turns some people off, maybe it didn't do everything and it wasn't that complete replacement. But I think as a tool it's incredibly intelligent. I think for certain workflows you would probably run as fast as you can to it, right?
Ryan Summers:
Like data-based animation, anything that needs to be updated quickly, or for meat and potatoes, shape layer type animation. The fact that behind the scene, it's all node based. They just haven't exposed that yet. The fact that it's all 3D under the surface. Your 2D flat images are still 3D, right? So, it's ready to go bigger and better when people want it to and when they're ready to release that. I just think it's one of those, again, be careful what you wish for. If you want a competitor to After Effects, you need to be there when they start and you need to help them grow along the way too, right? That may be their biggest obstacle is just building up the critical mass of people behind it. We just talked about Winbush, Jonathan Winbush is the poster child for motion designers trying to get into real-time. I don't think Cavalry has found they're spokesperson or they're poster child for, "This is what we are, and this is why you want to be with us."
Ryan Summers:
I think they'll find that, X particles did that. It took them a long time to find the one or two people and now they have those people as the ambassadors to the world. But they're in their first year, it hasn't even been out for an entire year. When you use it it's cool, it's fast, it does some really interesting things. You can draw on it. You can animate characters. You can treat it like MoGraph. I think the biggest thing that it's missing for me is I wish there was a Cineware equivalent for Cavalry that I could just basically put a Cavalry layer in After Effects and hit a button like Mocha and then go into Cavalry and then it would essentially just be live linked. And then I could do a Mogrt style expose certain controls for my Cavalry file in After Effects directly. I think something like that would give it a huge adoption rate that then it would get the critical mass that they would need.
Speaker 2:
Let me call out really quickly, Ryan, that kind of does exist actually. I haven't played with it, but yeah there's Cavalry Importer. Which I remember hearing about it and I went and looked and it's on aescripts and we can link to it. And I think it was, in theory it's supposed to work the way the Houdini importer works for Cinema 4D. You can expose certain...or like the way Mogurts work in Premiere, you can expose certain controls inside of After Effects. I don't know how well it works. I don't know how stable it is and all of those things, but there is sort of an MVP of that.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. But I mean the big thing is go out and try it. I think that's the best thing to do is like go out and see what it actually does. You've asked for it for years. Now, you owe it to them, you owe it to yourself to go out and try it and see what they need to add to it and tell them.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Think it would be hilarious if the actual importer for Calvary into After Effects is called the Trojan Horse.
Speaker 3:
You heard it here first. That's going to happen.
EJ Hassenfratz:
First dad joke. How far are we in? Half an hour? Hour and a half?
Speaker 2:
And I know, gosh, we got to step it up.
EJ Hassenfratz:
First dad joke? Come on. We're slacking here.
Speaker 2:
Oh my goodness. Okay, let's talk about some of the After Effects updates that happened this year. So, I'll start with the ones that I think are really nice quality of life upgrades. But then there's one, it's still in the public beta of After Effects. But I think when it hits, it could potentially actually create a whole new market. So some of the ones that have happened this year. There is a much better 3D system in after Effects. Anyone who's been using After Effects knows that if you use After Effects and Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D spoils you because of how easy and smooth and quick you can move around in it. And After Effects has always had this really kind of wonky system. So that's gotten a lot better this year. It's still not perfect, but it's a lot better. It's a lot easier to use.
Speaker 2:
We had Victoria Nece on the podcast and she spilled the beans that there will be real multi-core rendering coming very soon.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Standing ovation.
Speaker 2:
Yeah. And, EJ and I were talking about we want to do the sequel to the Puget Systems video that we did last year. And that will drastically change the recommendation for what kind of computer you want if you're running After Effects. If it can do real multi-core rendering you're going to want a lot of cores.
EJ Hassenfratz:
All the cores.
Speaker 2:
All the cores. But the big thing for me is that they have added a feature, it's in beta, but essentially what it's going to let you do, it's going to add an extra feature to the essential graphics panel and the Mogrts it's that you can export from After Effects to Premiere. Where now not only can you add sliders and text box controls and basically change a lot of things right inside of premiere, you can actually add what I'm going to call a drop zone, where you have an image or a video layer in After Effects that can be replaced by the Premiere editor without opening After Effects. If you're not an editor and you don't use Mogrt files you may not see why that's such a big deal. But essentially that's going to create an entirely new type of product, which is if you're good with expressions, if you're a good designer and an animator, and you can create these things, you can create absolutely full featured plugins with no code.
Speaker 2:
There probably will be some expression, so there'll be minimal minimal code. But essentially you can create plugins, or fully blown graphics packages that someone like HBO could use and just drop your video clip here in the whole thing's updated. And so I think it's going to be interesting because A) I think there are marketplaces for these things already, but they haven't seemed to really take hold. I think that could change. And I also think that as clients get savvy to this, it becomes yet another service motion designers can offer.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. I think we've seen... Was it Cub Studios created like their own sub-brand that basically was offering this as a deliverable, as a separate product. I know there's other studios that have been trying to do it, or they very quietly do it. But I think an added advantage of this is that you can do it and you can publish it on Adobe stock, right? You can literally be in that library for any artist. It seems like the adoption rate could explode if it's as extensible as you talk about and it's as easy for an editor to just... If it really is plug and play, drop in the new piece of footage when you get it without a lot of troubleshooting, that could be revolutionary for studios. You could build a whole new studio just off of this idea.
Speaker 2:
Yeah, absolutely. Even just internally at School of Motion, we use Mogrt files all the time for our classes, for some of the new projects we're working on. And that feature alone would save, over the course of a year, probably a couple of weeks of work. Just because you manually have to go into After Effects to swap this thing out. So I'm really, really excited about that. And then as far as what else is going on with After Effects? There does seem to be a real...
Speaker 2:
We've heard this from the team and from Victoria for at least couple of years now, that there seems to be a focus on performance. Which is what artists have been asking for a long time. And there's been some false starts, I feel like, actually getting the performance in a stable way. It has gotten faster, but then it gets faster, but then this breaks. And it's got to be a really difficult task to do. I think the multi-core is a sign that the team is really, really focused on performance. And I think it's the right thing to focus on in the face of Unreal and Unity and all these other real-time things.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. I think, EJ I don't know how you feel about this, but I think it's really easy to diminish or undermine the cumulative effect of all of those efforts. Because if you actually start listing the quality of life stuff. If you actually start listing the speed-ups across the board, the GPO enabling just transforms on the timeline, right? That sounds like a small thing, but that starts adding up. When you start talking about... I used Rotobrush 2 for the first time, they recently released that this year. And it was a tool that I think when it first was released, it was released too early. It didn't do what it said it did, there was a lot of hyperbole. But as they worked on it, it got better. The speed with it now is pretty astounding. I was actually really shocked. I actually did the same shot in Rotobrush 1 and Rotobrush 2 just to see a screen replacement with a character's arm going in front of the screen and it was night and day the difference, right.
Ryan Summers:
But none of these are that show-stopping, single bullet point, "Wow, I am now 40% faster," or "Now I can use all the cores on my machine." I think it's, again, just the slow and steady taking something apart while we're all on the plane while it's flying, right? Like they didn't just say for three years, "We're not going to release a new After Effects." They've been doing it while we've been using it, which is hard. It's hard for us. It's hard for them. But I look at all those features like the ability to link effects to mass, the ability to basically change render, order by saying I want to affect four times down the stack to look at the first affect, right? Like all of these little things really start stacking up. Mogrts, the essential properties panel, that stuff. The way you were working three or four years ago, versus the way you work now is really different actually in After Effects, if you're using all of those things.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. I think Cinema 4D and After Effects are having this parallel experience where you had... Adobe bought Substance, you're starting to see the fruits of that with the 3D gizmos, all that stuff where everything's much easier. And it's definitely borrowing from what the substance teams made before. And then Cinema 4D is the same thing where it's like, "Okay, yeah it went to subscription, there hasn't been a lot of crazy updates," but they're really focusing on animation now. Hopefully we'll be able to copy and paste key frames as easily as we can in After Effects. And that's something they're trying to... I enjoy animating in Cinema 4D fine, but there are those little weird things, like it's not easy to copy and paste a key frames from one track to another or something like that. So, if they can get that going, like fix how the curves work and things like that.
EJ Hassenfratz:
But there are, like Ryan was saying, there are these cumulative updates, which actually do a ton. Like Delta Mush is insane. All the character animation stuff they're adding. They're starting to create their own motion capture library. So, you don't even need to go into Mixamo anymore, which might be another shot fired at Adobe there. So, you never know. But yeah. I think it's just you're on subscription, you want the big, better things and is Scene Nodes that big thing where it's like, "Oh, okay. I don't know if at this point After Effects has that Scene Nodes type of feature that is something that's going to be three years or however long it's going to be in development that that's what I'm sticking around for."
Ryan Summers:
I don't know if I have a 128 gig, 32 core, Threadripper machine and I look at my task manager and only one thread is getting to 70%, and then the next day I get an update and all 32 are pinging. That could be like significant upgrade versus what we've had in the past. I just think it's that case of like the double edged sword for subscription, right? When every month you see in your checkbook, in your account you're paying for something and you don't feel like it's changed substantially in five years, right? For the right person, After Effects may have gone backwards, right? For the right use case it may feel slower and less stable. It's hard to justify every month getting hit for something, even though you don't have any place to go. It's a difficult task, man. These programs are both code-based 20 plus years old. I don't know how you approach that.
Speaker 2:
Yeah. It's got to be a challenge. Well, let's talk about some of the newer stuff that it's not out yet, and it's not After Effects specific. But Adobe MAX, they always have this really cool thing they do called Sneaks where they off new tech. It's like tech demos and stuff that you may not see it in an app for a year or two, and then all of a sudden there it is as some feature in Photoshop or something. So, did either of you check those out? Was there anything that you thought was interesting?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Ooh. Oh my goodness.
Speaker 3:
EJ you go first.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. I think one of the coolest things that's like, "Ooh, what could this possibly mean for After Effects?" Is something called Physics Whiz, which is basically you can place 3D objects in your scene and it's colliding dynamically with other objects. So, the demo was stacking all these toys and books right on top of one another. So, it's not like you have to eyeball it in your four-up viewport in Cinema 4D. No, it's using dynamics and physics to calculate all these things. So, I'm like, "Huh, okay. So, they got 3D. I'm seeing 3D objects here. I'm also seeing dynamics. What's going on over there at Adobe? What are we going to see?" And a lot of cool VR stuff as well. As far as 3D goes, they have this scene called Scantastic, which it scans a model using photogrammetry. Definitely like the Substance has... Oh, what does Substance have? Substance has one of these iPhone app things where you can actually just scan a texture and it'll seamlessly create it for you. So it's definitely is this the substance team wielding influence on whatever Adobe's doing? I think that's super exciting. Then this other one which is like when I saw this, I was like, "Ryan Summers is going to freak out." It's called Comic Blast, and I'll let him kind of-
Ryan Summers:
Yeah this is one of those things where the [inaudible 01:33:22] is so cool because it actually opens up your eyes to they have somebody that gets to make this stuff? What is it even for? There's ones where it's really obvious right? There's two or three years ago it's never been released but a cool fluid fire kind of particle plug in for After Effects. It's never shown up, but you understand why they would take the time to do that. But Comic Blast is basically just like they're like, "Hey, have you ever wanted to make a comic book? Here, we can do it all for you." It was basically it would auto create your panels, you would drop in a script and it would place automatically where word balloons would go. It's this weird Swiss army knife toolkit for the most niche of niche audiences, but when you see it, it's pretty cool. It's definitely neat.
Ryan Summers:
I wouldn't be lying if I reached out to see if I could get on the beta as soon as possible. It's one of those things where like, who gets to just spend a year making a comic book creation tool? Is that really going to be a unit mover for anybody who is on the fence for doing creative calls? "Oh now that Comic Blast is there, I'm going to finally subscribe." Maybe it's a cool add-on to Illustrator or Photoshop eventually?
EJ Hassenfratz:
It adds Animated Parallax automatically which was also this extra thing of, "Oh well that's even more niche now" because now it's motion graphics that have this comic style.
Ryan Summers:
If you told me Squarespace made this tool and they were trying to get people to host their web comics, and they created this additional tool, maybe that makes sense. But I mean who knows man? Maybe there's something in it that that's a thing we really have to understand about tool development. It happens with cinema too, right? All of a sudden cinema added a camera tracker one day. Was anybody in the world asking for a camera tracker in cinema? Same thing with sculpting, nobody said, "Put your ZBrush in my Cinema 4D," but it happened. But it happens a lot of times because that's how they test out a programmer. They give a programmer, "Okay for your first six months here, to learn the code, go make something you want to make" and that's what they chose to make. It's a good insight into the kind of crazy weird world that it must be to make these tools.
Joey Korenman:
I like thinking about the big picture at Adobe, and I have no insight into this, so this is just me sort of speculating, but they have so many different I guess properties now. They acquire companies, and they roll them into products, or they spin them off as an Adobe branded thing, and they have, there's a tool it's called Adobe Dimension, and it's a really stripped down 3D app that's designed to be just really user friendly. It seems pretty much tailored for product illustrators who need to do mockups of cans and stuff like that. It's like you can start to imagine there's all these puzzle pieces, and if you put them together the right way, all of a sudden you have the equivalent of After Effects plus Cinema 4D plus Substance Designer plus photogrammetry app. I mean you have it all there in this one ecosystem.
