Animation

Animation

Nicolas Menard

Nicolas Menard

Nicolas MĂ©nard

nicolasmenard.com

 

Nicolas MĂ©nard is a Canadian artist and animation director who makes short films, GIFs, illustrations, and interactive art. His animated short films have been screened in festivals around the world; his original short, Wednesday With Goddard, won Best Animated Short at the 2017 SXSW film festival.

Ultimately, the only thing that remains a constant is the artist’s role in all of this; to keep developing his language, no matter the output.

I enjoyed how the whole thing felt physical and contained, like a printed poster. I’m personally not a big fan of transitions triggered by scrolling down the page so I appreciated the subtle use of animation here, simply bringing life to abstract icons. The decision to use short blurbs of text made sense to me since the saturated, intense colors don’t encourage the eye to linger on the page too long. An eye-catching, entertaining, and beautifully executed experiment; well done, Anton Repponen!

Nicolas MĂ©nard

Nicolas MĂ©nard is a Canadian artist and

animation director who makes short films, GIFs,

illustrations, and interactive art. His animated

short films have been screened in festivals around the world; his original short, Wednesday With Goddard, won Best Animated Short at the 2017

SXSW film festival.

 

nicolasmenard.com

Nicolas MĂ©nard

Nicolas MĂ©nard is a Canadian artist and

animation director who makes short films, GIFs,

illustrations, and interactive art. His animated

short films have been screened in festivals around the world; his original short, Wednesday With Goddard, won Best Animated Short at the 2017

SXSW film festival.

 

nicolasmenard.com

I've been interested in animation since high school, when my brother installed Macromedia Flash on our family PC. I also enjoyed drawing very much. That’s mostly what I did during my classes. Every class was an opportunity to start a new drawing, or finish one. At 17 I applied to a graphic design course at Collége Ahuntsic in Montreal, even though I had very little understanding or knowledge of the field— coming as I did from a small village of 5,000 people where culture wasn’t exactly blooming. At school I discovered the world of visual communications. It wasn’t exactly how I imagined but I was taken by it immediately!

 

I studied graphic design for 6 years in Canada, with a multidisciplinary curriculum. We learned about printmaking, graphic design, book design, publishing, typography, photography, and so on. My first job was when I was 18, working a for big product company for the summer. The next year I got a job at a TV channel, where I worked four years on and off—mostly during summers but occasionally overlapping with school. It was a hectic experience but I really enjoyed it. I learned very different things on the job than at school but they were all within the same field.

 

I completed my studies with a two year MA in Animation at the Royal College of Art, in London. Before that animation was something I learned on my own, on the side, thanks to the internet and various friends who studied or worked in animation. At the RCA I met people from very different backgrounds. Sometimes I found that people with backgrounds unrelated to animation had a more interesting take on the medium than classically trained people. No matter one’s background there’s a place for everyone in this field.

 

Studying the work of animation masters is very useful to develop a personal language towards motion. One can do that by scrubbing through any film frame by frame. I recommend the short films of Osamu Tezuka. Scottish Canadian animator Norman McLaren also did a series of essential videos on the basics of animation which can be found on the website of the National Film Board of Canada.

 

The works of photographer Eadweard Muybridge are an inspiring look at motion in the world surrounding us. Finally, a classic textbook one will find in most animators’ bookshelf is The Animator’s Survival Kit, by Richard E. Williams. Its basic principles remain forever relevant.

 

I've been interested in animation since high school, when my brother installed Macromedia Flash on our family PC. I also enjoyed drawing very much. That’s mostly what I did during my classes. Every class was an opportunity to start a new drawing, or finish one. At 17 I applied to a graphic design course at Collége Ahuntsic in Montreal, even though I had very little understanding or knowledge of the field— coming as I did from a small village of 5,000 people where culture wasn’t exactly blooming. At school I discovered the world of visual communications. It wasn’t exactly how I imagined but I was taken by it immediately!

