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The Year in MoGraph - 2021

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The triumvirate of Joey Korenman, EJ Hassenfratz, and Ryan Summers on the Highlights of 2021 and What to Expect in 2022

You know what time it is? The weather is changing and the nights have grown long. It's time for the annual marathon podcast episode with Joey, EJ, and Ryan Summers where we run down all of the big happenings in the industry that we like to call…Motion Design. After a year of starts, stops, and a few wild innovations, we’re going to need a minute to sort through it all.

2021 was not your standard year, and a lot of the trends that kicked off in 2020 were reinforced—and in some cases probably entrenched forever into the DNA of this field: Remote work, a talent shortage, an explosion of new software, technology, and companies that support creatives... and a lot more.

As we turn the calendar page to 2022 (how futuristic is that?), this is a great time to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned, the projects we’ve completed, and the plans we’ve made for tomorrow.

In some ways, 2021 felt like the sequel to 2020. There were familiar stressors, cancelled conferences, and friends we only had a chance to see through a computer screen. Some of you were able to overcome the odds and create some amazing work, but there are others that struggled to find that creative spark when your attention was pulled in so many directions. No matter how much you created, or how much you didn’t, know that we are proud of you as a member of the community. You are here, now, and that’s what matters.

Put yesterday in your rearview, step on the gas, and let’s charge into a better, brighter future.

Apologies for all that cheese

For the final podcast of 2021, our founder Joey Korenman is joined by Creative Directors EJ Hassenfratz and Ryan Summers to talk about the artists, studios, tools, trends and events that made MoGraph news in 2021...plus all the exciting plans (and bold predictions) for the coming year.

Get a warm blanket and a tankard of hot cocoa. It's time to sit back and reflect on another year in Motion Design.

The School of Motion Podcast: The Year In MoGraph - 2021

Show Notes

Artist

Beeple
Nando Costa

Jonathan Lindgren

Jonathan Winbush

Deekay Motion

Tony Babble

Sarah Beth Morgan

Taylor Yontz

Rebekah Hamilton

Nuria Boj

Ariel Costa

Led Zeppelin

Greenday

Mastadon

Peter Quinn

Ash Thorp

Gmunk

Joel Pilger

Tim Thompson

James Ramirez

Paul Babb
Rick Barrett

Mark Zuckerberg

Jeahn Laffitte

Andrew Kramer

Karin Fong

Blake Kathryn

Pharrel Williams

Matthew Encina

David Brodeur

Puffy puffpuff

Amador Valenzuela

Gary Vaynerchuck

David Ariew

Olamide Rowland

Nidia Dias

BTS

The Grateful Dead

Chris Do

Sekani Solomon

Shane Griffin

Chad Ashley

Jordan Bergren

Austin Saylor

Barton Damer

Victoria Nece

Chris Wheeler

Chris Zachary

Ben Marriot

Lewandowski

Hashi

Studios

Tendril
Fortiche Productions

Gunner

Buck

Imaginary Forces

Sarofsky

Disney Animation Studios

Digital Kitchen

Buck

Grayscalegorilla

MK12

Troika

Already Been Chewed

Industrial Light and Magic

Epic Studios

Dash Studios

Work

Deekay Motion NFT
Between Lines

Into The Spider Verse Main on End Titles

Arcane

Tiny Heroes NFT Collection

League of Legends

Gobelins
BMW History of Horsepower

Snoop Dog No Smut On My Name Music Video

Snoop Dog Talk That Shit To Me Music Video

No Smut On My Name BTS

Mr Beast Squid Games

Squid Game

Tommy Boy

Six Feet Under Title Sequence

Butter

Happiness Factory

Unreal Matrix Tech Demo

The Mandalorian

Final Fantasy Movie

The Polar Express

VFX Side Quest- Take on Me

Resources

Holdframe
creativecareers.io

Windows

After Effects

Cinema 4D

Adobe Illustrator

SOM Podcast Rev Think

Rev Think

Netflix

Christie’s

Jimmy Fallon Show Episode-Beeple

NAB

Dash Bash

Camp Mograph

SIGGRAPH

Discord

Maxon

Apple
Black Magic
Adobe

Unreal Engine

Meta
Zoom
Slack

Fiverr

Frame.io

Google Hangouts

Teradici

Parsec

Suite Studios

Clubhouse

Paperspace

Adobe Anywhere

Instagram

Blender

Roblox

Minecraft

Fortnite

Octane

Art Basil

The Happy Tool Box

Kid Robot

Ethereum

Smart Contracts

Veefriends

Mekaverse

Geocities

Tezos

Hen

Object.com

Behance

Cryptopunks

SCAD

The Freelance Manifesto

ZBrush

Cashapp

Block

Adobe Aero

Adobe Premiere

Substance

Photoshop

Adobe Stock

Adobe Sensei

Substance Modeler

Adobe Media Encoder

2 Minute Papers

OTOY

Fusion

Nuke

Calvary

Arnold Renderer

Octane

Redshift

Procreate

Nomad Sculpt

Forger

Apple M1 Chips

Apple Motion

Autograph

NATRON

Flow

Fable

Figma

Unity

Brigade

Mixamo

Puget Systems

aescripts+aeplugins

Amazon
Ringling College
Red Giant

Element 3D

Nebula

Transcript

Yeah. You know what time it is. It's time for the annual marathon podcast with myself, EJ, and Ryan Summers where we run down all of the big happenings in the industry that we like to call motion design. 2021 was not your standard year, and a lot of the trends that kicked off last year were reinforced, and in some cases probably entrenched forever into the DNA of this field. Remote work, a talent shortage, an explosion of new software technology and companies that support creatives and a whole lot more. This episode is what we call beefy, so I recommend staying hydrated, listen on 1.5 or 2X speed and make sure to check out the show notes over at schoolofmotion.com, because there are a lot of them.

Well, holy crap, guys. We're doing it again. And we're going to be here for probably the next four hours, and we'll edit out the pee break, but guys, I'm really excited. I'm really excited to do the end of the year podcast. So, thank you, as always, for waking up early to do this.

Ryan:

It's awesome. It's funny, because as soon as this one's done, I'm going to start thinking about what we're going to record for 2022. I'll already start my list of stuff to talk about for next year.

EJ:

Look, it's crazy how things have changed in just like the past day. We had to add things to our list just because something that happened yesterday that was mind blowing.

Ryan:

Yeah, at like 10 o'clock at night. We're like, "Did you see that? Oh, no, yes."

Joey:

Holy cow!

Ryan:

Change the list.

Joey:

Yeah. The list was really hard to make this year. I feel like in years past, it's been a little bit more clear cut. What was important, what wasn't, which studios were doing the best work, which artists were kind of coming up. This year, I felt like all bets were off. So we'll definitely get into that.

Joey:

So, as I always do, I like to give a quick kind of update, what's going on at School of Motion and what we did this year. Some of the big things, because again, there was also a lot going on at School of Motion. We released a whole bunch of Holdframe workshops. And if anyone's listening and you haven't checked that out, you can go to schoolofmotion.com, click on Workshops up at the top, and you can see these incredible workshops that, we had multiple hosts hosting them. Some of the best artists in the industry. We had one with Ordinary Folk. We had one with Cub Studio, Sekani Solomon, and they are so cool, because we figured out how to produce these things almost like you're sitting next to the artist, talking to them about this project. You get their project files. We have some that are already recorded and edited and'll be released next year with some really cool names. So, look out for those.

Joey:

Our jobs board, creativecareers.io, which I don't even think a lot of people know that we started up a jobs board and there's currently 2,400 jobs on there or like maybe a little bit less than that. There's a ridiculous amount of motion design jobs on there. So if you're looking, go check it out. And also if you're looking for talent, it gets a lot of traffic, so it's a good way to find extra talent. Although, clearly not enough, as we'll get into in a little bit.

Joey:

We've been doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff to the site. We actually just moved our website over to Webflow. So, it loads a lot quicker. It lets us do a lot of things that we weren't able to do before. So that's exciting for us and probably to nobody else.

Joey:

If you're taking a School of Motion class or if you're signed up for the winter session that's come up in January, you may notice we're doing some different things, and we're experimenting with adding things to classes to make them even more engaging. One of the things that's really, really cool, and EJ, maybe you can talk about it really quick, is the idea of lunch hours. So what are those?

EJ:

Yeah, so I'm actually missing this Friday's lunch break, but what we've added and kind of tested this whole last session was, hey, let's do a live hangout, do a live Q&A, do some live critiques, interact with our students live. That's something we just started up this past session as just like, "Hey, let's try this." And it's been a lot of fun getting our TAs connected with our students, everyone kind of getting introduced to their faces and just their personality. So it's been really a great way to have our students immerse themselves even more into our classes and really get even more of that like white glove touch of help and guidance through our courses. And I'm really excited to see where this kind of goes.

EJ:

We had special guests show up every now and then. We had Jonathan Winbush this last couple weeks ago, talking about Unreal and some of the things we're actually going to talk about along this podcast, but it's just cool to be able to do that. We have so many good contacts in the industry, and to have them show up and speak directly to our students, it's really an awesome add to what's already an awesome setup with our TAs, and all the feedback and critique, and stuff like that. So I'm excited.

Joey:

Yeah. I got to say that if you've taken a School of Motion class, the way that we think about these things is, and I like to come up with cute names for everything, so I call it the three Cs: content, community, and critique. The community part is always the trickiest thing to nail with these online classes, and when EJ pitched this and we started trying it out, and our community team, Ryan and Brittany, have both really helped to make this happen. I was like, "Oh yeah, that sounds cool." And then I came to one and I was like, "Oh, this is really cool actually." I mean, it's a huge value add for everybody, not just for the students. I think it's great for us, too, because it also lets us hear a little bit more directly from the students that are in that session right then, telling us what they're learning, what they're having trouble with, what they're interested in. So, that's awesome. If you take a School of Motion class in the future, I'm almost positive that those are going to remain part of the experience. So look out for that.

Joey:

We recently hired a director of business development, Sheena.

Ryan:

Awesome.

Joey:

Who is amazing. And this is cool, because what we're trying to do, and what she's sort of heading up, is we're trying to make it easier for companies to send teams through School of Motion classes. There is a talent crunch. I don't know if anyone else has noticed that, and so companies are finding it very hard to find talent and so we're hoping that we can help by just leveling up the talent that's already there if they need to learn After Effects or if they need to get better at design or learn 3D. So we actually have some cool sort of bulk discounts and things like that. So if you're on a team, definitely reach out to Sheena, and you can just contact us through the website, and we can give you information on the programs that we're developing for businesses.

EJ:

Awesome.

Joey:

And then a couple other things. We started doing verified credentials when people finish a certain percentage of the work in one of our classes. It's really, really cool, because what we've found is first of all, the credentials, they're run through this company called Acclaim, and they're verified, meaning there's no way to fake it. I think they're actually on a blockchain. So it's almost like an NFT.

Ryan:

Take a drink, everybody.

Joey:

Yeah, there we go.

Ryan:

First time. Take a drink.

Joey:

Yeah. You get good vibes when you get the credential. But it's really cool, because we found, first of all, it's a big incentive. So it's pushing students to get that extra bit done so they get the credential, and it's also really cool because those credentials are starting to hold real value when people are out there looking for work. It's kind of cool. We found ourselves in this position of when School of Motion vouches for somebody, it actually means something now, because we've been doing this for years and people know that the classes are good and so the credential is basically proof that not only you took the class, because you could always say I took animation bootcamp, but it proves you actually completed the class, which is a different thing. And so I'm glad we're able to verify that now, and a lot of the students that are getting those credentials are seeing good results from that.

Joey:

The final thing I'll mention is that we've always had this challenge, and everyone who's taken a class knows this. Our classes are really hard. The difficulty level is challenging, but also the pace is challenging.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

And so a lot of students, they're juggling a class with their full-time job, their family, whatever, and so they find themselves at the end of class and all of the homework isn't done. They haven't completed it. Gosh, if I only had another week or two, I could finish it. So now we have the option at the end of class, if you didn't finish and you'd like to, we can actually offer extended critique. And so I think we are currently doing it where it's three extra months of access to your teaching assistant.

Ryan:

Yep.

Joey:

So it's really cool. Check that out. We're going to be sending out information about it in emails and we'll set up a landing page on the site, but that's something that's been requested literally for years. And so I'm glad we're finally rolling that out.

Joey:

And with that, I think we can now talk about, in general, what the hell happened in 2021 in the world of NFTs and motion design. We'll talk about other things.

Ryan:

2021, the year that we did 10 years worth of things in one.

EJ:

Yes.

Ryan:

It is possible to cram that much into one yeah.

Joey:

The year of Beeple. So, why don't we start with talking about our favorite work from this year, and what I said to EJ and Ryan before we started recording was we're only going to pick two things each.

Ryan:

Aw, it's so hard.

Joey:

Yeah, I know. I saw Ryan. I thought you were going to pick three, just to-

Ryan:

I got rid of it. I had 10 before I post them to the list.

EJ:

Play by the rules.

Ryan:

Then I [crosstalk 00:10:39] I was talking to. Yep.

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Live with it.

Joey:

The amount of work that came out this year is just kind of overwhelming, to be honest. And so much of it was incredible so it was almost impossible, I think, to pick two things that were our favorites. And so I picked two that, for a very specific reasons I'll talk about, but EJ, why don't we start with you. What were your two favorite pieces and why?

EJ:

Yeah. So I'll start out with, can I just put anything Microsoft design mix? Like Studio, Tendril, Nando Costa.

Ryan:

Co-signed, definitely.

EJ:

Yeah. And I actually saw that Jonathan Lindgren actually worked on this series of things. They're called just avatars, and I don't know exactly what the hell they're used for. So the Microsoft design, I love it. There's so much cool work, so much cool design. Why does that not translate to their app? Or Windows for-

Ryan:

First steps, first steps. You got to get the look right, and then it, then it goes.

EJ:

Yeah. So 2021, I moved to PC for the first time in ever, and so that I'm now fully experiencing the really bad Windows experience. I'm hearing Windows 11 isn't much better. But as far as this work goes, I just love this quirky, like they're just avatars made of just basic primitive shapes, and maybe some squishy soft body dynamics, and little eyeballs. I mean, slap eyeballs on anything inanimate objects and I'm there, and they're animated little, quirky way so I thought that was really cool. Again, has some of some of my favorite artists on it, like Jonathan Lindgren, Nando Costa.

EJ:

And then another one, speaking of NFTs and stuff like that, actually this avatar thing could be a profile pick like collectible thing, which don't get me started on what I think about those things.

Ryan:

That'll be in hour five. Hour five we'll just talk all about PFPs.

EJ:

Yeah. NFTO. Yeah. So DK motion, which I'm sure many of us already have heard of in the past, because he's just an amazing animator, mostly After Effects. He's got 82,000 followers, but he's one of the, why I love him is I've just loved his animation and his storytelling, and I added one that we'll add to the show notes, which is basically he just says like, "Are you curious about how I make animations? Watch this." And it's basically a time-lapse animation of him animating a character as himself as a character. And he's like kind of scaling up, climbing up the Illustrator, Adobe Illustrator interface, hitting buttons, exporting that out into After Effects, bringing his Illustrator thing into After Effects, and it's showing him physically, his character, grabbing, and posing, and animating this other character. And it's just a really cool story. Definitely check it out. The very ending kind of tugs at your heartstrings, but I just think DK's been amazing.

EJ:

And he's an example of that NFTs, whether you love them or hate it, this is a great example of someone who is doing amazing stuff before the NFT craze, and had a voice, and had a ton of followers, definitely dedicated a lot of time to his social media and stuff like that. And he's just kind of transitioned over to, I think he's probably, considering how much money he's made so far, I think he's just doing NFTs now.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

But it's just really great to see a traditional 2D animator killing it in NFT space that I think we usually think of 3D skulls, and you all those cliches, and all that kind of stuff. Those are my two.

Ryan:

He broke open, I feel like, along with, oh, what's the guy's name? Tony Bable. Is that his name?

EJ:

Yes.

Joey:

Incredible.

EJ:

Oh my God, yeah.

Ryan:

Tony and DK-

EJ:

He's another great one.

Ryan:

... I think both broke open what felt like it was just going to be a very static look and feel for NFTs and proved, oh no. Motion designers who aren't doing 3D one-a-days also have a place. I mean, we're recording this, and this animation that you just talked about a day ago came out, and it's already got 650,000 views.

EJ:

Oh, it's insane. Yeah.

Ryan:

650,000 views for a two minute long animation on a two and half minute long animation on Twitter.

EJ:

About something nerdy that we do.

Ryan:

That says a lot about his audience and the kind of charm of his work.

Joey:

And by the way, that piece, which by the way, just to remind everyone, we're going to link to everything we talk about in the show notes. God help the editor that has to edit this. The animation you're talking about, EJ, is on SuperRare, and the last sale was for $350,000.

EJ:

Yeah, so I don't think he's doing any freelance work anytime soon.

Joey:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you can't book him.

EJ:

Yeah.

Joey:

Yeah. DeeKay Kwon from South Korea, I believe, incredible animator. So good.

Ryan:

We talk about this more in NFTs, but I think it's going to start begging the question what happens when you have artists like this who have amazing styles with tons of charm and studios can't get them? Yeah. What's going to happen? It's going to be just like comic book artists and movie directors in the eighties doing music videos. We're going to start seeing the army of clones coming after all these styles, too, but more on that in hour three.

Joey:

Yeah. All right, Ryan, your picks. What are your two?

Ryan:

Oh man. So again, it's super hard, and I almost feel bad because one of my picks isn't actually available to be seen in its full totality yet, but you can see a hint of it. And then the other one I would argue isn't necessarily, people wouldn't think it's motion design, but I feel like it's heavily informed by all the stuff we do.

Ryan:

So the first one is between lines, the film from Sara Beth, Taylor Yontz, and Rebekah Hamilton, and a cast of amazing female animators and designers. But I just recorded a podcast that will be coming out really soon, and what I loved about it, you can go to betweenlinesfilm.com right now, and you can watch the teaser. Right?

Ryan:

And we all know Sarah. Sarah's a friend of School of Motion. She has Illustration for Motion as a course. She teaches. She's amazing. But what's been amazing is this year has really been the year of Sarah Beth, right? She's done some amazing work. She's done all kinds of classes. She spoke at Dash Bash. She is now directing. She did an amazing, I think, her first repped directing piece for, I think it was Bath & Body Works, which I wanted to put first, but then having seen this, I feel like this is even more important, because when you watch it, it holds, it hangs with the best of Oddfellows, or Ordinary Folk, or Gunner, all those people we always talk about as the best and the brightest. This is a personal piece, like capital P personal piece, right? It's something that's super, super personal to her, but resonates with lots of people. It's something that's been on her mind for a long time. It's something that could only come from her. But I would even say that the way it looks, and feels, and moves is not something like a TV animation studio would do. It's not something a film studio would do it. It does not feel like anything other than what would come out of motion design. So for that reason, that was my number one piece. You can see the teaser.

Ryan:

I think we talk about this in the podcast that'll be coming out in a little bit, but I really think if you go to the website and you click on Team, it is going to become the defacto site that people push people when they say, "I can't find another woman to work on my project. I can't find a designer." No long longer will that be something that is possible to say in the studio, or as a producer, as an agency. Like, "I just couldn't find an animator. I called the same two people." There is a team of, I think between 30 and 40 people right now on the site that you can see who they are, what they did, what shots they might have worked on, and you can get to all their stuff. So that one I would go to immediately, watch the teaser, get ready for it when it comes out next year, and listen into their podcast when it's out, because it's a great story. It's a great piece.

Joey:

Awesome. Yeah. And I haven't seen the full film, but I mean even just the teaser is pretty amazing.

Ryan:

Yeah. The density, I mean, you know what to expect from Sarah Beth's work, but then it is surprising, because the density of these frames, and the detail, like the lushness. I don't know how you put that together and maintain that look and feel with a team of remote people that have never worked together, all on their own time, not sitting in a room together with each other. It's a pretty amazing feat to put together by anyone, but then the way they did it, it's even more amazing.

Joey:

Yeah. And I can see that Nuria Boj was also one of the designers on it.q She's one of my favorites. So it's just kind of a stacked team.

Ryan:

It's all-stars, all the way through, top to bottom.

Joey:

What's your second pick?

Ryan:

So the second pick is something I think we might have talked about, Spider-Verse, a year or two ago when it came out and it hit theaters, and I was like, "Man, just wait. Just wait. In another like six months to a year, you're going to see Spider-Verse style timing and Spider-Verse conventions, like visual conventions for how they handled stuff on twos, and threes, and textured timing, and doing all that stuff, all that stylistic stuff. You're going to see it."

Ryan:

And there's been bits and pieces of it. I feel like it hasn't made its way through motion design just yet. It hasn't become like this defacto thing. But Fortiche studios working with League of Legends launched, not that long ago on Netflix, a series called Arcane. It is literally like every single thing I've ever wanted out of animation, all in one place. Right? It looks like the visual development art that you see in all those art of books that then when you watch the movie, you're like, "Why didn't the movie look like that? Why? I mean, if you could draw it, why couldn't you make it look like that?" Right? It has this beautiful painterly look. It's 3D, but it doesn't feel like 3D, right? The animation feels like it's crafted by 2D animators, even though it's 3D. It has beautiful, stunning, like hand-drawn effects on top of it. The effects sometimes are on twos and threes. But all of that said, all the surface stuff, the storytelling is adult, right? It's not adult in the way, Love, Death & Robots is adult, like violence and sex. It has adult themes. There's actual acting in the character animation, which is stunning. There's themes that are actually explored throughout of it.

Ryan:

And the coolest thing I think about it, I'm actually shocked, is that you don't need to know anything about League of Legends. This, I really feel is like heads and tails, the best video game anything, like any movie or TV show, this is the best video game translation that's ever been done that also doesn't require you to know anything about the video game at all. I've never played League of Legends in my life. I never will, but I will watch Arcane season two or anything else that this studio does. So, Arcane check it out. It's on Netflix. It's getting huge ratings. So I think a season two just got green lit and just announced so there'll be more of it.

Joey:

I love it. I'm looking at the trailer right now, and the style of the 3D is incredible. It seems like French 3D artists tend to push the envelope. Maybe it's Gobelins. I don't know like what it is over there.

Ryan:

I was just about to say.

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

I shouldn't talk out without the research, but I feel like Fortiche has to have like an all-star group of graduates from Gobelins, for sure. Because just the way stuff moves, just the way the composition of shots. It doesn't feel like when you watch someone play League of Legends. It doesn't feel like that. It feels like something that you've seen from 10 years of Gobelins' student showcases.