Joey Korenman:
It's such a giant company. It's going to be very difficult to actually thread them together in a user friendly way, but it seems like from the outside that's kind of the direction they're trying to take it. They have all of this brain power there, and they can make crazy stuff. You have to juggle making things that are useful and will make the day-to-day life of an artist better, but also give the marketing team something to talk about that's really sexy and cool. It's interesting. The next thing I want to talk about actually it's a huge deal, but it doesn't get the same kind of press as say the Apple headphones that just came out or something. Apple, they've actually released their own chip, their own CPU that they designed and manufactured, fabricated, and it's a very big deal because they're apparently amazing.
Joey Korenman:
So every review I've read of the new laptops that have them is "I can't believe how long the battery lasts, I can't believe how fast it is." I don't actually know how fast, the price to power ratio how that stacks up to PCs. I'm assuming it's so you pay a hefty premium, but I'm curious what you two think. What does this mean for motion designers that Apple's now making their own chips?
Ryan Summers:
Sell your PC, go get a Mac.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Do it. Just joking, joking. Dang it, I just use my affiliate link. I mean Apple doesn't have affiliate links by the way.
Joe Donaldson:
I think EJ and I are a good audience to talk about this because I've been primarily a PC person who's had to work on a Mac, and I think EJ you've been a Mac person who is now considering the switch to PC, right?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Right yeah. So I don't know, it's one of those things where it's like wake me when the Mac Pro of this comes out, and we'll see, and what's that cost? I would really like to know the Mac Pro that came out, the main reason why I mean number one was the cost of course, but the other thing was the cost and the cards that were in it and the speed was just not there. So what if we have these M1 chips, they're super fast, they're actually beating these Threadrippers and all this stuff on the PC side, and we're slowly getting to the point where for 3D artists, you have I mean Arnolds can be on a Mac, you have Redshift that's on Metal now and public data, Octane same thing, it's on Metal. I'm hearing from the Puget team and stuff like that, these new AMD graphics cards are crazy good priced to speed ratio kind of thing.
EJ Hassenfratz:
So okay if that's the case, then we're talking here because now we're talking, "Okay, I'm going to spend a bit more to get that Apple markup, but are we actually gaining in speed as well over the comparables on the Nvidia side or the AMD Threadripper side of thing?"
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah so for me, whenever you talk about Apple in a professional environment, you have to consider two things, that there's two forces at play when you talk about Apple, and you also have to look back at the history to try to predict the future. So if we talk about internally, I have full faith in the engineering team to create miracles in the Apple side, right? Honestly, it may not seem like that big of a deal, but the release of this M1 chip is a multi decade long journey for Apple engineering to control the entire supply chain and the pipeline, right? You don't get this. They own the hardware, they own the software the operating system, and they manufacture everything, right? So they can control all those things. The reason why Windows a lot of times is so difficult is because there's so many people that have to essentially collaborate, and then when you go out to the world, here's so many possible configurations.
Joe Donaldson:
EJ and I spent hours talking to Puget trying to figure out what would be a really good system for an After Effects artist, right? There's so many variables. What Apple's finally been able to do is they've eliminated all the variables, and now they can double down on the programming on the OS, on the hardware, the software, all of it is all synced, right? The M1 chip, the thing that's so cool about it, it's a system on a chip. It literally is the CPU, the GPU, the operating system, the RAM, all of that. But with all of that control, it's also scary because if you look at the history, I don't trust the Apple product management team to think about motion design as an industry. As much as they might throw Octane out there or they might throw Maxon on the actual cool, it was amazing seeing Maxon in the Apple keynote right, that was awesome, but they have a history of having a very splashy debut and trying to speak to everybody, "We're here for you. We've always been here for you."
Joe Donaldson:
But if you look at the history, all I have to say is Shake, right? All I have to talk about is Exerve's right? You can talk about their photography software, you can talk about their sound software, you can talk about their image creation. Anybody here still use Motion? I was at Imaginary Forces when there was a big push to try to take everything done in After Effects into Motion, right? Nobody uses Motion.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Wow. I'm surprised they're still making it, updating it.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. My big concern is because they have all that control, there's very little transparency into what the future decisions they make will be, right? You may not be able to get your hands on a 3090 Ti right now, but you at least know that they exist, and you know what the benchmarks are, and you know what they can do, so you can plan for it. You have no idea what Apple's going to do quarter to quarter, and Apple is not a computer company, right? Apple is a product company. That's my biggest fear is that if I was going to build a brand new studio and I had to decide what to build, it would be really hard to trust that I'm putting a massive investment that I have to amortize over five, six, seven years into Apple.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Just look at the new headphones case and you're just like, "I don't know about their design team."
Joe Donaldson:
[inaudible 01:41:57] what were you doing?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Is it even going to look all that nice yeah.
Joe Donaldson:
Well I'm fascinated by it. I think as a business, Apple is really something. It's like a sight to behold what they've actually accomplished. It's funny because you associate Apple, we used to and I think artists associate Apple with the computers because we use them, but Apple is a phone company-
EJ Hassenfratz:
Services company.
Joey Korenman:
... and it's also a huge, it's a services company that's what I was going to say. I think they're probably doing a 40 or 50 billion dollars this year in the services they offer-
Joe Donaldson:
That's crazy. That's insane.
Joey Korenman:
... Apple TV and things like that, I mean it's absolutely bonkers. And it will be interesting to see. Everyone's got a COVID hobby, so my COVID hobby was I bought a guitar and I started guitar lessons and learning to mix and stuff. So I use Logic, and I'm thinking, "Okay, Logic is an industry standard thing, and now Apple's got its own chips and Apple makes Logic." You can start to see how the performance of a native app might actually start to really be light years beyond something like Pro Tools which it's a third party thing. So I don't think Motion is going to ever be something that professional motion designers use regularly, but it's nice to think that maybe I don't know maybe the performance of Final Cut Pro X becomes so much better than Premiere that now that is a viable reason to jump through the hoops to combine that with After Effects and stuff like that.
Joe Donaldson:
That's the exciting thing to look out for. I think there was even an article recently is that we really don't know what the future is, right? What the actual Mac Pro is going to be, what they released was basically what they think about a stop gap. The form factor, the design of the actual system, that's not a stop gap, but the parts that went into it, I'm sure they would have loved to release the new Mac Pro tower with whatever this new MX whatever the chip is going to end up being because then it would have been the full realization of all of that, right? But I mean computer innovation, chip development innovation has kind of stalled out for a long time, right? When we talk about clock speeds and cores and all that, it hasn't had these huge giant leaps.
Joe Donaldson:
GPUs have, but we haven't really seen an entire system thought out like this. It is super exciting, and maybe there is a reason to pay the Apple tax if you literally cannot build a Intel based PC that can do what this can do for the price, and for the power consumption, and the space, and the sound quality. There is potentially a reason for it. My only fear is that Mac that got released where you could put together a $16,000 Mac and it was $1,000 monitor stand and all that other stuff that who they think of as professional does not match up to who we think we are as professionals, or the average everyday motion designer is not somebody who is running an editing suite with clients, Hollywood clients behind them screaming, right? That may be who they're aiming for, right? They're aiming for David Fincher and his team to put together a movie.
Joe Donaldson:
They may not be aiming me and you making 30 second graphics for YouTube.
Joey Korenman:
Exactly. All right well let's move on and talk about Octane and EJ I imagine you've got some thoughts on this. But I mean the team over there they're just constantly adding new features and upgrading things. So what's been going on in that world?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah I feel like just this year has been a flurry of huge announcements from the OTOY team. They have these the CEO there Jules he's been doing these livestreams, and you can see him on YouTube. The most recent one they announced Render Plus, which is basically their subscription model where another thing they announced is they're getting World Creator and EmberGen Effects which I think most people out there know World Creator it's crazy. It does what it says.
Joey Korenman:
It's a good name.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It creates worlds. The EmberGen Effects is this amazing real-time particle system which is insane. Another thing that I'm specifically really excited about is this anime render which is basically you see the Arnold Toon stuff-
Joey Korenman:
So up your alley.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's coming for Octane. So all those three things that I just listed, the World Creator, the EmberGen, the anime render, all these things are going to be bundled together with this monthly Render Plus subscription that OTOY does. There's just so many cool things that's happening. This next one I can't even really wrap my head around.
Joey Korenman:
This is the crazy one.
EJ Hassenfratz:
They introduced this thing called multi render which in the demo, Jules is showing how you can actually render an Arnold scene in the Octane Live Viewer. So it's running inside of Octane, and it's kind of switching between all these different renders, rendering your scene with Arnold, it's rendering with Octane. You just click a button and the materials just transfer like that. You don't have to repurpose materials. It's all on this kernel, this shared kernel. It's this tech from Pixar which is pretty crazy, but it's like could you imagine a world where you just open up a scene, you don't have to convert materials at all. You can just choose whatever render you want based on the task at hand, whatever kind of look you're going for. I don't even know where this is going.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Is it something where like, "Well I want to render in Octane, but I want to use Arnold post effect, so let me put that on top of this," or the other way around. It's super, super interesting where this is going.
Joey Korenman:
It goes back to that whole thing of we get to build real pipelines now right? You can actually mix and match renders for their strengths or for their styles, right? We always talk about how Redshift has a look, or Octane does something faster and you have to make a decision between one or the other on what to invest in, or even between jobs within the company is this an Octane job, is it an Arnold job, is it a Corona job? Now you potentially may not have to. Octane just acts as the hub and then speaks to everything. It kind of breaks your brain a little bit doesn't it to just think about setting up a shop or a job that way.
EJ Hassenfratz:
I mean the ideal world is it doesn't matter what materials you're using, it can render in whatever. So you don't have to set up your scene any different way. One of the barriers now for working with Unreal is you have to convert all your things, you have to really prep your scene, bake everything out for it to work in Unreal. But now there's this universal scene-
Joey Korenman:
Description.
EJ Hassenfratz:
... format which is that would be amazing. You don't have to deal with crap this OBJ, all the geometry is messed up, I have to fix this [inaudible 01:48:38] where we can just have a scene file, it works in [inaudible 01:48:43] Cinema 4D, has materials. It works in Redshift, Octane, Unreal. You could just build a scene in whatever app you want, content creation app you want and it just works like Apple.
Joey Korenman:
This reminds me of and Ryan I know you'll understand this pain is when I started my career as a video editor, it was the Wild West. It was if there was an Avid EDL, you couldn't import the Avid media because it was this proprietary thing, and then Final Cut Pro kind of made DV video somewhat a standard, but then if you wanted to go uncompressed, well if you have the [inaudible 01:49:19] card, [inaudible 01:49:20] you need that [inaudible 01:49:24]. So you needed converters for everything. 3D still feels like that. So it sounds like this is my gut is that this is an attempt to fix the same problem in 3D. I was going to bring up the [inaudible 01:49:35] file format and you were talking about EJ with the universal scene format, those things I think will make 3D artists' lives a lot easier.
Joey Korenman:
It's really hard because it requires some sort of governing body. For video, I can't remember what it's called, maybe you know Ryan, but there's some sort of society or something that tries to have consensus, "This is the codec we should use" or "We're switching to H.265 now." Maybe we need the 3D Council or something.
Joe Donaldson:
This is the cool thing about where the industry is going, and again where I feel like motion design is uniquely positioned to take advantage of all this stuff is that all the stuff EJ is talking about, USD Hydra Tech, the stuff that lets you switch stuff back and forth, OpenColorIO, those are all open source things being driven by creatively run companies, not people trying to sell you a product, right? A VFX studio or a conglomeration of VFX studios creates a standard because they have to work together, right? Pixar wants their tech to be able to be used by as many people as possible, and they create the standard and they manage the standard with other people. The more our tool sets actually start accepting this stuff, I think USD in its very basic kind of build is in Cinema 4D with the newest version.
Joe Donaldson:
We can all start working together. I mean Blender at its core is built on this whole open source kind of agreement with everyone that you'll never be able to go and sell or buy Blender, right? It's open source for a reason which is super exciting. I think if you do compare Blender's development to some of the other ones, Maxon, Autodesk, the speed that stuff is being adopted and being used and modified and changed and requested by the user base, by the creatives, I feel like Blender's development is unprecedented, and it exists in this totally different model.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah I have some thoughts about Blender, but I want to hear a little bit more about Unreal. EJ's been kind of whispering in my ear about Unreal all year. Obviously, we've had Jonathan Winbush on our YouTube channel and doing tutorials and stuff like that. So where do you see the development of Unreal intersecting motion design? What are some of the things that you're seeing with Unreal that you're excited about?
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's funny because the only major motion graphic studio that both Jonathan and I know of that's using Unreal in production is Capacity, and they're doing some really cool stuff. They did promos for Rocket League, and so they can actually get the video game assets and create promos with them which is super cool. But one thing I just saw the other day was Weta Digital, Weta, Weta, Lord of the Rings people they created a full CG animated short film and they used Unreal's new hair and fur rendering which just came out with the latest version, I think just released either this week or last week the character animation tool and the Unreal version of their non linear editor which is called the Sequencer. So this is what I was alluding to before where it's like, "Will this Maxon or this Unreal Epic grant money will that be the answer for the non linear editor not being in Cinema 4D?"
