20 Question (interview)

Your Name

Chris Georgenes
I have a couple of friends who like to call me “Toph” because it’s found in my full name Christopher. I have another group of friends from my art school days who all call me "Tux". My first party on campus freshman year I was wearing a tuxedo jacket. It wasn't mine. A friend gave it to me that day to put on before going to a party because as night fell, the temperature outside dropped and my dorm room was clear on the other side of the campus. She told me she had a "coat" for me and pulled out the tuxedo jacket. We arrived to the party and the first person I met asked me my name. I said "Chris". She frowned and told me her ex-boyfriend's name was also "Chris" and she had to change my name right there on the spot. She looked me up and down and decided to call me "Tux" for the obvious reason. Turns out she was the host of the party and knew every single party-goer in attendance. She introduced me all night long as her new friend "Tux". I woke the next day to learn the name stuck. Big time. While walking across campus, about 30+ people greeted me by my new name - some of them I recognized. Most I did not.

The new name stuck so hard that when my mom would call my room and ask for me by my birth-given name, all of my roommates told her nobody by that name lived there. That went on for months. I finally called her to say hello and she accused me of not attending art school at all and believed I was on the road somewhere playing drums for a rock band.

After 2 years of living with the same roommate, he asked to borrow my meal card one day. It had my legal name on it. I gave it to him and he looked down at it and then looked up at me with a puzzled expression and asked; "Your name is CHRIS?!"

Sorry. That was a really long and unnecessary answer to a really simple question and we haven't even got to question number 1 yet!

#1 What is your primary job title?
Head of Interactive Design (employer-given title)
Director of Fun, Mayhem & Funky Grooves (self-titled)

#2 Who or what inspires you?
Anyone with a unique perspective and the aptitude and talent to achieve their vision. Any original thought or idea. Any stolen/borrowed idea that is better than the original idea. The most inspiring person to me is the kid in a third world poverty-stricken country that builds a working robot or HAM radio from parts he finds in a trash heap. Those are the geniuses of our world. The ones who can build something from nothing.

#3 What do you think about when alone in your car?
Usually I’m learning the drum parts to songs. Being in several bands and having gigs every week means learning new songs. If I’m not at home learning behind my practice kit while listening to each song, I can essentially map my way through songs by listening to them. It’s something I’ve always been able to do since I was very young. I can remember the exact drum parts to songs I haven’t heard in 30 years.

Other times I'm envisioning how an animation or a visual story of some kind should play out for a project I'm working on. It's part of my creative process - to just think about how I imagine stories to be told.

#4 Share a life lesson you learned?


Copperplate etching. 1989. This quick little study changed me as an artist then and to this day. It was my "throw-away" piece amongst my many larger and more realist lithographs from my 4 years at The Hartford Art School. As a graduating senior I had a gallery show and wasn't going to even display this. It slipped out during the process of hanging my show and I happened to have some glass left over. So I reluctantly hung it in the corner next to the light switch above the trash barrel next to the exit. It's small at roughly 4x10". I figured nobody would notice it and it was better they focus on the much larger prints and illustrations that I spent weeks and months on. The other prints were full of hyper-realism and foreshortening. It was all very exaggerated and in your face imagery. I was the Michael Bay of fine art then. I thought it was cool and it was going to make an impact.

The opening party came and went and later that week Dennis Nolan, my amazing illustration professor wanted to see the show for himself. He and I were alone in the gallery and without saying a word he stared at each piece quietly, thoughtfully and with great patience. I followed behind him, awkwardly, in his shadow both physically and creatively, nervous about what he was thinking. Half of the work was for his classes but this felt different. He was looking at the breadth of my work as an artist up to that point.

He got to the last piece, the one pictured here. He stared at it for what seemed like an hour. He then turned to me and asked;

"Do you want to know what's the best thing you've done in the last 4 years here is?"

I excitedly pointed to one of the biggest lithographs I spent the most time on with the most outlandish hyper-realistic imagery and said;

"That one?!"

Professor Nolan, without turning to look at what I was pointing to told me...

"No. That one."

He was pointing to the etching of the girl in the corner, above the trash barrel, next to the light switch by the exit. My throw-away piece.