Ryan:

I will say when I watched it, I literally had to stop like twice, because I don't know if you guys ever have this, but when there's something so good, it's almost so overwhelming that your brain's like, "Oh, I got figure out how they did this. And did you see that?" And you freeze frame. You're like, "No, I got to stop and take a breath. I'm just going to watch it." This is the first thing that's happened like that for me in a very long time.

Joey:

Amazing. All right, well, I'll talk about my two and I felt almost like I cheated when I picked mine, because I honestly couldn't think of what was actually my favorite thing visually. So it was much easier for me to think about the story behind these pieces and that's why I picked them.

Joey:

So the first one is BMW History of Horsepower done by Ariel Costa. Now, I could've probably picked anything he made this year and it would've made the list. Ariel, I'm pretty sure he's my favorite sort of solo director animator at this moment. I think what I love about him is that he started making work with this look, and it was really unique, and the way he animates, which is very much brute force and kind of clunky, but he gets it done. It gives his work this quality where it almost looks like every single frame was hand touched, right? Nothing is completely inbetweened.

Joey:

And so the BMW History of Horsepower is just sort of like classic Ariel Costa. Incredible, weird, conceptual mishmash of imagery, and painting cartoon eyeballs on horses, and just all kinds of weird stuff. And I love it because Ariel, he's kind of transcended motion design a little bit, right? He's done videos for Led Zeppelin, and Green Day, and Mastadon. He's a director, he's a designer, he's an animator. He's taken his skillset that we put in this box called motion design, and he's parlayed that into this really interesting career. And he hasn't compromised at all his look and style, even when he is doing stuff for huge brands. So, much respect to Ariel Costa. We'll link to that piece, but honestly, just go to his website and watch everything he's done.

Ryan:

Spend a day just watching his stuff.

Joey:

Yeah, just spend a day just going through it. But I remember when that came out, it was kind of at the beginning of the year. And I was like, "This might be my favorite piece this year." And lo and behold, it was.

Joey:

Now the second one, the second one's interesting. So the second one is the Snoop Dogg video for No Smut On My Name. Now, here's the thing. The video's great, okay? If you go watch the video, it's a lot of fun. It's got this great art direction. It kind of feels throw backy and vaudevillian, and it's great. Right? And the songs really catchy. Snoop Dogg's amazing.

Joey:

But the reason I picked it was because Peter Quinn has completely floored me. This is another example of someone who has these skills that we put into a box called motion design, but what he's done with them, I mean, if you saw what he was doing two or three years ago, it was sort of like, oh, that's cool. He's is making these kind of viral VFX videos. He has this thing he does where he takes a picture of the top half of his head, and that's his Instagram. He just sort of has this creative, artistic thing that he just kind of does, and it almost seems like he can't help it. He just needs to make stuff. And that's really cool, but what's that going to do for you, Peter? Why don't you freelance and make some money? And then all of a sudden-

Ryan:

And then what happens?

Joey:

All of a sudden, overnight success-

Ryan:

He's rolling with Snoop.

Joey:

... after he's been doing this stuff for years, and now he's done two Snoop Dogg videos this year. This is the second one he did. They're both great. I like the second one better. I think the second one's a little more unique looking, but either way, it is so impressive that a motion designer, and I don't even know if Peter would call himself that at this point. He's a director. He's a creator. He's parlayed those skills into working with Snoop Dogg, twice in one year, and I can't imagine what he's going to do next year now that he has this under his belt.

Joey:

So, that's the reason. The piece is great, but that's not why it's on my list. It's on my list because people who have these skills are able to now navigate and climb way high up the mountain, even in a place like Hollywood, where he lives. He lives in California. It's pretty amazing. And so, there you go.

Ryan:

You got to watch the behind the scenes of that video specifically, because there's nothing more joyous than watching little Peter Quinn and gigantic, tall, skinny Snoop Dogg both just nodding their head to the song, and then Snoop's like, "Cool." And high fives Peter. You could just literally see the smile on Peter's face when you can't even see his face. I think it's very interesting, Joey, that if you look at five of the six things we picked, they are not studios. They're all definitive artists with a specific voice, and vision, and style that they've cultivated for like a decade plus.

Ryan:

And that's what we talk about all the time. Every time people are like, "What should you try to figure out in motion design?" It's not saying you have to get there, but look what happens when you do double down on not just personal work, but personal work where it has a direction or a purpose behind it. Five of the six best things we could pick out of the year of everything are just people, people we like who do work that astounds us. It's funny that you say it, because I feel like motion design used to be, remember back when we went on mograph.net, that used to be the thing. Motion designers were doing stuff like this, doing little music videos for Queens of the Stone Age, or and then they kind of got their shot at a studio because they made something like this. Now it's the same, but it's reversed. Now people are elevating up by doing this stuff. You get to a studio, you get some opportunity, you make your name, you do something, and then someone finds you. It's an interesting parallel to the way motion design kind of started, in my mind. It's really weird.

EJ:

Yeah. It's it used to be you would only know of Ariel Costa, or Gmunk, or Ash Thorpe, but as we'll get to later, things have completely changed in 2021 where celebrities are now reaching directly out to artists and not studios anymore, because it's like, "Yeah, where are all these weird F VFX things going to take you Peter Quinn?" Like, "Oh, where are these Everydays going to take you, Mr. Beeple?" Well, we found out.

Joey:

Right? Yeah.

EJ:

2021 was the year of finding out what all these quirky things people were doing, how they ended up paying off.

Ryan:

About a hundred million in two sales.

Joey:

It worked out. It worked out.

Ryan:

That's pretty good.

EJ:

It worked out.

Joey:

He did okay. He's going to be okay, Mr. Winkelmann.

EJ:

I think he'll be okay. But what does that equal out to if you really did the hourly rate, though, of all the hours he put in? Is that still good? I don't, it's probably still good.

Joey:

I think it's still pretty good.

Ryan:

We have another podcast coming out with the guys from RevThink, and Tim from RevThink actually was like, "You know what? I think it's time to stop thinking of it that way, and start thinking about the lifetime value that motion designers are starting to generate." Because he's like, "Look, as a fine artist, people sold basically two really big things for around a hundred million dollars." He's like, "If you think about the value that that generates for himself, for Christie's for his collectors, plus the amount of people that get pulled up by the heat from him, right, the people who aren't selling a hundred million dollars, but might be selling for 500 grand or 800 hundred grand. He's generating billions of dollars of lifetime value. That's the number to start really thinking about. Like if there was no Beeple who did 13 one-a-days, regardless of what you think of his work, would there have been as big of an explosion of NFTs? Maybe there would've been, maybe there wouldn't have been, but that story, maybe not even the work, but the story of a dude crafting image every single day for however many years, that's what sold at Christie's, not just the individual image itself. It's the personality and the story around that.

Joey:

Yep. I still think he should've cursed on the Fallon show, but you know, missed opportunity. Maybe next time.

Ryan:

It's totally off brand not to do that.

Joey:

Yeah. So all right. So let's get into some of the other things that were trends this year. So broadly speaking, pandemic is still very much impacting the industry in, frankly, some ways that have been a boost for certain companies and artists, and obviously some things that still suck, for example, in person meetups have not come roaring back just quite yet. Right?

Ryan:

We tried. We tried hard.

Joey:

I know. I had fingers crossed, toes crossed and NAB still got canceled again. It was heartbreaking. However, there have been events, though, and I haven't been to any, I didn't go to any this year, but we sponsored a party at Dash Bash, which ran for the first time, and Camp Mograph happened, and EJ, you were at Camp Mograph, right? What was that like?

EJ:

Yeah, it was so surreal. And actually just this past weekend, there was like a mini Mograph meet up in LA and Burbank. At each of these events, I go to NAB every year, try to go to SIGGRAPH every year. And I feel like in what was it? 2019, I feel like started to really ramp up the in-person meetups, and Dash Bash, and let's do more of these things, and then everything just got kind of shuttered there. But the weirdest thing about Camp Mograph was seeing so many people that, like I said, I would see at least three, four times a year and going up to them, giving them a hug, because we had to wear wristbands. Are you cool with hugs? What are you cool?

Ryan:

The hug band?

EJ:

Yeah, hug band.

Joey:

That's funny.

EJ:

The hug band, and just real realizing like, holy crap, I have a-

PART 1 OF 7 ENDS [00:31:04]

Joey:

And just realizing like, holy crap, I haven't seen you in X amount of years and there's this really weird thing your brain does where it's like, no, it couldn't have been like almost two years, holy crap it has. So it was just so great to have that because you just could tell that. I know for me personally, it's just, I got way more involved and interactive with people online and in Discords. And we started up a Saturday Night Game Night with James Ramirez and Jonathan Winbush and my brother. And that we formed this little mini community off of our Discord channel. And that was really cool and I feel like that really helped my mental health through all of this, but actually getting to do it in person it was great, but it was also weird because right when we got to Camp Mograph, Rick Barrett, who is the product lead at Maxon was like, we're probably not going to do any B.

Joey:

So that was like it was great to see everyone, but also, we also realized that this is probably a window that's just slightly open and now shutting right away so that was very sad. But I think when, like I said, in 2019, we were going to see in 2020 the most amount of meetups ever. And I feel like when things get back to normal, I think we're going to see even more of that because people are craving that in person. We're sick of just the online.

EJ:

Yes.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

Yeah. Ryan, I'm curious what your prediction is like, because I remember, I don't know, this was probably 15 years ago or something like that. NAB was huge. And then the biggest booth at that time was usually Apple, and Apple made a decision one year, Hey, you know what, like we have a great website and everyone's got the internet and we can just sell, we can market that way and we don't need to spend millions of dollars to come to NAB. So we're not going to do that anymore. And it was like, oh my God, is this the end of conferences? And everyone panicked and then it was fine, right? And new companies stepped up Blackmagic became the biggest exhibitor and stuff like that.

Joey:

And so even though I lived through that, I feel a little bit of fear because I think, and having talked to some of the people that buy booths at NAB, they're thinking now, okay, well, we've got live streaming and we've all got websites. And Adobe MAX has been virtual two years in a row and it seems to do really well. So do we really need to spend the money to do these booths and throw these big events. Do you think that NAB for example, is going to bounce back from this?

Ryan:

I think two things will happen. I think one it's feasible to have that big of a show, like that large of a show that many people want, and it's actually like health wise and regulation wise feasible. It will come back without a doubt because as long as Mograph goes to NAB, where NAB is based around film and TV production, the rate of film and TV production is only quantum leaping, right? Whatever, if no one can go outside, people will still be filming outside, right?

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

And with that said, I don't know if Adobe will go because Adobe's really smart about watching the optics of going to those kinds of things. But I think MAX will always go. If Paul Babb is involved and it's open, I think he'll be there because he just understands and appreciates and probably just selfishly really enjoys pressing the flesh, right? Just being there. So I think NAB will happen. Who goes and who shows up who knows? But I could see MAX being there.

Ryan:

I think the other thing that's really interesting is because with COVID it's not the same everywhere, right? Your experience Joey in Florida is very different from my experience in the Midwest, right. But I do feel like you're going to start seeing, I don't know about an explosion, but a lot more of these just like smaller groups, like EJ said happened in LA where groups of people feel comfortable and they have the right things for that geographic area. I think we might start to see the return of smaller Mograph meetups just because the pressure valve needs to be released, right?

Joey:

Yes.

Ryan:

You just need it. You just have to like, even if you don't talk about anything work related, maybe even specifically not to talk about work related stuff, but to be around people, I think you're going to see more and more. I mean, even just in the small little area of Milwaukee, I'm even starting to see that where people are like, Hey, can we just like go to coffee shop, I'll stay in 10 feet away for you, but can we just like, hang out the for an hour? Like people need to get out, right? You just need to be around people and be outside. So I feel like it'll be there. I don't know if it'll ever be in the same amount of scope or frequency, but I think it's coming back.

Joey:

Well, listen, we can all wear hug bracelets and hug each other and it's going to happen. I feel confident too. I agree with you. I think it's going to bounce back.

EJ:

I caveat all of that unless there's another transformer named like unicram, some crazy variant that is so virulent.

Joey:

[crosstalk 00:35:47] variant. It's crazy.

EJ:

Exactly. The [crosstalk 00:35:48].

Joey:

Yeah.

EJ:

But if that doesn't happen, if we don't have like a game-changing one, I think so.

Joey:

Yeah. Well from your mouth man. Let's talk about, so this was something that we talked about last year too, and I assumed that the pendulum would swing back the other way and it feels like it hasn't, and that's this, live action was not possible last year for a while and it is possible now, but it costs more, there's regulations, especially if you're doing it in California. I've read articles where they break down all of the new things that you need now to be compliant and this and that. And so animation got basically this boom, because you couldn't do production and then you could, but it's more expensive. And now everyone realizes, oh, animation is really effective. And it's like, it can be cost effective and it can be real well done. And tactically help achieve your marketing goals, all that. So I don't know what you two have been hearing. Is that still a thing where people are just instead of doing live action, they're doing animation and all of our friends are benefiting. Is that still a thing? I

EJ:

I Would say, not only is it a thing and it's a huge thing, but we are on the backside of feeling the repercussions of it. And maybe not specifically in motion design, but I know the live action world did a lot of negotiating earlier in the spring and summer, right? About based off of a lot of the stuff that happened with that Rust shooting and all the different things just going on. People working too many hours and, and people not even understanding what it takes to make the stuff you watch on Netflix and all the streaming places that it's getting worse, right?

Joey:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

As the demand gets higher, the pressure on these systems is breaking systems with COVID or not, right? But in light of the amount of animation that's going into play right now, currently, like in the beginning of December, The Animation Union, The Guild is negotiating right now for better payment, better rights, all this stuff specifically because of the workload that's happened.

EJ:

I don't think it's changing anytime soon. I don't feel like it's temporary. I think as we start talking about this other stuff, coming up as well with the results of what NFTs and, and Web 3.0 and Dows and all these other things that are coming online, the pressure to make more work, to make it faster, to split it up into a million little deliverables is only, I think increasing regardless of whether or not people come back to live action. I think there's just been a discovery from content providers and agencies, and even like Netflix, we talked about Arcane, right? They're starting to see finally, at least in North America where it's never been possible, animation is not a babysitting tool, right? Motion design is not just to sell something. There's a lot more than these tools, these things, these ways of production can be used that for whatever reason, they haven't been at least in the states in North America. So I think it's only increasing regardless of whether or not COVID goes away tomorrow or not.

Ryan:

Yeah. I think everyone's as they have had time to just sit at home and learn things, everyone's figured out how to do their own MacGyver live production workflows with a very small team and I'll throw the link into this, but this was just like a few weeks ago. Mr. Beast, I've never heard of this before, but making Mr. Beast's Squid Game in 10 days, they basically recreated the sets, built Squid Games from scratch. By the way, Squid Games, we might not actually have ever watched if it wasn't for all of the shut down stuff, because South Korea was up and running still. And I was talking to people at the Mograph meet up and they were saying how in California there was a certain point where everything was open in the world to make live production except for California.

Ryan:

Yeah. So I think the repercussions of that who knows what's going to come back to California, what's going to just stay other places, stuff like that. But yeah, like unreal, we're going to talk about it more throughout this, but I think you're starting to see, even with NFTs, the diffusion of artists and you're not just going to have like, oh, I just use that effect, or I just use Cinema 4D. You're going to have to learn all this stuff. If anything that we see is on the horizon, it's like Facebook changed its name to freaking Metaverse. And what the hell is that? All I know is it's AR and VR and is this finally the thing? So we'll talk about more about that.

EJ:

What I do know about that is that there are a lot more jobs that now are asking for somebody who understands what VR or AR is.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

With the snap of Mark Zuckerberg's fingers, the amount of jobs that are out there now that literally didn't exist the day before is astounding.

Joey:

Right. Mark Zuckerberg. Does he know how to snap fingers? Does he have that algorithm

Ryan:

Does not compute.

EJ:

He has his fingers snapping coach.

Joey:

Yeah. He's learned how to drink a glass of water. I've seen that.

Ryan:

Is this what human do?

Joey:

Exactly, human things. Let's talk about, so I think probably for me, the biggest change caused by the pandemic. And I think for sure a lasting change is the influence of remote work now. And in preparation for this, I reached out to as many people as I could and asked studio owners and artists and everybody, what do you think about remote work? How has it been for you? How has it been for your staff? I got a bunch of different answers. There were some commonalities, but the experience seems to have been different for almost everybody. So I think here's an interesting example. So Joel Pilger responded to one of my social media posts about this and he said something about, I think next year companies are going to learn the difference between doing remote and doing remote at scale.

Joey:

And the way I interpreted that was that everybody can quote, do remote, you set up a Slack and you set up a Dropbox and then you just do the work from your house and you just share stuff and chat over Slack and that's it. And it's pretty easy to do that when you're five or six or 10 people. When you scale up to the size of say BUCK, right? That has hundreds and maybe more than that, now artists working remotely, how the hell do you manage at that scale? And so I think that now you've got companies that figured out the remote thing and they figured out that we can do it. And now they're trying to figure out how do we get around the downsides of remote, right? How do we keep the company culture intact when no one's actually seeing each other every day.

Joey:

I heard from a studio owner, one of the hardest is if you're an art director or creative director and you're managing four or five jobs, it was so much easier to just walk around a room and go look at the work.

EJ:

Yeah. Do the loop.

Joey:

Right? And now you can't do that. You have to get on, you have to find this Frame.io Link and then this one, and then you're typing and it's just different now. So I'm curious what you guys have been hearing like EJ, what have your friends who studios said about this?

EJ:

Yeah. I would say, I don't talk to too many people that own studios, but I know the smaller studios they're really not. We did some work with Gunner and they're a very small studio and it's way more manageable for them versus like BUCK. I'm sure they have a lot more issues because they have different studios all over the world. I'd be interested in like, have they been more productive? Like have a lot of these places actually seen productivity go up. Is that due to just efficiencies and people being able to focus more or is it on the other end where people just don't know how to turn off because they're at their office 24 hours a day, because their home is their office now. What I will say is that on the freelancer side of things and people working for studios and working remote, I've talked to many people that are now in this mindset of like, I'm just going to be freelance forever and I'm going to move to Barcelona now and work out of there.

EJ:

And that's a very hard mindset to break. We've been conditioned, even my wife who's a teacher teaches elementary school, she hated doing the remote learning, but then it's like, you go back in person. Everyone's crazy. Kids are crazy. COVID brains and stuff like that. And it's like, oh my God, it was so much easier when we're all remote. I wish we were doing remote more. So I think once you fight, there's a lot of people that just aren't home bodies and just can't deal with that. But now we've all been forced psychologically to deal what that is and cope with it and get used to it and maximize it. And oh man, I just went to IKEA and totally decked out my office space. I'm all set up. It's going to be really hard to give that up on the freelance side of things, especially when we don't know when this is going to end and just the freedom everyone's experienced doing everything remotely. Everyone's got a taste of what it's like to be a freelancer, enjoy those little benefits.

Ryan:

Yeah. I feel like it's just accelerated something that was already happening at least at the studio level, right? The mid-size to larger studio is that they already were starting to get used to, or having to who and we'll talk about this with the talent crunch, having to reach to people, at least on the freelance side that we're not in their normal Rolodex or in their geographic location, right? So they were already doing that. But I think the thing that's really interesting to me besides the fact that some studios are literally just abandoning their physical space and even in some cases studios that never even moved into a space, but got it set up and they were about to go in and then couldn't because of COVID are just like letting their leases go because this is just going on for so long.

Ryan:

The thing that's a little scary for me, if I was a studio owner is just that whole structure of mentorship and the, I call it pipeline, which is probably unfair, but that career arc of, oh, I came in as a production coordinator or a PA or an intern or a junior artist. And I got to just see how stuff worked, right? I was amazed by how much I picked up at imaginary forces by just being around, not even in the room when the thing is happening, but hearing people, the busyness of people getting ready to go and do a pitch and hearing different people talking, and then seeing afterwards the effect or being in the car with the producer and the creative director driving to the pitch and hearing the preparation, that stuff is why I am who I am now.

Ryan:

And that just doesn't exist. Whether you're a producer or a junior artist like that. If this is the way we are going to go, going forward, there is even less making a studio what a studio is than there was before and that had already been cut in half in the last five years. So to me, it actually really makes you question, what is a studio? What is the advantage of a studio to versus like when you said EJ five artists working on Slack from all over the world, working together, the difference between that in a studio is not that much at this point.

Joey:

Yeah. It's a [inaudible 00:46:29].

Ryan:

It's interesting.

Joey:

Yeah. It was interesting getting responses from people and some, so I'll just lay it out. So broadly speaking, the pros, right of doing the remote thing are, and really embracing the remote, almost going remote first, is for bigger studios 100% there's a cost savings. If you don't have that big office and the rent and all of the expenses associated with that. Sure, now you ha you're paying for Zoom licenses and Slack and maybe like we do, we have a budget for everyone at School of Motion for home office furniture and stuff like that. But still compared to the least that we would need to fit all 32 of us in a building or something like that, it's cheaper, there's no question.

Joey:

Now, on the other hand, the culture thing is real and the way I've always looked at it because School of Motion is been remote since day one and before it was cool, right? Before it was even cool to do it, we were doing it.

Ryan:

Or required?

Joey:

Yeah, exactly. Before it was just safer to be remote. So I always looked at it this way. There's you have to weigh these two things, right? There's how efficient the company can be. And then there's the lifestyle that you can have working at that company. And there's a trade off, there's no question, right? We are fully remote and we're spread out all the way from the East Coast of the US to Hawaii, and we make it work and we're very efficient, but for sure, there's areas where we move slower than if we were all in the same room. There's just no way around that.

Joey:

However, it enables someone to live in Hawaii. It enables me to live in Florida and EJ in Colorado and you in Wisconsin, Ryan. You can live where you want when you're not in a building for a certain number of hours a day. I wrote a book about it. It's like, there's something freeing about that. And so I think it's cool that everybody got a taste of that. I wonder if that is part of the reason there's a talent shortage, which we'll be talking about soon.

Ryan:

Yeah. You know what, we didn't bring this up in our notes I don't think, but the other, I feel like anytime something pauses happens, my brain automatically goes to, but what else is going on or vice versa. And in this situation, I do also wonder, have you guys heard at all, or even the people listening too, I know in larger tech companies, this is already starting to happen that if you moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, but you worked for Google in San Francisco, or you moved to Milwaukee, but your home office is in New York. That would have a huge advantage. But now people who are getting hired in those positions are being prorated against their geographic location, right? Awesome, start in San Francisco, get paid San Francisco rates, but a year later move out. But it's going the other way now. And I don't know if that's hit motion design yet.