EJ Hassenfratz:
It just goes to show you, I think the development's so fast, and you're right, the Epic team is listening to all these different people like Jonathan Winbush who is giving the motion graphics perspective side of it and places like Capacity. Ryan just mentioned IV Studios is doing all Unreal stuff. They just did a giant Nike project. I think it's one of those things where it's like with the calvary. I have to see it, see the value before I invest all this time as a designer where I'm so freaking busy as it is. I don't have time to maybe invest my time in this thing that maybe might help me in this very niche area. So I think with Unreal 5 especially because we all saw how amazing that was with just the speed of the lighting, and how beautiful it looked, and the textures, and we got this super dense mesh and it's just smooth as butter in the view port, I think it's going to take number one someone like Winbush to say, "This is how you can use this as a motion designer, and hey it's not that hard."
EJ Hassenfratz:
Two, I think there's a lot of that friction between scene prep, exporting out, prepping your scene in cinema to be used in Unreal and then also Unreal's kind of clunky still as far as a user interface goes. But I think once they and Blender's the same thing. If they fix that, watch out. It's going to be pretty nuts. It's super exciting to see what's possible, and to be able to take advantage of that as a Cinema 4D artist is even more exciting as well.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah. I think for me too real time starts to challenge what we think of being a motion designer actually being, what are we making, what are we doing, right? Are we just making offline rendering that goes away as soon as it's on air? Unreal can do that, right? Unreal can just be a really fast rendering engine. Use Cinema and send it off to Unreal, do the conversion, and tweak whatever you want to tweak, and we can render it. It also can create new deliverables too right? I think it's awesome that we can actually make products out of it whether that's a spark air filter, or it's game, or whatever it might be. But I think third it's really awesome as a pitching and pre-vis tool.
Joe Donaldson:
If I'm working for an architectural client and I need them to understand scale, or I need them to understand how light changes the feeling of a room, it's really hard to do that with pitch frames, right? Even if you just do a render, it's hard. But if you can literally put them in the space and say, "Look, I'm going to put you into this enclosed space and turn the lights out, and when I turn the lights back on, there's going to be this projection mapping that transforms the space. You look at what you want to look, but I'm going to play the music, and I'm going to show it to you, right," we can do that now in a way that you never would be able to do that before.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah it's true. I think the whole real time thing it's like I keep waiting for it to just happen all at once. Now I feel like it's just not going to. I mean I was playing with Unity back when I was running toil. This was 2012, and I was like, "Wow, this is amazing. In two years, everyone's going to be doing this." But it is starting to happen. I can feel it. The winds of change are accelerating, and I think it's going to be really exciting. I hope Jonathan Windbush one day will make a class for us. Let's talk about new Nvidia cards. So for everyone listening I have a long list that I curated, EJ and Ryan curated, and EJ is in pink. So this is a pink one. So I'll let you take it away, but I'm assuming there's a new fancy graphics card we should be looking out for?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah so the [inaudible 01:56:34] Ryan and I David Ariew were on a call with Puget Systems because breaking news, EJ after most of his career on a Mac is going to switch to PC now, so holy crap.
Ryan Summers:
Boo.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Hold on to your butts. So there's the 3090s and there's 3080s and number one, we're in a pandemic, number two, there's cryptocurrency everyone's mining everything, and there's gaming. It is very hard to get your hands on one of those things. 3090s are the ones with all the RAM in it, so if you're using Octane, that's the thing I'm seeing a lot of 3D artists trying to scramble to get. I know the guys at mograph.com, they actually got their hands on two, one of the only people I know that actually got their hands on two. So it's pretty nuts, but it's super exciting to see how much of the speed boost these things are. It's incredible what can be done. Ryan I think was going to talk about the actual, one of the things we learned on our Puget call was you better get your own electricity generator or have your own solar farm to power these suckers because dang, the power consumption is incredible.
Ryan Summers:
Our friends at Puget actually were trying to put a Quad 3090 Ti together I think, and they basically were to a certain degree afraid to suggest it because the amps that it would pull probably are more than what most houses, most circuits are rated for. So maybe you could do it, but then if you plugged in your monitor, you're going to blow the circuit. So it's like not only do you have to try to scrounge around to find four, you also have to have an electrician friend that can come in and drop another circuit for you.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's like buying a dryer or something like that.
Ryan Summers:
Blew the fuse again. I was rendering.
Joey Korenman:
So I want to hear about this. You guys have talked about this a little bit already, and I actually don't know anything about it a Rokoko suit. What is a Rokoko suit?
Ryan Summers:
Rokoko.
Joey Korenman:
Rokoko, Rokoko.
Ryan Summers:
I mean it basically stuff like this has been around for a long time, right? Motion capture is not new, and there's been so many ways to try to do it. There's Markerless, Marker. There's ones that work off of actually makeup that's infrared. There's all these different things, but it's for one not always been that great, that accurate, and it's always been super expensive. But Rokoko it's still a suit. They're a company. They sell hand tracking suits and actual full body suits. They're not that expensive in the context of we're talking about a couple thousand dollars, not tens of thousands of dollars, but it really lets you get access to really good quality, really fast to generate motion capture, right? So like EJ mentioned before, there's some really nice motion capture clips in the new Cinema 4D.
Ryan Summers:
But if you kind of extend past those, or you have a character that has a certain way of moving, or I talk about pre-vis so much, if you want to be able to get more accurate, more realistic, more varied pre-vis like actual acting not just something moving, it's really handy to actually have a motion capture suit. Even if you're going to end up doing something really cartoony, if you need to figure out your timing, maybe you could literally skip past doing storyboards because you could literally like Jonathan has showed us take your iPhone, have a very basic world, use your iPhone as the virtual camera and have motion capture running. Imagine you have a character who is going to run and throw a punch, there's 50 ways you could shoot that, right, just as a single shot, but then you have to figure about the shot before, the shot afterwards, how does it play.
Ryan Summers:
That takes a long time to drop into a timeline to test it out, but it's still just drawings. Rokoko I think is actually something that's going to be really great for speeding up the kind of approvals and pitch phases of doing more sophisticated animation for us in the future. There's also a bunch of other companies trying to crack this too, right? That's a physical suit base right, but Nvidia, there's a company called DeepMotion. If you look at [inaudible 02:00:18] the papers that come out every year, there's probably three or four different groups of people trying to find image based analysis with AI that can actually pull skeleton rigs just from a single video camera. It's pretty insane what probably in the next year or two you'll be able to generate probably just from your phone the camera on it and have full on really pretty good motion capture that you literally drop onto a rig in Cinema 4D.
EJ Hassenfratz:
I'm so all for that because I'm so sick of seeing the same dance animations or whatever.
Ryan Summers:
It's Mixamo?
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's like that's definitely Mixamo, okay.
Joey Korenman:
That's awesome. I'm looking at Rokoko's website right now and this product, the Smartsuit Pro its 2500 bucks which is nothing for a motion capture. [crosstalk 02:01:01] that's absolutely ridiculous. The stuff that you're talking about too Ryan using machine learning and AI to basically teach software to detect exactly what limbs are doing, I really think so many things are going that way. The Irishman this year I think that was I mean if you think about what it took to make the Benjamin Button movie versus how they made The Irishman and how much easier that process is.
Joe Donaldson:
You can go one step even past that. I've seen a couple of people take deepfake technology and they've actually done side by sides so of like ILM has been trying to perfect photorealistic humans, and we've seen it where they've gotten close, and it's not necessarily there. They've done it with Princess Leia. They've done it with different characters. It's actually the combination of all these technologies that'll get you there. [inaudible 02:01:51] and get a performance, and you get a 3D model that's got really good lighting and good skin textures, and it's close, but it's not the exact likeness, but then use that to feed into a deepfake algorithm that's literally taking thousands of photos of this person from any time, and you apply that on top of the CG. It's still art directed, right, it's not guessing, but it's just this level of finishing that for a visual effects company that last 10% is 90% of the work.
Joe Donaldson:
But imagine you could have an AI algorithm that just sits over the weekend and adds on top of what you've already done. When you blend all that stuff altogether, it really is the kind of final answer for a lot of these problems.
EJ Hassenfratz:
God, I've seen a lot of people making their own animated GIFs of their faces on Nacho Libre or whatever, using that face app. One of the things that's going to be really interesting is because right now, all this deepfake stuff is limited to a certain resolution. They're not using it for movies anytime soon, but when that does happen holy cow.
Joe Donaldson:
You know what? It's starting to find its way into commercials. I just saw a commercial for I think it was starring a football player, and the football player or might have been basketball, and he couldn't break the COVID bubble, so they actually found an actor who had the same physical proportions, shot him, then had the actor take a bunch of photos, hi res photos from all different angles in really flat lighting, and then they created a commercial of doing a deep fake of his face on top of the body double because he couldn't get out to actually shoot it where it's just like, that's such an inventive pretty cheap solution to something that otherwise, would you make a full CG head? That would have taken six months.
Joey Korenman:
That's wild. It's going to be a whole nother service. There's going to be companies that they do this for ad agencies. "Oh you can't afford Serena Williams? Well you can afford deepfake Serena Williams for ..."
Ryan Summers:
Pay the licensing fee for.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah honestly, so sign me up as soon as anybody wants a virtual Joey head. I'm for sale. So one of the studios that I know EJ is really into is Cabeza Patata which also has an amazing name. A lot of their work has a lot of amazing cloth on the characters and stuff like that. Have there been any developments in the world of cloth sim, or not even cloth sim so much as just being able to easily make cloth-like things to put on your 3D characters?
EJ Hassenfratz:
I don't know if Marvelous has gotten, if they've had any major updates, but I know that ZBrush has their live cloth tool that was in there, and Blender's got a lot of crazy stuff where you can actually sculpt the cloth, and there's realistic wrinkles, and then immediately people were like, "Well, in Cinema, you can do that if you have the Jiggle Deformer and the collision and da, da, da." It's like, "Yeah, but you can't just click and do the thing and sculpt." But yeah, I'm sure Ryan has a lot to say about this, but I think we're starting to see more and more. I just saw Sekani Solomon come out with this real, like, oh, my God. It almost looks like a real jacket, like real leather jacket, and it's incredible the work you can do using Marvelous. I think he was using Marvelous for that.
Ryan Summers:
Marvelous just released a new update, but it's just this across-the-spectrum-of-tools update that's seemingly happening, a combination of fast physics and fast calculations for sims, plus the actual interactive tools to do it. I think we said ZBrush, Blender, and Marvelous all have cloth brushes now, which are really nice because it's not just make a really big balloon version of your thing and then just have it suck onto place and hopefully it settles the way you want and you're stuck with it. You can art direct it, you can create thickness, you can start creating friction in different areas. We're seeing it across everything all at once, which is super exciting.
Ryan Summers:
I think it'll just make it more accessible. Right now, it's just probably Sketch & Toon and having hair and fur in Cinema 4D. When that happened, it was just I never thought I'd have access to it. Now, it's all of a sudden just another set of tools that we'll probably all have, and it'll probably just become a trend. All of a sudden, everybody would be doing Cabeza Patata-like stuff for a couple of years.
EJ Hassenfratz:
The funny part about, because I think we're going to have a podcast release with Cabeza Patata that I did with them, but I asked the question, I was like, "Did you want to make characters with realistic clothes on them before this or because of Marvelous Designer?" And to have the answer, you'll have to listen.
Ryan Summers:
Oh, I can't wait to tune in.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Now, they actually were, they're actually big into, their roots are in crafts and embroidery and stuff, so they actually have been wanting to do this for a very long time, but the tech finally caught up to what they wanted to do versus the tech catching up, and then people are trying to do that stuff. How many people would not be doing character work without Mixamo? Something as easy as that. I think it would be, knowing there wouldn't be near as many character performances and motion graphics pieces as there is now. So it's really exciting that the democratization of cloth and clothes and fashion can start making its way into motion graphics.
Joe Donaldson:
Love it. So I want to quickly give a shout out to our friends at Plugin Everything, who have put out a bunch of plugins this year, and some of them are free too. It's pretty awesome. Maybe they're sort of borrowing the Andrew Kramer model, but I love it either way. Yeah, Ryan, are there any particular ones that you want to call out that you liked?
Ryan Summers:
We just had the ae-script sale, and I had the very hard decision on which one of these do I actually pick this time. If you don't have Sapphire, Deep Glow is, I think probably, even though there's a multitude of options, Deep Glow is the best glow out there. It has a lot. You can do it just one button press, but it also has a lot of control for what you want to do with it, which is kind of what you need from a glow plugin. It's also fast. All their stuff is GPU enabled. And then on the free side, this sounds super dumb and you never look for it, but there's an antialiasing effect, which is weird, but there's something called FXAA. I think it was built because they, I think, a year or two ago created something called Cartoon Mobilier, which is basically a fancy version or they made a really fast version of Echo.
Ryan Summers:
But even with their version, if Echo, if you've ever used it and you start putting hundreds of them together, and your Echo moves really quick over a couple of frames, you'll see these little antialiased edges, and it's not really antialiasing. It's just the copies are too far apart. But FXAA, you just add it on top of any layer or as an adjustment layer on the top of the whole thing, and it just smooths out any edges, and it doesn't happen at render time. It actually happens in the effects processing time. That's free. So there's a bunch of other ones too, but I think Deep Glow and FXAA are two that you should check out if you haven't played with them yet.
Joe Donaldson:
Love it. Yeah, I'm a big Deep Glow fan. I think it's one of those things where you just assume glows are all the same, but they're not. It's like guitar tone or something. You're always on this quest for the perfect glow.
