There’s so much of it around that often people don’t really know what it is. But essentially anything that’s design-based, and yet it moves is a motion graphics.
My name is Nik Hill. I’m a motion designer and founder of 23rdc. I grew up in Bristol, a super sick city! I’d see lots of street art around and I felt like – I really want to do that. I was skateboarding as well and so I had a black book of sketches that used to get passed around and people were just loving it, which was quite cool. One day I sat down and was watching an advert. My mom was like, oh, you pay more attention to the adverts than you do the TV programs.
That’s kind of funny. And I wondered what is that discipline? I run upstairs and just Googled. The first link that came up was London Metropolitan University B.A. motion graphics. Applied. And that was it. There was a lot of film work being shot around London. So working at that territory was awesome. During my time there, I got to work on Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Blade Runner. One of the ideas I had when setting up 23rdc is the progression of having a more physical component to design briefs. BBC2 reached out, and so they showed us this reference. There was a lot of talk about using Houdini and Cinema4D.
And it was always like, nah… that’s not quite right. Can it feel more like fluid? Can it be more like this? And I was just like, why don’t we just shoot it? And then we did two days shoot with real paint. When the executive creative director saw it, he was like “That’s it! Love it!” That was a great project, it really embodies this constant desire to create value and embark on projects that are just things we want to do. This is partly why the MSI project is kind of interesting because it’s taking that concept of mixing digital and physical and pushing it even bigger.
So we’ve been using the P100 to create a piece of motion graphics. We thought it’d be quite a good way to put it to work. Essentially it relies on geometric forms changing a state. We’re going to have that on a screen and then 3D print and create this sculpture to shoot inside of it. This is all going to be sort of mirrored and reflective. So we’ll get this real-life kaleidoscopic fractal tunnel. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but I quite like the idea.
As somebody who built all their machines previously, it was so nice to just literally unpack, play, and then get creating. What’s important to me is the way it feels, does it feel good? Is it stable? And can I spend my time creating and not worrying about hardware and software? And the machine was doing that for me. Pretty damn good. But actually, really, the monitor for me is just the thing that’s making the whole process simply a lot more enjoyable. I’ve always worked on these standard aspect ratio screens. But there’s something really satisfying about a wider monitor actually filling up your entire field of view.
It just feels more right. My advice to anyone looking to get started in motion graphics is: Don’t bring your dog to work. Just kidding, love you. Study, practice, and find your own voice. I think it’s important to have whatever you do, rooted it in some sort of design theory, but also know your software so that you can articulate your ideas. And then most importantly, use that knowledge to find a way to express your own voice that is new and authentically you. I’m a motion designer and I create with MSI.