Ryan:

Because I don't know if producers are savvy enough or because of the talent crunch probably that's protected, but let's say we're two or three years out of this and this settles down and people leave the centers, right? I mean it's already happening, people are leaving LA as it is, New York, same thing. If that becomes the standard for everybody, even the people coming into the industry. Do you see that hitting motion design? Do you think as this, if it slows down or if the talent crunch equivocates a little bit, do you think you're going to start seeing studios be like, Hey no. Cool. I know you have a 750 day rate if you're living in LA, but I'm calling you in Eastern time zone from some random place in Virginia. I can't afford your LA rate. I can afford your Virginia rate.

Joey:

Right. Yeah. I think that on the freelance side it will be harder for studios to put downward pressure on rates for that reason. But I do think that larger studios and agencies and just companies in general are going to do that. It's almost inevitable. And the reason is, there's a separate question of the ethics of that, right? Which is I think actually a really interesting conversation, but there's the reality. And so here's an example. So I have a friend who is doing a startup right now and it's awesome. And it's going to be really big and sell for a billion dollars one day. He's hiring exclusively in countries with low cost of living, and he needs to hire software engineers and designers and illustrators. He's got a motion designer working for him, but he is hiring people in Indonesia and software engineers from Argentina and paying them rates that put them really high up income wise in their country, but compared to an American salary it's maybe half or a third.

Joey:

And they are just as capable, just as talented, amazing. They speak English and if you're in South America, the time zone isn't even like an issue at that point. So it works, right? And it's one of those things where if you're the artist that wants to live somewhere, you want to live in LA and you're competing with someone that lives in Indonesia and it's impacting you. It's well shoot, now they're comparing me and I'm not in any better than that artist, but it costs them a quarter of what it costs me to live. And so they can charge less and still do really well. That's not fair. Correct, it's not but it's reality. So I think it is going to be an impact.

EJ:

It does has a big [inaudible 00:51:46] effect too, because as much as we say, no one wants to do it. What happened with explainer videos, right? Explainer videos were a growth area. They're an explosion, everybody wanted them, they charged high rates. Then people realized they could do them for less. They could outsource, they could compete on price, not on vision or skill or talent. That's what's going to happen. The clients at some point, we either learn this because they're doing it themselves on their business side, or somebody who would normally go to We Are Royale is going to go to some dude in the Midwest who has a team of people in Slovakia working for him and just basically passing through the product and the cost back. You have that enough times and the clients are going to get wise to okay, cool. Now costs half as much to do this. So we're not going to pay you that much. It does have a chilling effect.

EJ:

That said, I wonder if the rate of need for what we do accelerates so much that it makes up for it, right? There's so many new markets that need what we do that don't even understand how to do something VR or AR or even understand what it is that then it goes back to that whole cost or that question of, and I think this goes to what we're going to talk about is motion design advertising? You work for advertisers. Or is motion design a philosophy and a way of thinking that everybody wants to tap into? To me, that's the big question of 2022.

Ryan:

Yeah. I think there's the fiverrfication of a lot of... That's just not a motion design specific thing. It's like everything that is easy to be replicated or using technology to do and replace the human, usually those jobs that can be replaced by robots or things that probably humans shouldn't do like they're not fun jobs but people have to do them to make a living anyways. But does that then open up other opportunities for these artists to do other things that are way more like, is anyone missing animating text in really crappy clip art people for four minute animations? No one likes to do that.

Ryan:

People used to get paid a lot to do that and now people on Fiverr there's so much automation that now, instead of doing all that menial work of doing all that stuff, you could spend more time on storytelling aspect or all these other things that utilized the creative brain a lot more than just, okay, I got to animate this thing another 500 times to fill up this 10 minute long explainer video on some stupid app that's not going to do anything.

EJ:

Well, I mean, I think it goes back to those five out of the six people that we highlighted, right? At the very beginning of this whole thing is that there's nothing wrong with doing work that some people might call grunt work or menial work, but you also have to be aware that, that could be replicated. I mean, look at Runway ML, looked at all the machine learning stuff that, I mean, the way to get into VFX used to be Paint and Roto, right?

Ryan:

Yeah. Who's missing doing Roto?

EJ:

And that was the starting then you move, right. Who's even doing Paint and Roto anymore at the scale that used to happen, right? You either don't need to or very shortly it would be silly to do it, right? So there's nothing wrong with that, but it's just, you have to have a certain amount of awareness of like, okay, cool. Somebody might be knocking out of the door and it might be machine learning to do what you do already.

Ryan:

That's why always my issue coming up in the industry and stuff like that was always hung my hat on knowing all this technical ability. And then it's like, I would make tutorials on them and then it's like, oh, well, all my tutorials are now obsolete because what used to be a 20 minute process is now a button click. And it's like, maybe I shouldn't be focusing on, well, I'm so smart I know this software, maybe I should spend more time being an artist and not a technician. You know what I mean? I think that anyone one who's mostly hung their hat up than the technician side of thing and are lacking in the art side, you're going to feel that crunch even more.

EJ:

And if you're feeling that crunch, I have a class called design kickstart that I could [inaudible 00:55:37], that would be perfect for you.

Joey:

Nicely done.

EJ:

Seats are limited.

Joey:

Don't fall prey to Fiverrfication. Let's talk about really quick, back on the topic of remote, one of the things that shocked me actually was when all of this happened and studios had to shut down and go remote. A lot of people actually had no idea how to do it. And even just on the software side and it didn't take long to figure it out, but it's really interesting to see the different ways people coped with it, right? So there's the way we operate, where it's Slack and Zoom or Google Hangouts and Dropbox, we're now using Frame.io, which I'm sure a lot of people listening are familiar with as a critique tool. It's also actually a pretty amazing cloud footage storage system for editors.

Joey:

And that's the reason we actually got on their enterprise account this year, because we're doing so much editing. And our editors are all in different states and they all need to share footage gigantic 4K, ProRes files and stuff. And Frame.io actually makes it really easy to do that. But there's this new way of doing it that I know Sarofsky was doing. I know a lot of studios are using like Teradici and Parsec, and these basically screen sharing apps where you're remoting in from your house to a computer that's somewhere else. And there's even now this thing that we just did, our lead editor John, just did a demo of it the other day, www.suitestudios.io. I think is the URL. And it's that you're at your house, you're on a laptop and you're remoting into a computer, but the computer is actually like a Google computer system somewhere in a server rack.

Joey:

And you can have multiple computers and they're all using the same hard drive. And you basically just don't actually need the computer anymore. You just need an iPad, essentially.

Ryan:

It's like a dumb terminal.

Joey:

Yeah. So it's crazy. It's wild that works so well now and the Internet's fast enough and they figured out how to make it low latency all of that stuff. So we'll probably talk a little bit more about that stuff when we make some predictions next year. But that I think is one of those things that when I saw it and we've tested them I feel like that it makes me feel the same way I felt when Netflix started streaming and I was like, oh, I'm not buying a Blu-ray player because why would I?

Ryan:

A DOD in the mail?

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

What's that?

Joey:

I was like, oh, it's obviously going this way now. And that's how I feel about this.

EJ:

You know what proved it to me is I have one of my best friends worked at Disney during all this stuff, right? Disney feature animation as tied down as you can possibly get in terms of lawyers and security and nothing ever leaks out of there. And those guys, the amount of time they actually have to animate a movie is really, really short. You would be shocked. Movie might start entering three or four years to figure out the story and build the assets. But the actual animation, sometimes those movies get done in like six months, seven months, eight months. It's shocking. Doesn't make any sense, right? So those animators, when they're on, they're on, they're working 60, 70, 80 hours a week nonstop, full seven days a week in the office, in the studio. As soon as COVID hit, shockingly, it took a weekend for the flip to get switched and everybody was working from home because they couldn't stop.

EJ:

And somehow this thing that was impossible to do, right? Ask anybody who's ever worked on VFX pre-COVID versus post-COVID what their lives like, it was unthinkable to think you could work on a Marvel movie from your home desk, right? Everybody's doing it now. That's never going back. That was amazing to me that it really did exist already. It just needed something like COVID to say like, oh, well we have to now, so let's go ahead and do it. But I think the Internet connectivity in the states is still a little behind the times. But it's amazing that stuff, like you said, Paperspace and all these things like Suite Studio. It's almost funny how cloud gaming was ahead of the game. And even remember Adobe Anywhere, Adobe had all these ideas like five, six, seven years ago. It just never either we weren't ready for it or something about the software wasn't there, but it was never a new idea. It's just funny how all of a sudden we've had our hand forced and now everybody's doing it 24/7.

Joey:

Yeah. And companies have just sprung up and made it so easy. The Suite Studios demo, you log into their site and you literally click one of three buttons and whichever button you click, that's the level of computer you're using. So if you want the 350 gigabytes of Ram ridiculous, like 200 cores. Cool. That one costs a little bit more, but you can also just use that one to render if you want to. I mean, the way that it's going to let studios scale their hardware is really interesting because that used to be probably the most expensive part of starting a studio was, okay, every artist that I have, I'm going to need a system and especially if you're editing it's the technical requirements are much stricter, and that's just goes out the window and now it's like it doesn't matter where that person lives. They can be using this computer. It's already got a hard drive that's shared by all of the computers in your network. It's pretty amazing.

Ryan:

So Joey, can I just add like big picture, ask a question about that then, because that goes back to what I was saying earlier about what is emotion design studio then anyway, right? So if everybody has access to Suite Studio, the day that your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription or MAX one, one of these companies buy Suite Studio and just says, cool, just like Frame.io last year. Now you don't even need a computer just log in. You don't need this, we'll do all the cloud rendering in the background for you, right? We have all this set up, just make the work. And that's accessible to someone who just started doing motion design, you and EJ and I get so many calls from studios every single day saying, can you help me find the talent?

Ryan:

We know the talent, the artists know the other artists, right? Other than the actual production capability and the experience of understanding like, oh, here's how I bid a job. Here's how I respond to an RFP. Here's how I handle the financials. Other than that, is that the only thing at this point at a certain point that's keeping a studio different from, in terms of a client's viewpoint. I won't get too much into it, but I do know someone who was asked to pitch on a job by themselves against imaginary forces, just a solo person. They didn't think it was a company that had a career. They knew, Hey, you're one person. Could you pitch on this? And if you win, just figure it out for us.

PART 2 OF 7 ENDS [01:02:04]

Ryan:

Hey, you're one person. Could you pitch on this? And if you win, just figure it out for us. That trust is astounding compared to five years ago. What is the difference between all these studios we love and talk about if we already know all the people. The tools are all there, the connectivity is there, the ability to ship it to someone is... I can send it straight to Netflix right now from Premiere, from Frame.io. What's the difference?

Speaker 2:

Yes. Okay. This is a good segue actually into the next topic. Boy, I have a lot of thoughts on this. All right. So, let's think about this. If you're Apple, right. A lot of the stuff that we talk about when Apple does a big product release and they have some amazing video opening, their convention or whatever, that is probably 0.0001% of the motion design work being done for Apple in any given day. There is an absolutely ridiculous amount of design and animation work happening for Apple. And for the most part, I think there's one company doing most of it right now. But if you're Apple, you need the bar to be really high. Okay. You could go out and you could find artists that are really good. That's not hard to do anymore. Just get on Instagram. And if you can book them if they're not NFT famous, then maybe you can book them.

Speaker 2:

But it's also about the level of service you need, right? You need to be able to have an account manager that can help you, and you're probably paying a retainer, and you need to kind of keep track of that. And then you need to know that, "Hey, we'd like to try something that's 3D. We'd like to try something that's cel animated. We'd like to try something that's real time. We'd like to create an app using..." And it's nice when you can just go to one place and you can tell one person and then it just happens and it's always good. I think that that is what separates a studio from the solo artist that can do a level of work that is absolutely 100% just as good as the best studios in the world. I think that... There is no difference now between what a good studio can do and what a good artist can do. I think they can achieve the exact same things, and that's been proven over and over again.

Ryan:

So, to me, when I hear that, and then I have a conversation with studios who are like, "I can't find a producer. There's no producer available." To me, what it sounds like is in 2022, a lot of those shops, the motion design shops that we all know and love, basically, they're now the new agency. And that the artists that are just kind of pulling themselves together collectively kind of [inaudible 01:04:31]. Those are the shops because I always thought it was weird when I worked at Digital Kitchen. I would pitch a job as a creative director knowing that I do not have the team of artists anymore. When I started at DK, there were very small amount of artists. A shockingly small amount of actual artists on the box who would do the work. And we would do this thing called white label. We would be like, "Okay, cool. We won the job." We would not tell the client that we are just going to go out and hire studio X to do the work and I would supervise it, right.

Ryan:

That felt weird and rare and even morally dubious to me as a person, right. I was like, "This is strange. I don't even know who's going to make this if I win it." That feels like that is now potentially the norm or going to be what a studio's majority day to day is. It's not a team of 10 juniors and four creative directors and the people in between. You win it, you figure out how to bid it out in-house, and you make it, and then those people get better and then you get a new set of 10 juniors and kind of work. That feels very different than what we're talking about right now.

Joey:

I wonder if just all of this in the remote working and studios becoming agencies, which I totally get that. I feel like that's a thing. I just think maybe studios are getting phased out because as we'll talk later on throughout this conversation, there are so many more instances of... We're talking about artists putting work out, having amazing social media accounts that are easily discoverable and clients and fricking celebrities are bypassing studios and agencies all together working with a artist. And there's no big pitch that they have to do. It's just like, "Hey, you're great at the art thing. Let's make something cool." And there's less of all these formalities. It makes me think of how you do pitches and you drive door-to-door to do your pitches. It reminds me of Tommy Boy where they're trying to sell their brake pads driving all over the place. It's like people don't do that anymore.

Joey:

So I think that just kind of accelerated all these kind of antiquated things that we do and holds and second holds. And all this crap that everyone hated on the artist side. And COVID just kind of blasted that all to smithereens. And it's like, "No, we don't have to play by those rules anymore because now, guess what? Artists have other options." Whether it's NFTs or YouTube channels or TikTok videos like Peter Quinn. You're just doing your work and getting hired other ways. Artists don't have to be beholden to these just dumb rules that have just been in place just because the people in power have kept [inaudible 01:07:05].

Ryan:

I'm trying to put myself, Joey, in the mind of a studio owner who might be listening to this and they hear that DK Motion in South Korea sold a animation that they did by themselves for $350,000 while they are probably sitting at their desk right now trying to figure out how to make a minute long title sequence of photo reel 3D for 60 grand.

Joey:

Right.

Ryan:

Right. I can imagine you listening to this right now, slapping yourself in the head and saying, "A, why am I doing this? And B, where did it all go wrong? And C, should we start making NFTs?" Right. Or whatever it might be, right. We have a skillset. We have a capability. Are we actually servicing the wrong client at this point, right? When you say like, "What is motion design even right now?" I don't think we know anymore.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I think there's always... For example, you can't make a Pixar movie being one talented person, right? There's always going to be a level of work where it just takes a big team. There's no way around it. And so, I think that studios that can differentiate in that way. I'm thinking maybe studios like Tendril where they're known for work that is insanely labor-intensive to make. It's not 2D shapes bouncing around explaining how the blockchain works. It's really high-end 3D. Everything's handcrafted and modeled and textured and everything.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah. So, maybe at that level, that's where studios really have to kind of position themselves. This would be a really interesting thing to talk to Joel Pilger about too because I'm sure the studios he consults for are grappling with this. And also too. I think that for some artists, right, and it depends what phase of life you're in too, the thought of just working from home and just kind of doing projects by yourself and maybe making NFTs, that sounds like heaven. But if you're 22 and you live in LA, that's probably hell on earth. You probably don't want to do that. You probably want to be in a studio around other artists, staying up late, and drinking beers and watching TikTok and whatever those.

Joey:

I've been on Twitter Spaces where high school teachers are interviewing some artist that's making it big in NFTs. I don't know about young... And I feel like this is going to be a reoccurring theme throughout the rest of this conversation too is that what we think we know of how young people think is completely wrong.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

Like metaverse. Are they into that? They're more into NFTs. They have digital assets. Living in a digital realm, buying digital things and not doing the physical stuff. I don't know if... Will you have people... I feel like that's a very small segment of people that, of course, go to SCAD or Ringling. And of course their favorite studio is always Buck. But what about all the majority of people that don't go to SCAD, don't go to Ringling and they're seeing people make cool stuff in Blender? And it's like, "Wow, that's free. That's accessible."

Ryan:

And look what somebody's made money with it. Yeah.

Joey:

Do they even know who Buck is? People that use Blender these days. I don't think they do. And this is kind of the whole motion design industry. I think the one thing that I've seen as far as this NFT craze is, number one, I've got introduced to way more talented artists and some of my top favorite artists now who use Blender. Who I would've never have discovered before because [crosstalk 01:10:34]. Right. [crosstalk 01:10:36]. And I think that's the cool thing is that NFTs has exposed everyone. Anyone who is a digital artist. We're not qualifying what we do anymore. At least people that are up and coming and in the space. I've known so many people that don't know who the hell I am. Never heard of Greyscalegorilla. Don't know who Andrew Kramer is. Speaking of which, we need to talk about where is Andrew Kramer. [crosstalk 01:11:04]. Are you listening, Andrew?

Speaker 2:

Send up a smoke signal, buddy?

Joey:

Yeah. Exactly.

Speaker 2:

Are you there, buddy?

Joey:

But how many people care about what software people uses? No one cares.

Ryan:

No one does. Yeah.

Joey:

They just know he creates digital art and it's cool. I feel like with people up and coming, they don't care about Cinema 4D. They just are using Blender and Unreal because that's kind of the grassroots way of becoming a digital artist. And those are those tools.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

So I think, if anything, it's just really exposed everyone to this wider world of digital artists that have not been... That maybe have been a traditional artist or a painter that gotten into digital stuff and maybe dabbled in commercial work and then have just pivoted over to just digital art and...

Ryan:

Yeah. Selling NFTs and stuff like that.

Joey:

It's so much more spread out. There's less qualifying. There's less of these bubbles that we live in. There's like, "We're just Cinema 4D artists." They're blah, blah, blah. Which I think is really great because we don't need to be super niche anymore.

Ryan:

Exactly. Yeah. It's interesting because we've just been spending a lot of time talking about like, "Oh, is motion design becoming too broad, right?" What sits inside the box of motion design? Is it too broad? But at the same time we're saying, "Well, motion design is just a small niche of what the whole NFT digital art space actually is." So it's this weird kind of conflict, but at the same time, I think it's... You hit on something really, really, I think, important EJ is that we all came up at a time when motion design was a certain thing and there were the heroes and it's like the goals. All that was kind of air-locked. That's what it is. The same way when people who grew up in the '60s and '70s like music is rock and roll. And the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and the Eagles are all like, "That's it." And there's just people trying to get to that level.

Ryan:

We're talking about kids who grew up with Roblox and Minecraft and Fortnite and their entire life is ephemeral. Their entire life is digital. It doesn't make any difference if the art is a JPEG that you can right-click and save or if it's actually something physical. It's just like, "Oh, that has value to me. If I own that, that means something to the other people who realize that that has value, and I can go and make that?" That's the only story that's going on. That's the equation of Web 3 and DAOs and all this other stuff we're going to have to deal with. It has nothing to do with motion design or Cinema 4D or the Render Wars or any of that stuff. That's all we ever talk about and the much larger world outside isn't interested in that.

Joey:

They don't care.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Joey:

They don't even know what Octane is.

Speaker 2:

I think you nailed it. Yeah. [crosstalk 01:13:29]. EJ, I think you nailed it. And I agree 100%. I feel like motion design... And I love the music metaphor, Ryan.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

That is exactly how it feels. It feels like when we were coming up, everybody knew who MK12 and Buck and Gmunk and Karen Fong and the good books piece. And the...

Ryan:

The motion graphics [inaudible 01:13:52].

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And the title sequence from Six Feet Under. There were these things that everybody knew. And then if you knew that, you were in this club. And the club is called motion design or motion graphics, whatever you want to call it. And I think that there have been echoes of that and the ghosts of that, that I still felt even through last year. This year, I don't feel it. And it feels very different. And it's one of those things that's really hard for me to put my finger on why. It could also just be that my attention is spread in different areas now because there's so much other stuff to pay attention to. We're doing something in February with Adobe. We're doing a cool live event, right. And it's to help designers, right. Designers who don't animate. And the way that they talk about animation is very different. They probably don't say motion design. They probably say After Effects. "I need to learn After Effects." It's design, it's animation, it's storytelling. Motion design no longer, to me anyway, feels like a club that you can join. It feels like this vague description of a set of skills you possess, right?

Ryan:

See, this is what... I'm so good we're talking about this. And it's coming up more and more because I feel like we're at a fulcrum point. And maybe the term motion design just has to disappear. But if we're going to keep on using that as the blanket, motion design can either be a set of skills and tools that you use to make a bunch of different stuff, right? A bunch of wide ranging things or motion design can be used to describe the philosophy that we approach problem solving creatively, right? Because I still pause it that you get an assignment. You give it to a VFX artist, you give it to a storyboard artist and 2D animation or you give it to a motion designer. Nine times out of 10, a motion designer will figure out the efficient, effective solution to the problem that also looks the most creative compared to any one other skillset or any one other industry, right.

Ryan:

And in a world where people don't understand what VR should be or AR should be, we don't have a killer app of any of those things yet, but clients are asking for it. People are asking for NFTs and collectibles and PFPs. No other industry is poised to take advantage of the merging of realtime technology and animation principles and design fundamentals. But if we keep on just saying over and over and over, "Motion design is a collection of skills and tools used for advertising." We're going to miss this opportunity, right. And then a new thing is going to become. We missed the boat on gaming. Motion designers could have been in the experiential interactive gaming world, but we kind of didn't take advantage of it. There's another opportunity for motions. And to be part of that or to define that or set the rules and the goals and the pace. But if we keep on just doing this like, "Oh, [inaudible 01:16:26] is me. We work in advertising. I don't really understand." It's like, "No, we have a chance to not be the 2D animators at Disney that just all disappeared because nobody was drawing with a pencil anymore."

Ryan:

I think that's an important conversation that has been kind of bubbling up, but is continuing to come up with more and more intensity of... I think it even is at the root of imposter syndrome for motion designers. I think so many motion designers have imposter syndrome because they got into motion design believing that they wanted to be an animator. They wanted to do character animation. They couldn't find their way in, but motion design, let them have a taste of it. And then they started working for clients, for advertising, for agencies, for studios. And slowly over time they realized they couldn't fool themselves that they weren't doing what they really wanted to do. This new step has an opportunity to kind of recapture that or get back into that again. I feel like.

