Cutting edge vs safety net of profitability

Published:  June 14, 2012
Matthew Packwood
Cutting edge vs safety net of profitability

Exploring the process and risk of the creative process

The greatest challenge for animation and design studios now is not in producing outstanding creativity, the challenge is knowing when it is right to take a risk and move outside the safety net of good creative – to deliver stand-out creative that risks client rejection.

Fuelled with all the right tools, knowledge and experience, it’s fair to say that creatives’ ability to create ‘stuff’ is endless. Without restraints, the design community constantly comes up with innovative and unique creative. Yet when you’ve faced with limited budgets, it is often the creative process that is compromised leaving the creative diluted. In an ideal world, creatives would go about delivering new ideas when they are pitching for new work, but odds are you might not win because the client goes with a more conservative, safe option.

To combat this, a methodology I find helpful is to look at what’s out there and build on what’s already been done (but in very small amounts). Hence, no reinvention of the wheel, but a value-add to the wheel. So instead of concentrating on what’s new, exciting and different – I concentrate on focusing on the process, refining the process to match what the brief and what the client is after.

Creating slow motion animation from stills is a classic example. Although we (at Popcorn Creative) did not create the idea, as many amateur and student animators have had a crack, I think we were first to bring it to the Australian market in 2000. Interestingly, we have expanded on the idea for a recent racing campaign which allowed us to come up with some great visuals.

Motion tracking typography to footage is another example. Initially used by amateurs but then embraced by creative agencies to create  titles such as Stranger Than Fiction produced by MK12 – this software revolutionised the industry, for the first time allowing typography to track with images.

Rotoscoping vision is another technique which can be employed by producers to get great results from existing footage. The benefit is that you can create great compositions such as Airbag Productions did with the Tennis Australia TVCs where they cut the players out and put them on a white background. While time consuming, this technique can create looks that are visually strong and enables you to draw on existing assets, hence lowering the risk.

Stop motion animation has been enhanced over the past years with the ability to use high quality still cameras and then manipulate digitally. The result allows you to create something very interesting by building by hand using paper or clay for example. By shooting multiple passes and compositing together you can speed up the process and maximize the output.

What industry and techniques have taught us, allow us to constantly add value to the design process. The challenge as business owners, is always to know when to risk the safety net of profitability – a skill learned through trial and error. Our fortuitous
rests in the knowing that we are forever indebted to our passion for design and we will keep on creating.

Thumbnail image: The Noun Project.

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