I was confused, hurt, disappointed, not understanding how that could ever be possible. It was a 5 minute study I didn't plan on even drawing. I was going to throw it away!

Nolan, noticing my furrowed brow line and obvious bewilderment explained to me...

"It provokes an emotion. A mood. It's a milestone for any artist to do that. If I was flipping through a book on Rembrandt, I would expect to see this in the margins as one of his pencil studies."

In that moment, I became an artist. I discovered that being subtle is far more powerful and influential than trying to slam people over the head with a vision. My entire 4 years of art school came to a final polarizing lesson in that one tiny moment. I've never looked at anything the same since.

Thank you professor Nolan. It was the single greatest lesson I carry with me to this day.

#5 Favorite period of history?

Probably the ‘60 - ‘70s simply for how much amazing music and art came from those decades.

#6 What projects are you working on right now?
My full time job is with a small startup called Patient Discovery. We are solving many issues in the healthcare industry and I’m their visual storyteller. I’m creating animations on a daily basis for interactivity based applications as well as straight video sequences for various platforms.
Other projects include a personal project where I am developing an animated series based on a character that teaches kids (ages 3-8) how to play the drums. I have a small team from Boston to Nashville and plan to launch this year.

Other projects include various small animations for various platforms and also an opening animated sequence for a live action comedy pilot. One project I worked on that just launched is called BigHeads for iOS - a really fun animated emoji platform. A current project is a 30 second promotional animation for a trampoline park company and I had 100% creative freedom from concept, to script, voice over talent selection, music and of course storyboarding and animation.

Music projects include the existing band I’m in that gets booked for months in advance but also another band and playing with various independent singers and songwriters. In some projects I’m helping write and compose, record and mix original songs in a collaborative effort. I’m also learning to incorporate triggers and sequencers into my acoustic drum kit to expand my musical sounds and abilities live.

#7 Describe your personal style.
Ooh tough one. I’d say clean and simple yet detailed but only when necessary. I love design simplicity but with a complicated approach. Hard to explain. An image composed of 3 simple lines may not seem like much but those 3 lines should represent and show a breadth of experience, talent and attitude.

#8 What tech tools do you use in your work?
Adobe products of course: Animate CC, Audition, Premiere Pro, Photoshop to name a few. I use Sketch, Principle, Moho (Anime Studio) and Storyboarder software as well. Wacom tablets range from Intuos Pros to my 22” Cintiq.

#9 When did you know you'd found your calling?
Depends on what "calling" we’re talking about. Playing drums was something I was born with. I always understood how to play them. I took a handful of lessons when I was 10 years old and everything my teacher taught me, I already instinctively knew how to do. I repeated everything he showed me and he questioned me in regards to ever having lessons before him. After 5 lessons he told my parents "He's ready for a band."

I recall as a kid in the back seat of my parents car, I'd play "drums" by tapping my hands on my lap and my feet on the floor to the music on the radio. When we'd go through a tunnel the radio signal got lost and the music turned to static. I would keep playing - to test my sense of time. When we'd exit the tunnel the radio signal returned. Most of the time I was still exactly on time with the music. Having an internal metronome is something I was simply born with. My father was a musician who played many instruments by ear. That's something he gave to me and I intend to honor that gift for as long as I can by performing until every limb falls off.

As for art, I didn’t know I could draw until college. My high school never offered any arts programs. No music either. it was a dark time for me. Hated every single day of high school. No art, no music and...no girls. it was an all-boys school. Great.
I got accepted to The Hartford Art School after a local artist advised me to draw simple still life pencil studies and throw them in a portfolio. I had an interview with the dean of the Hartford Art School and he accepted me. I got there in the fall and saw what other artists had in their portfolios. I was blown away! I called my parents and told them I’d probably be home in 2 weeks. I wasn’t going to cut it.