Joe Donaldson:
So there's two apps that I want to talk about. One, I think we're going to spend a little longer on, but I do want to talk about Fable. So Fable, if you haven't heard of it, is an online motion design tool. When you go to their website, fable.app, the web-based motion design tool, I haven't, so there's a waitlist for it currently, so I haven't been able to play with it or anything that. So I don't really know much about it, but it reminds me of Figma, which I have used quite a bit this year for a lot of reasons. If you're a motion designer, you may have not used Figma, but I highly recommend. Go sign up for a free account, there are free accounts, use the app, because the way it works, I think, is the way software is going to work in the future. Ryan, do you have anything to add to that?
Ryan Summers:
I don't yet, but I will in a week. But what I will say is it's super exciting because we've asked for this for so long, why isn't there a competitor to After Effects? And I'm not saying it because I want it to go away. I think when there's no competition, development doesn't have the same pace to it, right? And it's not just make it faster. It's different approaches, right? Cavalry has a very different approach to what looks the exact same things, right? If you look at it, the interface doesn't look that different from After Effects, but when you actually start playing with it, it forces your brain to think a different way. It wants you to work differently. And that's always been the problem with After Effects is you want to try to work different ways, and you just can't, right? It's frustrating.
Ryan Summers:
But I think this idea of having a web-based, collaboration-focused After Effects-like motion design tool, it's going to be awesome because it will push everything else. The other thing I'll say about it, too, is that they have some interesting people behind it. The CEO actually came from Skillshare, which is interesting, so he probably has a very different kind of background. And then it's also heavily funded the same way a VC tech firm would be funded, so much so that I think it's even the former CEO of YouTube is heavily invested in Fable itself. So again, very different in terms of just development theory-wise and backing from something like Cavalry, but I think this helps everyone, right? If a good idea comes from somewhere, it's going to get applied to everything at some point.
EJ Hassenfratz:
There's aa app that I just saw come across on the Twitters a couple of weeks ago, and it sounds the 3D version of Fable, which is called Spline, and their website's spline.design, and basically it's just a 3D web experience authoring website, and the demo they have is super cool. It's got that flat toony shading, but it's really exciting to see can we just work on a website and do 3D on a website in the Cloud using whatever processing is going on behind the scenes. But a lot of the art I'm seeing is very designy 2D, but 3D, we've got the gradients, which is the hotness right now. But yeah, I think it's only on macOS right now, but there should be a PC version soon, but definitely check. There's only a little tiny demo and a preview release. It's still super early, but yeah, definitely check that out and download.
Joe Donaldson:
On that same note, EJ, I'm imagining a lot of people listening to this have not used Figma, and I think Figma is probably the easiest example of this to understand. It's a design tool, that's what it is, and it's primarily used for web design, UI/UX sort of app design. You can use it to design anything. It's vector-based primarily, but you can load images in. The thing about it, though, is it is a 100% online tool. The entire app lives online. You can get a Figma app that you download and you put in your dock, but it's basically launching a sort of a modified web browser and running Figma in the Cloud. There are so many cool things that this enables.
Joe Donaldson:
First of all, you can have 10 people working on the design at the same time, which you can't do if the thing is running on your computer. I'm sure there's ways to make that happen, but they're all very clunky. The way Figma handles it is incredibly elegant, and you can have permissions. You can have two editors who are allowed to move things. You could have five people who are allowed to view things and leave comments. When your work is done and you want to share it, there's no exporting, there's no uploading to a third party, like Frame.io or anything that. It's literally just click a button, it copies a link to your clipboard, and you send that to whoever you want. And now, what they're looking at is the live version of the thing you just designed. You could be on the phone or on a Zoom call with somebody, and they give you a change and they can watch you make it.
Joe Donaldson:
There's a lot of other things about Figma that are pretty mind blowing from an app design perspective. Obviously, as Figma's servers are upgraded, the app will run faster. It doesn't really have much to do with your computer. Another cool example of this that just hit my radar, there's a web browser called Mighty. Have you guys heard of this? It's basically, it's really funny that it has to exist, but Google Chrome, the web browser, is so clunky apparently and slow and just takes up all these resources. What Mighty is is basically a web browser that launches Google Chrome in the Cloud on super fast computers that have like fiber optic connections directly to hubs, and so you're basically streaming the Internet, and it's way faster than actually just using Google Chrome to get on the Internet. And so this Cloud technology, it's going to enable weird things like that.
Joe Donaldson:
And so it's only a matter of time before someone figures out how to do this really, really well with video. I know Resolve has tried. They've made some inroads, actually connecting with Frame.io to enable this a little bit, and there's some interesting things out there that are trying to do it, but I think this is happening now. Spline looks a lot this, Fable is this for motion design. It's a totally Cloud-based thing. I don't know how it works. I don't know how great it's going to be. The people behind it are really impressive, so I'm assuming it's going to be cool. But I think that this is the future of software. It's all going to be in the Cloud, and you're going to have a MacBook Air, except for you two. You guys will have, I don't know. What's the cool laptop? You'll have a ... Alienware PCs? Is that still cool? Probably not, right? You'll have a glowing green strobelight.
Ryan Summers:
A giant neon light with a fan.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah, but I'm all in on this way that software is going where it's in the Cloud. It just opens up so many opportunities. It's amazing.
Ryan Summers:
The thing that's awesome about that is it starts opening up to mobile devices too, right? So it starts democratizing. We've used that word probably 17 times today, but for people who don't have access to grunt hardware that maybe ... As long as you have an Internet connection, you can get a device that can give you access to, at least if anything, playing with the tools to find out if that's what you want to do more, and at best it becomes your entire system like that. I'm all for that. I think that that's great. I think the biggest limiting factor is how slow the Internet is in the United States, and there's no real plan to address that compared to so many other parts of the world right now.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah, that's true. Well, Elon Musk is shooting satellites up into space, and we're going to have 5G soon, so hopefully that gets worked out, because I think if everyone listening goes and plays with Figma for a week, I think even if you don't want to use it anymore, you'll understand the power of something that, this infinite canvas that 20 people can look at at the same time and move things around. It's really fast, and you can copy things out of it as a PNG. It's pretty awesome.
Joe Donaldson:
But now, I want to talk about what I think ... I recently got to interview Remington Markham, who is SouthernShotty on YouTube, a really, really great Blender artist. He does After Effects too. He does everything, but he's known for his Blender work. It might've been last year that Blender really started to hit my radar, and I was like, "Oh, that's really cool, but it's open source. I can't see that really taking off." And now, I have the total opposite view, especially after talking with Remington. Blender is clearly doing something pretty amazing and doing it using a business model that is still kind of a mystery to me, but clearly works wonderfully for something that. So EJ, what's your take on the current state of Blender and how it's going to impact motion design?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Well, it's kind of funny, because like you said, the model is a mystery, and it's got to be Blender, Unreal, Unity, they all make money off of content creation. So for example, a Unity Unreal, if you make a game that nets millions of dollars, they get a cut or whatever. Blender, I don't know if there's like, "Hey, if you make a thing, we get a cut of it," type of thing there.
Ryan Summers:
I don't think so.
EJ Hassenfratz:
So yeah, it's this mystery. I got to say I've used Blender a couple of times only to try to export out a GLB file, which is basically a AR kind of web format. And I got to say just my initial 30 minutes of being there, it was really weird. It's very backwards from what I'm used to. I think even the rotational stuff is backwards, the axes, 3D axes is not the same. Y is down, and cats or dogs, and I don't know. So I don't know much about actually using the tool. The one thing I do see, and the one thing that is definitely changed from the beginning of this year to now, is I'm seeing major players, people that have used Cinema 4D for their entire career, just like, "Yeah, I'm just going to pick this up and start using it." Someone like John Dickinson.
Ryan Summers:
John Dickson.
EJ Hassenfratz:
He's like, yeah, he just said the other, I think it was just literally yesterday, he's like, "Yeah, I'm going to pick up Blender," because all the stuff he's seeing as far as, because he's just hardcore 3D modeling. The links he actually shared with me, I was like, "Wow, this just blows Cinema 4D out of the water." And it's just things that, not to mention that's a built-in feature. It's not some of these add-ons and grease pencil and stuff that. Just the 3D functionality alone, the sculpting is insane, and it's free. So it's coming to a head where it's becoming undeniable, seeing the benefits of using Blender, and I don't know if I see a lot of users that are just literally using Blender as almost a plugin for Cinema 4D to do some things. But then, I don't think it's anywhere near close to overtaking as far as motion graphics go and any kind of cloner stuff, because that's still the major strength there.
EJ Hassenfratz:
But I tell you what, Blender figures out, makes it a little bit more artist friendly, because right now it's still weird to me. It's kind of clunky to work with, and even people that use Blender say like, "Yeah, it's not its strength." But if they figure that out and they ... It's only a matter of time before they do create something that's like the MoGraph toolset in Cinema 4D. I think it's going to, like with Maxon with the Scene Nodes, they got to get it right, because I think the fire's definitely under their butts with all the advancing with Blender and Unreal, so it's going to be very interesting. And I just mentioned the built-in tools, let alone grease pencil and some of these really, really awesome plugins and add-ons that you can get for it. And the development time is just insane on that side of things.
Ryan Summers:
That's the thing that blows me away. The two potential things that are going to push it forward are the fact that it's free just means that there's going to be so many more people testing workflow, so many more people asking for things, but that only works if they have the development team that's up to snuff, which they definitely do. The speed of development is insane. I think it's one of those things where it's like ZBrush. If you gave ZBrush to somebody who never used 3D, but they already knew how to sculpt in real life, tangible sculpting, it seems like a joy, and they pick it up really fast. If you give it to me or you, who have spent decades, or years at least, working in 3D and understanding the muscle memory to operate it, it feels completely foreign, and it's really frustrating. You'll get it eventually, but it still feels you're doing a translation in your head from one thing to another thing.
Ryan Summers:
If they can either adopt the next generation of people who want to learn 3D and they jump in because C 4D is theoretically a little less accessible because of the price, or they can, like we said, crack the case of the UI and the UX of making something familiar to all the C 4D artists. If it can just become as easy to play, but have the depth that Cinema has, you can see a lot of people. Then the big switch is just will a studio stick their claim on something that's open source, right? That's-
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah, there's shorts being made on Netflix and stuff that.
Ryan Summers:
There's full feature films. There's a feature film on Netflix. I will say, the little bit I've touched it, the character animation tools, and I know that a lot of work's been done and is continuing done, the character animation tools are on par if not better than C 4D's just out of the box. And then, the misnomer about Blender is that it's free. There's still a lot of add-ons that you're going to want to pay for, right? That's again where I think that's the studio hesitation. If I'm a person running the pipeline or on the IT team, it's hard to say, "Okay, well I'm going to build my entire pipeline on a product that's open source and key components of it are being developed by an individual person." Right? We saw that with Merk for Cinema 4D that if one thing goes wrong with that single developer that's just doing it as a hobby, and you built your pipeline on it, if you're the one who made that decision, that's your job potentially. If all of a sudden, that thing's not being updated or it's not accessible anymore, it can be really dangerous.
EJ Hassenfratz:
I think the one thing that's not working in Maxon's favor is the fact that yeah, they required Redshift, but it's also an added cost, so even if you want a professional renderer, that's something added onto that. Meanwhile, Blender has two built-in renderers.
Ryan Summers:
Really good renderers.
EJ Hassenfratz:
The crazy fast, real-time renderer or game engine renderer, Eevee. So they've got Cycles and Eevee, and out of the box, you're already ahead, because Cycles is beautiful, it's super fast. And then yeah, they bought Redshift, but it's not built-in. We're still talking about renderers that have not been touched in how many years? And that's just kind of, it's just all these tools that the character stuff, yeah, they're making advancements, but it's still not super ... We're still using a rig that hopefully Brett Bays is going to still continue developing that thing, but it's one guy that's doing all this stuff.
Ryan Summers:
I think to what you're saying, too, we mentioned a little bit about the open source movement that's changing just software in general. Blender has been really fast to adopt, if not the first publicly available tool set, that adopts that. I just saw I think recently they added GPU-enabled, post-processed motion blur. So the same way we do post-processing to do noise reduction, there's GPU-driven motion blur. So imagine your motion blur is just lightning fast, but it's done in post, but it's done as a post process on top of your image, right? That's something that I believe is open source and no one else has, right? It may take four more versions for USD to be fully up and running in Cinema 4D, but I can imagine things like that showing up in something Blender way faster if the audience asks for it.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Hey, Red Giant Team, get that post-blur stuff.
Joe Donaldson:
Acquire real smart motion blur and make it faster.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Joe Donaldson:
I think the most impressive thing for Blender for me, because I haven't opened it, I haven't used it. Obviously, it can do whatever you want it to. It's an amazing piece of software, but I think it's really changed my mind about the feasibility at scale of an open source business like this, which is kind of silly because I've always known WordPress is free and open source, and the company that makes it, Automatic is the name of them, they're a billion dollar company somehow, right?
Joe Donaldson:
And it's like, "Well, how does that work? Your software is free. You don't charge for it." Yeah. But it's really, if you want the enterprise version or if you need help setting it up or if you want a license, there's ways they make money. They have a marketplace for plug-ins, which I think that's one of the ways Unity makes money is they have a marketplace for Unity tools, and they get a cut, like the app store kind of a thing. And I was always worried, and I think if I'm a studio owner, I would be worried like, "Yeah, but it's free, it's free. It's open source."