 

I studied graphic design for 6 years in Canada, with a multidisciplinary curriculum. We learned about printmaking, graphic design, book design, publishing, typography, photography, and so on. My first job was when I was 18, working a for big product company for the summer. The next year I got a job at a TV channel, where I worked four years on and off—mostly during summers but occasionally overlapping with school. It was a hectic experience but I really enjoyed it. I learned very different things on the job than at school but they were all within the same field.

 

I completed my studies with a two year MA in Animation at the Royal College of Art, in London. Before that animation was something I learned on my own, on the side, thanks to the internet and various friends who studied or worked in animation. At the RCA I met people from very different backgrounds. Sometimes I found that people with backgrounds unrelated to animation had a more interesting take on the medium than classically trained people. No matter one’s background there’s a place for everyone in this field.

 

Studying the work of animation masters is very useful to develop a personal language towards motion. One can do that by scrubbing through any film frame by frame. I recommend the short films of Osamu Tezuka. Scottish Canadian animator Norman McLaren also did a series of essential videos on the basics of animation which can be found on the website of the National Film Board of Canada.

 

The works of photographer Eadweard Muybridge are an inspiring look at motion in the world surrounding us. Finally, a classic textbook one will find in most animators’ bookshelf is The Animator’s Survival Kit, by Richard E. Williams. Its basic principles remain forever relevant.

 

Norman McLaren

Begone Dull Care, 1949

Norman McLaren

Begone Dull Care, 1949

Norman McLaren

Rythmetic, 1956

Norman McLaren

Rythmetic, 1956

Comics are an international language, they can cross boundaries and generations. Comics are a bridge between all cultures. Osamu Tezuka

Comics are an international language, they can cross boundaries and generations. Comics are a bridge between all cultures. Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka

Astro Boy, 1963

Osamu Tezuka

Astro Boy, 1963

Osamu Tezuka

Talking about experimental animations

Japan Society Film archives, 1986

Osamu Tezuka

Talking about experimental animations

Japan Society Film archives, 1986

Eadweard Muybridge

Close Up Movement Of Hand Beating Time. 19th century

Eadweard Muybridge

Close Up Movement Of Hand Beating Time. 19th century

Today on most of my projects I play the role of director and designer, collaborating with animators, compositors, producers and musicians. When the project is smaller I’ll also wear the hat of the animator. My work always begins with pen and paper. The shape of the work varies depending on the assignment. I mostly use Photoshop for drawing, but also animating.

 

One highlight of my career was winning the Jury Award for Best Animated Short at SXSW 2017 for my first professional short film, Wednesday With Goddard. The project was produced at Nexus Studios, and was made in collaboration with visual artist Manshen Lo. We enjoyed the experience so much that six months after completing the film we collaborated again on an MTV Ident. We hope to carry on developing all sorts of projects together.

Today on most of my projects I play the role of director and designer, collaborating with animators, compositors, producers and musicians. When the project is smaller I’ll also wear the hat of the animator. My work always begins with pen and paper. The shape of the work varies depending on the assignment. I mostly use Photoshop for drawing, but also animating.

 

One highlight of my career was winning the Jury Award for Best Animated Short at SXSW 2017 for my first professional short film, Wednesday With Goddard. The project was produced at Nexus Studios, and was made in collaboration with visual artist Manshen Lo. We enjoyed the experience so much that six months after completing the film we collaborated again on an MTV Ident. We hope to carry on developing all sorts of projects together.

I enjoyed how the whole thing felt physical

and contained, like a printed poster.

I’m personally not a big fan of transitions triggered

by scrolling down the page so I appreciated the

subtle use of animation here, simply bringing life

to abstract icons.

The decision to use short blurbs of text made

sense to me since the saturated, intense

colors don’t encourage the eye to linger on the

page too long. An eye-catching, entertaining,

and beautifully executed experiment; well done, Anton Repponen!

I enjoyed how the whole thing felt physical

and contained, like a printed poster.

I’m personally not a big fan of transitions triggered

by scrolling down the page so I appreciated the

subtle use of animation here, simply bringing life

to abstract icons.

