Animation and motion-graphics trends 2017

  • By expectations
  • 13 Jan, 2017

We examine four awesome modern animation trends.

animation,video,design,charleston


Axonometric projection

This is by far the most cost effective way of displaying 3D objects in a 2D world. Styled in an infinite space where the camera pans only on the X and Y axis, most graphics are created before the animation phase. That means there are no surprises and a clear approval process. This style is most suitable to provide a bird's eye view to give the audience a sense of the big picture. It could also be used to demonstrate layers, considering the elements are styled with a strict angles, it makes them highly stackable. Of course the level of complexity could also be upped with 3D isometrics. The result, highly complex visuals with constant movements to narrate the story.


ILLUSTRATION

This style will never get old. Often copied, never duplicated. In our experience, this is best used for narrative purpose. For example, if you had to communicate a journey, or to highlight characters – this is the way to go about it. It's very time consuming considering every frame is drawn by hand and you'll need at least 8 frames per second so the animation doesn't appear too low in frame rate. This style of animation means the sky is the limit. A strong visual must already be conceived even before the pen touches the paper or Wacom tablet. Why? Well, you wouldn't want to be told, at the last minute that the animation is 'not right', because that also means that 500+ frames are 'not right'. Of course when it comes to illustration, every artist has their own flavour on the digital canvas which is why illustrative styled animation is often copied, never duplicated.

HANDCRAFT

This style often blends live-action elements with CGI components to give the audience a sense of wonder and intrigue. There is always something magical or endearing when we see craft work created by tangible materials come to life. When we throw in an external factor such as a pair of hands or a stick prodding a wheel, it becomes 'human' powered. It brings a smile to your face, because face it – when we don't understand how something came to be visually, subconsciously, we go to our default 'oh, its a CGI thing'. When we are able to see how the cogs integrate and work with each other, we appreciate it more. Here are some examples.

LIQUID MOTION

One segment of animation that is often overlooked is transition, how to move smoothly from visual A to B. Often people struggle with putting two and two together and if animation demonstrates that – instant Wow! Though it dates back many years, we are starting to see a real emergence of this trend. Our take? People are tired of geometric shapes and harsh straight lines. When we see something fluid, something liquid, instantly our minds snap into dynamic mode. The result...a truly psychedelic masterpiece.

By expectations 09 Apr, 2017
BUSINESS WEBSITE DESIGN: The S.C. Small Business Development Center holds a marketing workshop, “10 Things to Consider When Shopping For a Small Business Website.” 3-5 p.m. 6296 Rivers Ave., North Charleston. Scheduled speaker is Jennifer Morrow, owner of RootedID. $20. Go to www.charlestonsbdc.com or call 843-740-6160 for more details.


>>>>See more about Charleston, SC business and website design events
By expectations 09 Apr, 2017

If you want to know how to make ads so engaging people forget they're watching an ad at all, take a page out of Dollar Beard Club's marketing book .

In 15 months, this bearded troupe of well-groomed entrepreneurs has racked up 130M video views. Who knew the "beard care" industry could be so engaging?

Despite the fact their videos (you've seen them) are a blend between short comedy skits and an ode to the love of beards (reminiscent of Old Spice commercials, known for their wacky, off-tempo humor and pop culture references), they certainly get the job done. The company has done an astounding job at getting people to pay attention oh so simple: beard care.

Dollar Beard Club is a membership style company (starting at $1 a month) that provides products to their loyal members that facilitate proper beard care. These include the Fundamentals, Essentials, Accessories, and Necessities for keeping a well groomed and healthy maintenance, growth, and style.

To capitalize on November's prized "Beard Month"--where men everywhere decide to either grow mustaches for Movember, or a full forest beard for No Shave November (to benefit charity)--Dollar Beard Club has recruited an arsenal of social media influencers to start what will no doubt be a storm of engagement.