Joe Donaldson:
My worry would be it's free, so it's not going to be as good. It's just that psychological bias that has been drilled into your head, "Charge what it's worth, charge what it's worth." And it's crazy. Somehow it works amazingly well, the pace of development is pretty mind-blowing, and I don't know. If I'm Maxon, I'm probably getting a little nervous at this point, because I think the other things too, because we've talked about these potential competitors to After Effects. I don't really look at it as there's a winner take all, there's one winner, and everyone else gets nothing. I think that the industry's growing, and there's plenty of room for After Effects plus Fable plus a million other things, and there's room for Cinema 4D and Blender.
Joe Donaldson:
But what I'm guessing is happening, and I don't really have any numbers to back this up, but I'm curious, EJ, if you've heard through the grapevine, when I was 16 and I wanted to play with 3D software, I had to download a cracked version of something. That was my gateway drug that hooked me, and then eventually I ended up getting into it, and I could pay for software. But if you're a 16 year old, if you're a 12 year old, and you want to get into this, you download Blender, you're going to learn Blender. That's what you're going to learn, and you're going to get really good at it by the time you're a professional. And as long as there are Blender jobs out there, that's going to be pretty hard to beat. It's going to take 10 years for Blender to become the default thing everyone uses, but it will happen if that force is, if what I'm guessing is happening is true.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Well, I almost equate that with how long did it take for Cinema 4D to take hold? Everyone was using 3D Studio Max in studios. Why? Because all the art institutes, all the art schools were teaching 3D Studio Max. Finally, Maxon started seeing the importance of that, getting them into the education institutions, stuff like that, and now you're starting to see, you have SCAD, you have Ringling, you have all these major art schools that are teaching Cinema 4D.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Now, how long is that lag between people using Blender now to going off and starting their own studios, and then Blender is the tool of choice. But again, how long is it going to take for that to get into schools? Because for a school, I would assume that's pretty attractive to get something for free. You don't have to worry about educational licensing or anything like that, and that's something I don't really know the legalese on can I use Blender in an educational, for-profit institution? Is that [crosstalk 02:27:59]
Ryan Summers:
I'm pretty sure you can. Yeah, I'm pretty sure you can do whatever you want.
Joey Korenman:
I think that's counterintuitive though, too, because I think a lot of brick-and-mortar schools, they want to justify their costs because they give you access to something that you wouldn't have access to otherwise, right?
Ryan Summers:
That's true.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah, you could subscribe to Cinema 4D, but do you have access to Cinema 4D, Redshift, Octane, Turbulence, X-Particles, that whole suite of things? For me, I feel Maxon got really lucky. They were becoming more mature as a platform and had the MoGraph module at a time when the entire motion design industry was "3D, what is it?" Right? It just happened to be ... And their price and their UI/UX was way more accessible than Autodesk products. Right? That was the only really up that or LightWave, which no one even knows what that is anymore. But I feel their timing was really lucky, and then they just ran up this huge lead that now they're, I wouldn't say they're on fumes, but they've got people nipping at their heels, right?
Joey Korenman:
So I think that when you mentioned Unreal or Unity, I think that's the real linchpin. If Maxon can find a way to take advantage of this next wave and be the app that's there when all the 3D people are like, "Huh, real time," and they're the gateway drug into to the real-time engines, and they're the portal over to that. If blender somehow found a way to take that mantle, like, "Oh, you know what? Cinema 4D's great if you've got to do some rendering and play with Redshift, but if you really want to get into real-time, I got this free thing over here." That's where I feel the gap could shrink really, really fast, whereas all of a sudden it's like, "Oh, half the jobs are real-time jobs, and you can use Blender for free?" That's where I feel if Maxon doesn't ... Scene Nodes is important, because that's where they stake their claim, but if they don't make that bridge over to the real-time engines really seriously soon, that's where I think they're kind of vulnerable.
Joe Donaldson:
Yeah, and if Greyscalegorilla ever starts making a light kit and [crosstalk 02:29:51] and textures for Blender, maybe that's what pushes people over the edge. Yeah. Yeah, to me, it's all about the ecosystem, right? Blender is free and it's awesome and it's getting better. By the way, for everyone listening, I'm a huge fan of Maxon. I use Cinema 4C and of course we teach it. The reality is every major motion design studio has built the pipeline on Cinema 4D. Right? There's other apps being used, and I'm sure Blender is being used at some studios now too, but that effect, you can't discount that, right?
Joe Donaldson:
It's the same thing with Adobe products. There are alternatives to Photoshop and Illustrator that in a lot of ways are superior and in some ways aren't, and for certain things, After Effects isn't the best tool, but everyone uses it because it's there and they know how to use it, and the person next to them knows how to use it, and the person they're delivering the shot to needs to know how to use the program that made the shot, and Cinema 4D has such a built-in headstart. So all of this conversation for me is really just kind of speculation, but I'm not so sure anymore that Blender isn't going to get significant market share, and it may take a decade, but the way it's looking right now, I would bet on Blender being a big powerhouse force in the next decade.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. I mean, this is a pivotal moment in, they're doing major shifts in development on the Cinema 4D side, and they just bought Redshift, what, last year? So we still have to figure out how that shakes out. Is it integrated, does that just ship with it? Because then that solves the rendering issue, the built-in rendering issue. This is a make or break, I almost think it's a make or break moment, because if they don't get Scene Nodes right and they don't get the rendering thing solved right in real time and all this stuff, I think they're just kind of stalled out, and Blender's just going to speed right past. Yeah. It'll be slow, but Maxon has an opportunity now to bring back the excitement and rein in all the people that might be kind of trickling out and, "Ooh, what's this Blender thing? Oh, I could use it for this thing? Holy cow. That feature in Max, in Cinema 4D, hasn't been updated in years, and I'm still paying subscription, and uh."
Joey Korenman:
I mean, Max has done a lot in a short amount of time, right? As much as people complain about it being expensive, I still think this gets forgotten. They lowered the barrier to entry to get into Cinema 4D significantly. The amount of money you'd have to drop to get into the full version of Cinema and then also buy an MSA, now you're basically just paying for an MSA to get into the door. Right?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Well, that's the thing, right? People are going to complain about something. For the longest time, it was like, "Well, why can't you be like 3D Studio Max, where they have a subscription, and I don't want to pay $3,000." Then what happens? Maxon goes to subscription, has competitive pricing with Maya and 3D Studio, and they go, "Well, why can't you be free? Because Blender's free." You can't appease everyone.
Joey Korenman:
You're never going to, but if you really try to read the tea leaves and look at what they've done in a year-and-a-half, two years, they've pulled in brand new leadership, they've coalesced the entire team around a vision of one person, which is hard to do for a software developer. They bought Redshift, they acquired or merged with Red Giant, Scene Nodes is basically them relaunching the plane while it's flying, right? We have access to something and-
Ryan Summers:
It's going to drastically change everything, yeah.
Joey Korenman:
That's a lot of things to do in 18 months, I think, maybe is what it's been. We should be a little patient with them.
Joe Donaldson:
Well, that was a lot of discussion about tools and things like that, and good Lord, it's funny because this year was simultaneously the quickest year ever and the slowest year ever at the same time. It's crazy to think about how much actually happened. So let's talk about some industry trends and just some interesting things that have happened this year. We've already talked about the fact that the pandemic has created just some weird growing pains, I guess. As the industry goes remote, there's a lot of work that has been created by live production being much harder and, in some cases, impossible.
Joe Donaldson:
There's a little bit of a talent crunch, because there's so much extra work that all of the heavyweights are just booked all the time, and so there's a little bit of this gap between those who have been in the industry and have had good relationships and business practices. Those that are trying to get in, it's even harder now because everything's virtual, it's harder to build those relationships.
Joe Donaldson:
In addition to that, there's a few other little things I wanted to bring up. One thing that's really cool is that Justin Cone is officially back in the motion design industry. He is now at Buck as the Director of Communication Strategy, and he's going to come on the podcast next year and explain what that means and how it feels to be back in MoGraph after I think almost two years completely out of it.
Joe Donaldson:
So let's start with conferences. So this year there were no in-person conferences. They were all virtual, and AB, SIGGRAPH, Adobe Video World, I'm curious what you two thought about the virtual format, how did it... I mean, obviously there's downsides. Were there any upsides? I mean, EJ, you presented at a few of them, so what was your take?
EJ Hassenfratz:
I think the one thing it did was gave an audience to artists that were either too busy to travel or maybe not well-known and they finally have their chance to speak in front of people, and maybe there might be some people like, "I don't want to speak in front of people, but I'll record a presentation and do Q&A afterward." So definitely saw a lot of new talent, especially for the Maxon 3D motion show. I think there's one going on right now as we speak, with some really amazing artists.
EJ Hassenfratz:
So just the fact that Maxon, for example, typically they'd only do a show at NAB, at SIGGRAPH. They've been doing it all year long. I think they did maybe eight or nine different shows, so you got that many more artists having the opportunity, having the platform to tell their story, to share their knowledge. And that I think is one of the greatest benefits of all is the exposure for way more of these artists that do their thing to share their crafts. And yeah, definitely Maxon would not be able to afford to do this many shows if it was all in-person and renting the spaces and stuff like that. Being said, nothing can replace being with everyone, meeting new people, making those connections. I would not be in this job right here today if it wasn't for going to NAB and meeting Joey and meeting Ryan and all these people that I've met through just one single show, like NAB, alone.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. I think MAX was pretty amazing this year. And I think part of... To piggyback on what EJ was saying, for me, it's just been... Representation has been amazing because it's not just that there's artists who we wouldn't have thought of and it's not just there's industry sectors that we wouldn't have considered because there's just more spots, but I think we forget about how expensive all this stuff is just to be able to even consider going, let alone being a presenter or to go for networking purposes. Stuff adds up. MAX is expensive. The fact that Adobe put that whole thing on for free, which is insane. They could have charged for those individual things and people would have gladly taken them.
Ryan Summers:
I think it rewrites the rules on what the expectations are going to be when we do have to go and pay for these things. Right? It doesn't make sense to charge. I don't know what it is. A thousand dollars to go to something like an event like MAX, which obviously has to be super expensive to put on. But I hope it maybe opens people's eyes to the value of that, for people who it may have been a reach or they've might have been intimidated to seeing what goes on during these things and even if it's virtual, seeing your chance to be on stage or your chance to interact with people. The representation, the access this year, I think, could have a lasting change going forward.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. Speaking of Adobe MAX, I mean, so I went and presented at Adobe MAX two years ago and it was in Los Angeles and it was the biggest conference I've ever been to. The scale of it is hard to explain. It's absolutely insane. And the last night of it, Adobe rents out the STAPLES Center, which is the giant arena right next to the convention center. They had like a band and there was thousands of people in there and they had luxury boxes with free food for the presenters. I mean, it's insane.
Joey Korenman:
The amount of money that it costs is nuts. And yeah, of course it does cost... I forget what the ticket is, but I think it's over a thousand dollars to go to Adobe MAX in addition to your hotel and airplane and all that kind of stuff, but it's amazing. It's a pretty incredible experience, and I was really nervous this year with it being online, that it's not even going to be close and no one's going to care. I was blown away by the production of it. I was actually like, "I got to give Adobe a lot of credit." And Adobe actually doesn't put it on. They hire a vendor that does this and the vendor... I don't know the name, but they were so buttoned up and they had to produce hundreds of videos-
EJ Hassenfratz:
I can't imagine.
Joey Korenman:
... and not like tutorials. There were hundreds of... I don't even know how they did it, going to Zack Braff's house, Paula Shear. I mean, I don't know how they actually pulled all of this off. And it went off basically without a hitch. It was live. There was interaction and then there was replays. So my worry though with that, the downside is it went so well. I worry the same way that when the internet became a big thing, conferences got a lot smaller and a lot less extravagant. This will just be like another kind of fist just pushing down on conferences.
Ryan Summers:
But do you think... So I hear people saying the same thing about movie theaters, right? They're obviously... Movie theaters are super leveraged and they're like, "Maybe this means we'll never see movies again." Do you really think after a year and a half of being stuck in our houses, that the first chance that we're all going to get to go to Vegas to be around each other again, people aren't going to go and go harder than they've ever gone before?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Oh yeah. I'd go right now.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah, exactly.
Joey Korenman:
Let's do it.
Ryan Summers:
I do it. I mean, let's pour it out for Camp MoGraph. That, for me, is the reason why I'm here at School of Motion, is my experience that I had there and the people I talked to for I was in my life. And that I feel like in the same way that NAB and MAX is like, "Go, go, go, go," and it's just like this hyper bolt of energy. Camp MoGraph was the inverse where it was just like, we brought everything down. The speed was like... It was like being underwater to a certain degree. But the kind of mental kind of state of mind you came out of that when you emerged from it, it wasn't the same speed of just an adrenaline rush but the re-invigoration you felt creatively and the refocus you had as just being an artist, wherever you might work. That, I feel like I'm missing that even more. And that was just a little 70, 80-people, three-day kind of thing.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
I think that people are going to rush for that as fast as they can get to it, too.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. I'd argue it's even more important because what are the repercussions of studios doing this remote things? Does that mean more people are working remotely? Which means these conferences are literally only other times you're going to be able to meet and actually interact in person with these other people. So I think as we move on, I think this year, if anything, has really helped us place a value on those in-person interactions and just how important that is to have that human interaction that-
Joey Korenman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. How many conferences that there are going to be in a row? Because everyone's got these conferences. I mean, we're seeing even more and more conferences that we're supposed to start up, the Dash Bash, because they were like, "We don't want to wait two years for a blend, so let's do this other thing," Camp Mograph like Ryan said. I think you're seeing even more conferences and these conferences are selling out like hotcakes.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. You're right.