I worked hard and immersed myself in the curriculum. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in a drawing class did the moment hit me; I realized I could really draw - like really draw. It was as if a switch was flipped. I remember the exact moment and what I was drawing. The professor had us all choose a real world tangible object to bring to class to use as the subject of a series realistic pencil drawings. Image one had to be as realistic as possible and each subsequent image would be an increasingly abstracted version of the same object. As I was drawing the initial image, I had an “AHA!” moment when I saw how real I could make it look. I pushed the darks and the lights. The form began taking shape. The 2 dimensional image had a very 3 dimensional feel. That’s when I knew I could do this. I graduated in 4 years at the top of my class. Felt good.

#10 What's your superpower?
The ability to say the funniest and most clever thing at exactly the right time at the right moment (appropriate or inappropriate). I’m also proud of my ability to make my wife genuinely laugh and cry at the same time. It’s one of the most difficult challengesI've faced, yet I’ve been able to do it twice. Still working on my third.

#11 Peanut Butter: Creamy or Chunky?
Creamy!

#12 What makes you happy?
Being on a stage playing drums. Always has and always will. I hope to die while playing on a stage. That I’d be fine with. Being a drummer means I'm always the first to arrive and last to leave due to the amount of gear. Loading in to a venue and loading out is a chore. Driving home at 3am to then unload the car and load the gear back in to the house is even more of a chore. People ask me why I do it. I always tell them the same thing: When I'm on stage and playing with a great band and the music is awesome and everybody is in sync and the crowd is dancing and cheering, it's ALL well worth it. I play for free. It's the loading and unloading of the gear they pay me for.

I also love creating something from nothing. Going from a simple thought to a tangible product that people react to emotionally is so crazy satisfying.

#13 What do you do to relax?
Nap. If there was a title like “Professional Napper”, I’d have that. I’ve perfected the art of napping. Naps for me aren’t 10 minutes of closing my eyes and never really falling asleep. Naps are under-the-covers-and-dead-asleep-for-2-hours-wake-up-confused-not-knowing-the-time-of-day -or-what-day-it-is.

Otherwise, golf is a passion I’ve had since I was 14. Love the game. You forget everything in your life to focus on that little ball for 5 hours.

Photography is also relaxing to me. It's a very personal exercise to walk around with a camera and look for that perfect angle or unique perspective to shoot from.

Practicing drums is very relaxing as well. I often practice by playing the same pattern for upwards of an hour or more. It takes a ton of concentration to maintain tempo and stick/hand control - especially 20 minutes in when your muscles and brain are screaming for you to stop. You reach a level of awareness that can only be compared to as an outer body experience. I literally will look down at my hands and feet and just watch them as if they aren’t mine. I’m not concentrating at all any more on playing the beat and it suddenly gets really peaceful and kind of weird.

#14 Your place of birth?
Boston. Love it here. Always have and always will. If I move anywhere, Nashville would be it. I know it would be Nashville and I have yet to ever visit the city. I just know from all my friends who have been. They are shocked I’ve never been. They always tell me that I belong there and would thrive as an artist.

#15 Favorite artist or art movement?
I was always a fan of Caravaggio. His paintings just made me stare at the longer than anything else. I also like Jackson Pollock but on a more modern note, Es Devlin is a visual genius.
As for an art movement I admire, I honestly love it all. Surrealism was a big one for me back when I was in art school. But then there was impressionism and I marvel at the looseness of the brush strokes and the thickness of the paint on the canvas and when you stand back, it looks like something real. That blows my mind.

Then the pop art movement came along and I was like “Yeah baby!”. Just love it all.

What I like least probably falls into conceptual art. When I was in my senior year of art school there was a student majoring in Experimental Studio. I always regarded that class as the area of study artists went to die. I know that sound mean and unfair but this one dude spent most of his year with 100 cinder blocks. He built various abstract sculptures with them on the campus grounds outside the art school. He would set them up by stacking them in random ways as if they were giant Legos. Every time I walked by these ugly monstrosities I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell he was going to do after he graduates. There are no careers for cinder block artists - unless you go into construction…???

#16 Share a funny moment from your career?
There was an animated series on ABC’s Saturday Morning segment that ran for 3 years called Science Court. It was an education show that taught kids the laws of science in a courtroom setting. I was the art director and there were a lot of characters. I did almost all of the character designs and each one had to be approved by the network.