Joey:

Yeah. There's people that have the glass half full, half empty. This is either a giant opportunity or this is the biggest rug-pull in the history of my career. You mentioned before. You just saw DK Motion make 300 grand and you're trying to win a pitch for 60K. There's so many... I've felt this way at the beginning of this NFT craze where it's like, "Oh my God, I suck." There's these people just cashing out and I'm like... It's like everyone's getting the escape pod and I'm stuck in the ship that's blowing up or whatever. You know what I mean? But it's like people have... Motion designers have done things all the right way. They went to SCAD. They've been studying. They've been learning all this stuff. They've been working for popular studios, worked for killer brands. And then they see people winning the lottery left and right that didn't do that. Like, "You didn't go to SCAD. You're not even as talented as me and you're doing that."

Joey:

So, I think whatever feelings people have been having about imposter syndrome have just been amplified because of all this NFT stuff. Because now the playing field is even more leveled and it's now all about social presence and who you know and showing your stuff. And it's not about having a good demo reel and just that because a collector doesn't give a crap what your demo reel looks like. It's what are you making now? What are you making in this next year?

Ryan:

Sometimes it's even a detriment to an audience [inaudible 01:18:47] like...

Joey:

Oh, yeah.

Ryan:

It's not as authentic because you were just making stuff for this brand and that brand.

Joey:

Oh, yeah. [crosstalk 01:18:51].

Ryan:

There's a blow-back against it like, "Are you not an artist?" Again, it goes back to music.

Joey:

Yep.

Ryan:

I remember being in Chicago and [inaudible 01:18:59]. Their label. Sign their contract. And it was like, "We're done." Half of Chicago was like, "See you later. You're done. You sign." And the other half of Chicago was like, "Awesome. We will get to hear your music for as long as you want to make music," because you sign up to a label and you have this vaulted thing. The whole world feels a lot like that inside motion design right now.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I want to call out some specific examples of artists that I feel like are taking advantage of this because it's... I'm trying to think of the right way to kind of position it. It feels like what's really important now for success at least on the individual artist level, maybe even on the studio level, it's figuring out the use case for your skills. That's way more important than your actual skills. And so, I think maybe this is just a little bit of a mental shift. Motion design as just a description of, "Hey, this person knows how to design and animate." Right. And probably some 3D, which is frankly required at this point.

Speaker 2:

Peter Quinn is my favorite example of this year because he uses After Effects and he does design and does visual effects stuff. And he was doing it on social media. Really, that's where he kind of got discovered and that's how Snoop Dogg found him. What he was doing was technically motion design, but it wasn't for a client. He wasn't getting booked to do it. None of that.

Speaker 2:

There's a lot of examples of people in the NFT space, which we'll talk about in a moment. Blake Catherine, Jonathan Winbush, David Brodeur. All did really well in the NFT world. And some of them even did these crazy celebrity mashup things with musicians and stuff like that. Obviously Beeple is the best example. He was on our podcast I feel like maybe a month before he became the richest artist on earth.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

He had only made about three million by that point when we talked to him.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Ryan:

In chump change.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Ryan, it might have been you who's saying that at Art Basel this year in Miami, there was motion designers.

Ryan:

Yeah. They took over, right. It's so funny how we've used the term rockstar or motion designer to the point of it being either eye-groaning or just garbage, but motion designers literally were the rock stars. Pharrel was coming up to motion designers. We all know their names of like, "Oh, I saw your art. I want to pick on something up." It doesn't even almost make sense. The brain almost just breaks when you hear stories like that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's so cool. But I also see... And I think Matthew Encina is a good example too of someone who was a designer, an animator, an art director, a creative director, and also built up the skillset to make content and be on camera and be engaging and all that kind of stuff. And now he is directing a show for Webflow who announced that they're doing, basically, a small version of a streaming network. I think it's really just a website, but they're producing content the same way Netflix does. And it's all targeted at this niche audience of web designers and Mat Encina is one of the directors that they've hired. And it's crazy to think like that is now a way you can have a very successful career is to make content for Webflow because you have this tool box you carry around that says motion design on it. And he's got other skills besides motion design, but his ability to tell stories visually and use design and animation to do that. That helps him get these kind of opportunities.

Speaker 2:

So I think that next year... I don't want to get too far into predictions, but I feel like we're going to see a lot of this where there's people that we would've seen them get success through, "Oh my gosh, they just got hired by Buck or they got repped by Hornet," or something like that. Now it's going to look very different. I think what success looks like for people who use motion design, we won't even recognize it.

Ryan:

Yeah. I mean, we keep talking about the great resignation in a bigger picture, right? People are leaving their jobs at mass, but it's not even really a resignation. People are leaving to go to another job. They're not just quitting, but does motion design become that? Does motion design become the reality TV for super stardom? There's a lot of people who get on a reality TV show just to be able to get enough notoriety to then become an entertainer. Does motion design get recognized as like, "Oh, man. If I learn a couple of these things, I get in a circle, I get popular." You can pop out. And there's an exit strategy for motion design. Did Chris Do set the stage for all of these things now that the environment is available for a Matthew Encina or a David Brodeur or whoever these people might be, or Peter Quinn, to learn what they need, build an audience, and then go do what it is they want to do outside of the on the box [inaudible 01:23:35] every day.

Joey:

Yeah. I think that's the coolest part of all of this is I've seen... Earlier I said some people see it as very discouraging imposter syndrome. Some find it as very empowering and it's like, "Oh, there's all these people that are like..." Because remember five years ago, who were the big artists that we would also consider like a brand? It was Gmunk, Ash Thorpe. It was a very small set of artists. And now it's like... Every day I find out someone knew that maybe they just were doing art prints and stuff like that, making a little bit of money. Now they're killing it. They're their own brand. They're getting these celebrity collabs and all this kind of stuff.

Joey:

And one of the coolest things that out of all of this is... We only used to understand and see artists through the lens of corporate advertisement projects. It was never... Again, aside from maybe Gmunk and stuff like that. You wouldn't see... Okay. If you could do anything, what would you make? What's your story that you want to tell? Because usually it's always through a client project. So, that's one of the coolest things. And I think that's where you start to see that ripple effect of people becoming empowered where it's like, "Wow. That artist kind of showed who they are, showed their style and their creative persona and people are loving it." That empowers me to do that. Me, personally, I know people that I've always wanted to make vinyl toys. Okay. I like making characters stuff like that. Never in a million years would I have thought like, "Oh, I'm going to actually do that and try to sell it somewhere."

Joey:

But I have friends that I have been following for years now. Puffy Puff Puff who's an awesome character artist if you like giant eyeball characters. She's doing vinyl toy stuff. And I just learned from Happy Toolbox which is a great model site that used to be you with GSG, but they just put a video. I spent $3,000 and made a line of vinyl toys, and I'm like, "They're selling them now." And you see Kidrobot and all these other vinyl toy places doing the NFT component as well. And it's like, "Oh, I can do that." I have 3D prints of my characters behind me right now. I wouldn't have done that without seeing all this influx of artists becoming empowered. And like, "No, I can do that." I don't need to find a company in China or something like that to do that or try to break through some barrier. Everything is possible.

Ryan:

Yep. I think that's one of the buzzwords of 2021 for all the negative things is the sense of empowerment and freedom and personal value that motion design has just been flooded with for all of the imposter syndrome and other potentially drawbacks of it. That is real. That is tangible. People are literally starting to see like, "What else do I want to do? And what other value do I have beyond my day rate?" We've been talking about that for years. When will that happen? And this is the year that it happened for some people.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I think this is a good time to get into NFT space now. We can start vibing a little bit. So I know the least, three of us, about NFTs, but I will say this. So, earlier this year we did an episode called We Need to Talk About NFTs. I was pretty critical of what at the time felt like a gold rush. And I just saw a lot of human nature coming out that tend... Just the kind of stuff that happens when there's a ton of money all of a sudden available.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

That definitely seems to have settled. And now there's this steady state thing that is now growing and I've done some more homework. I've learned more about different cryptocurrencies and learned more about Ethereum and smart contracts. And I got to say my tune has changed on this. I used to feel like I don't get it. I'm not opposed to it. I just don't get it. And now I think I get it. And the thing that really turned it for me was Gary Vaynerchuck. So if you're listening and you don't know who he is, he's sort of this business influencer marketing guru guy. Really awesome. Interesting dude. But he has a site called VeeFriends, V-E-E Friends. And he basically for years would just doodle these little animals and post them on social media. And he took all of them and he minted them and sold NFTs. But what he did was he sold NFTs that come with actual real life perks. So if you own this NFT, cool. You own it. Your name's up there and you get to brag and maybe it's worth something you could sell it one day. However, you also get a 30 minute phone call with Gary Vee once every three months or something like that. And that privilege you can now sell with the NFT. That is so fascinating to me.

Speaker 2:

And I know artists are doing stuff like that too. I know Beeple had physical things. Sometimes a company that the NFT, but it's starting to feel like a really sophisticated version of trading cards, which I'm all for. So I'm curious though because I haven't made an NFT or sold one. I've bought a couple in the early days just to try it. What does it feel like for you guys? EJ, I know you're kind of deep in this.

Joey:

Yeah. I can't wait to let Ryan loose because I feel like we had this moment and I was glad to be there to experience it almost real time when Ryan minted his first piece on [inaudible 00:26:55. Doesn't exist anymore, but it does. [crosstalk 01:28:59]. Yeah, I don't know. Yeah. I think it's like you said where Gary Vaynerchuck isn't an artist. He just scribbled some stuff. They kind of look like crap, but whatever. With all this PFP stuff, I'm really not into it that much, but it lets you know about like yes. It's not just the artwork. It's the utility of it as well. If you have a CryptoPunk, you have access to all this other stuff. If you've gotten the Mekaverse thing which I think you don't know what the Mekaverse is. It's two talented 3D artists that I've always loved. And they probably made one of the best looking of these projects. Kind of got riddled with some controversy and stuff like that, but they're also... You don't just buy the thing and that's it. They're air dropping, which is basically like gifting. I think it's like [inaudible 01:29:53] of Netflix, something like that. And that's the beginning of that, but it's like that's the...

Joey:

When we talk about NFTs, we have to talk about tech and smart contracts. Think of NFTs as like Web 1.0 where it's all GeoCities pages and they're all just... What was a GeoCities page back in the day? I made one called Yoda's Hut. I'm really getting nerdy here. And I would just post all these Yoda gifts because I love Yoda. I love baby Yoda even more now. So if I would make a baby Yoda [crosstalk 01:30:25] on GeoCities if it still existed. But GeoCities is like... That was a website. As a website just freaking embedding video clips that you can press play on and gifts. And I don't get it, but now it's like... No. A website now is Amazon where you can do all this stuff, and it's crazy. And I think that's where... Even cell phones. You had flip phones and who would've known that we would live our entire lives on phones now. So, we're at this point with NFTs, smart contracts because the smart contracts are really the thing that are going to be industry-wide. Banks are going to use this stuff to verify transactions and even...

Ryan:

[inaudible 01:31:09] with the ATM of artist interaction-

Joey:

Exactly.

Ryan:

... in the future.

Joey:

Yeah. And you can program stuff to do crazy stuff. I'll bring Ryan in here. We were talking about you seeing how this could be a utility for comic book artists and imagine having a comic book artist that sells an NFT. Whoever owns that NFT could get a page at a time or something like that or get this series of comic books that unlock or whatever. But yeah. I'm happy to say that in 2021 I helped Ryan get up and running and minted his first piece which he was kind enough to gift me one.

Ryan:

Yeah. I mean, thank you for one. Thank you because it is a very confusing experience as it should be because it's early days and everything... Literally, it rewrites itself every day, right? It's like code that changes. The first thing I would say about NFTs is that... I approached it with a lot of caution because of the environmental angle, right? That was the first thing I heard negative about it and I was like, "I want to research this." [inaudible 01:32:14] article came out. It felt very much like lines were drawn. People were like, "I'm either [inaudible 01:32:19] against it." If you're for, you want the earth to die. If you're against it, whatever, you're not into free trade of artist value. Whatever it might be. There was a dividing line, right. And I was very firmly just sitting right in the middle. I would not commit either way. I felt like a tweener. I could see the positives, but I had not yet done it, but I was very dreadful of what felt like very potential negatives.

Ryan:

The two things that really pulled the trick for me was EJ showing me just the pathway on how to do it. The steps to get the wallet, to get hooked up with actual money, to buy some type of crypto and to start doing something. Where to go because it's not easy, especially if you're going into the lower end of... [inaudible 01:32:57] at the time was almost purposely [inaudible 01:33:00]. It was made difficult on purpose. So, I think that and then just...

PART 3 OF 7 ENDS [01:33:04]

Ryan:

It was made difficult on purpose. So, I think that, and then just that realization that there are Tezos, that there are different types of crypto, that are not as environmentally difficult. That allowed me the brain space to say, "I could try, I want to play. I'm not looking to make money. I'm not looking to chill every day. I'm not going to give up my life and live on Clubhouse." I just want to make some art, see what its value is and see what other people are doing and stuff and be part of the stream.

Ryan:

Because, in my world, when I was a kid, I loved comic books. I loved zines. Your currency was, even if it wasn't good, "Did you make something? Did you go to Kinko's? Did you print it out, stapled together and show up at the convention? Show up at the meetup with something to trade." Right? And that was your currency. If you didn't have a lot of money, but you could spend 50 bucks to make something, you could trade with anyone and there was no gate keeping, there was no hierarchy. You go to the best person in the scene. If you had something to trade, they would trade it back with you. And you'd come back with all this cool art and you'd be informed by it and it would change the way you did your work and you'd come back the next time better.

Ryan:

That's what I was interested in finding. I've been looking for that for 20 years. That to me, for my personal interest, is what was so exciting about NFTs, right? I made something, I put it out, I minted it. Some people sold, some people I gifted, and then people were gifting me back. And all of a sudden, there was this community that was in the dark to me, that I'm meeting, like EJ said, because of when I was posting stuff, 02:00 in the morning, 03:00 in the morning, because that's when the time I had to work on stuff, I'm meeting people in Indonesia, in Thailand, in Japan, in New Zealand, in Australia, that I have never heard of before. 2D artists, 3D artists, people are making stuff out of stop motion. Photographers, musicians, stuff that is just not on my radar at all, and I feel so tightly integrated into that world and I haven't even put a lot of time into it. That just was an explosion for me, where I was like, "Oh my God, I could dedicate all my free time to this."

Ryan:

And that's not talking about the world of the lottery ticket [inaudible 01:34:45], become a personality, exit strategy for motion design. So, I mean, the thing I learned about, is that NFTs are what you bring to it. There is a place of high stakes, low stakes, lots of energy, not a lot of energy, whatever you want, it can be and will become. And also, there's a huge world of opportunity right now, right?

Ryan:

Every two or three days, I remember Neons came out a couple of weeks ago and all of a sudden there's this huge PFP project that's basically a bunch of blank, little avatars that if you got in, they stayed dark. And I was on a message board with other people who were into NFTs, we basically got a bunch of blind boxes, blind box toys and everybody just basically agrees essentially, because they get sent out, to open them all up at the same time and over the course of three, or four hours as they're all being sent and Airdropped to people, you're finding out that somebody you know got the rarest of the rarest of the rare and people are bidding on it, right?

Ryan:

But, because there's this whole PFP culture, if you want to have something that has a lot of value to a community, that gets you access to a lot of things, you may not want to sell it. Even though there are people are saying like, "Hey, I know you got that for 50 Tez, or whatever. I want it for 400," instantly, the moment it arrives. There's a component of fine art training. There's a component of online betting. There's a component of just art collecting. There's a component of community. Whatever you might want it to be, there's room for it.

Ryan:

I think the thing I actually regret, is that it's really hard to have an opinion on it until you actually go and do it once. Until you actually experience taking something you've made, minting it, seeing what people think of it, getting comments on it, selling your first one, going to be able to buy other people's, it's really difficult to have a true opinion on what the whole thing is about, until you've actually done it once, I think. So...

Joey:

Well, yeah, I was going to say I know off the get-go, I think a lot of people made up their minds, because of the environmental thing, which is, that's a fact. They're not great, but then that's just a certain popular-

Ryan:

Right, that's not everything.

Joey:

Blockchain, right? And you were talking about Tezos and that's the thing you have to understand, is that between back then and now, the gold rush is over and now it's just more of that. I want to do these training. I want to collect my friends' art. I want to support my favorite artists. And I feel, I've seen a lot of prominent artists that used to only be on the Ethereum blockchain, which-

Ryan:

Right.

Joey:

Uses a lot of energy. It also costs a lot-

Ryan:

Yup.

Joey:

To even mint anything, so there's a lot of risk involved.

Joey:

We had an NFT Roundtable at the Denver meetup that we did for the first time last month, which it was crazy, because I was like, "Hey, remember the last meetup we did? People came here. That's not going to happen again." But, yeah, it was a good analogy that I came up with it. It was like, you go to a casino, you have your high roller area, which a lot of people don't go into, because it costs a lot. Not a lot of people have that money. I feel like that's Ethereum now. You either made money using that blockchain and you have some stored up and you can continue to keep making money there, or you're going to chill at the penny slots and hang out and take advantage of the free drinks that you get-

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

And I feel like that's the hen, the object.com and that stuff-

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

So, there's low energy impact and very, very cheap, like Ryan, when you were minting, you were like, "I'm spending a fraction of a cent to mint something," so there's no ...

Ryan:

Yeah, to mint it. Right. I mean that's where the psychology of it there, I don't talk about it much-

Joey:

Right.

Ryan:

But, I used to make casino slot machines, right? And there was a lot of differences in terms of psychology for all the range of players, right? There's somebody you might spend, hard to believe it, $200 a spin, right? One spin, $200 goes away and they do it, right? But, they need a certain type of game that has a certain type of volatility level that excites them. There's other people who's put $25 expecting to sit on the box for three hours, right? That experience, there's an experience for everybody there, right?

Ryan:

To me, that's what I was really surprised to find, is that there's a place for, if you're an artist and you want to create an audience, or see other people, there's a place for you within it if you're interested. I don't think it's for everyone, right? It does become a time suck. If you're doing the shill hustle, build your personality, that becomes your life. But, honestly, even if you're just into finding cool artists, it's-

Joey:

Right, yeah.

Ryan:

It's Instagram on steroids once you start getting in, right?I'm also in the guise of this conversation, very interested in its implications for studios, right? Because, I think I posted in the list, but only a couple of days ago, I was looking at Troika's website and I was shocked to find that alongside contact us, our work, our reel, who we are, they had NFTs listed as a top line. Now-

Joey:

Behance.

Ryan:

Yeah-

Joey:

You can show your NFTs on Behance now.

Ryan:

But, what does that mean? Like we said earlier, if you're studio X and you're doing a title sequence for 50,000, 60,000 and again, you see DK making $350,000 on his, you have to pay attention to NFTs, because even if you aren't going to make it, the agencies and brands and clients you're used to working with, are going to expect you-

Joey:

Right.

Ryan:

To at least understand it. You're going to at least be able have to have the language skills to say, "This is what web three might be. This is what a dow is. This is what decentralized crypto is about. This is what an NFT is. Oh, you want to mint NFT? Should we do super rare? Should we stay Tezo space?" You have to understand that language. You're not going to be able to go much longer as a creative director, or a studio head, without at least understanding it, right? You cannot be on the sidelines much longer.

Joey:

I would love to know, I'll play the role, and this is very easy for me, of the noob in this space. Is there a slang for NFT noobs? Is there some cool word?

Ryan:

There should be. There's some many-

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Slang terms, but I don't know if there's one for that.

Joey:

Yeah. Well, okay. Well, if anyone thinks of one, please.

Ryan:

Most people are still new. I will say the one thing that's really interesting about this, is that maybe in the larger scale stuff, but at least where I am, the lower stake stuff-

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

It's ridiculously friendly, ridiculously encouraging community that I've found, right? There may not be a slang for that, that I know of, because people are like, "Oh, we're all figuring it out."

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

And as soon as you figure it out, like EJ said, the whole place we were doing all of our minting, it just disappeared one day.

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

And the whole community for a week had to be like, "What's going to happen? What do we do? We're all back at zero."

Joey:

Well, I'm unminted, all right?

Ryan:

Unminted.

Joey:

All right-

Ryan:

I like that, you're unminted, is a good term.

Joey:

So, I'm unminted. 2022, that's what we're going to get you to do.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Listen, I'm going to [crosstalk 01:41:03] do my...

Joey:

Joey will be a collectible PFP series.

Ryan:

Yes, oh boy.

Joey:

All right. That should be on the thumbnail for this.

Ryan:

There you go.

Joey:

So-

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

So, first question, actually, before I move on, I wanted to define something, because I heard you guys say this term twice and I didn't know what it meant. So, I'm assuming other people don't. PFP, profile pic, okay?

Ryan:

Yes.

Joey:

And the biggest one probably, everyone's familiar with, is crypto punks.

Ryan:

Right, there's the-

Joey:

And-

Ryan:

The ape one. Yeah.

Joey:

Yeah. Well, apparently there's thousands of them and they're all-

Ryan:

Thousands every day. [crosstalk 01:41:36].

Joey:

There's lots of millions of dollars, but so the crypto punks, if you're not familiar with that, Google it, you'll immediately recognize it. You see them everywhere.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

But, the thing is you buy the NFT and now you own that crypto punk. And then, the thing to do, is use that as your profile pic image-

Ryan:

On Twitter, yeah.

Joey:

And it's like-

Ryan:

Just don't-

Joey:

I'm assuming, a flex, right?

Ryan:

Oh yeah.

Joey:

It to me, gets to the heart of, and basically what you said earlier EJ, which is especially the younger generation. But, I think even people like us can get this, things that are only digital have value beyond what they used to, right? And my kids play Roblox, which is this interactive game on their iPads.

Ryan:

Yup.

Joey:

And they will spend their money, so that their character can have a hat, or something like that, right?

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

And I always thought it was so silly, but now I get it, honestly, because I want a crypto punk. And if they weren't 200, $300,000, maybe I'd get one. So, I wanted to define that. Now, two questions though, one, everyone's I think, enamored by what people did and David Ariew's done really well. David Brodeur, there's lots of artists who have made DK, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars selling these things, right?

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joey:

But, that I'm assuming is the tip top of a giant iceberg. And you're very lucky if you can get to that level.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joey:

Most people can play in the normal range of success with NFTs. How much can you make if you're selling things, for Tezos instead of Ethereum? And you're in these communities where people aren't spending thousands and thousands of dollars all the time, what could an average artist expect to make?

Ryan:

I mean, that's changing though, too-

EJ:

Ryan, what's your experience?

Ryan:

My experience, is I don't even look at the money to be honest, because when I bought in, I think, what was it? One Tezos was $6.