EJ Hassenfratz:
I mean maybe less importance on the SIGGRAPHs, the NABs, but you can see that demand for segments of art industry, like motion design or character design and animation with Pictoplasma and stuff like that, those kinds of conferences are only going to... There's only going to be more of them and then they're only going to be bigger and bigger.
Joey Korenman:
I hope so.
Ryan Summers:
I hope so, too.
Joey Korenman:
I'm really missing the in-person thing. And we didn't get to do... Well, actually we did our School of Motion retreat, in-person retreat, right literally weeks before the shit went down. And so I don't know. Maybe some of us had the rona at the retreat. I don't even know it would...
EJ Hassenfratz:
Everyone did get sick from something.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz:
And we're at Disney World.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. We were at Disney World right at the beginning of all this. I know I didn't have it because I got the rona in July, so I definitely didn't have it at the retreat. So that makes me feel better. All right. So we're bullish on conferences.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
I think so.
Joey Korenman:
That's good to hear. By the way, NAB next year is scheduled for October. They moved it from the normal time in April to October, but it is scheduled. And theoretically, we'll all be vaccinated by then and ready to go do karaoke. So let's talk about something that I am fascinated by. I know EJ is fascinated by. EJ's actually made some cash money from this already. And Ryan, I bet you're probably really interested in this, too.
Ryan Summers:
Yep.
Joey Korenman:
Crypto art.
Ryan Summers:
There should be a sound. We need some type of sound design. We need something to play underneath that.
EJ Hassenfratz:
I have not heard of it. I don't know.
Joey Korenman:
Crypto art.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. What is this thing?
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. Blockchain art. Okay. So maybe here's how we can attack this. I would first like to attempt because I might know the least about this, but I want to try to explain what I think it is.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Okay.
Joey Korenman:
EJ knows a lot about it. Tell me where I'm wrong-
EJ Hassenfratz:
All right.
Joey Korenman:
... and tell me what you think. Okay.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Let's do this.
Joey Korenman:
So crypto art. Everybody, probably everybody who's listening to this, can make digital art pretty easily. You could make... Let's say you could make a GIF. You could post it on Twitter. You could put it on Instagram. Anybody who sees that GIF could just right-click, save to Desktop and now they have pixel-perfect the art you made. Right? And so there could be millions of copies of that GIF floating around and they're all worth the same thing, which is essentially nothing. Right? There's no value to it because there's no scarcity. It's a digital file. Crypto art is an attempt to create scarcity with digital art. And it sort of does that. So the way it works, I don't know technically how it works, but it uses blockchain technology, which is the same thing that Bitcoin is built off of.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joey Korenman:
And it's this very secure way of essentially having a ledger. This person bought this thing. And there's really not a way as far as I know to fake that. And it's a decentralized ledger so you really can't steal something. Right? You buy it. It's noted who owns it and that's it. It's now there. It's set in stone forever, unless you sell it to somebody else. And so you can now own a digital asset and prove it, which has never really been possible in a secure way. So now you can have one person actually own the digital asset and everybody else only has a copy, which isn't worth as much. And that is where my understanding ends because it makes no sense why anyone would care about that and yet people are spending thousands of dollars on crypto art. So EJ helped me out here.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. So I think the biggest sticking point is like, "Okay. I get the tech behind it. I get there's token. It traces value." It's like, "How has this piece of paper in front of me that has George Washington's face on it have any value at all? It's a piece of paper or a pog that was literally just a disc, a cardboard disc, but people were paying hundreds of dollars for it." It's that scarcity that creates the value.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's really hard to parse out how much value is for each of these things. It's almost like I would relate it to like I bought a star. So a star in the sky, I paid 500 bucks so I own that star. It's like, well, who cares? You can't show it off. You can't have someone to your house and be like, "See that star? That's my star. Look at me." So that part is very interesting. Where my skepticism is kind of begins and ends is the fact that people are paying a lot of money for this stuff and artists are the one benefiting for it. So even if you understand it or not and you're an artist that creates art, go out and make the money. I don't know if it's going to be a fad. I don't know if it's just a big laundry money scheme.
Joey Korenman:
Exactly.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Money-laundering scheme. It's something that artists right now, like Blake Kathryn, Kid MoGraph, Beeple, FvckRender, Filip Hodas, Gavin... Like all these artists that you know and love, and I'm starting to see more and more 2D artists as well.
Joey Korenman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ryan Summers:
Adam Swaab, too.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. And they are literally just making money, some of the time, on work we've already done.
Joey Korenman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
EJ Hassenfratz:
And I don't know if it goes back to that, like as artists, we just have no self-confidence. So why would anyone ever want to buy anything that we do personally? But I think that's where we're being challenged right now. I'm seeing artists that have been making personal work forever and just posting it on Instagram and they are in tears because someone thought enough of the work they're doing that they put digital money where their mouth is and like, "I like your work so much and appreciate your value. I'm going to pay you for this thing." Yeah. I don't get what do you do with that? Eventually down the line, do we have digital frames that we can put on a wall so we have something tactile? And even that aspect is interesting, like what could become that? But one of the things I'm seeing right away is the everyday artists. Everyone's like, "What are you even doing? A client is not going to hire you for your 500 renders of an astronaut doing whatever the hell it's doing." But now, who's laughing now?
Joey Korenman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
EJ Hassenfratz:
Who is going to pay money for all the weird Kim Jong-un renders that he does? Well, he just made over $150,000 in a day because he's selling this stuff now. So that's the part that's really interesting. And I think questions aside of like "Why would anyone want this?", it's the fact that people do want this. People are paying a lot of money for it and we can benefit from it. So even if you don't understand it, definitely look into it and educate yourself about this whole crypto art thing.
Ryan Summers:
So my question about it is... I have lots of questions about like long-term... Is it sustainable? Right?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
But what I'm surprised by is the hardcore skepticism and anger from a certain section of the motion design industry that it's even happening or the value of it. Because if I'm a comic book artist and I make an illustration and I sell it on Etsy or I sell it on eBay. Right? Somebody commissions me and I sell it. And it's one of a kind, I'm never going to do that drawing again. No one questions if Jim Lee draws Wolverine and he sells it for $10,000. Right? If somebody is a crafter and they make stuff on Etsy, nobody gives a shit what the platform is. If I'm on Kickstarter and I make an app or a device or a cardboard, like a game, like a card game, no one seems to care.
Ryan Summers:
Are people upset because it's like Bitcoin-style technology and they just don't understand it? Are they upset because it's artwork that they've kind of said like, "Well, this is garbage art that somebody is whipping out in a day and it's not..."? Are they upset because they're jealous that they didn't think of it first? That side of the question is like we've always said... And I've said this until I'm blue in the face, so I'd be a hypocrite if I did anything else. We have more value than the work we make for our clients. We have the ability to create stories and objects and artwork that is legitimately, capital A, artwork.
Joey Korenman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ryan Summers:
Why are you upset that people's making a $100,000 in a day or whatever? You could do that, too, if you do all the other things that are accessible to you. So I don't fully understand how if people makes an image and someone buys it, how that actually is worth that money.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Right.
Ryan Summers:
Right? Because I can have that image on my hard drive, too. But just like if someone makes a piece of artwork, they sell the original for $10,000 and they make a print of it and they sell it for $50. Who cares?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
If this is the engine that drives people to be able to become artists or be able to be self-sustainable, why does it matter? Even if you don't like the art, who cares?
EJ Hassenfratz:
What about the... We were just talking about the Spark AR filters.
Ryan Summers:
Right.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Who cares about that? You can't show that off, but people are paying money for that. Artists are making that.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz:
From my experience interacting with artists, because I actually sold a crypto art of mine, which was work that [crosstalk 02:51:01].
Joey Korenman:
You're a crypto artist.
EJ Hassenfratz:
And yeah. And so I've been on the other side. So at first I was like, "What is this?". And I think a lot of the apprehension is number one, there's a lot of people just taking advantage of it. There's a lot of objectively terrible work that's being bought for obscene amounts of money that I don't understand. And I think it's just like, crypto art in that respect is just kind of a joke. It's like, "Ooh, let me get my MS Paint out and scribble on it and sell it for 50 Ethereum, huh."
Ryan Summers:
But if somebody wants to buy it then why does it... That's my thing is like, why does it matter? Maybe somebody is approaching as an investor. Maybe somebody just thinks it's funny. Maybe somebody has Ethereum to spend. Maybe somebody is a fan of your art or like... Why does it matter? You're generating... If it's real honest money that you can actually go and turn around and put in your savings account or go and buy something with it-
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
... what does it matter? Why does it matter what the art is? In the world of art, there's a... I look at it as like the vinyl toy, kind of designer, vinyl toy industry, where it was like for a while, it was inaccessible because nobody had the factories. Right? And then all of a sudden it became super accessible and people were just crapping out anything that they could crap out and people were mad because it wasn't artistic or it wasn't the right way to make art or whatever. And then it normalized itself, and there are the people who are the stars and the people who are just making cool stuff and there's people making garbage. But along the way, people made money and people liked it and people collected it. And sometimes, people just got it because it was ironic. What does it matter? Why are people... I understand that people are upset because they're like, "That's a tutorial I already saw."
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
It's like, you're not going to put the genie back in the bottle. You're arguing that people are making tutorials then. You're not arguing that somebody shouldn't be making money off of it.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Right.
Ryan Summers:
I don't get the anger about it.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Remember, it's this thing like, well of course, people are making money off of really terrible client work, too. We've all seen people's demo reels and like, "Holy cow. You actually... You have a career. You get paid salary because of the work you do."
Ryan Summers:
Well, guess what? Tons-
EJ Hassenfratz:
And it's a joke. Right? So you're always going to have that. There's going to be bad work and they make money, like not very talented artists but they make money somehow, and then you got really talented artists and they make money somehow, and you've got people in the middle. I've gotten responses of like, "Oh, it just seems like a walled garden. All I see is everyone's an elitist about it," and da da da. I'm like, "That's what I used to think, too." But then once you get inside, all you're seeing is Kid MoGraph or Hodas or whatever, just posting and you think it's just the elite artists, but I know...
EJ Hassenfratz:
I mean, I made money and I don't consider myself like an amazing artist. I'd make things and people place value on it, I guess. But it's not very representative of the entire community because it's only the top end. And I was like, "Well, guess how that changes. You not being so skeptical about it and you take my mindset of like, 'I don't get it, but I want to learn more. I'm going to do this. And now that I'm through the other side, I want to bring as many people as I possibly can in with me to see what happens.'" You're not losing anything from doing this. There's no harm you're going to do. If anything, Oh my God, you might actually consider yourself to be an artist for once in your life.
Ryan Summers:
Right. Right.
EJ Hassenfratz:
And I think that's it. I think people are just so stuck with their mindsets and poo-pooing anything that everyone's talking about. But it's like, you're going to crap on someone for selling a painting?
Joey Korenman:
Yes. They will.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Ryan Summers:
I think it goes back to what you said at the very beginning of all this, is that we don't understand our own value. And even if this is temporary, even if this is a femoral, the fact that-
EJ Hassenfratz:
We make that money.
Ryan Summers:
... this is demonstrating that there is an audience for this stuff and it does have enough value that somebody would put the money down. Even if it goes down to 10% or 20% of that, even if it is elitist, so what? Because we've been the walking wounded for basically since motion design started with no confidence, with no sense of worth other than how many hours can I put in for someone else to make a commercial to sell something else? Why is that... I don't know. I'm just kind of stupefied by it because for so long, people have said the opposite. But maybe it's the same as the people who are mad at Andrew Kramer for making tutorials and making a lot of money.
EJ Hassenfratz:
How dare the library have books for free where I can learn things for free? Damn those books.
Joey Korenman:
Cancel the library.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. That's my reply to that. That's just so stupid. If anything, all education should be free. Just because you have education doesn't mean you're going to be successful. It takes raw work and sweat and tears to get to any success. So for anyone crapping on Beeple, saying that he shouldn't be making money-
Ryan Summers:
Yeah. If there's any person that has the right to think that he-
EJ Hassenfratz:
He's outworked every single person listening to this podcast at an insane level. Don't tell me he doesn't deserve all the money he gets with this maybe a fad kind thing. I don't care if it's a fad. People make money off fads all the time. Beanie Babies, that dude's rich now.
Ryan Summers:
Did you-
Joey Korenman:
There's a lot... So I was trying to understand this this morning and I got on SuperRare's website.
Ryan Summers:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah.
Joey Korenman:
And I got on... There's another one that's called dada.nyc.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. That was one of the first ones, I think.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. And it's like... This is a world I know nothing about, but it feels the same way that it feels when I walk past an art gallery. And so if you kind of just look at it as that, that's what this is, I think. I think it's like, I have never gone into an art gallery and spent $25,000 for a painting. I will take the poster for 50 bucks and I will get that framed and hang that up and be fine with it. Right? But there are people that for I'm sure many reasons, either they're just like, their thing is collecting art. Right? Like my thing is collecting guitars or something. Or they're just rich. Right? And this is their hobby.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's patronage.
Joey Korenman:
Yeah. Yeah. Or there's something even sort of more esoteric, like it's a patronage thing. The person or the entity that bought Beeple's two crypto arts... I don't know what's the plural of crypto art, for $66,000 a piece by the way, was some is like VC fund in Australia. Right? So I can't understand. It's like, why would somebody... I don't know. I can't understand why someone would buy a $300,000 Lamborghini either, but that's because I'm not the market for that. So I kind of look at it that way and the part I'm stuck on... And I want to find someone in 2021 to explain this to me on the podcast, help me understand this. And if you know somebody, if you're listening and you know somebody, send them our way. But I want to understand the value of art and of crafts and of things like that. It's not just scarcity, but I feel like scarcity is a multiplier. There is only one Mona Lisa. There's only one.
