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Über dieses Buch

This book, written from the perspective of a designer and educator, brings to the attention of media historians, fellow practitioners and students the innovative practices of leading moving image designers. Moving image design, whether viewed as television and movie title sequences, movie visual effects, animating infographics, branding and advertising, or as an art form, is being increasingly recognised as an important dynamic part of contemporary culture. For many practitioners this has been long overdue. Central to these designers' practice is the hybridisation of digital and heritage methods.
Macdonald uses interviews with world-leading motion graphic designers, moving image artists and Oscar nominated visual effects supervisors to examine the hybrid moving image, which re-invigorates both heritage practices and the handmade and analogue crafts. Now is the time to ensure that heritage skills do not atrophy, but that their qualities and provenance are understood as potent components with digital practices in new hybrids.



Chapter 1. Introduction

The introduction sets out the aims of the book which are to recognize moving image design as an important dynamic part of contemporary culture, and bring to the attention of media historians, practitioners and students alike the innovative practices of leading moving image designers. Central to their practice is the hydridisation of digital and heritage methods. ‘Heritage’ can be defined as traditional, analogue and handmade practices that predate or overlap digital technology. ‘Digital’ is considered in this book as a description of the means of production and also a medium of communication. Recognising the media theories of Lev Manovich (2007; 2013) the author discusses the merging of previously distinct processes and media that have formed a whole new experience and language.
Iain Macdonald

Hybrid Motion: Past, Present and Future


Chapter 2. Heritage and Digital

Macdonald introduces the concept of heritage and digital media within the domain of moving image design. ‘Heritage’ is defined as traditional, analogue and handmade practices that predate or overlap digital technology. ‘Digital’ is considered as a description of the means of production and also a medium of communication. A theoretical overview is provided to position the book in relation to Walter Benjamin and Jean Baudrillard amongst others. Using the writing of typographer Eric Gill, who abhorred the idea of combining craft and machine-made design, Macdonald argues that a hybrid approach can revitalize film and graphic heritage crafts that might atrophy and die if they were not combined in digital media practices.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 3. Skills and Educational Research

Macdonald gives a brief introduction to the technological changes of the last decades of the twentieth century that affected creative industries as well as art and design education. Williams (Culture, 1981) argues that as new technologies arrive there is more of an overlap than an immediate replacement, but today the situation is particularly confused by the rise of online social media and communication. The democratising impact of digital technological advances in moving image design and particularly how that affects art and design education are discussed in relation to practice-based learning.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 4. Hybrid Futures in Art & Design Education

In this chapter Macdonald examines how hybrid practices can be developed through a pedagogy that offers a pluralistic and diverse approach to media and informs emerging student talent of possible routes of enquiry beyond corporate software. The role of the artist-educator can be to teach emerging creative talent by example and give them agency to read and understand the media from the past, present and what could be the future. Recognising the different skills required by artists and designers to embrace a multiplicity of technologies can provide sites of resistance to technological and socio-economic changes. A pedagogical imperative is argued to ensure that heritage skills do not atrophy, but develop and are reinvigorated with new possibilities combined with digital practices and platforms of communication.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 5. Political Economy: Conditions of Production

Using his own experience as a witness and participant in the convulsion that the BBC, and specifically the BBC Graphic Design department, underwent, Macdonald aims to illuminate the cultural change to the creative industries in many advanced industrialised countries that has occurred over the last 20 years. Many industries in the past have undergone similar ruptures and transformations and they will again in the future. Macdonald hopes to draw lessons from an analysis of television graphic design using examples of work that can point out the attributes and skills that a new designer across the globe will need to have and obtain in order to withstand future industrial and cultural changes.
Iain Macdonald

Narratives of Production


Chapter 6. Graham McCallum: Executive Creative Director of Kemistry

McCallum’s long career covers the most radical and challenging developments in television graphic design: the introduction of colour, video and digital technology. He moves with the times, and his inquisitive exploration of materials and processes are fuelled by his creative and intellectual curiosity as a designer. McCallum’s perspective is rare, and he provides an eloquent critique of the business and moving image culture. McCallum has gone further than many to raise the public awareness and status of design through his gallery in Shoreditch, London. The Kemistry Gallery sits beneath his design studio offices and offers a window to contemporary graphic designers, as well as celebrating some of the legends of the last 50 years, himself included.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 7. Nobrain: Directors and Animators

