We’ve not had an interview on Motion Design Love for while, but we’re back with a bang with the Legend that is Rob Redman, you may know him better from Pariah Studios, Making it Look Great 8 or as Technical Editor of 3D World magazine. Whether you know him or not, read on to find out more about him!
Tell us about yourself, who are you? Where do you work and how long have been in the industry?
I’m Rob Redman and I’m a designer and 3D artist, working as a freelancer under the name of Pariah Studios. I’m also the technical editor at 3D World magazine, the biggest industry mag in the world! I’ve been doing this for over a decade now. I started off as a photographer and designer and after a few years I started to experiment with the 3D. I caught the bug early on, using Lightwave on the Amiga, just adding as much 3D as I could where appropriate.
After a while I was doing more 3D than photography (which I still do a lot of – I actually write for some photography magazines as well) and decided to kind of re-brand myself. I’ve been pretty successful as a one man band and have been hired by some great clients, from Ministry of Sound, O2, Engine, The Who and many others.
About three years ago I made the move into online and started my site up, mostly to share some of the tricks and tips I’ve learned but also to show some of my work. For some reason the site became pretty popular and I was soon getting heaps of hits and masses of mail, at which point I thought it best to up my game and produce some more ‘polished’ training. At around this time I started talking to a few other people like Nick Campbell, with who I made the GSG Light Kit Pro and the Texture pack. I also started recording a full training course and teamed up with my good friend John Dickinson to host Making it Look Great 8, followed a year later by MILG9.
At the end of 2011 I was talking to another hugely talented designer, Rob Leger, and we made the decision to team up with our free tutorials and not long after Motioneers was born. The site is still in it’s infancy but has a great community feel.
I’ve been labelled as a C4D guy for a couple of years now but I use a load of 3D apps and I intend to start demonstrating a few others now. In fact I recently uploaded the first Lightwave video.
What was it about Motion graphics that interests you?
Mograph is a natural progression for me, as it means I can add a new element to my designs and play with concepts that I perhaps wouldn’t otherwise. Moving images always fascinate me and a good piece of mograph work often gets me as emotive as my favourite guitarists (I play a few instruments and some players out there make the hair stand up on the back of my neck).
And how did you get into the industry?
I started out as a photographer and designer, working for Games Workshop (who make warhammer table top games). I met some of the worlds best artists there and that’s when I made my first freelance contacts. I left there about twelve years ago and started working as lead designer at a small agency in Bath, England (my favourite city – luckily I work there again now).
Is there any advice you would give to someone who was trying to get into the industry?
If I had to give a newcomer to the industry a piece of advice it would have to be watch as much as you can and talk to other designers. Absorb as much as you possibly can and use that to start developing your own style.
What do you enjoy most about working in motion graphics?
I love seeing things come to life. A lot of projects I work on start off as rough sketches or storyboards and there is nothing better than seeing them take form and motion.
What has been you biggest highlight in motion graphics?
I’ve had so many things happen so far in my career it’s hard to pick but I did a piece for the Who which was personally signed off by Roger Daltry. That was pretty cool, specially knowing that it would be shown behind the band in arena concerts.
What made you start Motioneers or how did Motioneers come about?
Motioneers was born from mine and Robert’s love of our jobs and our community. When I started out there were no sites to visit for info. In fact there was barely an internet. I’m sure I have picked up a few nuggets of useful info in my time and I wanted to share. I think Robert is the same. We both had our own places and methods to do this but it felt right to team up and create one comprehensive site for people to visit.
Is it hard work balancing creating all the model collections, doing the tutorials, being technical editor for 3d world?
It’s a lot of work rather than hard. I’m a bit of a workaholic though, so I don’t mind at all. Most days I’ll start in the 3DW offices, sorting out training and reviews. I’ll head back to my studio, grab some food and then crack on with freelance projects, modelling library objects for the packs, or whatever personal projects I happen to be working on. Tutorials usually come around from some of the emails I get. I often receive requests and sometimes these will spark an idea, so I’ll work out a quick example and then record it.
Did you always intend to go into creating the models and products, and doing lots of tutorials?
I didn’t set out to record tutorials at all. I just fell into it really, after a few friends had enquired about what I did. I showed them and they suggested recording videos for the net. That’s how it started. As for the model packs and other products that just seemed right. Nick was tinkering with lighting ideas and we got chatting and working together on the first GSG light kit release. I often build models for projects and have a library on my server which I refer to when I need something in case I already have on. It just seems like a great idea to offer some of these to other artists. They are very reasonably priced which makes them great value, even for hobbyists and a well themed, so people don’t end up with a random bike wheel and a kitchen sink. I mean, who needs that right? There is a lot of junk out there. Joren Kandel and I have some awesome plans for future packs but I’ll not be giving anything away just yet!
What skills do you think a Motionographer needs?
A sense of timing and attention to detail are vital, plus a thick skin. Clients always want changes. This isn’t a reflection on your work as a designer but shows they don’t know what they want. Get in there early and nail down the details. Makes you a happier designer and gives you a happier client.
And what advice would you give to someone who was trying to learn motion graphics or these skills?
Skills are hard to define. Using the tools is easy. Anybody can learn what the tools do and what button does what. The trick is in getting believable results from something that might not be based in reality. My first piece of advise for this would be to go read ‘The Aniimators Survival Kit‘ a great book, with so much information for animators. Lots of theory which is easy to take in and use. Then I’d say get a recording. Take out your phone and record things moving. Doesn’t have to be relevant to a current project but the more you study motion (and camera work) the better your animation will be.
Is there any other advice you’d give to an aspiring Motion graphics artist?
Yes! Take life drawing classes and fine art or photography lessons. Life drawing makes you appreciate form in a very different way and helps you understand structure. Fine art and/or photography will strengthen your understanding of composition.
What are your future plans in Motion Graphics?
I think my future holds more of the same but bigger and better. I’d like to do a bit more VFX work too. I love motion graphics but also love cinematography and combining the two would be great. UI design interests me a lot as well. Then again, who knows what the future holds. I could end up being a session guitarist or a rock god! (possibly not but it doesn’t hurt to dream).
So, what is your favourite motion graphics package and what do you like about it?
I’m not answering that. Tools are tools. That’s it. There is far too much elitism and fanboyness (is that a word?) and while it’s fine to be supportive of a particular app I think the focus should be on the artist, not what tools they use. As an aside, I use pretty much all apps every day/week. I have to. Partly as 3D World caters for most but also as I have clients who need me to fit their pipelines. At the end of the day an extrude is (almost) always an extrude. It just might have a different icon.
Is there a particular motion graphic piece you would recommend to someone else?
Watch anything by Buck or Gmunk or whatever gets your pulse going and makes you want to recreate it. Then don’t! Be inspired but don’t follow the crowd.