All of them were immediately approved except for one: Alison Kremple, Prosecuting Attorney. I designed her head to resemble a frog and gave her green skin. ABC liked the design but wanted to change the skin from green to orange. I did not. In fact I was adamant that her skin remain green. It’s how I designed her and it was to remain that way.

I was young. I had a little too much ego at that point in time.

There were many emails back and forth and even a conference call. I held my ground and argued my case.

During that week of contention, me and the Animation Director went to lunch. He drove and I vented in his ear about how this character should be green and that making her orange was stupid and will look bad.

We arrived at the pizza place we loved to have lunch at, got out of the car and shut the doors. He stopped and looked at me over the roof of the car and said, “When the worst part of your job is whether or not a character looks too much like a frog, that’s not such a bad day”.
It was like a switch got flipped for me. I got quiet for the rest of lunch and just thought about how childish and stupid I was acting. We got back to the studio, I changed the character from green to orange and sent it to the network. Approved immediately! I look back on that character and couldn’t imagine her being green now.

#17 Color of the car you drive?
Blackberry Pearl. Seriously. It’s like a deep dark purple with sparkle flakes. But at the end of the day, I drive a purple car.

#18 Any new skills you'd like to learn?
I’m always learning something new. I love that and it keeps me young and relevant - at least in my own mind. Right now, learning how to record and compose music for publishing but more-so for sampling and triggering live. Just too much fun to be able to play a killer beat on an acoustic drum set while triggering a horn or string section that plays with you. The look on the audience’s face is priceless.

#19 How do you get your news?
The web or my phone (same thing I guess). I have my morning phone alarm set to not play a ringtone or music but rather a female voice who gently briefs me on the latest headlines. If there's a particular story that I find intriguing, I'll google it or look it up on my CNN app. I watch the local televised newscast but mostly because I'm friends with the news anchor and it's always fun to keep up with her in that one-sided way.
I don't have a regular go-to schedule on news consumption. You could call my condition NDD (News Deficit Disorder). I'll start with the intention of learning the latest news stories but then quickly trip down a rabbit hole of drum videos or animation tutorials or a compilation of Russian dash-cam videos featuring the worst drivers in the world. We’re all on a big giant ball hurling through space at thousands of miles per hour for a limited amount of time. I’d rather listen to music or learn something cool than watch the news.

#20 Advice to other creatives?
Trust your instincts. Listen to others. Learn from others. But then retreat within yourself and start again. Take everything you know, go back to the beginning and take a left turn. Head straight down that path and you’ll find something unique and original. That’s where I want to be.


Brave New World

It's been a lifetime since my last blog post and a lot has happened to me to validate a new entry. I'll try to keep this short and sweet. As some of you may know, I've been working full-time for various game companies the last 10 years. It began when Say Design (Los Angeles) hired me as an AD and I worked remotely from my home on the east coast. After a year or 2 I was offered a position with Acclaim Games as an animator and studio art manager. After 2 years with Acclaim, we were bought by Playdom and then Disney Interactive. From there I was offered a job 7 miles from home with GSN Games and spent 6 years with them.

This past January GSN Games had their 3rd round of layoffs in just over 2 years and I was included in the culling of the herd. I was anticipating the layoff due to rumors of how big the numbers were going to be and the fact that my skills were under-utilized for the past year or 2 leading up to the layoffs. I could see the writing on the wall and in full disclosure I was hoping to be dismissed as I felt stagnant creatively.

The most fun I had at GSN Games was when we developed a game title in-house which was a very rare thing. Most of our games were outsourced to 3rd part developers and we would only internally QA them and add them to a container app for publishing. I was a "point of contact" for one of these 3rd party companies and attended daily meetings for the better part of a year leading up to the layoffs. Not exactly a "skill" I was excited to wake up for at 6am every morning. The title we did develop was super fun and very creative. It was a match 3 style mechanic with a cast of characters that I referred to as naked mole rats in bunny costumes. These characters were wandering around space on various planets harvesting their favorite food source: breakfast cereal. It was quirky, fun and visually rich with inventive personalities and engaging animations. We built the game with saga-style levels and QA'd it extensively. We also generated marketing assets and received approval from Apple. We were on the 1 yard line ready to go live when management pulled the plug on the entire project. The entire team was dumbfounded. We asked why and was told that they never intended to go live with the game and that we as a team, were merely being tested.