The stars of the video entitled "The Truth About Beards" include:

  • Dan Bilzerian - King of Instagram
  • Richard Sherman - NFL Player
  • Brent Burns - NHL Player
  • Adam Lazzara - Taking Back Sunday Frontman
  • Madison Rowley - 2x World Beard Champion
  • Gay Beards - Instagram Influencers
  • Mischa Janiec - World Natural Bodybuilding Champion
  • The Man Spot - Instagram Infleuncer
  • Sean Whalen - Facebook Infleuncer
  • Max Nosleeves - YouTube Comedian
  • Riley Hawk - Professional Skateboarder (son of Tony Hawk)
  • Clint Walker - Professional Skateboarder
  • Kurt Yaeger - Actor (Sons of Anarchy, NCIS LA)

Be sure to take note of the storytelling in the video. If you are looking to build your brand online using video, Dollar Beard Club is a perfect case study to take a look at.

By expectations 07 Apr, 2017

Animation Libation Studios and Animation Magazine will once again present The World Animation Celebration in 2017. Hosted by Sony Pictures Animation, the international animated short film festival will take place September 30 and October 1 at the studio, located in Culver City, California.

The two-day event will showcase the best in traditional, CG, digital, stop-motion, experimental and VR animation from fllmmakers and students around the world, which will be reviewed by a panel of world-class professional judges. In addition to the film program, attendees will be able to take in industry panels, guest speakers and artist demos, meet with recruiters and school representatives, and participate in portfolio reviews.

Film submission and early bird registration information will be announced soon.

Animation Magazine , now celebrating its 30th anniversary year, is the oldest publication promoting the business, art and technology of animation worldwide throught its print and digital magazine, website, daily newsletter, job board and events.

Animation Libation Studio is a global animation studio and gateway between higher education and the industry that makes it possible for newly emerging artists to work together with seasoned industry professionals from around the world to create original content for film, television, and the web.

A world leading animation and family entertainment production company, Sony Pictures Animation is following its record-breaking Hotel Transylvania monster comedies and mouth- watering Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs worldwide hits with the fully animated reboot Smurfs: The Lost Village in April 2017; The Emoji Movie , a surprising and comic take at the secret world inside our phones, in August 2017; the inspirational feature The Star in November 2017; Hotel Transylvania 3 in July 2018; and an animated Spider-Man feature from the minds of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord in December 2018. The studio’s recent home entertainment releases Open Season: Scared Silly and Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania are currently available on DVD and digital. Sony Pictures Animation is a division of the Sony Pictures Motion Pictures Group.


By expectations 07 Apr, 2017

A web developer can be one of your most critical hires. After all, that's the person who will create the online face of your company and enable you to interact virtually with your customers.

So, it's especially important that you hire the right talent the first time out. Otherwise, you risk hurting your business, as well as wasting time and money seeking a replacement.

Here are five tips that can help in the selection process:

1. Hire for DNA first, then work experience.
When I hire web developers, their personal DNA is the most important consideration. While experience is important, the bigger predictor of success is someone's innate DNA and how it fits your company. Are drive, determination, persistence, curiosity, important to you culture? Or, are you more low-key and relaxed about time management and deadlines? Whatever characteristics make up your culture, you want to ensure that the web developer will fit in.

For example, a brilliant web developer who has worked at a large financial institution may not do well at a startup. Why? A startup typically requires traits like versatility, adaptability, risk-taking and a self-starter personality, but these may be less important at a large company.

Related: Hiring Secrets: Finding a Personality Fit

So, make a list of your company's DNA requirements. Do you foster an environment of relentless drive? Do you want great team players? If you come up with five requirements, make sure the interviewee matches at least three. Hiring for DNA also can help you to start to define a company culture and ensure that your team will work well together.

Of course, it's easy for some people to fake it in an interview, so you may need to evaluate them in other ways to ensure they're a good fit.

2. Try out a new developer with a small project first.
Although you might think you've identified your ideal candidate, just to be sure you should give him or her a small, non-critical project. That can let you observe the person in action and provide additional information beyond the job interview.