Joey:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ryan:

That's the scale, right? Low stakes, right? It's a cup of coffee for one Tezos, right? And I'm selling mine for one, or two. And a couple of mine have gone up to 50, whatever. Again, even at that scale, that's very small, right? A couple hundred bucks. That being said, even on the Tezos side of things, we're starting to see large scale, like 50,000 Tezos, right? People are coming into the playground, because there's rarity, there's heat, there's volatility, right? There's a lot of stuff being traded, even though it's at a lower level.

Ryan:

So, people know that there's room for it to grow. But, for me, the whole thing is just the opportunity cost for doing this stuff is so low, whatever your interest is, right? If your interest is growing a following, it's very low, for the amount of effort you have to put in for the potential upside. If it's money, there is huge potential upside. It's a lottery ticket, but it's still there. But, the game is changing every single day, right? If you wanted to do a neon's crypto punk style launch of these PFP avatars and characters with a lore, that's got a game built into it, and a discord server, that's feeding all of it. That used to be, up until a couple of weeks ago, something you had to go and hire a programmer to do and manually plan it out and spend months. It's not out yet, but you can be on the wait list. There's a thing called Bueno, that's tools for NFT creators that are literally, essentially going to be like square space for generative art, doing community drops, artists collaborations.

Ryan:

The speed to market, that all the stuff people are recognizing with the value so fast, is astounding. Think about Web 1.0, to web 2.0, to how fast Wix and Squarespace and all this stuff came out, that was decades, right? We're talking about 2021, nobody even knew what an NFT was. And in less than a year, the ability to create a self-generating community drop, that can potentially generate tens of thousands, if not hundreds, if not millions of dollars for you, is literally the tool's going to be there in a couple of weeks, right? That's why I say, you can't avoid this, because if all of a sudden there's a tool that Pepsi could say, "Oh, shit, I could either hire a team of people to make this, or wait, what's Bueno?"

Ryan:

Some guy in a social media apartment inside of one of the subsidiaries of Pepsi, could get together with another person and just be like, "Oh cool, let's launch this and see what it does." Right? The speed to market that this is happening is, if motion designers don't take advantage of it, or as an industry, it doesn't take advantage of it, there will be a whole other separate industry that will, right? But, we're geared, we're poised to be able to. But, yeah. I mean, EJ, what's the best you've sold for at this point?

EJ:

Question. I think maybe one of my pieces sold for 5,000 and it was actually just last week. And it was a student that took both of my C4D classes, school of motion, which is like, "Okay, thanks." But, he also owns a punk. And that's someone I didn't know before.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

He was very, very into the crypto scene and stuff. And I assume he made a lot of money, to be able to drop 5,000 on my stupid little lucky cat thing. But-

Ryan:

But, you're doing a disservice to yourself though, too, right? One of you, mentioned Gary V earlier, right? And there is that whole thank you economy.

Joey:

Right? I was going to go there. I'm glad you're going there. Go ahead. Yeah, yeah.

Ryan:

Yeah, there was that whole, thank you economy of... EJ, you've been giving people stuff for free-

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

For forever, of true, real, honest value that people are looking for a way to say, thank you for, and you've never really, besides a couple of tools, shown anybody a way to say, thanks, right? There is an economy of, you give, or you show, or you offer and there's room for that to happen, right? It's not the same. You pay me an hourly day rate, there's a transaction that occurs on a regular amount-

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

It's not the same thing for everyone. It's not for everyone. It's not everyone's speed. But, I mean, $5,000 is $5,000, off of a piece of art you'd already made.

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Right? Nobody commissioned you to do that.

EJ:

And that knife cuts both ways, because I know when all this stuff started and I said, "Oh, I'm doing NFT." I know I got blocked by a lot of people. And it's the same thing where it's like, "All right, I'm going to put out 10 years of free content. And you're just going to block me right away." It's like, "Cool. Probably, didn't want to be friends with you to begin with, if you're just going to be so quick to judge and all that stuff." What I will say about... I feel like with Tezos and what Ryan you started doing, is like you said, it's not even money. It's just like, "Instead of posting on Instagram, where literally all you can get is a like, which carries no money. Why not just post it on Hen as well?"

EJ:

Instead of-

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

Instagram, just post your stuff on... And then, at the end of the day, you don't have to shill. You do the same thing you would've done-

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

To let people know that you posted a new thing on Instagram. You say, "Hey, Twitter, here's this cool new thing. Also, if you want to me, it's five bucks."

Ryan:

It is.

EJ:

"If you want to support me and buy one, you can collect it." And Ryan, we're getting so stoked when it was... I was excited. You were getting it. And it's like, "Yes, you get to trade your favorite artist cards now, outside of supporting other artists." It's not like our moms are going to be on Tezos and buying our stuff-

Joey:

Maybe.

Ryan:

Yes.

EJ:

So, I feel like it's very small-

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

At this point.

Ryan:

Yeah. But, you know what though? I remember when Kickstarter first started and that was a really weird, strange, "I'm going to pre-order and pay to maybe see." You get funded to maybe, one day... That was a weird, glitchy, strange mechanism for funding and developing an audience. But, now look. Kickstarter is almost a cliche, there's Patreon-

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

There's Gumroad. There's all these other mechanisms that had none of this spark contract, secondary sales, proof of ownership, ability to create a following, ability to create a-

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Community. The ethos that's built around a lot of this NFT energy, is totally different than that stuff, right? But, that's all NFTs could have to be for you as well, right? It could just be another way to raise money for a project you want-

EJ:

Yup.

Ryan:

To do, right? So, you want to do an animated short and you want to bring in a modeler, you want to bring in an animator and you want to bring in a background- [crosstalk 01:49:26].

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Right? You could go to Kickstart do it. But, what you could do, is if you're a designer and you don't have any of those skills, go make the style frames for the whole thing. Put each one of those style frames up as a 20 of 20, and then a one of one, that's an alternate version and raise the money and literally promote it that way. Like, "Hey, every time somebody buys that shot, I'll have enough money to make that shot."

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

And then, on the secondary market, if you sell it, I can make two more shots [crosstalk 01:49:50]. Right?

EJ:

It's programmed in.

Ryan:

It could literally just be that.

EJ:

You get those royalties.

Ryan:

Right? It could literally be just that-

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

There's nothing evil, or reprehensible about that-

EJ:

No.

Ryan:

At all.

EJ:

And I forget who did it? I wish I saved the tweet, but someone said, "I created all these different ways to support me in my art and no one ever did, up until NFTs. And I started put..." And of course, immediately there's backlash to that person. And it's like, "But, listen, you could have supported me other ways. And you're not supporting me now, but all these other people are."

Ryan:

Right.

EJ:

And they were minting on Tezos. So, the environmental thing was just totally out of the picture-

Ryan:

Was nil, yeah.

EJ:

And that's the thing where, I don't quite get... Yes, be upset with people that are minting on the dirty blockchain, and just don't seem to care. They're just doing things-

Ryan:

Right.

EJ:

Wasting a lot of energy, but don't crap on other artists finding success, just because there's this NFT thing. This is the only way that a digital artist can assign value to their work. Otherwise, you're going to sell [crosstalk 01:50:50] prints that no one's going to buy, t-shirts that no one's going to-

Ryan:

Yup.

EJ:

Buy. And there's energy cost with selling a t-shirt too. And printing that-

Ryan:

All that stuff.

EJ:

And all that garbage.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

So...

Ryan:

Well, like Joey said at the beginning too, man, this is the first time that real money has been thrown in-

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

In the motion design industry's face, beyond just day rate-

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

Or, "Oh, you're an art director now." And when you throw in money, you throw in notoriety, you throw in fame, you throw in perceived value. People's true emotions come out, right?

EJ:

Yes.

Ryan:

Like we said, is that jealousy? Is that fear? Is that built up years of ego of being of well renowned artists? That then, you mint something, expecting to get an equivalent, or better-

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

Reaction. And it hits with-

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

A thud? Is that informing your reaction of NFTs, or everybody does want... It's a complicated host of emotions, backed by, "Oh my God, this person's making money, and I didn't realize." Just to also just add to the fact that, for the most part, people do not talk about money in motion design, right?

Ryan:

It has always been a little bit of a dirty word for people to just talk about what their day rate is, and how they got there, at least in the past. And now, openly as part of the actual act of minting, you can see what-

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

People are making. That's a first in motion design. It describes real, hard value, that people don't want to admit is true. But, it's true. You mint something, and someone buys it for $5,000. You can take that, and put it on your bank account, pay the taxes, and then you're you did it.

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

That is value, right? You can't argue it. So, I think that, that creates a whole host of people taking up sides, which is another thing we saw this year, right? There are those who are for, those against and the ones that let the dust clearance in between.

EJ:

Look, like I said, it's hard to again, play by the rules this entire time. And then, see people just making bank. And like I said, there's two ways you can look at it, and you are the only one that can control how you look at things.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

That's a thing that Gary Vaynerchuck says, "When shit happens in your life, only you control how you react to that. You can react to it in a destructive way, or in a productive way."

Ryan:

Right.

EJ:

And for the people that are reacting to this in a destructive way, guess what? Facebook changed its name to Meta. And this shit is only going to get more and more of a commonplace thing. And like you were saying Joey-

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

With the Roblox, people who have kids, are gifts just going to be a thing in the past, because you're just going to have something to download onto your child's iPad, and there's just no gifts anymore? Because, all they want is-

Joey:

Yeah.

EJ:

"Give me that new sword in this game.'"

Joey:

Yeah. My daughters are obsessed with Animal Crossing and it's-

Ryan:

Oh yeah.

Joey:

The other night, my nine year old was yelling at my 11 year old, because the 11 year old had an axe in her game and they wanted, and they were trying to-

Ryan:

Oh.

Joey:

Work out the trade and it was getting really heated. So, the last thing I wanted to ask you guys about the NFT thing is, what makes a good NFT project? So, I had a conversation a couple days ago, with my friend Olamide Rowland, he's ROJ The Goat on YouTube.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joey:

Really awesome. Everyone should go follow his YouTube channel. He's a motion designer in Nigeria, he's really young. I think, he's only 20 and he's already done all these-

Ryan:

Yup.

Joey:

Interviews with Ariel Costa, Nidia Dias, all these great people. But, he was telling me, he tried, he minted, I think, two NFTs. And he showed them to me, and the images are beautiful. They're these abstract, 3D renders with jellyfish and it's all done really, really well. And no one bought it and he couldn't understand why? And my thought was, look at what seems to work, right? It's not the art itself, crypto punks are not beautiful works of art, right?

Ryan:

Right.

Joey:

But, there's a story to it. And EJ, [crosstalk 01:54:40] that's why... And Ryan, I think that's what you were talking about. The thing that one of your students bought, the artwork's awesome, right? But, that's not why they bought it. They bought it, because it's you and they have this connection to you and there's a story that they can tell people about that NFT. "This guy helped teach me 3D." Right? So, I think that those are the projects that seem to really take off and do well, Veefriends, the artwork, like you even mentioned, the artwork is not good.

Ryan:

It's like garbage.

Joey:

Objectively not-

EJ:

Yeah.

Joey:

But, there's a story that comes with it. And there's also privileges that come with it. It seems like looking at these things as trading cards and you put out a series of these things and there's five of this one, there's 100 of this one, so that one's not worth as much, but this one's rare. And there's the storyline to it. That seems to be what works really well, versus, "I made a pretty picture. I'm going to see if anyone wants to buy it," which doesn't seem to work as well. Now, do I have that right? What do you think makes an NFT project successful?

Ryan:

Can I go with my theory EJ? And then, you can-

EJ:

Sure.

Ryan:

Tell whether it actually is, because you'll know-

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Better. I mean, my response to that, is that's as difficult of a question to get universal consensus on what a good song-

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

Is, right? Your idea of a good song could be noise to me, Joey.

Joey:

It probably is.

Ryan:

I may not like Thrash- [crosstalk 01:56:05]. Norwegian Thrash Metal, right?

Joey:

It is just noise.

Ryan:

Right? So, the fact that it is noise, may make it a-

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

Good song to you, right? But, for some people, a good song is something that's new that no one else has discovered, right? There's some people that... You know those taste makers, that the music, they probably don't even like that one song, but they just like the story behind the band, or being able to discover and say, "I found this." Right?

Ryan:

So, there's a world of that, right? There's music that is technically amazing. It's world-class session players that is lifeless, that no one can hear, right? Three dudes in a room with a guitar, drum and bass, could make something that is the best song you've ever heard. And there's no craft. It's literally, the second time they've ever picked up a guitar. To me, NFTs are the exact same thing. It depends on what you bring to it. There are occasionally those things that universally, everyone agrees is a worldwide pop hit, right? And you may even dislike it, right? You may not like BTS's Butter, but you can't argue the fact that it's-

Joey:

How do you not like that song? Come on.

Ryan:

Right? Exactly. But, there's people who hate it, right? But, they hate it-

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Because, it is so good, right? So, in my mind, this is the first true time, motion designers have had to be confronted with the fact that they have to talk about art and all of the-

EJ:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Things that, that means. Truly art, like fine art, right? Gallery art, a history of art, not commerce, right? So, the definitions of what is good and what is successful and what is poor, they're totally different. Even though you use the same tools, right? And I think that, that's where a lot of the crux of this is at, is that there are people who you can't stand their work, that can be looked at as art and your work, which is amazing, which is technically wonderful, maybe considered by other people as completely lifeless and worthless. Even though you got paid a lot of money to make it. And there's other people who've spent their whole lives doing that. Wishing they were making art, but they've gotten so far down the line that they don't even know how to do that, right?

Ryan:

So, you're dealing with this heavy, complicated mix of, "I don't know what works, because I have seen a lot of PFP, generative, 10,000 things with built in rarity and multiple airdrops come out and literally no one cares, right? That's not a guarantee, right? And that whole world's going to change when somebody figures out the next new thing to do with smart contracts and airdrops and all the other crazy stuff that's going to happen with it. So, I don't think there's an answer, a one-size-fits-all answer, which is actually exciting, because it means every single person coming to it, can have a different experience, or a different level of interest with it.

Joey:

Love it.

EJ:

Yeah. I think, the PFP thing, is its own thing.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

I think there's a lot of speculation there. It's stocks, it's everyone trying to hype up the stocks they bought. And the art's almost secondary.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

But, to piggyback on the music analogy, where it's like, why is The Grateful Dead so great, because they would play so many damn shows. I'm not a big fan of The Grateful Dead, I don't think their music's that great, honestly, but they're a jam band, they had a connection to the audience and that's what it was, that's their story. [crosstalk 01:58:58]. And so, you see a lot of that where, you have a lot of these artists just making so much of their work with the PFP stuff. So, many people are collecting them, there's a community built around it.

EJ:

And even if you're not doing the PFP stuff, just like Beeple's the classic example. His story, is what makes his art. His art-

Ryan:

Yeah, exactly.

EJ:

Is freaking weird. Sometimes, aesthetically, not that great, but you're buying into the story. Enjoy, just like you said, like me on a smaller level, like Chirp, I guess people are buying into my story. So, it's leaning into that part. And that's again, where the imposter syndromes creeps in, that I fight all the time, like just on this podcast. I'm like, "I don't know, someone bought it, I don't think it's worth that much." But, people are placing a value and that's the moment. Ryan, when you first sold your first piece-

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

There is a sudden shift of how you-

Ryan:

Immediately.

EJ:

How you thought about your own work-

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

EJ:

Immediately. And I've had conversations with people where, for the longest time... And I went through this phase as well, where, as someone who makes art. And I think even me saying, "I make art," makes me cringe inside a little bit. Because it's like, "Really? I made a cat with giant eyeballs, that's art?" But it-

Ryan:

It is.

EJ:

Is.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

So, it's that internal struggle with just saying the A-word.

Ryan:

Yeah, totally.

EJ:

And accepting that, "Yes, I make this stuff. I have value outside of what I bring to a client project." And I think that's another barrier for people, a mental barrier. "I can bring other value to the world, than what I bring to a client project."

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

Because, I've had somewhat heated conversations, where people would ask me, "How did I find my style?" And I'm like, "I don't..."

Ryan:

A style?

EJ:

I guess, I have certain aspects of things that I like, and I try to emulate that.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

And I guess that's my style. But, again, saying I have a style makes me cringe inside as well.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

I've had conversations with people, where I'm like, "Yeah, it's fun to find your style and how did you find your style?" And I would have people being like, "I think having a style is stupid, or it's pointless, because people just care about what I can bring to a project and I can do X, Y, Z. And I don't need a style. I just need to be able to create this work." And I'm like, "All right, well then you are just viewing yourself through this lens of client work again." And so, there's that battle to fight against that.

Ryan:

I can't believe I'm going to invoke this, but I feel like this conversation still has legs back to Chris Do, making the whole brick layer comment. And I feel like I'm on-

EJ:

Yes.

Ryan:

The other side of the conversation, where there is a certain amount of... And I probably for a long time struggle with this myself, that I wouldn't call myself a brick layer, but I had a really hard time saying artist, because I was taking orders from someone and finding the best way to execute it, right? And until I crossed the threshold into being able to creative direct, or submit some ideas and have an art director, tell me, "Yes, what is that? Tell me more about it." I never valued anything other than, "Man, I'll stay until 02:00 in the morning and I will learn the tools that nobody else will, before anyone else." Right?

Ryan:

And whether, or not that's a brick layer, or not, or that's a dismissive word. There is a world where, there are a lot of people who you ask, "Oh, you're mo graph, or you work in motion design. Isn't it cool to work as an artist?" Like, "I'm not an artist, I'm a designer." Or, whatever word, or, "I'm a technician."

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

People just bristle immediately. Where they're devaluing what they bring to the table, just natively, because of the industry. Because, you work in advertising and you're not the person at the top of the chain with a client, that I think just inherently, that's built into the DNA of motion design. And this is challenging that, which a year later, everybody's like, "I don't know what to think anymore, about the industry because it's pushing on the outer edges of the boundary and making people feel uncomfortable, or excited, or creating opportunity."

EJ:

Yeah, I think there's yeah, the brick layer. And then, there's people who design the buildings.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

Me personally, I was never the person that would come up with the creative concept, or the story that you're telling, or whatever. And what this has allowed me to do is, "Okay, I make these characters, but what's the name of the character? I don't know. What's the story behind them? What world do they live in?" And actually, I forget who, but someone on Twitter was like, "I've noticed that storytelling is a huge part of this NFT stuff." And my wife used to write books and children books. And it's like, "Would you pay for a service that would basically, write a story about your work, if you don't know what the hell to come up with?"

EJ:

But, that's making me think outside of my normal thought process of like, "I'm going to make a thing. It looks cool to me," and stop there. Now, I'm pushing myself creatively, "What's the story?"

Ryan:

EJ.

EJ:

"What's the world I want to build?" And I have a friend who lives here in Denver. He's got this whole massive story behind his collectibles, that are literally just cloned cubes in different colors, in a different array. But, the story behind it, is actually pretty badass. When you've somehow stumbled into and reverse engineered, it's literally...

PART 4 OF 7 ENDS [02:04:04]

Joey:

What you've somehow stumbled into and reverse engineered is literally the answer to my question earlier. That is what good creative studios actually get hired to do.

Ryan:

Tell a story.

Joey:

Good creative studios or untangle the story that's a mess from it. Like when Pepsi says, "Oh man, we got to do Coca-Cola Zero cherry, no sugar. Great."

Ryan:

Right.

Joey:

Should we call it something different? Does it need a different story so it doesn't just sound like a derivative of a derivative. And then that's how you end up with Happiness Factory from CYOP. Is that like, they went from being like, "Oh, we've sold a Coke can, every way we possibly could, we need a new story." And that's what you get paid for. Executing on it is great and that's a skill and that's wonderful, but everyone emotions and it's just [inaudible 02:04:40] realizing and like, oh my God, the people who are doing really well are really good at telling stories, no shit. That's what motion design is really good at doing. That's what we do, that's what I've been saying, that's what we do.

Joey:

The other stuff is great, but it is in service of that larger, just like in a Pixar. Pixar doesn't just make beautiful things or it doesn't make fun moving things, they make stories and characters that you care about for the rest of your life, that's the magic. It always has been, it always will be. So it's funny to hear people like, should I pay someone to come up with my story? It's like, no, you come up with your story. That's what you should get paid for, that's what people will love about your stuff.

Ryan:

Well, it's like a muscle you've never worked out before and it sucks to show up to the gym and work out that muscle when it freaking hurts. You just got to stick with it.

EJ:

Got to do it.

Joey:

The glutes are tight. [crosstalk 02:05:24]. Yeah. So unfortunately we have to move on from NFTs. The more I hear you two talk about it, the more I actually want to try it. It sounds so much fun.

Ryan:

It is.

Joey:

I love the idea of coming up with the story. That's actually the part I've always loved the most, but then EJ was talking about that time he arted and it made him feel uncomfortable.

EJ:

I didn't like the way it made me feel. I just arted myself.

Joey:

Yeah. It got a little squishy. All right. Enough with the NFTs. I'm sure everyone listening is tired of hearing about it. Let's talk about something that I actually think is a big deal. So I get emails and I know both you do too all the time. I get emails asking for talent recommendations from people who need to hire artists. That's not new. What's different is the amount of those emails I've been getting. And the tone of those emails, there's an error of desperation in them that I haven't seen before the whole point. And it, it now seems like it's just everybody knows, there is a talent shortage. There are not enough designer animators out there to do the ridiculous amount of work. Why is the question and what can we do about it? So I'm curious if you have any theories, Ryan, why is this happening?

Ryan:

Well, I mean, we're immediately going to just blame the same thing, which there's some truth. So NFTs are taking people's time and money and if you make $350,000 for an [inaudible 02:06:49] why? Right? But that's not everybody, right? That alone shouldn't like necessarily cause this much of a crunch. What I would say is that historically, normally you would have top talent moving on to become creative directors or own their own shops or whatever. And that slowed down, not everybody who became a top artist by being a 3D artist, maybe versus like a designer wanted to do that, right? So maybe they just went off and they did their own thing, but I don't feel like the normal rate of attrition you would get from top talent has happened historically the way it used to up until NFTs.

Ryan:

And I think NFT has brought us back to ground zero of what we normally would experience for whatever however long historically the motion design industry's been going on. So I mean, that's my big question is besides it being NFTs, taking some people out, what is it? Is it that more people are openly talking about how much they're making to each other and actually saying like having those discoveries like, wait a second, how come you get paid that? And that people are asking for more or they're booking themselves less. Is it people moving to different geographies and still making the same rate like they said before, so they don't need to make as much money and they're taking themselves off the table for a third of the year to do whatever, to have work life balance to their own projects, do NFTs, retrain?

Ryan:

Whatever it might be, right? I think there's a certain amount of people doing that, right? People are just coming off. There's definitely still a lot of people going to tech companies, right? Like we know people every day go to Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Meta, whatever. That is pulling people out of what we think of as just as like the industry and creating the crunch.