Ryan Summers:
You can't buy it.
Joey Korenman:
Right?
EJ Hassenfratz:
Right.
Joey Korenman:
A poster of it. There's only so many pogs or donees or whatever you're collecting. Right? Garbage Pail Kids, which are not worth a lot by the way. But Beeple's GIF, I can go on that site right now and grab a copy of it, and it's identical to the one that someone paid $66,000 for it. That's the leap I'm having trouble making. But to EJ's point and to Ryan because this is something you've harped on for years, if you're an artist, you are going to undervalue your work significantly because non-artists look at what you do and it's like magic.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joey Korenman:
They have no idea how you do it. Even things that look really simple to you... I mean, Joe Donaldson and I were looking this morning at some really crappy work that's terrible. Babies' first aftereffects render sells for $1,000 on SuperRare. That's happening right now and so why not... If that's happening and the getting's good, why not actually have good art on there? So I say, go for it.
EJ Hassenfratz:
I just think it's important the conversation we're having. Even if it's a fad or what, that-
Joey Korenman:
Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz:
... hey, what you're doing for your personal work or whatever, that can be worth something. David O'Reilly went on this rant about Instagram. And I thought it was really... It really makes you think. I think if anything, all of this stuff really makes you think. Because he was talking about how Instagram is just garbage anymore. They added the shopping thing, da da da. It is progressively getting worse. But what are we using Instagram for? We're posting work in hopes that people will see us for it, give us likes or whatever, but we're not making money off of that. Who's making money off of that? The platform, Instagram, Facebook. What crypto art does, if anything... And this is also one of the things that I've talked to some of my friends and that they don't really get is that crypto art right now, it's at the very beginning. So you have all these different sites popping up and people joining all over the place. It's very fractured. It is a walled garden to a certain extent because you do have to have that verification that, hey, you're the one doing this art.
EJ Hassenfratz:
So I got accepted by SuperRare few days ago and their thing is you literally have to record a video of yourself saying, "Hey, I'm EJ. This is my website, Eyedesyn. This is my Instagram page. This is the art that I do. Here's my portfolio in a PDF form." So that's the verification of it. And I mean, it's easier for me because my face is on tutorials and stuff, but as far as like... I'm sure it's not that hard to make stuff up that you're actually someone you're not. You could be just an aggregate Instagram account that's just posting all these other people's work and whatever. But you'd like to think that for this to be worth anything or to be a legitimate at all, that process, the application process, has to be pretty stringent. I would hope they're doing their due diligence on that.
EJ Hassenfratz:
So it's all fractured, all these different sites. One of the things like what would actually be the best thing is if there was, let's just say an Instagram, like a "cryptoartstagram", and there's one site that all the artists are on just like Instagram and so people know to go there if they want to buy their crypto art. And it's artists calling the shot and making money off the things they're posting, versus like people just posting work after work after work after work, sometimes, just to get the likes and no monetary benefit at all. And I think even if you post to Instagram, you actually give them the right for them to reuse your work without credit or anything.
Joey Korenman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
EJ Hassenfratz:
So I think that aspect of it is very interesting as far as that goes. Now, another thing that I'm seeing that is really interesting for the crypto art thing is... So there's an artist, Gavin Shapiro, amazing artist. He started taking the whole idea of what is crypto art and started this series of, he called it Real Collectibles for an Imagined Reality. And he's combining kind of like the concept of digital art with physical art. So he's actually been selling crypto art that is this like a zoetrope installation, that looks like a zoetrope. It looks like it's on a pedestal in an art gallery and it looks pretty photoreal. It's like, oh, you're buying this zoetrope, but it's actually just the render of it.
EJ Hassenfratz:
He also... So one of the things Gavin Shapiro is known for is these crazy dancing flamingos and dancing penguins. And he set up this thing that looks like a real-life version with all the mechanical pieces and it's driving this flamingo. And he's like, "I'm going to sell four. One of them's busted though, but I'm selling as is for a cheaper price." So he made this digital animation of this fake thing with a motor in it and he even said what it was made of, the actual base of it and all this stuff. And he said that it's sold as is, and the flamingos dancing but the neck is just limp and hanging, but it's still dancing, but it looks ridiculous. So that's smart. That's kind of blurring the lines between the two. You got this imperfect thing, but it does look like... He said he has people like, "Am I actually getting the thing?". He's like, "No, no, no, no. It's just the animation of the busted-
Joey Korenman:
That's awesome.
EJ Hassenfratz:
... quote-unquote, product. But on top of that it's just like, Beeple, the way he's hyping up his, quote-unquote, drops. Drops is what you call when you release one of your... You start selling one of your pieces of crypto art. The amount of marketing and prep, and I'm seeing FvckRender do this, Kid MoGraph, people are putting a lot of work into just marketing themselves. So that's interesting just to see how people are marketing their, quote-unquote, brand because before this, you're just marketing yourself as a brand to get client work. Now people are marketing themselves as their own artist, their own art celebrity, which is super cool. Why can't you do both?
Ryan Summers:
So that's what I'm the most excited about, the same way you talked about the new wave of artists coming up doing 2D and 3D and just being artists. What I'm the most excited for is seeing somebody that's not from the motion design scene popping first in crypto art and using that as the heat to get hired by all these studios for their look or their style, and then the pricing war comes in play. It's like, "Oh, look, BUCK wants to do this. Oh, [inaudible 03:04:35] wants that. This studio wants..." Then it becomes a bidding war for you and your look and your style and the heat you bring with it. Right? Because what's going to end up happening is if this keeps going the way it's going, the artists start turning into like Supreme. Right? They start turning to brands. Right? Where a company, like whatever, Tropicana orange juice or Coke, is like "Oh, you know what? We need to get on the same buzz that this artist has because they're selling 150,000."
Ryan Summers:
That's the next step for someone like Beeple, which has already kind of done. But Beeple goes mainstream by becoming this guy who sold $150,000 of crypto art in a day and that catches an agency guy's eye and he sells that to some brand that just wants to be cool. Right? But what if it's not Beeple that's done five years of whatever it's been, million every day, but it's somebody who we don't even know who they are. We've never heard of them. We've never seen their work on Instagram. We haven't seen them come up as a person who took a School of Motion class. It's just like an unknown person that pops up through it, and then they jump the 10, 12 years of hard work they have to do to get hired by BUCK and they start at the bottom of BUCK and they work their way. It's just like, "Nope. I'm a fully formed personality brand that has a look that nobody else touches," and have got the bonafides of "Look at the people that paid $100,000 dollars for my work," or whatever it might be.
Joey Korenman:
I've got that crypto paper.
Ryan Summers:
Yeah.
EJ Hassenfratz:
There is no paper though.
Joey Korenman:
Well, I, for one, am going to invest heavily in crypto art after this conversation. Thank you both for...I'm really fascinated by this. All right. Now is the part of this podcast where we talk about our favorite pieces of 2020, and of course, this is not a comprehensive list. There was a lot of amazing work and it was really reassuring that even in the midst of all the upheaval that this year brought with it, there was a lot of incredible work. So, here's my list of my top five pieces of 2020. Probably my favorite one was the Hobbs High in Heaven music video that they did with drones. When you watch it, if you just thought it was a special effect, you'd be like, "Oh that's really cool." But, knowing how they did it makes it about a million times as cool and and getting to talk to them about the challenges, all the problems they had to solve.
Speaker 4:
I think that in a year, what they're going to be able to do with drones is going to make you faint. Pretty amazing. Definitely, everything we're talking about be linked to in the show notes, check it out. What I think might've been the commercial of the year, which wasn't really a MoGraph piece, but it was just so good that I had to put on lists, which was the Nike's “You Can't Stop Us” ad, and you really need to watch it to appreciate how brilliant it is. It looks like an editorial driven piece, which it is. Basically, the entire time you see a split screen on the left, you'll see a teenage soccer player at her, middle school game. Then on the right side, you'll see someone from the U.S. Olympic Soccer team, but there's this seamlessness between the two halves.
Speaker 4:
They almost make it look like it's the same thing happening exactly down to the pixel. It's pretty wild. It's hard to explain in a podcast. 852 did the visual effects. There's a behind the scenes article, we'll link to in the show notes, but I thought that was the ad of the year. Insane storytelling, gives you goosebumps, everything that you hope for when you're working in an ad agency making commercials to sell shoes. A very weird thing. I don't know if this is on many people's radar, but it kind of spoke to me. There's a music video that Danny Elffman did. Danny Elffman was... He wrote the songs for Nightmare Before Christmas. It's funny, when you listen to the song that he wrote called happy, which is about 2020, and includes the lyrics, 'everything is shutting down'.
Speaker 4:
It sounds like Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas. What I love about the video is it's deliberately weird looking. Incredibly bad animation, deliberately bad, almost like Five Nights at Freddy's, animatronic that isn't quite working right in the mouth, isn't synced up at all to what's being said, and the eyes are kind of twitching. It's that aesthetic. It was also mixed with this weird 90s grungy type treatment. The aesthetics really strange, and I was wondering like, is this the 2020 aesthetic? It makes you feel the way this year has made a lot of people feel. I highly recommend everyone check it out because technically, nothing crazy going on, but in terms of making you feel something you don't normally feel when you watch a video, this is the piece of the year for me.
Speaker 4:
I want to call out Klim Studio that... Mr. Klim, put out a video called It's About Time, and on the surface of it, basically, it's one of the visual trends we've been seeing over the past few years. It might actually be the peak of this trend for me, which is cylinders and shapes and spheres with wood textures and plastic textures literally, realistically. However, the compositions are so unbelievable, just the way he created these shapes that are 3D, but the compositions are 2D and there's this weird rhythm to it all. It's basically a metaphor for time passing. It's pretty incredible. I look forward to talking with him about it next year.
Speaker 4:
Then the last thing I put on here was a video that Run The Jewels put out. I love Run The Jewels, but they put out a video for just. It's funny because we were just talking about crypto art. I've heard EJ say that, “I wonder if crypto art is influencing.” It's a weird look that crypto art is bringing out of people and maybe that starts influencing motion design. This is like a version of that. It's just really grungy, rudimentary, not polished at all, the kitchen sinks thrown at it, and somehow it works. The director is Winston Hacking, the production companies, Pulse Films. These are names I know, but yet it's incredible and the songs are really great too. So, a weird mishmash for me of my five favorite pieces this year. There were a lot more, but for me that summed up 2020, those five.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Yeah. I guess I'll take over from here. One of my favorite spots I... If you ever watched a spot on TV and you have to pause it and like, “Oh my God, that was so good.” That spot for me was this Hulu ad that Buck did. It was these outlined 2D cell, I don't know if it was cell any milks, like after effects. Outlines of the characters, but it's in a 3D environment and there's this seamless interaction between the 2D characters and the 3D objects in the scene. One of the shots... There'll be links in the show notes, but one of the shots is this chef and he's got a knife. The knife's 2D, but he's chopping this 3D salami, and it's just so nicely integrated. It's so crazy.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's just super clean. It's just Gray Valley. It's just graze and green, which is the brand color of Hulu. I just love the aesthetic. It's just so super clean and nicely designed, really beautiful work. It's Buck, what do you expect? I'll move on to another music video, that was the Deadmau5 and Neptunes pomegranate music video done by none other than Nick Denboer, Smearballs. We even had our own David O'Reilly to help with environment design in this spot. Number one, it's cool to see Smearballs on this giant stage where they even have Deadmau5 interviewing Nick on like, “How did you do that?” You get really geeky as far as Render Farms and how they actually got this spot done because there's so much prostate rendering power that was needed for the spot.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's pretty much what you would expect from, DeadMau5, Smearballs joint, which is just very spastic character movements and dances. I love Neptunes and N.E.R.D. It was cool to see that from a musical side of things. Next one is this ad that was for a keyboard, even it's as [bicous 03:13:06] as that, it's just so beautifully done. The director, Todd Hershey, they had Houdini Sims on this. They had one of the CD from Hobbs, Eddy Nieto, working on this lighting and texturing and Redshift by Jesus Suarez.
EJ Hassenfratz:
It's like this Dieter Rams like style keyboard designs, subtle rotation when there's the shot where the keys are kind of snapping in and flying into place on the keyboard, and there's just this subtle rotation when each little key snaps into place. It's just the attention to detail, all the animation. Just everything about this piece is phenomenal. You have these liquid sims forming the keyboard and all these things you would see in a Nike shoe ad where everything stitches together, but it's like that applied to a keyboard. I'm getting a PC. I want one of these things because it's beautiful. Yeah, that'll be it for me.
Ryan Summers:
That's awesome. That piece, I've heard so many people referenced that piece since it came out. The last two weeks people are like, “I need somebody who can do something like that.” The liquid sims that are around it, it's getting me... That's when you know it's a piece of the year when it gets namechecked when people are looking for work or looking for somebody to do work something, it's like that. There's the kinetic type piece from Apple that it still gets referenced all the time because people... It's a category defining piece of work. I feel like this has the potential to be like namechecked that often. In the vain of that, I think one of the things that gets me so excited is when a big brand actually hires a designer and artists with a look or a style and you can feel it change your perception of the company.