You can see how efficient the candidate is in delivering products and how buggy the final product is. Did he or she go above and beyond to get the product delivered? How creative was the solution? How well did he or she work in a team and communicate problems and delays?

3. Pick a developer with aptitude, not a particular skill set.
In the tech space, skills become obsolete every two years, give or take. So, it's better to hire a web developer who can learn new technologies easily rather than someone who knows a specific technology now but may not adapt when a new one comes along.

The easiest way to detect whether someone will adapt well to change is to ask questions that will reveal whether a Web developer has a love for learning. For example:

  • What new programming languages did you learn recently?
  • What are your go-to places for learning new tech tips and tricks?
  • What are your favorite technology conferences?

Related: 5 Steps to a Stress-Free Website Redesign

4. Don't ask trivia questions about programming.
These are examples of trivia questions you want to avoid asking when interviewing web developers:

  • Who is the primary creator of the Java programming language?
  • In what year was PHP released?
  • What is the origin of the Python scripting language's name?

While such information may seem useful, trivia questions are often a terrible way to determine if someone is smart. They just single out people who can memorize things.

As a rule of thumb when I conduct technical interviews, I never ask questions that can be easily searched for and found online. Instead, I focus on open-ended questions and listen. What I look for is how much passion candidates show in their answers and how well they communicate and explain tech terms.

Some examples of open-ended questions:

  • How do you manage conflicts in a web application when different people are editing the same data?
  • Which design patterns have you used, and in what situations?
  • Can you name any differences between object-oriented design and component-based design?

5. Hire slow, fire fast.
Take your time when hiring, but if you realize the person isn't working out, let him or her go as fast as you can. An ineffective web developer can be disruptive to the entire team and potentially the entire project.

At Webgrrls.com, I made a significant hiring mistake a few years ago and let that person stay on for far too long. Although he was a talented lead developer, he'd sometimes disappear for days, missing important deadlines. Missing deadlines can be especially detrimental to startups where resources are tight and the ability to develop and improve products quickly and efficiently can make or break them.

The fire-fast rule may be difficult to follow in small companies where there's often a feeling of everyone being in it together and forming close friendships. But don't let that stop you.

-Entreprenuer Magazine

By expectations 07 Apr, 2017
Anjali Bisaria
January 24, 2017

Mohammed Ali is a website designer.  He is also an amazingly confident kid!  The 16-year-old recently rejected a £5 million offer for a website he designed in his bedroom! That's over Rs. 42 crores he said no to!

Ali, is responsible for  having designed weneed1.com, a price comparison website, believes that it will be worth a lot more in future.

A buyout that could have literally made him a millionaire was offered just before Christmas. The kid said, as reported by Metro ,

"We met the investors in London, they were a global data driven company, and they didn’t realise I created all the technology involved. The main reason we rejected the offer was because, if the technology and concept is worth millions already, just think how much it will be worth once people use it."

Of course, he realises the big risk he took by rejecting the offer but Ali wants his website to become a household name.

And it's not the first time the genius boy has won something big. His video game 'Project 2006' previously earned him a £30,000 reward!

His website, that Ali co-created with his 60-year-old business partner, Chris Thorpe, will launch on January 28.

By expectations 01 Feb, 2017

Artist Fin Lee was living the not-so-glamorous freelance life, when they got the gig of a lifetime.

In fact, if you watched the 2016 Grammys, you probably saw their work. They designed and illustrated the costumes Lady Gaga's backup dancers wore during her tribute to David Bowie.

After years of struggling to catch a big break, Lee (artist name: Lostboy ), who identifies as queer and uses they/them pronouns, finally got a foot in the door.


Lee's artwork in the style of Egon Shiele (Bowie's artist icon), as well as Bowie's actual hands on jumpsuits for the dancers. Image used with permission.

You'd think designing costumes for Lady Gaga would be a career-changing milestone. But that's not how things went for Lee.

