“Where did all the creative people go?? Footloose just came out!” Spouted Joshua Davis Thursday night. OFFF Cincinnati had begun with a bang and I was eagerly awaiting what the next day had in store for us.
To give you a little background, OFFF (Online Flash Film Festival) was started by Hector Ayuso, a Barcelona-based graphic and motion designer, in 2001. The festival has primarily been held internationally, with stops in Barcelona & Paris over the last couple of years. Now it was making it’s 2011 U.S. debut in Cincinnati, Ohio and what a better place to host such an event than the Contemporary Arts Center located downtown. Cincinnati’s art & design community was very well represented, meaning there were a lot of dudes wearing these & these…but I kid. Let’s dive into the stellar lineup of speakers…shall we?
An insanely talented pair of illustrators who happen to be brothers. This duo was the perfect choice to pull the 9:30 slot…HIGH ENERGY! There presentation consisted of an audience driven keyboard (more on this in a sec), two mascot suits, a FaceTime chat with their mother, and free postcards & stickers for the audience. Now, more on that keyboard. It was wireless, assisted with their presentation, was given to a member of the audience, and that member was ME.
Here’s a pic I shot of it:
Basic keyboard functionality included buttons for: kicking, punching, popping up a mariachi dude with a mustache, animating a floating turd across the screen, etc. Pretty basic stuff.
A really talented designer & art director from Montreal, Canada. The best part of this presentation for me, was the breakdowns for all his shots. Plenty of behind the scenes footage to show here, and there’s no better way to demonstrate how something was pulled off than by showing the unpolished raw footage. A great example of this is the making of Danse Dance an interactive video.
Lernert & Sander
Two Dutch directors who love to celebrate Easter…you can just tell (see Chocolate Bunny). One of my favorite pieces they presented was a poster series commissioned by Werner Borkes for an Amsterdam Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
The Mill - Jeff Stevens
This was the presentation I was most geeked for. The Mill is an outstanding VFX company that boasts the work to prove it. Jeff Stevens is the Design Director of their New York office. His presentation contained a ton of breakdowns for some of their commercial work (see here, here, & here). One of the more impressive things showcased was an interactive display that The Mill uses to showcase their entire portfolio of work. It’s called Mill Touch, and it is incredibly cool.
The most valuable point I took away from Jeff’s presentation had to do with The Mill evolving as a company. For many years The Mill had been a juggernaut in the industry and were thought of as purely a post-production company. When more and more small companies started creating the same kind of work that The Mill was producing, it was evident that something needed to evolve within the company. That evolution came in the form of a new Design Department, that up until a few years ago, The Mill didn’t have.
VASAVA VA-who? Vasava is a is a communication studio with 18 designers specializing in print, web, motion, 3D animation, and video. Vasava’s philosophy on creativity is broken down into six steps:
Vasava put together the opening titles for OFFF Cincinnati and they were beautifully done. Check it out here.
Joshua Davis This guy is kind of out there, but in a good way. The passion he has for design is palpable, and that is refreshing to experience. He has spoken at every OFFF since it’s beginning, and has a TED conference under his belt also. I suppose I would describe his workflow as programmatic design. He is obsessed with patterns, and finding them in everyday scenarios. Using his own proprietary software he generates artwork from basic shapes in a way that would take the human hand years to accomplish. He designed the graphical display for IBM’s Watson (The Face of Watson), which if you watch Jeopardy you may recognize.
Hopefully Cincinnati will be a target destination for more conferences like this. It was a great opportunity to network with others in the art community and gain perspective from great conversation.
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