The decision to use short blurbs of text made

sense to me since the saturated, intense

colors don’t encourage the eye to linger on the

page too long. An eye-catching, entertaining,

and beautifully executed experiment; well done, Anton Repponen!

In 2016 I directed a series of 18 animations for Facebook to promote its Groups Discover feature, a function allowing users to browse suggested groups in their social circle or city. These videos were aimed to work in three different contexts for three different audiences. The first was college students, the second was parents of young kids, and the third was parents of older kids who are in primary or high school.

 

We did six videos for each group, which were shown on the Facebook feed. Each short film starts with a problem, like a character feeling lonely, or a young mom with a newborn baby who’s feeling isolated. With the help of Facebook groups the young mom would be able to organize a playdate or meet other parents so that she feels more connected.

 

Content these days is consumed very quickly so for Facebook it was important that the stories were clear, eloquent, and most importantly very short! So we had to come up with visual ideas that squeezed a beginning, middle, and end into a short duration of around ten seconds.

 

We also had limitations in terms of the colors. Each group required a different color palette so they could be distinguished. That was an interesting rule because it’s not necessarily something that I would have done as an artist if it was my own piece. All 18 films had to be produced on a rather tight turnaround—the entire production took about three months.

In 2016 I directed a series of 18 animations for Facebook to promote its Groups Discover feature, a function allowing users to browse suggested groups in their social circle or city. These videos were aimed to work in three different contexts for three different audiences. The first was college students, the second was parents of young kids, and the third was parents of older kids who are in primary or high school.

 

We did six videos for each group, which were shown on the Facebook feed. Each short film starts with a problem, like a character feeling lonely, or a young mom with a newborn baby who’s feeling isolated. With the help of Facebook groups the young mom would be able to organize a playdate or meet other parents so that she feels more connected.

 

Content these days is consumed very quickly so for Facebook it was important that the stories were clear, eloquent, and most importantly very short! So we had to come up with visual ideas that squeezed a beginning, middle, and end into a short duration of around ten seconds.

 

We also had limitations in terms of the colors. Each group required a different color palette so they could be distinguished. That was an interesting rule because it’s not necessarily something that I would have done as an artist if it was my own piece. All 18 films had to be produced on a rather tight turnaround—the entire production took about three months.

Kyle Mowatt

Ballpit, 2012

Kyle Mowatt

Ballpit, 2012

There has never been a great film unless it was created in the spirit of the experimental filmmaker. Len Lye

There has never been a great film unless it was created in the spirit of the experimental filmmaker. Len Lye

Len Lye

Kaleidoscope, 1935

Len Lye

Kaleidoscope, 1935

Len Lye

Trade tattoo, 1937

Len Lye

Trade tattoo, 1937

Niki Lindroth von Bahr

The Burden, 2014

Niki Lindroth von Bahr

The Burden, 2014

Today the animation industry is in transition. With the constant influx of new technologies it’s difficult to know which one deserves time and attention. Is it worth going full-on AR or VR? Should we only make animated films for the web and forget about cinema? Or is the focus solely on social media? Students of today have a lot to experiment with.

 

From a UX perspective animation can indeed help bring a certain physicality to virtual environments or websites. But a lot of the time it feels gimmicky, disorientating, even overwhelming. When using animation to enhance usability I would say that less is more. Or, as Milton Glaser put it: “Just enough is more.”

Today the animation industry is in transition. With the constant influx of new technologies it’s difficult to know which one deserves time and attention. Is it worth going full-on AR or VR? Should we only make animated films for the web and forget about cinema? Or is the focus solely on social media? Students of today have a lot to experiment with.

 

From a UX perspective animation can indeed help bring a certain physicality to virtual environments or websites. But a lot of the time it feels gimmicky, disorientating, even overwhelming. When using animation to enhance usability I would say that less is more. Or, as Milton Glaser put it: “Just enough is more.”

Ultimately, the only thing that remains

a constant is the artist’s role in all of this; to keep developing his language, no matter the output.

Ultimately, the only thing that remains

a constant is the artist’s role in all of this; to keep developing his language, no matter the output.