Lee continued to get the occasional illustrator job, but still had to work as a barista to make ends meet. Occasionally, they'd be in the running for a big, exciting gig again, only to watch as someone else got the job instead. Lee noticed a troubling and frustrating pattern to who that "someone else" often was. Though not always the same person, these artists had a few traits in common — namely, they were male, and often white, straight, and cisgender too.

"I think the way our society is — we’re used to seeing a certain type of person in a certain type of field," Lee explains.


Employers or potential employers often aren't aware they might have subconscious biases influencing their hiring process, but the data doesn't lie. This is a problem.

According to a study recently published in the American Sociological Review , white men are more than three timesas likely to get called in for a job interview than a woman with the same qualifications. And that discrimination gets exponentially worse for transgender women.

So where do you go to find work when a potential employer's subconscious biases about who you are prevents them from seeing the good work you're capable of doing?

The turning point in Lee's career came when they became an early user of a new website called Women Who Draw .

Women Who Draw is a database of artists designed to give marginalized artists visibility and a deeper sense of community in a competitive field. The website specifies that it is "trans-inclusive and includes women, trans and gender non-conforming illustrators."


Lee was brought on as a beta tester by one of the site's creators, San Francisco illustrator Wendy MacNaughton . MacNaughton, together with fellow creator and artist Julia Rothman , hoped Lee, a queer Asian artist, could offer advice on how they wanted to see the site operate.

Lee happily obliged. "It's the first of it’s kind that I’ve seen where it’s so inclusive," Lee says.


“Women [on the site] can choose how they want to identify in terms of their race, orientation, location, religion," says MacNaughton. "There are many other ways people identify, but those four seemed very relevant in terms of visibility, and useful for art directors when they’re looking for specific people who might have specific experience, expertise, or perspective."

For employers who want to hire more diverse illustrators, Women Who Draw is an incredibly helpful resource.

Heather Vaughan, an artist and art director for a gaming company, explained over email that "[Women Who Draw] actually came at a really great time. She says she was "specifically looking to find female artists to work with ... since women in games are an even smaller group."


Today, Women Who Draw features over 700 artists, with portfolios that are an incredible representation of diversity, both artistically and demographically.Gracia Lam, who is Asian-Canadian and identifies as gay, says that Women Who Draw makes it so much easier for clients to choose illustrators who can help tell "fuller, more well rounded" stories.

Similarly, Annelise Capossela, a Brooklyn-based illustrator, says that Women Who Draw helps art directors who are looking to diversify their hiring pool and make the conscious choice to search for illustrators and artists who have "uniquely personal insight into certain topics or experiences."


Shortly after Women Who Draw's public launch in December 2016, Lee got their first big editorial job.

On Christmas Day, Lee got a call from Rodrigo Honeywell, the Art Director of the travel section at the New York Times, offering Lee an opportunity to illustrate the feature image for an upcoming article.

Honeywell found Lee through Women Who Draw's database.


Lee has also seen a major uptick in visits to their website since WWD's database launched — over 600 hits on the first day alone.

Lee has come a long way in the year since the 2016 Grammys. But it was Women Who Draw that really helped them open the door to a full-time career as an artist.

Thanks to all the exposure from Women Who Draw, Lee now has a full-time job with an illustration agency that represents artists. They no longer have to serve coffee.

While that's great news for them, equal opportunities for artists like Lee may diminish under a Trump administration. There couldn't be a better time for a site like this.

"For someone who's part of a marginalized community, I feel like I'm finally being seen," Lee says.


By expectations 13 Jan, 2017

While other platforms have seen significant rises in video content, YouTube remains the king of online video - and as such, it should be a critical consideration in all of your online marketing efforts.

So how can you use YouTube tо gеt more customers and build your business?

Here are some key tips

1. Establish a YouTube Presence for Your Business

First, you need to start with the basics, setting up a brand profile on YouTube.

Setting up a YouTube business profile is easy - you need a Google account to sign up for a YouTube profile, which you'll already have if you use Gmail or if you've ever used Google+. Using your Google account, you can sign into YouTube - from here you can create a brand channel or a specific brand account, which you can connect to your personal profile .