Ryan:

There's new startups right now. The speed at which new startups are hiring motion designers is unprecedented, right? Companies you never heard of that don't even technically exist yet that are still in stealth. And that's attractive to people because you get equity at an early stage and probably a little bit more of a voice. I mean, look at Cecconi, going to Cash and now Block taking other people with him like that is super attractive and not just going to Apple, right? That's a different reason for going. I don't know if this is really doing anything, but do you guys think that there's some people just are leaving the industry just in general.

Ryan:

Does the great resignation in all capitals, is it hitting motion design? Are some people just like, I'm out just tapping out and saying like, industry's not for me. I want a family. I want a slower life, like getting into teaching. I mean, we've seen there's tons of people who are starting up YouTube channels and trying to start their own educational things in the same vein of School of Motion, but are all those little things enough to really create the talent crunch or is it just that there's way more work?

Joey:

Well, I think there's two things. There's two things going on and they're similar, but there's differences. One, there's a shortage of senior talent of high end top talent.

Ryan:

Absolutely.

Joey:

And I think that the explanation for that, it's probably a combination of things, but I think NFTs the opportunities that are out there now that everything is remote and you can live wherever and still do work and be wrapped by Hornet and do whatever you want. I think there's that. And that is a very hard problem to solve. I'm not sure how that gets solved because we all know that no matter how good your training is, the education that you receive, the opportunities you get, those things are all very important, but there's only a certain percentage of people that will make it to the "top", right?

Ryan:

Right.

Joey:

And be able to do Ash Thorpe level work. There's just not that many, right? So I don't know how that gets solved. I think that's a big part of it. And I think that's made worse by the fact that there is way more work out there. I think that's the biggest problem actually. And the reason that's my theory is because every single 100% of freelancers that I've talked to had the busiest year ever, right?

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

Austin Saylor is famously been.

Ryan:

[inaudible 02:10:45].

Joey:

Yeah, he's been tweeting his journey this year. He tried to make $200,000 freelancing and which is a lot, right? It's not that easy to do. And I think he is on track to do it. We'll have to have him on next year to find out how it went. But I mean, that's crazy that you can freelance and make that much. And so I think that also there's just too much work. I think there are literally, I think that's a problem. I also think that there's a discoverability problem. I think that there's still this problem of artists are generally not good at promoting themselves and are scared to reach out to clients. And I keep trying to figure out how can School of Motion help solve that? Because we do have probably the largest Rolodex of motion designers on planet earth, but only we can look at it right now and so maybe there's some ways that we can even help make this problem a little bit better, but really I think there just needs to be 10X, the number of people doing design and animation that there are.

Ryan:

Yeah. I mean, I don't want to put the blame on studios because I understand having been in that position, the amount of pressures, the amount of things that are going on in the industry at once, right? But there was a time when if you had a studio, it was expected that you would carry the weight of some juniors that you were training, that you were investing in, right? We hear the term investment a lot of times when it's like, oh, this project might lose money, but I will invest in it because the amount of work it may bring in will be worth it, right? Title sequences, honestly, historically are a lot like that, right? You lose money on a title of sequence, it's attached to a great movie, you get five jobs out of it, right? More than makes up its money in the long haul.

Ryan:

You did that same thing with talent at studios, right? That's why you went to the student shows. That's why you went online and looked on Instagram to find people. But I think even pre-COVID this rush to really stock up on freelancers and permalancers or whatever you want to call it and not invest in the junior talent. And I think this is even hurting, especially even probably the producer ranks in motion design, because that was abandoned there aren't as many internships there aren't apprenticeships, there aren't two juniors for every senior creative director following along that pipeline or pathway or arc was artificially stopped by studios avoiding that, right?

Ryan:

And I understand the reasons why it costs a lot when you don't see the ROI right away. You don't know if you ever will. People may leave as soon as they get what they need to learn. But I think that's also part of it. School of Motion, or even Scatter any of these other places, they can't be expected to turn out senior level artists, right? That's a totally different program. That's a totally different set of real world experiences that you have to be forged in a fire. We could try to make a super senior curriculum pathway, but we'd have to emulate the studio environment to be able to do that at School of Motion. That is a self-fulfilling prophecy for a lot of the studios when they're like, I can't find anybody's senior. It's like, well, what do you expect? You've just been hiring people randomly taking them away from each other, they don't get to work together.

Ryan:

They don't get to learn what they dig and learn the short hands and all those. When I've worked with another senior artist alongside me, we know what the other person's going to say after we've worked on two projects together, that doesn't exist. And it doesn't exist, especially when everything's remote as well. So I don't want to blame them, but I think that sometimes maybe there needs to be some looking internally as well. What did you expect? You just expected the freelance ranks to bubble up another Ash Thorpe for you to hire when you need them. You have to cultivate that as well I think.

EJ:

I'll say one thing if studio life was so great, why are all three of us sitting here right now and not working at a studio. I think what we found is, I don't know if you have seen this as well, but I feel like there's this move for people that used to work at studios they're now just moving into in-house, but square block, whatever the hell, Facebook, Apple. And the funny part is every single time, whether it's NFTs or people moving to Facebook, it's like, oh, those people sold out.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

Why is it so toxic like that? Why do you think all these artists left the studio if it's so great and they're doing such a good job? You could go to Facebook, get stock options, get health insurance, get more paid time off, paid leave. You don't get that at studios. And it's one of those things where the talent and the amount of talent and artists brought to a studio, I feel like didn't match up with what they were compensated for. And I think for the first time ever, these artists that were not compensated probably what they deserved finally did and their eyes opened up like, oh, I don't have to do this anymore. I could do my own thing. I could go to Facebook or whatever. And these social media companies and all their offspring, I think they'll just get even bigger and bigger and more companies they're just like, you know what, I'm not paying an agency rate anymore because I can just hire my own studio of motion designers and do that as well.

Ryan:

I think, to add to that, just the pace of the lifestyle of working at one of these tech companies is just, it's almost like it doesn't make sense that you can be making almost an order of magnitude more money than you would make if you were working at a motion design studio of Renowned that we all love and elevate all the time and the pace is a 10th of the pace that you'd expect. When you walk into some of these shops, you're expected if you're an artist be working on two or three different jobs at the same time. If you're a creative director, you're intaking, pitching, managing a team and hoping to win and successfully execute are like three or four jobs at the same time of all radically different things. It's not like you're just doing four title sequences.

Ryan:

My last year at Digital Kitchen, I was designing a hotel, opening up a casino, pitching three title sequences and traveling the country to try to win more pitches all at the same time, with nothing more than an in-house producer alongside me. With just teams of remote people trying to get the stuff done. That's a grind man. That's like being out on the road for two years as a musician and never getting time off, right? Compared to before I came to School of Motion, I interviewed at Apple, the person at Apple told me, Hey, we'd love to have you, but we don't think you'd enjoy it here. From the way you talked about the work you like to do and the pace you like to have, and the team you like to build, we don't have people like that in this environment. We don't work that way. So I think it's just a radically different. It's almost like it could barely even be called motion design because everything you think about what the life would be like, it's not the same at all.

Joey:

This is really interesting. I mean, I think some of the people that responded to me when I asked them for their opinion on this, they echoed some of the stuff that you said EJ that, I think some people got burned by the studio life because there were some studios that just didn't treat people that well, or they would abuse the whole system or something like that. And unfortunately that reflects poorly on even the studios that are doing everything right. And treating people well and paying them well and all of that stuff. And I do think that does create this perception that, well, maybe I'm better off on my own. Maybe I'm better off not being a W2 employee for a studio and having to be there every day. And I know that that puts an enormous strain on studio owners because it means they have to hire people that are more junior, less experienced than they like to.

Joey:

One thing that I thought, and I'm pretty sure this is true, anecdotally, it seems like there are just more freelancers now, more people are just doing that, right? And there's an ecosystem around that and it's easier to do now too, because you everyone's used to working remotely. So it's not even that different to freelance versus beyond staff and the finances of it, right? We are in a seller's market right now for motion designers. If you are a good designer and a good animator and you want to work, it's not hard to get work, right? As long as you do a couple of things. I can recommend a book if you don't know how to do it, but it also financially now it's like, okay, Austin Saylor going to make $200,000. There are studio jobs that will pay you that, but not many, right?

Ryan:

And the wins of that job are going to be very different from just being self-motivate and trying to make it, right? Who you answer to and what you're expected to do are radically different.

Joey:

Yeah. And so I think that part of it is just I think the culture around work period is changing, never mind creative work and studios and all of that. I think the culture is totally different, right? At School of Motion, our work life set up is drastically different than any place I've ever worked. And I think it used to probably be a lot more unique. Now, I think a lot of companies probably operate like us where you can go days without actually using your voice to talk to somebody or just doing it on Slack. You want to take a day off, you take a day off. And I think that once you get a taste to that, it's hard to go back, and it's hard to be a studio that works that way, right? And maybe there are some that are out there. I don't know. I don't know, EJ, I know you're, you're close with Barton. How does ABC work?

EJ:

Well, ABC is like how he attracts talent is he's got a studio in an area that's a low cost living. And right now Barton's actually looking for a ZBrush model I just came out reading tweets. But his big thing is, if you work, he knows how to push back on clients and prevent that scope creep that I think a lot of studios just think it's just part of the job. This is what happens and why Bart's doing so well is he takes care of his people. If you work on a lone project and you are working very late nights and stuff, either A, you're going to get reimbursed for your time or B, you're going to get paid overtime. And I think this is the thing that people are realizing once they go freelance it, if they can play that whole, because we say it all the time, a lot of motion designers are not great business people, but when they go freelance and they don't know how to run a business, they'll get screwed.

EJ:

I think a lot of people are discovering the decoupling of their time equaling a certain amount of money. And it's now like, oh, wait, I provide this X value and this is what it costs. And it's not tied to hours. I need to put in all these hours to make this amount, so I would say there's that. And just there aren't a lot of studios that are paying medical insurances, especially now in the climate that we're in with all the crazy stuff that could possibly happen, that's a huge cost. And if you pay that maternity leave, paternity leave, these are all things where you have that work life balance. And if you're a studio and you provide that, I think that's important. But the thing is, I don't know of a lot of studios that do that.

EJ:

I feel like for all the major studios in Denver that I've talked to, we'd have a meetup, one of the artists would show up and he would come out and he'd have a few beers. And he is like, got to go back to work. I was like, dude, they would just grind on this project and I'd be like, oh man, okay, do you take some time off after that? They're like, no, no, no, we're just on to the next one. And so like, you can't sustain that. And I think this is the problem, all these very talented artists that everyone wanted to hire all the time, they're having families. And they're realizing that, that's not the end all be all anymore, is client work.

EJ:

Because I feel like we keep chasing. I went through this like, oh man. I worked on this project. It was awesome. It's awesome. This is the best thing I've ever done. It ends and then guess what, it's on the next thing. And you don't have any time to celebrate that or anything. It's just on the next thing. Always chasing, always chasing it. It's hard to keep up.

Joey:

Let's talk about the cost of artists now too, because this is I think it probably another part of it. I was talking to my friend, who's a video editor in New York and he told me his rate is $950 a day. And he gets booked constantly. I think is probably going to make $300,000 freelancing, right? It's outrageous. And clients are perfectly willing to pay him to do that. And I know that motion designer rates haven't risen as quickly, but they have risen. And the salary requirements to get really good talent have gone up and now there's inflation. And at the same time, clients want you to deliver something in 16:9, in 1:1, in 9:16, please give me 30 versions of this, right? Make me a toolkit. And the budgets aren't going up, right?

Joey:

So who's getting squeezed, right? Someone's always getting squeezed. And for a while, I mean, it's funny. It's like, I guess in a way it's always been the studios, right? There was a time when ad agencies were squeezing the studios, right? The ad agencies would mark up their creative and then hire a studio with whatever's left to do it. And then studios start cutting out agencies. Well, now the artists can cut the studio out and they can make more money and they can have a lifestyle that maybe fits them better. And it becomes, okay, well, if you're a studio and you want to hire that person, then you have to make it they're while now, you have to give them the lifestyle they want and you have to pay them what they're asking, which is probably a lot more than you used to have to pay. I'm curious Ryan, if you have any sense of how much has the cost of a good artist been inflated than the last two years, it feels like it just cost more to get good people.

Ryan:

I mean, significantly. I mean, just to put real numbers on it, right? I've been out of the industry as an artist before I was a creative director. I've been out of the industry for five years now, right? Just a day to day working senior artist, my rate was floating between probably $750 and $800 a day. Granted, this is in Los Angeles so take that for what it's worth, but that almost doesn't mean anything else. I feel like for a lot of studios that is almost the entry point for a lot of artists, somebody who you know you can rely on not somebody you're rolling the dice and trying out for the first time, but just even just a [inaudible 02:25:03] file just great generalist artist like $600 to $700. Whereas before $400, $450, sometimes $350.

Ryan:

And that's in a world where you might say, well, in five years there's inflation. The rates I was working with that hadn't changed my entire career. The only thing that changes if I could charge more, right? But the rate of each level had not moved what probably felt like a decade from everybody I had talked to you. I don't think that this is necessarily because of COVID or because of a talent crunch. I think this is a recorrection off of what hadn't moved at all, right? I feel like people are taking the advantage finally now with the leverage we have to finally be able to recorrect probably what it should have been.

Ryan:

If an entry level artist for a decade was the same price, there's something wrong with that, right? What an artist is actually bringing to the table 10 years ago, entry level artist versus today is wildly different, right? In terms of experience, in terms of software knowledge, in terms of just maturity, in terms of what to expect a person to do. A person coming out of SCAD now, or School of Motion now versus five years ago, 10 years ago, is very different.

Ryan:

It's definitely more expensive. I mean, I would even say, I know just recently I was talking when I was in LA last month, lots of studio owners are saying like, man, I don't know what happened, but it feels like all the producers just went away for one weekend and when they came back there 30% more expensive, right? Not saying that there was collusion but it just felt like overnight that line item went up and the prices they're getting for the business they can't charge 30% more from their clients, right? So where does even just that alone, just your producers, not your artist's cost, just the person you need to make sure everything happens. And somebody's talking to the client every day. That's significant. So yes. Short answer. Yes. It's getting way more expected. And budgets are not increasing.

Joey:

And there's a shortage of producers too. It's not just artists. And so I think like there's so many different factors going into it I think the number one from where I sit is just the amount of work is astronomical. It's crazy. And probably most of it can and be done by one or two people. If you had a list of every project going on right now that needed design animation, right? There's probably millions, but a lot of it is really quick, social media like little short things that, yeah, you can get a freelancer, call Austin Saylor, do a project rate with him. It's going to cost way less than going to a studio and then you can keep using him. And it's like...

EJ:

If Austin's smart, Austin's hiring three super junior people that he's training on.

Joey:

Of course he should be.

EJ:

He's just passing through the cost to get it back. Yeah, exactly.

Joey:

Next year, it'll be the $300,000 project and that's what he is going to do. But I mean, it's funny. I got into trouble once for pointing this out that a freelancer can, those who know, know what I'm talking about. A good freelancer that can provide good client service and can keep the bar pretty high, can run circles around most studios, right? Now, you're always going to have the top studios where you're not going to compete with them. And people are not going to go to you over Sarofsky if they want a title sequence, although apparently like they might go to you instead of imaginary forces if's that's a thing.

EJ:

It happens. It's shocking how much didn't happen. I mean, look what Jordan Bergeron does, right? Look what Amador Valenzuala does. There are solo operators that are making stuff that looks like it came out of a studio for sure.

Joey:

Yeah. So I guess to wrap this section up, I mean, I don't know how this gets solved. I think it may just have to be another year or two of pain as the supply and the demand in theory reached some equilibrium. Maybe the price that clients are paying for this has to go up, which will attract some of that top talent back to studios. Because now they can pay more, theoretically that's what should happen, but it feels so messy and frothy I really can't predict it's going to happen.

Ryan:

I mean, I feel like the outline that you've put together, Joey is great because I feel like we're going back to the thing we were just talking about. I don't feel like you can put the genie back in the bottle on work in terms of price pressures coming down, right? But motion design's always been really good at is historically finding new work that no one else understands that they can charge those three years ago prices for broadcast. That's why I'm stressing so much that even if you don't like him, that Web 3.0 Dow community lower creating, world building character story, NFT based world. If you're wondering where the next big things are going to be, it's not going to be explainer videos. It's not going to be UI UX, the place where people don't understand and what they, they need someone to try us them they can also execute, that's the world that the budgets are going to be like, Hey, just solve it for me because I have to have it. Tell me what to do, right?

Ryan:

And that doesn't mean you have to be an agency. You can still be on the box, but start learning that stuff start at real time, right? Start understanding not real time for real time sake, but like how can you make something that you normally make an also offer deliverable that is an interactive asset, right? That kind of thinking, I think is the only way you're a motion design studio, right? Motion design was never promised to just be making the same thing for 25 years, right? You got into the one industry that changes every three. So you have to like accept it and embrace it and like that.

Joey:

Well now we can get really nerdy. This is one of my favorite parts of this is, let's talk about out the tech, the software the upgrades that happened this year, there were quite a few, we can start with the low hanging fruit, which I think is the latest After Effects update. And actually as of this week, I think they even rolled some things into the public beta that we could talk about too. Yeah, what are your favorite upgrades to After Effects Ryan?

Ryan:

I mean dude, just the public beta alone, I think it;s sounds dumb to say, but After Effects was a closed box, if you knew somebody you knew someone you could give them a suggestion and it normally, you never felt like anything to change. The fact that they're doing it live on the wire, an update almost every day, sometimes twice a day. And it is, you can open the public beta. You can work in it and if something breaks or doesn't work, you can just open it up in your regular every day After Effects the shipping version. And most of it works unless it's a brand new feature, right? But a new effect or something, but that has been astounding to watch and participate in because that something that we're just not used to from Adobe in general, right?

Ryan:

The team is small. The team has been stuck on a years long project. And the multi-film rendering is just mind blowing, right? It doesn't work as like you would hope it'd be in every single scenario, but the fact that like you have a multi-core machine with tons and tons of Ram, and before this you'd hit preview or you'd hit render and you see one processor going like that, it's you can't even say infuriating because I paid all this money why isn't it using it, right? There's no way to actually use all of your computer it does it now. And on top of that, you get a bunch of things for free. Now you get speculative preview where if you walk away from your machine for two seconds, both directions left and right of your current time indicator just start going green. That just came as, I won't say for free, but that came along for the ride with all this like five or six years worth of work.

Ryan:

The comp profiler is super cool. As a creative director gets files from literary people all over the world, when you're doing that and you have to try to figure out why it's taking 40 minutes of frame to render. It was impossible to figure out. Now there's just a little color chip that says, Hey, this is the slow, not just comp, not just layer, but down to the effect level, you can see which effect is taking the most time and troubleshoot it, all that stuff together, that all came at once and it was massive. It literally it's the first time I've used After Effects where I had try to catch up to it where I was like, whoa, whoa, okay.

Ryan:

I had the spec preview set to like the lowest amount of time, which was like a second or a second and a half or whatever, during the beta. And every time I stopped to just think like, okay, what could I do with this type innovation? My preview just started building. I'm like, well, I'm not used to that. I don't know if I can handle that. It took a second to just be like, what's going on? This is weird.

Ryan:

On top of that, there are a lot of UI UX things on the horizon. They talked about colored key frames coming out soon for the last year, they are talking about a properties panel like illustrating Photoshop, basically anything you would want to change. That's context sensitive based on if you have type or if you have a shape, now, as of I think yesterday, middle of December, the beta now has, and it's not fully functional, but you can see where they're going and can tell them what you want it to do. So if you pick a shape layer, everything that's inside that shape layer you can now just go there and pick it in this panel on the right, like an effects panel, no more twirling down a million things and twirling back up it's right there and all the parameters are there. You can key frame, you can shuffle, you can change stuff. It feels like a lot of stuff is coming really quickly now that they got MFR done. And I'm very excited to see where like the next 12 to 18 months will go.

Joey:

Yeah. And I'll vouch for MFR, I've played around with it. And it feels like 10 to 20 times faster. I mean, it's a completely different feeling of using after effects. And I just saw this morning, Victoria, over at Adobe, she posted a little screen grab of something called extended viewport, which they is now in the beta which it's so funny because I saw it and at first I thought it was a flame because that's how flames used to look. Where it basically all it is if you used After Effects you know that you can have a 3D scene that it expands beyond the bounds of your comp, but you can't actually see it unless you're looking at it through your comp viewer and now you can see everything. And it's almost like you have the frame of a camera that you can see your scene, even if it's not being rendered. It's hard to explain in a podcast.

Ryan:

You're not looking through a window anymore.

EJ:

It's like C4D where you can work outside of your... You can have objects off screen. I just want that. Give that 3D grid plane please.

Joey:

It's there now.

Ryan:

It actually is there.

EJ:

It's there?

Ryan:

So here's` the thing. There's a bunch of stuff that's shipped in After Effects this year that people don't realize is that there's a new real time preview engine that you don't want to render full time in. But it's a real time preview engine for all the 3D stuff. I believe all the new gizmos and the ground plane are now in there. You just have to...

PART 5 OF 7 ENDS [02:35:04]

Ryan:

All the new Gizmos and the ground plane are now in there. You just have to have a 3D object and a 3D camera, I believe and if you activate something in even a null and make a 3D, a world plane shows up, if you have a 3D camera. And the cool thing about all of this, is that, this is coming from a much larger initiative. All that stuff is coming from the Adobe Aero, team.

Ryan:

And it's now being shared across, I believe even like Substance and all that. All of those things are now starting to inform each other. So After Effects is no longer, just a subset of Premiere, it's part of a much larger holistic whole as a company, as a software offering. So that's also something I'm really excited about because I have something new happens.

Ryan:

We just saw, I think in Photoshop now has like Substance 3D materials which is really strange to see. I don't know this, I haven't heard this, but it feels like a lot of the things you're going to get from all these new Substance tools, are going to start slowly finding their way into our other apps.

Ryan:

Hopefully, especially, it would be really great to just have a 3D object that you made in Substance modeler, that you textured in, Substance painter, and you just bring the After Effects and it's not a flat card. It's a 3D thing that you can pick a point and launch particular from, you can see the world in your brain when everything gets unified, how powerful that's going to be. And it's faster now, so...

EJ:

Because that's the thing, right? Where Substance, like as a 3D artist that doesn't spend much time in After Effects.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

Substance is probably like, if they play the cards, right, that's the way that they can get people back into.

Ryan:

Yup.