There are moments in life that define you, who you are and/or where you want to be in your life and career. It was at that moment seeing our game baby get shelved forever that made me realize it was time to move on. I hung on for another year and when the rumors of layoffs started, I bided my time to see if I was to be selected.

Layoff day came and I got the call along with over 80 other employees. Our entire San Francisco office was decimated also. It was widespread across the company and that came with lots of employees in tears, hugs and confusion. I was packed and ready and drove home looking forward to the next chapter of my career, if I still even had one. Having been focused on my current employees' whims for most of the past decade, left me unsure if I even had an audience anymore.


Learn the rules first

I was recently quoted as saying, I don’t care if Instagram has more users than Twitter. If you read the article you’ll note there’s a big “if” before my not giving of said thing.
Of course, I am trivializing what Instagram is to many people. It’s a beautifully executed app that enables the creation and enjoyment of art, as well as human connection, which is often a good thing. But my rant had very little to do with it (or with Twitter). My rant was the result of increasing frustration with the one-dimensionality that those who report on, invest in, and build consumer Internet services talk about success.
Numbers are important. Number of users is important. So are lots of other things. Different services create value in different ways. Trust your gut as much (or more) than the numbers. Figure out what matters and build something good.


Adobe Animate CC

11057343_10156517789465634_5052556706879225301_o
I'm a biased reviewer as I've been a Flash fanboy since the late 1990s.
Rebranding Flash was something Adobe needed to do since Apple decided not to support the Flash player. From that, the general public coined the phrase "Flash is dead" and those of us who know the difference between the player and the authoring tool realized that this is a falsehood that's not going to help the tool gain popularity.
Fast forward to about a month ago when I actually got a phone call from an Adobe friend who wanted to personally give me a heads up on the name change. I was impressed by this because they knew the news of rebranding the software I've been using for 20 years was potentially a touchy subject. But I couldn't have been more excited to hear that Adobe was going to change the name from Flash to Animate CC. Heck, they could have named it Adobe Beefcake CC for all I care as long as the tool itself continues to thrive.
Animate CC, for all intents and purposes is still "Flash". It has new and improved features which is nice but the biggest positive step with all of this is the solid foundation the application still has and rebranding is Adobe's way of ensuring us of their intent to further support and develop the product.
I've been on the prerelease for a very long time and I've constantly seen first hand how much the Animate CC team cares and supports the product. In recent years, every time I've heard someone say "Flash is dead" I roll my eyes at the thought of having to explain it for the umpteenth time that Flash is not dead and where the confusion for them lies. Ugh.
So yesterday marked a new beginning. A shedding of a skin for "Flash" and I for one think it's the best new "feature" this year; a new name. A new brand. A new life. A new audience. Maybe another 20 years.
So with that, Adobe rebrands the product with new features such as an additional brush that allows for custom strokes. 4K resolution support. There are more features worth mentioning and easiest to just go here:
http://blogs.adobe.com/.../welcome-adobe-animate-cc-a.../

I'm a fan. I have been and probably always will be. I love what Toon Boom is doing, I love learning programs like Spine and Anime Studio, but Animate CC holds a special place in my heart and maybe it's because I'm older and it's been a familiar face on my laptop for 20+ years. Something I can launch first thing in the morning and feel comfortable with all day long. Add a couple of new features every once in a while and I'll remain unequivocally content knowing I can continue to design, draw, storyboard, prototype, illustrate and animate anything I can think of, for a lot longer.


Behance


If you haven't tried Behance portfolio yet, you should. Behance is not only an easy clean way to quickly create an online portfolio, it's also an amazingly active network filled with other likeminded artists from around the world. Also consider that many employers search Behance portfolios when looking for prime candidates to fill artistic roles.