2. Set Up Customized Graphic Background for Branding

Once you have a brand profile established, you can sеt uр аnd customize the background for your YouTube channel .

Your background image will represent your business, so it needs to be professional, and there are a heap уоu can find an inexpensive freelance graphic artist such as Upwork or Fiverr to assist, if required.

Make sure your background image is consistent with аll оf your other online media channels like Facebook and Twitter. This wау, people will come to recognize уоu nоt only bу your brand name, but also by your logo and presence.

Here is an example from Nike:

This simple, yet bold, black and white background instantly grabs your attention and is memorable.

By expectations 13 Jan, 2017


Axonometric projection

This is by far the most cost effective way of displaying 3D objects in a 2D world. Styled in an infinite space where the camera pans only on the X and Y axis, most graphics are created before the animation phase. That means there are no surprises and a clear approval process. This style is most suitable to provide a bird's eye view to give the audience a sense of the big picture. It could also be used to demonstrate layers, considering the elements are styled with a strict angles, it makes them highly stackable. Of course the level of complexity could also be upped with 3D isometrics. The result, highly complex visuals with constant movements to narrate the story.


By expectations 12 Jan, 2017

You’re finally ready to take the big step: It’s time to get a website for your small business, or to get a major refresh of your old site.

And so… now what?

Let’s assume you’ve already tackled the first problem: You know you need this thing built for you. You don’t have time to become a self-taught website designer. Neither do most of your peers. 54% of small businesses outsource website and graphic design, according to the WASP Barcode 2016 State of Small Business Report .

But that’s just the first of many issues. For instance, what do you want to have done? How much will it cost? Where will you find this designer? How will you tell if they’re good or not?

They’re all really good questions. Here’s how to answer them:

What do you want to have done?

Knowing the scope of the work helps you figure out what a realistic budget should be. It’s also critical for choosing which website designer to hire. For instance, if you’re a very small local business (aka a “micro business”), you may only need a six-page website. These basic pages might be enough:

  • Homepage
  • About us
  • Contact us
  • Our services / pricing
  • Testimonials page
  • One landing page or events page

That’s one lean website, but if you’re just starting out and you don’t have a big budget, it’s a great first step.

Recommended by Forbes

Or maybe you already have a basic site like that, but it’s old and not mobile-friendly. Say you want to add a simple blog, a couple more product pages, and give the whole thing a new look.

Whatever you want for your business website, write it down. Think about it for a bit. Ask your employees or your peers what they think about your site. Or even better – ask a few of your customers what they think of your website.

From all that input, write a short list of must-do, must-have things. Be really specific about what you want done. Write it all down. You’re basically writing out what you want the designer to do.

Caption: It’s okay to “steal” elements you like from other websites for your own site.

Find sites you really like

Want to assure your success even more? Spend an hour or two looking through websites that are similar to yours or in a complementary niche.

Make detailed notes about what you like about these sites. See a contact page you love? A typeface you want to use? Make a note of it and capture the link.

You’ll be capturing concrete, actionable information for your designer as you do this. It’ll cut down the time it takes to create your site, and thus reduce your costs by a lot. It’s also one of the best ways to ensure you end up with a site you’ll really like.


By expectations 10 Jan, 2017

Your website is the hub of your online presence – period. (Well, maybe that’s not exactly true from you right now, but it must be!)

As such, it has to do some heavy lifting and that heavy lifting must extend far beyond the interactive brochure still built today by many business owners.

Your website must tell a story. A story must be engaging and there must be a hero, a problem, a quest, a call to arms, and a promise of a happy ending.

The trouble with most sites, however, stems to some degree from how the web design industry is viewed.

A business creates a great product or service, develops the processes for marketing said product or service and then turns to a designer to create a gorgeous set of web pages to showcase it.

At some point, they determine they are going to need lots of pretty words to go with that awesome design, and then eventually they will need someone to “SEO it all.”