The French studio Nobrain comprises directors Saii, Charles and Niko, who began their careers as compositing artist, computer graphics editor and post-production supervisor, respectively. Despite what may appear to be a digital orthodoxy they were responsible for the acclaimed multimedia animation sequence for the Christmas on BBC2 ident (2011–2015). Nobrain prefers a rougher, more organic texture and aesthetic to the once ubiquitous smooth veneer of CGI. Nobrain’s CGI experience informs its process to exploit the speed and cost-efficiency of computers to often imitate heritage practices. The Christmas on BBC2 idents involved puppeteers working as consultants to provide the raw movement of characters, which were then imitated with greater flexibility that is only possible with CGI software.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 8. Richard Stammers: Visual Effects Supervisor

The Moving Picture Company has long been at the forefront of the movie visual effects (VFX) industry, having started as a television post-production facilities studio in London’s Soho in the 1970s. Richard Stammers is one of their world-leading VFX supervisors who has worked on Prometheus (2012) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) to name just a few. He reflects on his design education and how that informed his career path to VFX. Stammers explains the factors that influence the creative decisions when balancing aesthetics and narrative in constructing and designing the spectacular (and even unspectacular) sequences that have drawn in huge cinema audience around the world. The advantages of combining real elements with CGI and the comparison of using model miniatures over CGI are debated.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 9. Adam Valdez: Visual Effects Supervisor

The Moving Picture Company has long been at the forefront of the movie visual effects (VFX) industry, having started as a television post-production facilities studio in London’s Soho in the 1970s. Adam Valdez is one of their world-leading VFX supervisors who has worked on The Jungle Book (2016), Maleficent (2014) and The Lord of the Rings (2002). Valdez describes how he learned his VFX craft through working with real lights and cameras in a studio on Jurassic Park (1993), then being mentored by Star Wars VFX legend Phil Tippett. Valdez offers a contrasting argument that is more concerned with the emotional impact of the narrative over any particular process or production methodology.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 10. Eric Dyer: Moving Image Artist

Artist and academic Eric Dyer uses CGI pre-visualisation to test the designs of his models, which are then manufactured using 3D printing technology. Inspired by the spinning animated sculptures of Gregory Barsamian, Dyer has developed immersive gallery installations that exhibit both a moving image artefact and the model that was used to make the video. His excitement in his work comes from designing something new that comes from an investigation of process and practice, without necessarily having an end outcome in mind at the outset. This is an approach that is contrary to his professional career, which began as a motion graphic designer in New York at Lee Hunt Associates and Razorfish where an end result was specific to a brief.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 11. Momoco: Motion Graphic Designers

Momoco is an award-wining small studio based in London’s Soho that began in Los Angeles when Nic Benns from England and Miki Kato from Japan teamed together after graduating from California Institute of the Arts in 1999. Under the influence of Ed Fella and Jeff Keedy they had a privileged education in typography and graphic design that has contributed to their television and film titles for HBO, BBC and Hollywood studios. Their understanding of heritage graphic processes and approach to research are essential to the success of their ideas. They combine context and narrative factors with great technical skill in Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D. Momoco sees a bright future for interdisciplinary creative work that blends literature and music with moving image design.
Iain Macdonald

Chapter 12. Conclusion

This conclusion brings together the central argument that in moving image design digital technology can enable and facilitate greater expression of heritage practices in a hybrid form. The importance of the political and economic forces that shape media and education are highlighted. Moving image offers stimulating opportunities for screen-based digital skills, 3D modelling and drawing to develop together, allowing contemporary modes of creation to be taught in a structured programme in an arts context. The argument is made that it is the role of artists and designers to continually rethink our relationship with technology, rather than regarding technology as a means to an end.
Iain Macdonald


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