EJ:

Into After Effects. Because right now you have, you mentioned modeler which is in beta, which is looks really awesome.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

Basically do your sculpting, your modeling, all in that app. Everyone's already... Like most 3D artists are already using pink Substance painter or designer.

Ryan:

Right.

EJ:

And then you have stager, there's one thing missing. You can't animate anything.

Ryan:

Yeah. What's going on with there?

EJ:

And there After Effects. So it's like, how we use Cineware, stuff like that.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

And you bring it in, it's a 2D card in the 3D space, but if you get the camera, you can kind of rotate it around. Let's get that where you could just select that object, rotate it around. Just like it's a 3D object in your comp.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

That's where things are going to be really game changing. Right there.

Ryan:

We can dream, we can dream right.

Joey:

So more Adobe news. So they acquired Frame.io, this year for over one billion dollars, which [crosstalk 02:37:22] even one billion. And I don't know what to think about it, honestly. I love Frame.io. It's one of my favorite companies.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

Like I think Emery and his team are amazing. I think the product's incredible. They've solved a ton of amazing, difficult, technical problems and pulled it off really, really well. And now Adobe owns them. What does that mean? I don't know. I can't even really guess, what that's going to do.

EJ:

Yeah. I mean, Adobe stock integrated, you're going to have suggestions for footage you can use. And Adobe Sensei suggestions [crosstalk 02:37:54]

Joey:

Maybe Jason Levine will be singing about Frame.io at the next, the next Adobe [crosstalk 02:37:58]

Ryan:

Should be from because they paid, for it. He should be. I mean, I mean, I can see some of the utility in it, right? I wonder if half of it is like a defensive play. That's a lot of infrastructure and a lot of even just, negotiation approvals to go through with the MPAA for, very secure kind of handling of those files.

Ryan:

In some ways it's a competitor purchase to Dropbox for them. Right. You know, like you said, Joey, it can just be like a place to throw footage up and pull down lower quality versions, very quickly, to make rushes. I also feel Adobe always wants to be in like that social media world where it's like, okay, cool. You do After Effects. It goes to Premiere. It goes to Media Encoder. But what if it just feels for Media Encoder into Frame.io?

Ryan:

But then all that stuff that we have right now that like smart scene Sensei, like placement for all the different social media deliverables. What if Frame.io can do that? What if you delivered a master, of whatever highest resolution you want and it cannot just say like, okay, cool. Here's where my, crop is going to be, but you can just say crop for Instagram, but automatically just the frame from Frame.io, not from Premiere, where it's literally like fire and forget for a social media manager.

Ryan:

You don't even have to have an editor, touch that stuff. Like you can see where they're going to bolt. This is an acquisition. This is a technology we're making. This is a service we keep on talking about wanting to do. It's a lot of money though, for just making stuff for cutdowns for different things. There's got to be a bigger plan for it as well.

Joey:

Yeah. I think my guess would be, what frame has done, is they've made it a hundred times easier, to edit remotely, and to have editors in multiple locations using the same footage and being able to manage that. It is always been a huge struggle for us as school of motion, using Dropbox and kind of just waiting for it to sink. And sometimes it screws up and Frame.io solves all that. I think.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

It'll be interesting because the timing of it, I wonder how it's going to work out, like what Frame.io built solves that problem, but you know what solves it better? Is these computers in the cloud, that you just remote into and the hard drives just there and it's infinity exabytes or whatever.

Ryan:

Right.

Joey:

And then you...

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

Oh, I need three more editors, click, click, click, you have three more editors available. Like, it that to me. So as much as I love Frame.io I wonder, I wonder if...

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joey:

Is that going to be so disruptive that it kind of makes it moot? You know, like is that just the way it's going to go in the future.

Ryan:

Right. I don't know, man. I mean, it feels like every day I keep on watching this channel called Two Minute Papers on YouTube. And it was like every couple of days, there's some new thing that used to just be shown at sea graph once every three or four years. Where stuff that doesn't make sense, how it can be done. It just says, oh, look at this amazing thing that took a whole team to do something. Machine learn it, learned and figured it out in two hours, Adobe's put a lot of time behind Sensei. They put a lot of time in that.

Ryan:

I mean I just literally saw a service or a paper that's basically analyzes your images, has a database of sound design, like a sound design library and in your editor will automatically drop the appropriate sound design based on the image. So like say you have a person typing, next shot as a guy on a bike, next shot as a woman doing jumping jacks, next shot as a robot walking, it will look at it, analyze it and just be like, okay, in the timeline, not just for the length of the clip, but where it sees the appropriate action, as essentially pulling the right sound design and doing the first steps of fully timing.

Joey:

That's ridiculous!

Ryan:

That's a huge industry that it's just like, that's poof! Editor here, all this for you.

Joey:

Yeah and that's the kind of stuff that it's, that's the stuff where it makes sense to, I think to have at least AI assisted stuff where doing Foley is an art form and that's not going away. I don't think.

Ryan:

Yup.

Joey:

But placing it, and getting the footsteps sync just right. And all that is such a time consuming pain in the ass. It'd be great if you didn't have to do that. And you could just do the creative part. The, on the Sensei side, this was another thing I wanted to call out. So, in mostly inside a Photoshop at this point, but I... You know it's coming, to all the other apps eventually.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

There are some crazy uses of Sensei. And so I actually just recorded a tutorial. That'll be out in January, about a bunch of the new ways to cut things out in Photoshop. And it's astounding, how easy it is, to get really, clean hair cutouts and stuff.

Joey:

And Photoshop will even fix the edges for you. And it's kind of ridiculous. And I also used this new feature so, there's filters in Photoshop, there's a new menu called neural filters. And you go in there and there's, it's crazy! There's like de-aging ones, there's ones that can automatically make it a different season. If it's a landscape...

Ryan:

Make you, make you smile.

Joey:

Yeah. And there's one, there's one called super zoom, which is one of these AI enhanced sort of, you need to increased the resolution of an image typically it gets blurry and kind of pixely. This, does a pretty damn good job and it's built right in the, to Photoshop. And I did a test like [inaudible 02:42:44] the resolution or something. And it's so much crisper and nicer looking than just doing it the other way.

Ryan:

Yeah.

Joey:

So this stuff is getting crazy good. And, once it starts getting into After Effects, I mean, I'm sure it's already there, right? Rotobrush is probably using some of the same technology, but what happens when we don't need to key things anymore. Like it... I feel like I used to think that was never going to happen. And now I'm not so sure.

Ryan:

Dude I mean I mentioned, I think a little bit earlier, run by ML but it's a separate service. It's not built into After Effects, but right now you can use it for free. And it's basically like, it creates all of those, computational data passes you always wanted from a camera, imagine you shoot something with a camera and your iPhone's starting to build in, you create a depth map, you create a normals pass, you create a motion vector pass. Imagine when you're shooting that you could get that data. But instead of it, you can just pick which files you want and after the fact using machine learning and AI, it basically will give you those gray scale passes that you can use for doing blurs or doing isolated color corrections. And you basically just upload the file and tell it what you want.

Ryan:

It spits it back out to you. Can you imagine when that's not, imagine when that's not even an effect in After Effects, but it just is, in the background with all these new, like MFR features. You give it footage and it just starts doing that. And it just lets you know, just like with the camera tracker or with rotobrush, it'll just work on something while you're doing something else with two of your prox and then it'll just pop up in your project panel like, oh, do you want to view this new, data pass that you can do things with, it's 3D, that's the stuff I can't wait to see from Sensei where it's like, oh, here's this stuff that you just get for free. We figured out how to make it. Do you want to unblur something? Imagine being able to unblur-

Joey:

Yeah. There's white papers about that too. I've seen that stuff. I mean it's yeah, it is wild.

Ryan:

Yup. Exactly.

Joey:

I think it's time to unleash our [inaudible 02:44:22] here. I would like to know your thoughts, my friend on, two things, R25 and blender, let's go! Crack your knuckle up.

EJ:

All right here we go!

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

Beast mode. Okay. So and this is very timely because I saw a tutorial posted yesterday of a tutorial on how to set up a very mography thing in blender using blender's geometry nodes, which everyone's been talking about. Watch the tutorial, it's five minutes long, probably has 50 steps to create this thing and I'm like this is great, but this is insane because the same exact thing, you can do in five steps in Cinema 4D and I did it myself and went through all the steps I'm like, this is so much easier. So, starting with R25, which I feel we should go back to S24 as well, where they added the dynamic placement tools. They put more work into the capsules, which is basically C4D's version of geometry nodes and all that kind of stuff.

EJ:

Basically adding in that nodal functionality to be able to procedurally, generate geometry, model, do all kind of crazy stuff like that. And we're not quite seeing the fruits of that. I mean, we, in R25 we are, because we are seeing the artist facing side of that, because with all of this nodal stuff, as someone who just started using nodes in the past couple years using Redshift and building materials that way.

EJ:

Nodes are kind of hard to wrap your brain around and for materials to a certain extent, it makes sense. But once you start getting and building cloner objects, with five nodes to create a cloner object, I'm like, I don't want to do that because I know I can click a button and do that same thing in Cinema 4D. So what you're seeing is capsules in Cinema 4D, where you have this artist friendly UI and you have all of this power that if you wanted to, you could dig into, all the nodes and really have a lot of flexibility.

EJ:

And time and time again, blender artists commented on the post where I was talking about like the 50 steps versus five steps. And everyone's saying like, oh, that functionality is getting there. All this kind of stuff, but we have all this flexibility though and I'm like, yes, but if Cinema 4D does this right, you'll be able to do that same thing in Cinema 4D.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

And the one thing I've noticed, as far as blender versus C4D is, if you're doing MoGraph stuff, it don't... Blender's not going to be the thing I feel just because, especially if you're used to Cinema 4D it's just a really hard thing to go back and rebuild things that are just so automatic in Cinema 4D but this is a very critical time for Maxon to get this right.

EJ:

Because if they don't, I think you're going to get a lot of people jump and shift. But I will say that with R25, the biggest thing was the UI.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

And me personally, I thought people were going to be really upset and definitely people did get angry. And of course it's Twitter so everyone's angry about something. But I'm surprised by how many people, kind of took to it, barely easily. And I've been using it for a while now. It, there's definitely some quirks that need to be ironed out, but all in all, it's really hard to go back to S25 or S24 and stuff like that, just because you get used to all the optimization and where things are positioned now. But again, there are the quirks.

EJ:

The one cool thing that I will say is that with S24, there... Everyone saying we need new modeling tools, we need upgraded dynamics, the dynamic placement tools, we're is a sneak peek that they are we're working on that.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

So that's very exciting. We had the UVs recently, they're still not quite there yet, but I feel like Maxon only has, they have, a few things, but they're major things. And I think that will kind of calm down, a lot of the C4D artists that might be getting a little nervous about like, do I have to use blender, or not?

EJ:

The one thing I am seeing is I don't know, a single, I know a few, C4D artists that totally went to blender and left C4D behind, but the more and more I talk to people, the more I'm hearing that people have one foot and one, one foot and the other. And I feel like that's going to be the... Think is there's no grease pencil in C4D.

Ryan:

Right.

EJ:

Modeling tools, is the strength of blender. But just talking with people that run studios and work for studios, like... Studios are not going to take three months out of their year to retrain their entire artist, group to learn this completely new software that might help them model better and maybe rig better. You just don't do that.

Ryan:

Yeah. I mean, can 2022 be the year that we just stop the, this versus that, and it can just be either or? Do we have to have blender wars? I mean, I know we love doing the prognostication. Oh, now Octane's fast and Redshift's crash, is like, can we just use the right tool for the right job? Like if blender has really, awesome modeling tools, you can model and blender and you can send that over to and it doesn't cost you anything.

Ryan:

You can send that over to Cinema. Can we stop pretending, like we all do everything in one app anyway, you hear even hear it with After Effects, right? There's After Effects competitors being announced and they're on the horizon. And it's like, well, you know what, as much as there's things that are frustrating about After Effects at times, like there isn't ever going to be another app that does as many things as it does, decently well, is it slow sometimes?

Ryan:

Yes. Is it really rough with lots and lots of EXR? Yes. But that's why you have fusion and you have new gift that's what you really need to do to push it. Don't lament the fact that it's not this like VFX powered, compositor for feature films, when it can do a lot of everything's okay. That's great.

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

I'd much rather just see more competition with these splinter, tools that say, oh, here's how we think animating tech should be, or here's how shape layers could be. Great. Just use it as a plugin for After Effects. The... If you use Calvary as a plugin for After Effects to just make some awesome text animation with, like mograph style, like repeaters, it's awesome! Stop, worrying that you can't draw on it as well or you can't composite a live action shot. It's not built for that. It... There is a little bit of like this, kind of slightly immature [inaudible 02:50:47] that's built into the mograph DNA because of where we came from, that sometimes it's like all the tools exist, man. You can make whatever you want. It's just never going to be everything that you want one tool to be.

EJ:

Well, even the render war thing, like render announced that they're supporting Redshift render and they're working on this thing where you could literally bring in any scene and render it with whatever engine you want. Arnold, Octane, Redshift so it's this thing where it's exactly, it's the best tool for the job. We were talking about Substance modeler. Maybe that's got all the tools I need.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

And guess what? I don't have to re... I don't have to learn this completely new software that has different shortcut keys...

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

And different ways of working different, object managers set up, and how that works. Maybe I could just in as modeler if that's the one thing lacking in my Cinema 4D, workflow is lack of, cutting edge modeling tools and sculpting tools. So this is where it, and we're going to talk about this.

EJ:

I mean, we already talk about this, where it's harder and harder. If you want to be the most efficient artist that you can, you're not just using one app or two apps. You we're discovering all these other apps that help augment your workflow. And people like to moan and bitching complain about of subscriptions and stuff like that and how blender's free and blah, blah, blah. But my time's not free.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

And if you're telling me that you're not saving $50, if your day rate's 70, if your hourly rate 75 bucks, you saying that you don't save, 45 minutes in a month? To pay for whatever software you're using, whether it's, because Substance is all their tools is extra. Right?

Ryan:

Right.

EJ:

And that's a subscription. So you're telling me that you're not finding that time saving there, or that value. And some people aren't, some people aren't dipping their toes in 3D as much as they, to get that value back. But I tell you what, and this goes, the predictions, 3D is here and if you don't know 3D, you're going to probably be forced to learn it sometime soon, if you want to keep getting hired at these top end studios or just normal size studios.

Joey:

It's required now. Absolutely. And what about...

EJ:

Procreate.

Joey:

I was going to say procreate.

EJ:

Procreate, procreate. Just [crosstalk 02:52:58] 3D.

Joey:

Yeah. I want to just talk about that because I watched your tutorial and it's like, honestly, that should be the way people paint on 3D models now. It looks so much nicer than the name of other way.

EJ:

Yeah. It looks fun. This looks fun, like it is enjoyable to do.

Joey:

Yeah. And that's...

EJ:

That's the thing. And this goes into how kind of, we're seeing Apple come back into the creative space again.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

I can't tell, like I have a Wacom tablet. I've never used a Cintiq before, but a Cintiq is super expensive, but to have, I just got a iPad pro with the M1 chips and all that stuff. And it's amazing. It's such an enjoyable experience. It doesn't feel like you're working at all. It's just so intuitive. And I think that's something I harp on all the time is like, if software's hard, that's not the artist's fault.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

And I think as Adobe gets into this and Substance is so well designed, the UI is so well designed. It's very artist friendly. It's why I love Cinema 4D. The moment we can reduce those friction points for a 2D artist to start playing around, like procreate 3D. We might have 2D artists using, creating 3D content for the first time ever.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

And finding that enjoyable experience and trying to, and wanting to learn more.

Ryan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

EJ:

Unfortunately it's like, there's also, have the UV unwrap. What's a UV? 2D artist. So there is that, there on the subject of software and stuff like that, iPads, like there's nomads sculpt, there's forger.

Ryan:

There's so much, yeah.

EJ:

Which is owned by Maxon. And these are all these tools where you can sculpt and model something UV, unwrap it, bring it in Procreate, texture it, apply illustrations as decals that you made in Illustrator. And it's completely on your iPad. And that's pretty exciting that you can have a decent chunk of a 3D workflow completely on an iPad.

Ryan:

Yeah.

EJ:

Like that's...

Ryan:

It's very exciting.

Joey:

So what about the, we were kind of talking the other day preparing for this and we were talking about how Apple released the M1 chips and the M1 Max chips and the performance of Mac's really kind of, there's a rocket boost effect to it.

Joey:

And you know, there's been this trend over the last few years of artists leaving Mac's to go to PC's because their performance is so much better. But now, I don't know. You've got After Effects actually taking advantage of multiple cores. And now you've got these new chips that are super duper fast. And I don't know are, how are you feeling about your being on team PC right now? EJ? Like...

EJ:

It hurts. I mean, I'm excited, I'm, I am holding my breath to see what this Mac Pro looks like and the modularity, all that kind of stuff. One thing I will say is I've talked to many prominent, like PC, associated people like Chad Ashley, and Rick Barrett at Maxon and all these people that I would never expect to be Apple fanboys, but they've all said, like Chad, Chad just bought an M1 MacBook Air. He said, it's the best. He said, it's the best laptop he's ever used in his life.

Joey:

Drink that Kool-Aid, Chad drink it.

EJ:

And Rick, he's, and he, Rick at Maxon, he's been in full PC, he's a developer, he's a programmer and he's been PC for most of his career. And he's like, he's told me, he's like, it's actually quite exciting to see what Apple's doing.

EJ:

And we all know that, if you watch any Apple product video, you have Mac's on there represented, you have OTOY and Octane represented there. So that was the two biggest hangups is, for a lot of... I went to PC because I literally can't run Redshift unless I'm on a PC or Octane or whatever like that. But now those barriers are going away because now Octane, Redshift, they're running on metal, pretty fast. But again, there's always, you're definitely paying that Apple premium.

EJ:

But I'm crossing my fingers. This is part of my prediction. I hope that there's a Mac Pro on the horizon sometime in 2022. That, yes, it'll be expensive, but hopefully it's comparable to speed wise and I'm paying like, can I pay 15% premium on that? And it goes back to the same thing where there's man, I don't know, Ryan, I don't know about you, but there are so many things on the PC that is just so dumb. That, it's like...

Ryan:

I mean, I've gotten really used to it. I mean, I've been, I have no skin in the game either way, right? Like I don't care if it's PC or Mac.

EJ:

Right.

Ryan:

I, there are lots of little things that are cool on the Mac, but I use a lot of helper apps. I think. I mean, there are definitely show stopper, things that are annoying. No matter what you do, sometimes your PC will restart in the middle of the night and there's a Windows update that throws things off. And if you have a laptop, I feel like every year and a half to two years, I basically wipe the whole thing and reinstall Windows for whatever reason, like just, I've had those issues in the past.

Ryan:

I just feel like let's see where it lands. Because I see all of the reasons why, I see all the reasons why this could be significantly faster for Motion designers when you own the OS, when you own the software, when you own the hardware and you are working directly with the people making the apps to optimize for it, because that will help sell more of the actual computer itself.

Ryan:

Those things all make a lot of sense why it's going to be blazing fast. So I just, my biggest problem with the Apple is that they were a creative company that abandoned creative people. Right? I can still remember when they basically end of life, shake. I can remember when they made it really difficult to network things together, out of the blue with no rhyme or reason. Like you can't see into, their game plan.

Ryan:

Right. And right now, creatives are hot again. Right? I just did a podcast with Shane Griffin who, made the Apple video announcing the M1 Mac, whatever it is M1 Max and you know, that was their goal. Their... The Apple talked to him and said, we need people to trust us again. This is the handshake to say, we're back. We've heard you, trust us. Cool.

Ryan:

But for how long? Right. You know, there are a lot of people who are trying to use Motion instead of After Effects and does like, where's that now. So, I mean also, at the same, at the end of the day, you need to work with a thing that makes, make gives you, like you've said so many times already EJ, the least amount of friction is what you need. And if you know, to Maxon's credit, they are always trying to make sure that Cinema 4D is Cinema 4D no matter where you're at. I feel like that's extending a Redshift. You know if it's a Maxon product, it will work with whatever you like working with. So if you want to pay a thousand dollars for a really nice stand for your monitor, more power to you.

Joey:

I kind of do. I kind of want to.

EJ:

Yeah. The one last thing I'll add. The one last thing I'll add about the Apple thing is they are not messing around with the AR, VR stuff.

Joey:

No. That's, it's true.

EJ:

They are. They're baking that in Apple iPhones, iPads are some of the only tech out there that can run some of these apps that people are creating experiences with, I don't even know if like Adobe Aero works on a Windows or Android phone.

Joey:

That's a good [inaudible 03:00:14]

EJ:

To this day. So that's something to think about too. So there's a lot of maybe, self-driving cars. They getting a lot of stuff.

Joey:

I don't want to be hurt again. You know, Apple hurt me once.

Ryan:

Exactly, exactly.

Joey:

Don't hurt me.

EJ:

Come on back, baby.

Joey:

Okay. So there's a few other things I want to talk about on the tech side and then we're going to get into predictions. So there are... Now we had originally in our outline After Effects competitors, and we listed a few, I actually crossed out competitors, because I'm taking...

Ryan:

Yeah. I think it's smart.

Joey:

Cause we don't want to fan the flame wars here, right? They're alternatives. That's all they are. Right. They're extra tools.

EJ:

I like that. [crosstalk 03:00:48].

Joey:

So there's, there's three of them I wanted to call out and there's probably even more, so one is Autograph. I don't actually know much about Autograph. Right. And you know, the... You've talked to the founders, right?

Ryan:

Yeah. Yeah. We'll be hopefully, fairly soon. We'll have a nice hopefully interview, maybe one day a live stream whereas they get closer to being able to offer it up to people to see. But from my understanding, and I apologize if I say the name wrong, there was a compositor called NATRON that was kind of emerging into the market NATRON or NATRON. And then I believe a lot of the Autograph team came from that development effort and are really honestly, trying it sounds like to aim directly at After Effects that does everything, right?

Ryan:

I know we just said that's impossible. But if you look at what they're thinking about in terms of both VFX and Motion designers, they call out on their page specifically, a lot of the things that are painful. So that one, I feel is the furthest off for being used. I did sit down and watch an entire two hour French language, YouTube video from the team showing off stuff. And it's there for you to watch and there's generated subtitles in English. If you want to try to look at them, there's some really unique, interesting things going on there, but again, this is early days, so you never, we've heard a lot of people taking aim and After Effects that have never shipped or gotten out or [crosstalk 03:01:57]

Joey:

Not so easy. Is it?

Ryan:

So no. No, exactly. So, I mean, it's cool to see, right. It's such a very different mindset, different kind of production team, a compositing first, or at least composing experience development team. So who knows, but I, they're definitely on our radar. We're definitely going to talk to them. We're going to tell you everything we know about [crosstalk 03:02:14].