Of course, today the path described above is a recipe for disaster and waste.

The purpose of your site

As the digital hub for your business, your website must be able to attract the right prospect, as well as build trust, provide information, offer a guided trial experience, convert, and nurture and do so without friction or confusion.

Your must build your website with a narrowly defined ideal customer, deep knowledge of their challenges and pains, and instant delivery of a strong message of differentiation. In other words, your website is a study in marketing strategy and the voice of your online presence.

It must make people feel something quickly, it must draw them into their story, it must help visitors realize quickly that you get them, and that you have what it takes to change their current reality.

This is a process, not a webpage!

Guiding the journey

The buyer holds the cards today and expects to find whatever they are looking for online. They research, read, shop, bookmark, subscribe, revisit, compare, rate and review as standard markers along the buying process.

Websites today don’t create demand, they organize behavior and this requires strategy, storytelling, research, search engine optimization, intention, AND a design that facilitates what people expect from the sites they visit.

A storytelling home page might include a message that grabs the reader right where it hurts (strategy message, SEO, trust), trust markers in the form of testimonials (trust), a story about someone who was helped (proof, education), a scannable description or two about products and services (SEO, education), a story about the person and purpose behind the brand (trust, content), more trust markers (more trust and proof), a picture of what it could be like for the reader (content, aspiration, SEO), and several compelling calls to act (trial, trust, nurture). Here’s a good example of site that practices this approach

Great web design today supports; it does not dominate.

Conversion matters

Every interaction with your site is a conversion of some sort. Guiding and stimulating the behavior of the visitor is the objective.

When a first-time visitor comes to your site your goal is to convince them to come back – that’s a conversion. When they come back your goal is to get them to stay and read some more – that’s a conversion. When they stick around your goal is to interest them in specific information that educates – that’s a conversion. When they start consuming your ebooks, newsletters, and webinars your goal is the get them to tell you about their needs and challenges – that’s a conversion.

Okay, I suspect you get it – a conversion is much more than a purchase, it’s a set of micro-commitments that lead to a profitable purchase and your site must light the path at every stage.

This is perhaps the trickiest part as every visitor is different. They have a different story, they have difference knowledge about their problem and your solution, they are often at different points in the journey and they certainly have their own way of making purchase decisions.

Conversion is about helping them make the choice that seems right for them, not about forcing then through a funnel.

Measuring every activity, click, hover, page visit, and even time on site, is the only way to start to understand what’s working and not working. It’s the only way to personalize the journey based on what you learn. True conversion nuts test and can tell you what elements of their contact us form are causing friction.

You don’t have to go that level, but heck understanding what people who respond to your Facebook Ads do when they hit your site might be an awesome first step.

SEO at the start

Great web design starts with keyword research.

Keyword research, long the workhorse of the SEO pro, is an invaluable tool when it comes to developing strategy. Keyword research not only helps you determine popular search terms, it helps you better understand your ideal client, get a deeper grasp on their problems and intentions, and reveals clues to how they find, research, and source products and services like yours.

This knowledge allows you to create the right structure for your site before you ever start choosing colors and fonts.

Understanding the story structure of your home page and subsequent main pages is how you build and use your website to attract the right clients!

Content at the heart

In the end, your website is a container for your content, pure and simple. Nice packaging helps a visitor find and consume your content, but useful content is what drives the online machine.

Of course, content for content sake isn’t what I’m referring to here. Your content must be designed with intent. You must have content that helps create awareness, content that builds trust, content that educates, content the converts and even content to stimulate referrals.

By building a website and subsequent content around the story your prospect is telling themselves you also create context and that’s the key winning conversion with your content.

Hire a storyteller

You can no longer afford to view your website as a design only adventure. Your web hub must be built with your overall marketing strategy in mind and for my money, that starts by engaging a marketing professional who begins with strategy and who can turn your strategy into a story and who can make your content the voice of strategy.

If you want to talk to me about this idea send me a note with the text – I want to talk to a storyteller.

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