 


Wacom Webinar – Flash Animation Techniques

Wacom makes cool products. Wacom loves the artists that use their products. Wacom also loves the graphic design and animation community. But most of all, Wacom is cool because of people like Westom Maggio and Joseph Sliger, the hosts of a regularly scheduled webinar that showcases artists, designers and animators of all walks of life and how they integrate Wacom products into their workflow. This week I was asked back to present again on Flash design and animation techniques because contrary to popular belief, Flash as a development tool is very much alive and well.


Flash CC – Top 10 reasons why it’s awesome

10. Core – Adobe has rewritten the very core, the foundation if you will, of Flash. Flash was originally built to be a 3 story home and we reached the roof level and kept trying to add on to it – which weakened the foundation. Now with Flash CC, the core of Flash has been rebuilt to support enough stories to justify a skyscraper. So think of this as Flash 2.0 moving forward. You’ll notice this new core every time you launch Flash CC. Instead of waiting 30+ seconds for Flash to start, Flash CC will only make you wait 3. If you blink you might miss it.

9. Dark user interface – For the first time, one thing does not look just like the others. Flash CC boasts the same dark user interface as the rest of Adobe’s software offerings. Don’t love it? Switch it back in Preferences.

8. Toggle Guides & Masks – There have been a few Timeline enhancements specific to layers. You can now toggle multiple selected layers between Guide and Mask behavior.

7. Multi-device connectivity – Authoring content for mobile? Test on a variety of devices in a single click (as long as they’re connected via USB). Flash will push builds to each and every one of them and launch them automatically.

6. DragonBones extension – This is one cool extension for authoring sprite animations and spit them out to XML and sprite sheets, ready to be plugged into the game engine of choice.

5. Distribute symbols & bitmaps to keyframes – I love this feature. Select multiple objects and tell Flash to place each in it’s own keyframe in its original position. Done.

4. Swap multiple symbols & bitmaps – Now we can select multiple instances of objects and swap them all out for another.

3. Scale to Anchor Point – Need to change the stage size and all the contents of your project along with it? Now you can and even better, choose the area of the stage to base the resize on.

2. Unlimited Pasteboard – Whoa! Unlimited! Yeah, just like the sky! We can now look back and laugh at the days we were limited to a puny 2,280 pixels to work with.

1. Video Export – It’s ok, you can let the tears of joy flow now. Adobe has not only solved the video export feature in Flash CC, but integrated the Adobe Media Encoder to boot! It’s all too much for animators to handle but I think you’ll find a way to handle it quite nicely.

[alert style="blue"] Honorable mention: Line preview, Panel enhancements [/alert]

[alert style="blue"] A few things you might not like because they are now deprecated: Object-level Undo, Project Panel, ActionScript 1&2, TLF text, Motion Editor, Deco tools, Bone tool (IK), Project panel, Printing, Strings panel, Behaviors panel, Movie Explorer, Bandwidth Profiler, FXG format, Actions Toolbox, Kuler panel, Share my Screen, Code Hinting (JSFL), Video Cue Points, Close Captioning, Device Central, Customizable Tool Panel, Importing BMP, TIFF, AutoCad, AIFF, Sound Designer,, Around AU and Adobe Sounds Document formats, File Info (XMP Metadata), Fireworks PNG Import [/alert]


Inspiration

[text_type type="three" max_font_size="" min_font_size=""] If you are lucky, inspiration can drop right in your lap. [/text_type]
For me this could not have been more literal. My daughter Andrea had just turned two years old. She was quite precocious at an early age, with a confident command of the English language and a newfound singing voice. On one particular day she wandered into my home office to show off a new song that she had learned: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, a popular English nursery rhyme from the early 19th century. Andrea asked to sit up on my lap and as usual I obliged. Being at my desk with my computer in front of us and my little plastic USB microphone at the ready, I discreetly clicked record and began capturing her entire performance in digital format.

Andrea was unaware she was being recorded. Her performance was completely natural and not without the human imperfections of a two-year old trying to perform to a level beyond her years. The recording captured all of her hits as well as misses. It was evident that she had not learned all the words to the song as she fumbled her way through the performance but that is precisely what made this recording special: it was real on a human level.

