We’re lucky enough to work with many a creative brain here at Eight Arms HQ and think it only right that we ask them to share their experiences in eight [obviously] questions. Today we’re asking motion graphics whizz, Liam Bunston what flips his pancake…
1. At what point did you realise you were interested in motion graphics? Did you see something that made you think, ‘yeah’ that’s what I want to do?
Well it sort of all began whilst I was working as a junior editor and was struggling to find interest in what I was doing. It was my first job out of uni, some good, some bad – a lot of corporate which I found really dull at the time. Anyway, I think I was googling for some graphics ideas to make my lower thirds a bit more interesting and came across VideoCopilot and their Light Saber tutorial. Well, that was it really… I slacked off the rest of the afternoon filming other staff pretending to be Jedi and then adding light sabers in through after effects. I got into After Effects in a big way after that and spent all my free time trying to get better at using it and incorporating it into projects.
2. Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of thinking?
There are a couple of colleagues who had a really big influence over the directions I took. One guy back in Bristol, Ben King, who is still the most knowledgeable editor / gfx guru I have ever met. He passed on a lot of good tips, both about how stuff works and how to get work as a freelancer. There are lots of other people who really got me thinking along the way, including my stupidly talented friends that are a constant source inspiration. I’m also always amazed at the online community that exists for motion graphics – the Andrew Kramers, Mike Winkelmanns and Ash Thorps of this world.
3. What interests or experiences have helped shape your approach?
Video Games and Movies. There is so much talent and hard work behind really good games and films. Just start googling the concept art behind 2001: A Space Odyssey and Bioshock. Scifi art as well – John Harris, Chris Foss, Paul Lehr. Music has always had a profound influence over my editing too – as often this will be my starting point for ideas and the bones the edit will hang off of.
4. How would you describe your creative process?
It’s a lot better than when I started! I used to try and be better by learning software inside and out. Whilst this gave me a really good grounding in how to do stuff, I spent way too long learning how something worked instead of learning how design works. And that is more important. Everything good starts with a strong idea and a good understanding of how your visuals function to tell a story and get the message across at the right level, in the right way to your audience. That is like… 75% of the hard stuff. The other 25% is coffee, snacks and a lot of screen time.
5. What single piece of advice would you give to someone trying to find their way in your industry?
Learn to be smart at business as well as creativity. You could be the best animator, coder, interpretive dancer in the world but you’re not going to get paid if you can’t handle people and situations correctly. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations about money, time, etc. It’s a bit give and take – your best and long term clients will always be the fair ones.
6. What would be your dream project?
Star Wars! Or anything with Robots, Aliens and Starships in.
7. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Always start with a strong idea of what you are trying to create before you even think of sitting down in front of a computer. Sketch it if you have to. Software is slower than your brain.
8. And finally… what TV, book, film – or in your case, maybe game character – do you most relate to and why?
I often find myself asking, “What would Picard do?”