Joey:

That's cool. That's cool. Well, the other two I've actually played with a little bit, so one is called Flow and the website is createwithflow.com. We're going to link to all this stuff in the show notes anyway, but it's, that is a fairly simple animation tool it's designed for UX and UI stuff. Right.

Joey:

And it's really, I think, targeted at designers, who don't necessarily want to work really hard to get good at animation, they need, they made the tool tools simple. You've got some shortcuts and it looks pretty cool. Now, Fable, Fable I'm very interested in. So Fable is essentially a cloud-based app. Just the way Figma is, if anyone's used Figma, right? It's this totally cloud-based thing, which is definitely also the future. It gives me the same feeling like when Netflix came out, ah, it will all be that way one day. So Fable works like that.

Joey:

You don't download software, you go into a website and there's apparently some new technology called web assembly, where websites can have performance that's basically just as good as a native app. And so Fable, I think, runs on this and Fable, if you use After Effects, you can pick it up in probably like a minute. It's like, it works a lot. A lot of it works the same.

Joey:

There's actually some features in Fable I like better, than After Effects. You can group layers in the timeline. Yeah.

Ryan:

Oh, don't say it. [crosstalk 03:03:30]

Joey:

You can control them open and you can also pre-com, they have both, it's not called pre-comping, but the same concept. The way effects work is really cool. And the crazy thing is it's all real time. It's literally, you hit play and it just plays and there's particles already built into it. And they just raise a huge series AI, I think 15 million dollars or something so.

EJ:

That's very true. Something, on top of like another seven, like they have a lot of funding.

Joey:

Yeah. So now here's the thing. Here's how I would think about this. As someone listening to this podcast, working in the industry, they are not going to dethrone After Effects. I think that's very unlikely, but I think that, it's probably going to have a freemium model, the way a lot of these tools do Figma, you can use for free up to a certain point, right? It's, right now the graph editor, in Fable, isn't nearly as good as After Effects. You can't really do this as many things, but I'm sure they'll upgrade that, but you can render both video files and bloody files right out of it, natively.

EJ:

Nice.

Joey:

And there's no sharing of project files. You just send a link to another animator and they open it and start working on it. Right. It's pretty crazy. And so I'm very interested in that.

Joey:

I'm going to be watching that very, very closely. I would love to meet someone on the Fable team to talk about it. If there's anybody out there that hears this, send him my way.

Ryan:

I've got a podcast ready coming with him, with Chris, from the CEO. So we'll get you all that. Yeah.

Joey:

Oh, perfect. Oh good. Oh. Oh, thank you. Oh, good, good. You're way ahead of me then. So awesome. So I think those are awesome. And then there's all the real time stuff. And I'm not as up on that EJ, I know you and Jonathan talk all the time, but like, what's go on. Unity acquires way to digital, Unreal Engines become this giant thing. I just saw the matrix thing with it this morning, which blew my mind.

EJ:

Yeah. Just yesterday. Yeah.

Joey:

Yeah. Yeah. So talk about that. What do we need to know about that?

EJ:

It's. Yeah. I mean this all, when everything goes on real time, and then After Effects, does this multi frame rendering it's like, but when are you going to get real time though? Because, I feel like everything else is going to get there.

Joey:

Yeah.

EJ:

Will before After Effects. So that's something to watch. The one thing I will say is that like we've talked about before it's use every app to its strength. So, Unreal is like a great sandbox, that's where you bring all your assets in. That's where you can render everything out in real time.

EJ:

You don't have to worry about render time, stuff like that. The Unity require, acquiring Weta, I'm not too familiar with Unity. I went to a unity conference a few years ago, mainly video games, but just like Unreal was mainly video games when they were developing like...

PART 6 OF 7 ENDS [03:06:04]

EJ:

Like Unreal was mainly video games when they were developing. Like, I think Unreal was... Unreal two or three or whatever was basically created to help create like PlayStation three games and that quality now with Mandalorian and all these virtual production workflows and stuff like that. Like now, you have companies like ILM kind of working with Epic and saying like, Hey, add this kind of VFX. So now you're having more of these movie productions influencing what they're adding in Unreal and stuff like that. Unity is really interesting. Again, all of this stuff...I don't think you're going to be an after effects of artists and jump into Unity and like have a good time. Just because there's so much coding and programming and stuff involved. Same thing with Unreal.

EJ:

But man, in addition to the Matrix thing, the Mr. Beast squid games I mentioned before, like it's just crazy. All this work they did with unreal there. I feel like that's more the movie stuff. I would see things get a little interesting with motion graphics because of this Unreal five that should come out sometime next year. Two of the big things there are like, you watch the Matrix thing because it's like, you have a hard time telling if that's actually Keanu Reeves or if that's the digital version.

Joey:

That's insane.

EJ:

Just because how the lighting is. They used all these 3D scans of all the people. And so there's Lumen, which is like a new lighting technology. And then Nanite is this... You can have like insanely detailed, dense mesh models and it runs smooth as butter. So these are like the two like big things plus all these other additions there as well.

EJ:

So it's going to be very interesting to see with Unreal five, how much more motion graphics artists are going to play around with that? The one thing that's the most interesting with me is like I was saying before, like maybe I don't have to learn blender if substance modeler just kind of just replaces that need for me. when like 2022, we should be getting to like a pretty nicely fleshed out real time renderer for Redshift. Redshift already has like their public beta Redshift RT, and then brigade, which is the OTOY real time renderer.

EJ:

So like once we have that tech of real time... Like kind of real time, definitely doesn't work the same as Unreal, but is that going to stem the tide of again, do I have to go into Unreal, learn this totally new way of working inside this software just to render in real time. I don't know. That'll be something very interesting to watch, but I think people that are big into 3D and more cinematic animations and stuff like that, like Unreal is got to be it just because of all the virtual production stuff that they have in there. But if you're just doing like explainer videos, probably not going to reach into the Unreal tool box anytime soon.

Joey:

Yeah. I really highly recommend everybody listening. Go watch the matrix.

EJ:

Oh my gosh, unreal thing. It's insane.

Joey:

It's like there's sometimes you see something and you're like, oh wow, that's possible. I didn't know it was. And it just changes how you look at everything. I had no idea that you could make real time, look that good. And I've seen like all the demos that everyone else has seen, right? Like unreal has hired filmmakers to be films that are real time. And they're beautiful. And they're amazing. This... And I think really what it is, it's something about the cinematography. Like they've managed to make it like gritty and it looks like it's shot. It doesn't look at all rendered. And then the humans that is really the crazy part-

EJ:

Meta humans. Yep.

Joey:

Meta humans. And so I don't know too much about meta humans. I don't know if you knew more EJ, like essentially it's just a toolkit that automates a lot of the very difficult things you need to do to make CG humans look real. I was reading about like the way when you turn your eyes the cornea bulges a certain way and you create crazy rigs to do that in the past. And now meta humans just does it. And that little detail, it might just be pixels. It's the difference between it works or it's the uncanny valley,

EJ:

Right? Exactly. Yeah.

EJ:

So just like when Mixamo came out, people started to add more characters into their 3D animations or whatever. It'll be interesting to see with this meta humans because it's like a totally new level of realism where it's like, Mixamo is like PlayStation three level.

Joey:

It's Fortnite,

EJ:

This is like, holy crap, like photo real almost. That's super exciting. Like changing how wide... How big your pores are on your skin and like really crazy mundane details that you can adjust to.

Joey:

I think it's great though. Because I've never wanted to do photo realism, humans. Like that just seems like a level of torture. I just don't want to subject myself to, but I've read about it. I'm fascinated by it. Like why does the first final fantasy movie that they did all CG? Why does it creep you out? Why is the polar express, one of the scariest movies ever made? And it's a lot of little things and some of it has to do with subsurface scattering and the texturing. But some of it has to do with the fact that when I lift my eyebrows pushes blood away from the skin where the wrinkles are in my forehead. And it's like as a texture artist to manage that and to hand animate that has got to be horrible.

Joey:

And now there's software that just does it. Right. And I bet pretty soon you combine that with an AI motion capture solver that works on your phone. And I mean this stuff's already out there and it's just going to get better. So I don't know. It's pretty crazy. I find like I'm almost at the point where it's hard to even imagine where it's going to go because the tech is so good. It's like, I guess you just don't need actors anymore or you need one actor that can do all the parts. I don't know. It's pretty crazy.

Ryan:

It's like all these Disney movies, like they're just going to keep cranking this stuff out because you can get blockbuster level VFX, very low... Not low effort, but just like, it's so accessible now you don't need a big VFX studio to do this stuff. So, Netflix, all these places are making content. They're going to need more artists and more 3D artists At that. Yeah.

Joey:

Yep. 3D is going to be big next year for sure. Speaking of next year, let's talk about predictions and we can slowly land the plane on this epic podcast, which I think is already over three hours long. So congratulations. Yes. Excellent. And only one pee break. Okay so why don't we do this. Why don't we just kind of go around and just kind of make our predictions for next year. It can be, it can be anything right. There's software, there're changes to software that we're anticipating. There're things that aren't very big right now. That might be there's the talent crunch. There's a whole bunch of stuff. So why don't we just kind of like... This will be an experiment to see if this goes well, I'm just going to throw it to you Summers and say, what's your... Yeah make a prediction. Let's talk about it.

Ryan:

It's The hardest one for me to think of because every year I'm always like, oh man, real time's going to be the thing. Right. I don't want to just say AR VR... Okay, how about this one? I think this is the year that we're going to see more people exit day to day motion design to service the people who are doing day to day motion design than we've ever had. Right? Like we've seen it. The hint of it, right? Like Chris Zachary has a really nice email newsletter Dash does a bunch of really great stuff like their clubhouse house, even like Puget and aescripts are doing live streams. I think you're going to see a few more people who are maybe not so NFT friendly just yet try to do more things where they are still inside motion design. Right. They are still there, but they're not working at a studio.

Ryan:

They're working at a shop and they're going to spend as much time getting to know about them and who they are and getting them... Getting you to support them as they do spending time in the box. Like I said, we've seen Ben Marriott pull off this trick. We've seen a couple other people pull it off, but I think it's going to be... There's going to be more people doing it. You're going to have more places to learn from at that level than you ever have had before.

Joey:

So that, I consider that like the secondary market of motion. Diuretics supports the primary market. But, but does that also include people like Peter Quinn who... Maybe up until this year was probably still doing a lot of just normal bread and butter freelance work. And now probably going to have some different things on as real [inaudible 03:15:02].

Ryan:

I mean, I guess from my perspective, that's always been there, but those people just disappear off your radar. Right? There's always been like really cool emotions as I...like there was a point in time where like, didn't know where Gmunk went. Right. There's a point in time where-

Joey:

Or Lewandowski is [crosstalk 03:15:20] a great,

Ryan:

Yeah. I think, I think he's at like snap now. Like those people, they were great. They did some amazing stuff and they disappeared and they went into the ether and you didn't know where they were. Right.

Joey:

Nando cost is another one.

Ryan:

But for whatever reason Peter's really good at making sure people like remember him. Right. I don't know why but he's great at posting stuff. His Instagram's hilarious. He's always throwing things on LinkedIn.

Joey:

It's the mustache.

Ryan:

I don't know if that's because you want to keep a thread back to the industry in case you need to come back. Or it's just like, there's just a different era of just like sharing things, right. You're not in this closed off vacuum. People are allowed to share things. People are expected to share things. So I think there will always be people doing that maybe as more people see someone like Sarah Beth, who was an amazing designer and an educator and a very open person who would share openly becoming a director. And speaking about that process. I wouldn't say prediction, but let's say a hope. I hope that there are more people in Sarah's position doing that next year. I hope we see more people either opening studios or getting represented and doing... seeing their vision expressed as a motion designer through a team of people, whether it's like rep by an agency or making a between lines film.

Joey:

All right. EJ, What do you got? What's your Prediction.

EJ:

Yeah. I'll say we'll definitely see more of individual artists becoming their own, I guess brand or studio where they're working directly with celebrities and other different kind of brands. Like I guess Pepsi made an NFT today that they released. I guess that's a thing. Yeah. I think every year we're like AR VR is a thing, watch out. But the biggest thing that prevents anyone from really fully immersing themselves in VR AR like I know a lot of artists that are using VR for modeling and sculpting and, and stuff like that. And really intuitive, just like procreate 3D, where it's like, I am painting and I'm modeling with my hand and it's very intuitive. I think what you're going to see is the missing link has been, how can brands make money in AR or VR?

EJ:

And I don't know what the hell Meta is going to turn into, but all I know is that Facebook is the number one place where brands basically market themselves. Like they have such a huge amount of money coming in from their...from marketing. And the moment that you can have a VR experience and a popup ad, like all the things we are afraid of and people joke about, or it's a popup ad that shows up in the middle of my VR experience that goes to some Amazon product, or like the moment that-

Joey:

Chicken tendies.

EJ:

The moment that like Facebook figures that out, I think that's where you're going to get more... And even that, like just making 3D experiences AR overlays for like Google maps. I've already seen some of that tech too. And, and just products being more and more accessible.

EJ:

Like now's the time like there's way less excuses to have to learn any of this stuff. Whether it's 2D, whether it's 3D, there's so much free software available. And it's definitely going to be an exciting time. And like I said, from the very start it's like, you can look at this as very like stressful, or you can think of this as massive opportunity where you can be literally anyone. And as long as you're making cool content, you have a really interesting creative persona. And the story that you're telling through your work, you can literally get hired anywhere or get hired by Snoop dog for crying out loud. Like you don't have to go through the normal pipeline of SCAD or Ringling and then work at buck. And then that's how you do that. Like, no, no, no. You can literally do that being anyone and working anywhere.

Joey:

Truth, truth. Okay. So I guess my prediction, it kind of piggybacks on, I think, what you were talking about Ryan, and I think that... If I was going to predict the biggest influence on what happens next year in our space, in this space, I think it's going to be the impact of remote work. And I think that sounds, it doesn't sound like that big of a deal when you just say the impact of remote work. But I think that it's going to be really tough year for studios that do not fully embrace this. And not just the fact that your artists are not in the building with you, but that you can hire someone from any country on earth now. And it doesn't matter, like operationally it's as if they're in the building, it's the same thing. Right? Other than like the actual one on one human contact. I could definitely sense more last year, less this year, some hesitation from people who have already invested.

Joey:

And some of it is just like the sunk cost of, well, I have this building and I already have this culture.

Ryan:

Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Joey:

And I have people that I'm used to seeing every day and all of a sudden, now I'm not, and now they're saying, actually I like working from home. Actually I'm going to move. I'm going to move somewhere cheaper. I'm going to move somewhere warm. And so I think that the studios and...not just studios, agencies, businesses, period, like anyone who hires designer animators, they have to get behind us. And they have to understand how to, how to attract that talent. And what's important to people who doesn't matter how much you offer to pay them. They don't want to move to New York city, come work office all day. Right. And I think on the flip side of that, artists who get really good at working remotely are going to clean up.

Joey:

And so I think tools like sweet studios and paper space and virtual machines and frame IO and slack and zoom, those are going to, those are basically going to be skills like my children can use zoom. They can start a zoom call. And they all have email addresses. I feel like this stuff is basically now it's like learning to read and do math. And especially if you're an artist, I think you have to get really good at the new way that business works. It's all done online. It's all email. It's all zoom. We used to have like, kind of ridiculous... It's probably a problematic phrase. I probably shouldn't say it in 2021, but you used to say, oh, that person gives good phone. Right. Like if you're good, if you're good on the phone. Yeah. And essentially you're good at like getting business on the phone.

Joey:

You got to give good zoom alright. You got to learn how to give good email and good zoom and good slack, because that is how you communicate with your clients. That's how you communicate with your creative directors and all those things. So I think that is going to be such a crazy thing. And I don't know all the downstream effects of that. I do suspect rates are going to continue to rise. And unfortunately, well, I guess it depends on which side of the equation you're on. Fortunately for junior artists, I think studios and hirers are going to have to overpay for talent for a while. Like right now there's kind of a real estate bubble in Florida. People are overpaying for real estate right now. But if you want to move on my block, you're going to overpay. There's no way around it.

Joey:

Right. And maybe that goes away, but for now that's the reality. And I think that's the reality right now, the talent market for motion design. Maybe it's a bubble. Maybe it's not, maybe it's like you said, Ryan, it's a correction. Right. That's just overdue. And now it's catching up and it feels like a bubble, but it's not either way. If you're a business that hires motion designers or requires motion design, you're going to have to plan for that. It's going to cost more. And if you're an artist, congratulations. Right. It's a good time to be a motion designer.

Ryan:

Yeah. I don't disagree. I'm sighing because I talk to a lot of shop owners and I'm just trying to figure out how did they absorb that? And can they make strategic changes they need to, and the growth that they need to in enough time to not just be passed by. Right. You know, like we do... It's weird to say that studios are doing a lot of work, but they're also, I know studios that are turning down jobs they've won because they can't find people or they're rushing to white label and outsource work just to make sure that they service the client with that... I mean that's not what people got into starting studios to do is to be a management company. Right. Can I make one more crazy prediction just to do it?

Joey:

Absolutely. Please. Yeah.

Ryan:

Let's say I know nothing about anything. I have nothing on this. Let's just say just to put something to check in on next year, Maxon buys cavalry and adds it to the Maxon one subscription.

Joey:

Whoa.

EJ:

Let's just say not the weirdest thing they've bought.

Ryan:

I mean, just like we were saying with Adobe, how Adobe doesn't have like an animation tool for all this 3D stuff and maybe after effects becomes it... Look at the stuff. I mean, I probably said this last year, but look at this stuff Maxon's acquired put together and started assembling, right? Like the one big thing they're missing is either something for editing or something for more shape layer, kind of text based kind of animation, a cavalry that you can fire off inside of cinema 4D or you can use on the picture viewer as part of a timeline could be really interesting.

EJ:

Yeah. That's the big thing is like, everyone's like, oh, Dave McGavran the CEO of Maxon came from Adobe. They want to create their own creative cloud and judging by their acquisitions. Not far off from what people were saying, even back then.

Ryan:

I mean, I probably said this again last year, but the subscription is called Maxon one.

EJ:

One. Yeah. And their Maxon, their Twitter is Maxon VFX. It's not even 3D anymore. So read into that, what you will.

Ryan:

Can I just say about that too though EJ?

EJ:

What's that?

Ryan:

They bought red giant, right?

EJ:

Yes.

Ryan:

Like Maxon bought red giant or I'm sorry, they actually like merged, which maybe that's where the VFX thing came from. Have we seen much out of that acquisition?

EJ:

You got red giant [crosstalk 03:25:31].

Ryan:

Of expected and have we seen a lot of like combination or new kind of efforts that speak to each other. I feel like maybe I had high expectations, but I thought... Because they came out on fire, right. You had looks inside of... I know they have... I think looks is now coming to some other places, but that, that blending of the kind of image processing that red Giant's great at and the image creation that Maxon's great at. I kind of thought we'd see more crossover by now. It doesn't seem like there's a hint of anything. Right. Well, as we know.

EJ:

Red Giant got acquired like a year before that maybe sometime before that. And like, I guess we're starting to see tiny, tiny bits of that, but they got a lot more to go with that. My last prediction for 2022, we're talking about softwares and stuff. It's like, remember element 3D and there's supposed to be a big update and then Nebula and then like Andrew Kramer just hasn't been heard from all of this year. I think there's going to be a resurgence of Andrew Kramer in 2022, but it's a secret.

Joey:

The Kramer sauce?

EJ:

The what?

Ryan:

Oh, I applaud the effort.

Joey:

I tried, I tried.

EJ:

The Kramering in [crosstalk 03:26:46]

Joey:

oh my God. Well, I for one, I hope Andrew Kramer returns, buddy. We miss you. We miss you, my man come back, come back to us. And also I would like to see the next version development 3D. That'd be great too. So get on that. Thank you. Okay. Well, I think we covered everything here. I think we solved all the problems of the industry except for the talent shortage, which I'll be thinking about that.

Ryan:

Call us. How about that? Just call us. We got the people help us. We'll We'll help you call us.

Joey:

I will say the way it works now is people email me and I have a spreadsheet that I have... You know, alumni and artists. I, I know that I trust that are good and I call it... It's my short list. And I just send them that. That's literally the system we have at school motion right now.

Ryan:

High efficiency.

Joey:

Hopefully one year from now, when we do this again, we will have a much better system and it'll be a lot easier to find the talent. I think, honestly that is probably the quickest way to improve things is to help with discoverability. And I think that we are actually in a pretty good position to do that. We just have to kind of figure out like operationally what that looks like and how to organize things.

Joey:

I think the talent crunch is still going to be a big thing next year. I don't see that going away. I think it probably gets worse if I'm predicting.

Ryan:

Awesome.

Joey:

Yeah.

Ryan:

Yeah, exactly.

Joey:

Well, let's end on a happy note then.

Ryan:

Good luck everyone we hope we see you next year. Good.

Joey:

Yeah. I'd say I like to sum it up. I think this year felt honestly... it was kind of a little bit of a weird year in motion design, like a lot happened. I think we also forgot to mention, I think the best tutorial in history of tutorials was produced by Hashi. And it was the take on me spoof where he makes himself look like a pencil.

Ryan:

Just came out with a home alone meme today. We gotta check that out.

Joey:

I'm going to have to go watch it as soon as we're done.Yeah. That's why Maxon acquired red giant right now.

Ryan:

It was for Hashi.

Joey:

It was for the marketing chops. Yeah. But I think next year, I really think that like, we're just going to keep seeing things spread out and the term motion design will probably mean even less next year than it does this year. Yeah. And it'll be video editors who have to animate stuff and it'll be UX people that need their apps to have moving parts. And it's going to be social media content creators who want more engagement and things that are animated, get that. And it's going to be VR and AR applications, 3D artists working for meta or meet for short, I think it's all of the above. And all of it is in the box and in the club, the exclusive club that we used to call motion design. Now, I'm not sure what it's called, but I'm excited. It's going to be a fun year. And I look forward to doing this again in one year with both you,

Ryan:

Ooh, Let's Do it for five hours next year.

Joey:

You still there. Thank you so much for tuning in. We really look forward to this episode each year. It's an opportunity to reflect, to notice things that maybe we missed and to think ahead to the fun things in store for next year. I really hope you enjoyed the conversation, learned a few things and maybe giggled at a few of our puns. I hope you have an incredible end to 2021. And thank you. Thank you so much for being a part of the school of motion community. I really hope that we get to share an in person beer next year. And I for one will be wearing my green "Okay to hug me" bracelet until next time.

PART 7 OF 7 ENDS [03:30:10]