-Culture, Art and Technology-
The Motion Designers Community is run by Maxime Hacquard and Sylvain Favre, from Paris, France. The community stemmed from the artist duo’s production company MHSprod as they supported their following with tutorials and access to opportunity.
Maxime Hacquard and Sylvain Favre are the artist duo behind the production company MHSprod. Based in Paris, France, the two began to run tutorials for their followers in 2014. From this stemmed the Motion Designers Community, an education based community centered on 3D design and animation.
“We are 3D and generative artists and you have other communities in motion graphics only focused on 2D or basic motion graphics, but because it was based on our work, it was focused on this side- we didn’t do 2D content,” said Hacquard.
Although Hacquard and Sylvain are the leaders of the Community, it would not be true to say that it is just the two who run the Motion Designers Community. Members of the community are highly engaged and upload the majority of content as an open-source community.
“I see many big companies replicating what we do, but you can feel that it’s to promote their app, and to promote their product. It’s business, and people will be involved, but they will quickly leave when they feel as if they are the products,” said Hacquard.
Since 2014, the Community has grown to over 500k members across social platforms. By working with companies that already supported MHSprod, Hacquard and Sylvain were able to carefully protect the original purpose of the Motion Designers Community, that it was built on something for the people.
The Motion Designers Community first started communicating with one another on Discord, a tool similar to Slack, but well-known among gamers as a comms tool that can be opened outside of the gaming window.
After their first meet-up in Paris two years ago, the Community continued to grow and MHSprod took the first steps to introduce the Community to their professional partners at Adobe and Maxon. They had access to beta programs, and were given opportunities with new software to demonstrate its capabilities.
“Big companies love to support events because that’s important, to show that they support real things,” said Hacquard. Since this first event, the Community has caught the eye of visual effects artist Andrew Kramer, founder of Video Copilot. With this additional support, they have been able to develop a series of events that kicked off in London January 26, and proceeded to Paris, Barcelona, and then Berlin.
“A lot of international speakers open the community to something bigger, and better,” said Hacquard. These events aren’t like traditional tech industry shows either- they are community based events, focused on innovation, education and networking. With support from Adobe, Maxon (Cinema4D), SideFX, Insydium LTD, Motion Plus Design, Marvelous Designer and School of Motion, the Motion Designers Community are able to entirely focus on the Community’s core values of education, networking, and opportunity.
Designing The Future
Hacquard lists After Effects, Cinema4D, and Houdini as the programs he uses prominently, and highlights Houdini for its capability to generate life-like visuals.
“Houdini brings you the core of real life physics. It is more mathematical with a code approach. You are sure that everything you do is super accurate, and that is really hard to achieve in Cinema4D where you also work with nodes and a destructive workflow.”
What is a destructive workflow? It means that at a certain stage you can’t go back. Unlike other programs, with Houdini you can go back to step one, and everything will change. I’d like to think the program is named after the illusionist and escapist Houdini, as the program allows designers to ‘change anything’.
“It uses real life algorithms and physics so if you do something absolutely not realistic, it will look accurate, which is why more and more people are diving into this software, but it’s really technical. The approach is really different,” said Hacquard.
For my VR audience, this element of realism is crucial for designing immersive content. VR is all about the suspension of disbelief to the point where the user immersed in VR believes that what they see is real. It’s for this reason that the innovation in design and animation by the Motion Designers Community is incredibly important to the future of immersive content.
“I’m really interested in the future of our work because if we want to stay in the game we will have to adapt and discover what will be the future, and what AI will do for us, and what as humans we will still do. I’m very interested in this topic,” said Hacquard.
Slowly at first, although much quicker now, we are observing a paradigm shift in the way we communicate. From extensive documentation, essays, and letters, to short form content, social media blurbs, and now, emojis and gifs that are the king of viral content.
The way we communicate is becoming more image and video focused. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are all image based. In the early days of the internet, it was hard to compress images, let alone video content. Much of the internet was BBCode (that has now evolved into PHP) and text. Between streaming bandwidth and software capabilities, image design and transfer was something of the future.
This excerpt from Gizmodo clearly sums up each generation of wireless connection; “Wireless phone technology technically started with 1G, and in the early 1990s, it expanded to 2G when companies first started enabling people to send text messages between two cellular devices. Eventually the world moved on to 3G, which gave people the ability to make phone calls, send text messages, and browse the internet. 4G enhanced many of the capabilities that were made possible with the third generation of wireless. People could browse the web, send text messages, and make phone calls—and they could even download and upload large video files without any issues.”
Suddenly, 4G enabled nearly instantaneous communication through video content. 5G, or 5th generation wireless connection, is going to be the next tipping point for motion design, animation, and VR, and an even greater shift to visual over text based communication. “Even in 5 years we have had a lot of change, and I’m sure that in the future we will have more holograms, VR and other,” said Hacquard.
With access to new software through MHSprod, the open source Motion Designers Community has developed into a pool of forward thinking and talented visionaries building the future in design. It’s for this reason that I suggest the VR community keep a close eye on the Motion Designers Community’s first steps into a new immersive medium, and vice versa.
Looking again at the intro of this Culture, Art and Technology series, it’s about art as a window into the future. Some say that we are looking at the future with as much information on the road ahead as if driving with our eyes on the rear-view mirror. However, Marshall McLuhan said, “I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.” In this regard, art is the window to the road ahead.
From the movement of text based to image based communication, from nation states to global communities or collectives of like-minded individuals, and our first view of designing an entirely digital world we can live in with VAR (Virtual and Augmented Reality)*, our vision of the future is very much guided by the creators of today.
In the previous post in this series, I introduced the concepts of solarpunk and cyberpunk, and again, these genres of digital artwork emerged in conversation with Hacquard. “Cyberpunk is a big trend. With the software we have today it’s easy to do cyberpunk because in a matter of style, all the edges are hard, and we have neon.” Buildings have hard surfaces, and these are easy to do. On the other hand, for artists who want to do more organic design or fantasy, it’s much more difficult to have a stylized castle, dragon, or mountain.
Now I understand why a majority of futuristic scenes are comprised primarily of dark and neon cityscapes.
“When I see a really good piece of creative in the world, I always think about the individuals who tirelessly protected it in its initial stages, huddled around it like rugby players, forcefully nudging out the obstacles, moving it through the production process until it was ‘born.’ This truly invigorates me and I quietly high-five them in my mind,” wrote independent VR director Nicole McDonald.
It’s in this dynamic that I like to see the Motion Designers Community as collaborators in designing the visual world, and soon, with immersive technology such as VAR and haptics, the world we will perhaps even live in. Growing and educating the global community of artists is therefore, in many ways, protecting and growing the potential of our future, as that future starts now.
By Anne McKinnon
With special thanks to Maxime Hacquard for taking the time to introduce me to motion design and the Motion Designers Community.
Each platform of the Motion Designers Community is a different experience.
YouTube: for learning
*VAR (Virtual and Augmented Reality)- I say VAR because of the idea of CONVERGENCE, the idea that Virtual and Augmented Reality will one day be one and the same.
Note: What is culture? According to our archive, Google describes it as:
- the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.