I saved the audio file to my hard drive and went about the rest of my day. It wasn’t until seven months later that I would resurrect this audio file for the purpose of using it as the soundtrack to an animation. Since it was the holidays, we tried to take a family photo to send to family and friends as our holiday card. Our efforts were thwarted by our five-year old who was expressing his disdain for being photographed in an emotionally unstable manner. Combined with the dog not posing ’correctly’ and various other photographic mishaps, we were unable to get that perfect family shot. Two weeks before Christmas and we had nothing to send to anyone.

andrea_drawing
I’m an optimist at heart and knowing every problem has a solution, I turned to software for help. I thought maybe I could use Photoshop to edit the best of each of us from all the photos and combine them into one single, perfect family picture. Then I thought of importing the photo into Flash and adding some animation, possibly some snow falling and maybe even some Christmas music. Then it hit me! The audio of Andrea singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star would be perfect to use as a soundtrack to a holiday card. I should also mention that Andrea and I would spend time together drawing and each time I would ask her what she would like me to draw. Her response was always the same: ‘Draw me, Daddy!’ Using crayons, colored pencils, felt pens and various markers, I had drawn a large number of Andrea characters. Eventually I perfected my daughter as a cartoon character.

[text_type type="three" max_font_size="" min_font_size=""] At this point I realized: [/text_type]

  • I have a recording of Andrea singing.
  • I have Andrea designed as a cartoon character.
  • I know how to animate in Adobe Flash.
  • I had all the ingredients to make an animated holiday card.

[text_type type="three" max_font_size="" min_font_size=""] All I needed now was a concept. [/text_type]

Having done enough work for clients in the world of advertising, I knew that the most successful creative campaigns were the ones with the best concepts. I listened again to the recording of Andrea singing and noticed that she made several mistakes during her performance. The idea of pretending she was performing in an audition on a stage was an easy one to come up with. The rest just fell into place. This was one of those animations that miraculously created itself. It was inspired.


email_3
Once I finished the animation and uploaded it to my website, I sent the URL to family, friends and clients as our holiday ‘card’. The response was overwhelmingly positive. About a year later I received an email from someone in Australia with the link to my animation. ‘I love this and I hope that you will like this to.’ was the body of the message. This was the first time I had created something viral. A complete stranger sending me my own work. It’s something I’ll never forget.

The annual Georgenes holiday animation was born

Andrea_rigging_01

This is an excerpt from Pushing Pixels

 


RIP SWF > Premiere Pro Workflow

Apparently one of my favorite and most efficient workflows when it comes to animating in Flash for video has been removed from Adobe Premiere Pro. Was I barely on the bubble with this workflow? Perhaps I was but it worked really well. It seems to me Adobe feels like the Flash > SWF > Premiere > (insert chosen video format here) workflow is not popular enough to support. That's bad news because it's a workflow I have detailed in a couple of my books.

[text_type type="three" max_font_size="" min_font_size=""] Crap [/text_type]

So now what can we do?

Well this morning I opened up a project I created using the above mentioned Flash > Premiere path only to find all of the imported SWF media to appear as offline in Premiere. I used the "locate File" command only to find that the SWF format is completely invisible in my Finder window.

[text_type type="three" max_font_size="" min_font_size=""] Double crap [/text_type]

It's really true. Premiere Pro CC completely ignores SWF files.

[text_type type="one" max_font_size="" min_font_size=""] Go to a happy place...go to a happy place...go to a happy place... [/text_type]

 

My options are:

Open each FLA and use the "Export Video" feature in Flash and replace each footage with the resulting MOV file.

Import each SWF file in After Effects and import that After Effects project into Premiere.

The sad part about SWFs no longer supported in Premiere is that SWFs are much smaller in file size than MOV files. It was also much easier to make changes in Flash after editing in Premiere Pro. Simply updating the SWF by publishing from Flash was super quick and easy as the SWF compiler takes a fraction as long as exporting to Video.

Open plea to Adobe: We all just want the SWF > Premiere workflow returned to us – no questions asked. Just leave it on the front doorstep and walk away. Nobody else has to get involved.

There's power in numbers folks. If you feel the same way as I do, go here to voice your request.


OFFF Motion Graphics Conference

OFFF

Thibault Imbert (Adobe Systems) and myself holding court in Paris a few years ago.