Ryan Summers:
I think that happened with two different companies this year. The first one was all the work that Nando Costa did for Microsoft design. There I can't even think, I don't even know all the different ones. There were so many that came out this year, but he's teamed up with Tendril and a couple of other companies, but there's several examples of just this. It shows the power of what motion design can do for a corporation. At the same time where we've seen lots of people do the same look and the same style, applying it to Microsoft and making Microsoft feel warm and fun and energetic. Those are words you would never ascribe to Microsoft. It actually got me interested in products that I never would've thought to actually look into. I think that's what we're asked to do really for the most part, is to change people's perceptions and create a tone or a mood that fits to the audience that people are looking for.
Ryan Summers:
On the opposite end of that, I talked a lot with Laura Porat, but she released a demo reel. That's all about her work that she did for the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign. I will say none of the work on it is anything that if you looked at one piece individually, that would be groundbreaking setting a trend that next year is going to follow, but I thought it was a really powerful, really amazing demo reel from someone who has expressed frustration in the past with the nature of our industry, like the work. It's so fast, it's so hard to get your spot, to be able to make something that you can actually control or have ownership of, and very rarely do people ever feel like they actually make a difference. Her piece is great. I really hope it shows that demo reels can be something different. It can have a message and it can redefine you as an artist as much as your work redefines a brand.
Ryan Summers:
Speaking of demo reels, and there may be a reason why I've been watching so many demo reels this year, but there's a really... This wasn't even for a reel, but I've looked at so many title cards in the last six months for demo reels, and inevitably those are always the worst part of people's reels. It's always an afterthought, or it's the worst example of design. It's a person who goes by My Name Is Banks, has this just really simple, but really well executed thing called 3D music equipment. It's basically just this person on the street, basically setting up a bunch of music equipment, but it's in the shape of their name. I don't know why it stuck out to me there's a really nice quick BTS, but in a world where people just throw white type on black and their title.
Ryan Summers:
If I would've seen this at the front of someone's demo reel, I would have stopped the demo reel and just gone to their site or tried to call them, because it stood out so much as something that's attention getting. It shows their skillset and shows them as just a different kind of thinker.
Ryan Summers:
The next piece was it's mostly animation, it's necessarily motion design. It's this really great shot called Substance from Jamal Bradley. Jamal was a senior supervising animator at Dreamworks who then moved on to Valve and he made his own short film. It's an amazing short film. The acting's great, the animation is great. There's really good visit of it, it looks like a Pixar shot. The big thing that it brought up to me is this guy is at the top of his game in two separate industries, and he took his own time to actually make his own work, and it was noticed. His voice was so singular and it felt like a specific person that he's getting attention to directing his own things in all different industries. It merely made me think like, the same way we're talking about crypto artists pieces, as motion designers why aren't more people breaking out and showing who they are and showing their voice to create more opportunities for themselves?
Ryan Summers:
If anything, it's an inspiration. I thought the Spotify, Man Versus Machine spot was great because it doesn't look like Man Versus Machine. All of that super high end, like Houdini simi stuff, there's none of that. It's really bright over the top pastel colors it feels like stop motion. It's got that super trendy squashing stretching type that we predicted last year. It was going to be the 2020 trend, but it's from MVM. I just thought it was like a totally different look. There's this person, I don't even know if I can pronounce it right, because I stumbled upon them in Twitter. I always talk about looking for inspiration from outside of motion design. Let's see if I can say right, Arsiliath. His Twitter account shows all these things that look like they've been shot from a microscope and they look very biological.
Ryan Summers:
They look like germs and bugs, but they're all real-time compute computational shaders influenced by actual things from biology. The coolest thing about this is, it actually teaches a class that combines design, code and biology. It's honestly, when we're always looking for things we've never seen before and we never can find it. This was something that blew my mind, that it wasn't actually just video. Then I think my two favorite pieces this year, Golden Wolf did this really cool, very Mega Man feeling, I don't know EJ, Mega Man always been like my top tier characters design wise, but it's always been 2D. This looks like somebody took a bicycle pump to Mega Man and inflated it. It has that same vibe, but it's in this just really great mix of 2D effects with 3D cameras and 3D characters that I think is going to be something we're going to be reaching for more often, really highly designed character work that also includes 2D work, but it's awesome and you really should watch the behind the scenes. It's very cool.
Ryan Summers:
Then my last piece, Perennial All-Stars for our year-end reviews, but Handel Eugene did this really great piece for Juneteenth that highlighted so many of my favorite artists. Rachel Reed is on it, Sam Bass, Marco Cheatham, Tristan Henry-Wilson. It's just obviously in a year where we've been talking about a lot of craziness. It's just a piece that I keep on going back to that I love seeing Handel's work. I've worked alongside him, I know his process, but seeing him blossom as a director with his own voice. That's my favorite piece this year I think.
Speaker 4:
What a list. My goodness. I love it and I got to say that the computational biology thing that you found Ryan is pretty mind blowing. I also wish I had time to take the class that this guy teaches. Everybody, everything we talked about is going to be on the show notes, check everything out, and obviously this was not a comprehensive list. We could have 300 more things on there. We're now at the end of this thing where the three of us are going to try to make some predictions. Some of us are going to make predictions that are kind of slam dunks, and we're going to pretend that we're really smart. Some of us are going to make really bold predictions. Why don't you start Ryan with the very bold prediction at the top of this list here?
Ryan Summers:
I think that Maxon, we mentioned this a little bit, but I think Maxon will either by SIGGRAPH, an NLA, a premier competitor, a Photoshop alternative. So, maybe they acquire one that's out there or are they rework body paint into its own Photoshop that's part of the subscription or they actually bolt on a compositor into cinema 4D to make Maxon one the go-to subscription service for creatives.
Speaker 4:
Interesting, that is a very bold prediction. I'm bearish on it, but we'll have to see. EJ has a few predictions.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Mine is more towards... We were talking about this before, when is this real time thing going to hit? Is it just going to be like you flip a switch? It's like, “Oh my goodness! Octane has it, we all have it now.” I'm hoping that 2021 will be the year of real time rendering and we can begin to say, “Hey, remember the time when you had to render things?” That would be really great. I would hope we see Redshift integrated into cinema 4D. I hope that seen nodes, we can actually start using it in some capacity in production. As of right now, it's a tech preview. You can play around with it, but you're not doing any actual work with it and that conferences will come back in full force and we'll be doing so many karaoke parties that I'll then start my career as a professional karaoke singer/crypto artist.
EJ Hassenfratz:
That's another thing. Yeah. I forgot about the whole crypto art thing. I think it will be interesting to see... We're going to have a year of this, another year of crypto art. Is it going to be more mainstream? Is it going to be more decentralized? Is it going to be more accessible? Right now there's so many barriers to entry. Can you just use a credit card to buy this stuff? Right now, even getting your own crypto art is a huge barrier. I hope that's all more accessible and less of a stigma thing, and more artists are enjoying the process of creating work. Like Ryan said before, showing more of their personality through art versus this is who I am. Here's just the client work that defines me.
Speaker 4:
Right on. All right, Ryan, you've got a couple here that are pretty interesting. Why don't you talk about these.
Ryan Summers:
I watched SIGGRAPH papers religiously, even if I don't make it to SIGGRAPH. I really think next year, whether it's tools or it's people pushing it, I think the combination of computational photography, pulling more data off of the camera or video camera, then it's not just RGB pixels, but it's depth, it's sensor data, all of things combined with AI algorithms. I think it's going to take over a lot of the day-to-day grunt work that we've been doing, and maybe it takes two years, maybe this is a 2022 or 2023. If you look at the SIGGRAPH papers where we're looking at things like neural scene full fields, where you can have one stream of video and basically reposition the camera in 3D space or rearrange time, just off of a single video flow, replacing sky replacement across video that's AI based.
Ryan Summers:
Luminar is getting ready to release a stills based sky replacement that doesn't just replace the sky, but changes the lighting that that sky would actually create. There's a really great paper that actually shows that with video where it's pretty insane. It's not 100% perfect, but give it two more papers and it'll be there. Same thing with retiming video footage. If you've ever tried to do a live action shoot, and you tried to sync people doing something like jumping or running or talking, we're right on the verge of being able to basically say like three kids jumping out of a pool, we can make them all splash the water at the same time without the video looking like it's got any kind of artifacts at all. I saw this really great one recently where people are starting to pull 3D models from stills and video.
Ryan Summers:
We talked about motion capture, but imagine you could shoot someone doing motion capture, and then you can also shoot a totally different person and instantly have a 3D model of that person. Then basically merge the animation from an actor like a stunt performer with a movie star or a voiceover actor together and synthesize it without ever doing modeling or rigging or UV unwrapping or painting. I think that's really going to be a big thing in the next year to two years. It already is, but it will be even bigger. Then this is a flippant one, but it's just probably more of a rant for me. I think everyone's going to stop using Vimeo next year. I think Vimeo is done, I think Vimeo is gone. We're going to move all of her demo reels, all of her behind the scenes to whatever, be hands YouTube, a million other places, but I don't know what happened, but how the mighty have fallen.
Speaker 4:
Yeah. Vimeo has become problematic in 2020, like so many other things. Those SIGGRAPH papers are absolutely insane. We'll link to them, everybody go check them out. Photoshop added some... The sensei is what they call their AI thing. There's like a face ager built into it now. There's a lot of crazy uses for this stuff. I also think that's going to accelerate next year. My predictions are a little bit more about the industry in general. I think that one force that has just been gaining momentum and this year we saw a lot of the results of that is now you have these new players and frankly, especially in 2020 with the traditional Hollywood studio, having to pause and not really having distribution like they're used to. Companies like Netflix and Amazon and even Hulu and Apple have been producing feature films with amazing production value in a list talent, and it's pretty wild.
Speaker 4:
I think that that is going to affect... I mean, it's already affected motion design a lot because I think the amount of title sequences that are needed is probably high . I think that's going to continue to be a force. I think one thing that's really cool is Netflix especially seems to have a propensity to fund the sort of experimental things. Giving Glen Keane the ability to direct whatever he wants, direct this amazing movie. I think there's going to be a lot of that next year. I'm hoping we see the Netflix version of Into the Spider-Verse, where they really let some artists just go nuts with their vision, do something really cool. I think that there's a larger conversation for a different time about what that does to the movie industry, which is reeling right now, but in any case, that's one prediction.
Speaker 4:
I also think, the fact that everybody can work remotely now, and I predict that will continue into the future. I think people won't want to work remotely all the time and people will be attracted to big cities again and going and working in house. There's a lot of people that, you get to a certain point in your life where it's just a lifestyle thing and you don't want to live in New York city anymore. I'm certainly one of those people, so you do everything remotely and that is so feasible now. It creates a lot of economies of scale also at the freelance level that we're a lot trickier to manage if you're in L.A. and you have to go be at the studio every day. It's a lot harder to kind of escape the day rate and it's way harder to double dip, which I know is kind of frowned upon sometimes, but everyone does it. When you're working remotely, it becomes much more about results than the number of hours that you're selling.
Speaker 4:
I think there's going to be a lot more freelancers raking in the bucks. The ones that can really manage a project and produce themselves, hit deadlines, over-communicate, do great work, and it doesn't matter how many hours they're sleeping at night. I think we're going to see a lot more of that next year. I don't know if it will be public because a lot of people hide that stuff when it's happening to them, but I predict that's going to happen. Then the last thing is an overall note. Last year at the end of the podcast, I said, “I think the industry, it's been growing a lot. I think it's going to continue to grow.” If you'd asked me in March what I thought was going to happen, I might've taken that back.
Speaker 4:
Ironically, the industry has grown a shit ton this year. In talking with people who know these things, a lot of that growth, especially with like after effects usage and stuff, it's not the typical motion design artists. It's people who a lot of them coming from the web, the UI UX app design world, where motion is quickly becoming required and companies like Google and Apple, it's really just baked into their ethos now. You have Google, has a motion design language almost. They've got material design for design and then they have their version of that promotion. I think that we're actually going to start to see a ton of growth there, and I don't know what that influence is going to do on the rest of motion design, the old school sit down and watch this thing passively crowd.
Speaker 4:
I think it's going to probably create visual trends that are inspired the way apps work and things like that, micro interactions. I think from job opportunity perspective, it's going to be gold rush. It kind of is right now. I've had interviews with artists on the podcast and at the end of it, they're like, “The secret is that 90% of my work is actually stuff that is for an app.” I'm doing like interaction design and that's funding all of this cool stuff that you want to talk to me about. I think that's going to be the new hundred and tags. It's going to be the new version of that.
Speaker 4:
So yeah. I think the industry is going to just actually accelerate its growth. I don't think 2020 is really slowed it down very much. I know that's distributed unevenly. For some people, this was a really tough year financially, but I'm telling you the word on the street is there's a ton of work. There's not enough people to do it, and it's just learning to find that work. If I'm leaving this episode with any advice, it would be learn to find work, learn to market yourself. That is the secret to success in 2021.
EJ Hassenfratz:
Or make crypto art learn the same thing. Use your skills for both things.
Speaker 4:
If you're still with us, I love you, for real though. Seriously, not kidding. We appreciate you more than you will ever know. I sincerely hope that this podcast provides value, a distraction, some mild entertainment, and at the very least a way to feel a bit more connected to the motion design world. None of this would exist without the support of the school of motion community, and that community pulled together in a very big way in 2020. Now we can put this year behind us, we can make our way into the next seasons of our lives and we can keep on keyframing. That's it for 2020. Thank you again, and happy new year.