Maker Series: Chapter 47
A Fun Visual Journey
Alex Grigg, Animation Director, Australia
Fabrik: We’re so pleased to have you as our next Maker. Can you tell us a little about yourself in your own words?
Alex Grigg: "Hi, I'm Alex, an animation director from Australia. I've been working in the animation industry for about 15 years now and usually earn a crust directing short, animated films and commercials."
Fabrik: How did you become a Director, and what attracted you to art direction and animation?
Alex Grigg: "I've always loved getting my hands dirty in every part of the animation process. After freelancing as a 2D and 3D animator for about 5 years I finally started making my own work and putting it online. That caught the attention of a filmmaking collective Late Night Work Club in 2013 and they asked if I'd like to make a film for their Anthology project. It was such a massive learning curve, but I really enjoyed it. That was my first real directing experience and from there I had clients begin to commission me to make projects for them. Animation is such a powerful medium. Live action is incredible, but you are largely restricted by your access to equipment, money, crew, actors etc, but with animation if you're patient enough you can basically tell any story you can imagine. Plus, drawing is fun!"
Fabrik: As an Animation Director, what are your responsibilities from drawings through to production?
Alex Grigg: "Typically, I'm mostly involved in finding a visual style and building an entertaining story. Clients will often approach me with a script in mind and I usually work with them to shape it into something that we can all be excited about. Once I have that figured out, I usually try and find a visual style that compliments the tone of the story. After that it's a collaborative process where animators and designers work with me to bring the whole thing to life."
Fabrik: Whilst working on the NaturNes project, what were the first visual ideas you discussed and explored with your team?
Alex Grigg: "This was the follow up to a piece directed by Manddy Wyckens. The brief was to try and make something that felt like an evolution of that existing style. So, with that in mind we designed a set of characters for the top and tail of the piece that spoke to that existing world and then built something quite different for the imagined world in the middle of the film. I was really interested in creating a fun visual journey that reflected the sensation of tasting something delicious for the first time. Painting a rhythm with the colours and camera moves was something that I really enjoyed."
Fabrik: What software did you and your team use to bring the NaturNes animation to life?
Alex Grigg: "We did the designs in Photoshop and all of the animation was hand drawn TVpaint (a French 2D animation software)."
Fabrik: We've noticed your step-by-step introduction to animating in Photoshop. Are tutorials something you're looking to create more of and invest time in?
Alex Grigg: "Actually, yes! I've had a passion project bubbling away in the background called ‘Animation for Anyone’. It's a free education resource designed to help people get into animation. I don’t really focus on software or specific styles, it’s more of a big picture series talking about how to think like an animator and how to find your own voice. The first 6 classes are out on YouTube for anyone interested in learning more."
Fabrik: What are some of the most challenging parts of being an Animation Director and what are the most rewarding?
Alex Grigg: "Animating is a slow process. After the excitement of coming up with an idea and mapping it all out it can be incredibly hard to then sit with it for the months of hard work required to bring it to life. This is probably why it took me so long to start making my own personal work. The rewarding part is getting to share that idea with people when it's finished. Its really nice to see people connect with an idea that you've been thinking about for months."
Fabrik: Are you able to give us insight on any exciting new projects that you may have in the pipeline?
Alex Grigg: "At the moment, ‘Animation for Anyone’ is really taking up a lot of my creative brain space, but I'm also working on a couple of short film ideas which will hopefully see the light of day."
Final question. What do you like most about Fabrik? What's your favourite feature?
Alex Grigg: "I've always liked its simplicity."
Get In Condition
We're always keen to see what you've created. Follow our social feeds and tag your new work with #onfabrik when you're ready to show it to the world. Apologies; we can't add spec work, ads or commercial content to our Maker or Conditioner series.