Expert Insight: Kevin Woods and Georgio Bosnic Talk All things Animation
Meet Kevin, animator and founder of FiveForty, and Georgio, freelance senior designer - both experienced motion designers who have carved out a niche in the ever-expanding world of animation. Here they talk to the root about how they got to where they are today, the current state of the industry and where it may be headed tomorrow.
Can you give me a brief history of your career as an animator and designer?
Kevin: Animation has always been my passion, so I looked for roles as a multimedia designer where I could apply animation to everything I worked on. I started out in a digital agency in Cambridge, where I was a 3D modeller and animator and got some experience with front end frameworks while I was there.
Then I moved to London, worked in an agency specifically on Universal and Paramount pictures movie release websites and digital advertising materials (digital posters, games, interactive banners etc). Then I went straight into freelancing so I could focus on the exact kind of work I enjoy the most, that being anything animated and creative.
Georgio: I started out in Formula 1 racing on the marketing and sponsorship side, which was an incredible experience. From there I moved to a start-up agency working in the healthcare space where I was able to work across so many different mediums and rise to the top of the agency as it grew. With this exposure I was able to fuse motion design across experiential interfaces, videos, apps and websites. Now, I'm designing on projects and brands outside of healthcare which I'm enjoying immensely.
What are some of the aspects of the job that have changed most since you started out?
Kevin: Web design has changed a lot since I started out. I was using flash to create a lot of the interactive content I built 10 years ago, plus it was a big player in video streaming back then. Apple killed flash and HTML5/Canvas took over. Then web became responsive/mobile first. Viewing web content was leaning towards mobile more so all content needed to work on any shape or size screen.
In terms of the job itself, it is clear companies are much more open nowadays to having freelancers that can be called upon for certain projects, rather than having a full team in house. And both employees and freelancers working remotely is much more common now.
Georgio: Technology and tools have changed so significantly over this time. It is an industry that is constantly evolving, not only on the production or collaboration side but also the many new ways we consume and interact with content, especially with the growth of mobile devices.
What are some of the current trends you have identified in animation?
Kevin: Whiteboard Animation. Although nothing new (it is the oldest form of animation) it has, over the past couple of years, become increasingly popular with marketers for its stylistic aesthetic and simple effectiveness. Along the same lines of whiteboard animation, 2D animation is making a comeback as marketers look for simple and the most cost effective ways of getting their brands noticed.
High contrast cell animation, using high contrasting colours and angular design to give animations a simplified, cel-style look which is fun and attention grabbing. Most of the current trends tend to focus on delivering information in a simple direct way, while still being fun and eye catching.
Georgio: Hand drawn styles and characters are popular at the moment as brands try to differentiate from each other. Grain and colour gradients is being used a lot moving away from the flat illustration styles. I’m also seeing more mixed-media or collage type animations which are fun and quirky.
What do you see for the future of animation in terms of front-end development?
Seeing a strong shift towards AR/VR and 360 Degree Animation. These technologies help create immersive stories. Another key trend is animated series for brands. Brands and marketers are beginning to embrace the idea of using animated series to build relationships with their customers and keep them returning to see the next instalment.
What do you see for the future of animation in general?
Georgio: Animation will have an increasingly greater role to play with app and service design. There are some great examples out there of the incredible creative use of it within UX across onboarding, transitions, and interactions. It is exciting to see how animation is breathing new life and energy into a web that started to all look and feel the same.
What are some of the questions you are asked most frequently by clients?
Kevin: Most work comes from word of mouth so they’ve already seen my showreel. But I get these standard questions a lot: How quickly can we turn this around? When can you start? What is your site build process?
Georgio: Why will it take that long? Can I have it by tomorrow. I want it less black but not grey. Generally, client’s questions about animation projects are time scale based. Most are shocked by the time required for producing animations.
Is there much difference between animation for video or animation for web?
Georgio: Broadly speaking, animated films, shows, games and adverts are a labour of love to take you on a journey, be it for entertainment, education or to sell you something. Animation used specifically for UX is to help guide your choices and interactions with the brand’s product or service. There is of course crossover, and that will continue to grow with the adoption of AR and VR technology where interactions will no longer be restricted to screens, but will surround us.
Which development/animation tools do you find the most effective?
Kevin: Hands down, for web: Chrome developer tools. And for animation: After Effects / C4D
Georgio: There is a lot of choice. It depends on your craft and project output, whether it is 2D or 3D, large animation studio or small agency.
What are the most important features to look for when choosing a CMS?
Kevin: There are three:
As the world of content management and website building becomes more and more democratised and accessible, ease of use emerges more and more as a priority. Developer knowledge should no longer be necessary to run and even construct some components of a site, which is why a content management and e-comms platform that enables you to be more flexible with the front-end delivery is so important. In a world where content, like the animations that Kevin and Georgio create, is king, you need a modern, agile system to bring that content to life. That’s why we created the root.