As creative director of production studio Dazzle Ship, Alex Donne-Johnson, aka Vector Meldrew, has worked on all sorts of motion graphics projects from ad campaigns for Asics to a James Bond computer game. On the side he’s been working with musician Addison Groove on live visuals and videos, and his latest for Changa takes skills into trippy new worlds.
“Visually I was inspired by surrealism, but that can sometimes be slightly depressing. I wanted this to be more absurd,” says Alex. “My first point of inspiration was the music. We used to do a live audio-visual set together when he produced dubstep under the name Headhunter. When he progressed to Addison Groove, he started making this crazy mix of Chicago footwork, booty bass and juke, and I couldn’t think of a good way to visualise it, but Changa felt like the kind of thing I could play around with.”
One of Addison Groove’s signatures, Alex explains, has been finding vocal samples and chopping them up until they form new meanings, his most famous being Footcrab. The video visualises this, starting with jelly-like, sinuous bodies contorting to the music, which soon start to glitch and multiply, before entering a psychedelic realm overflowing with pattern and colour.
The dance movements were taken from motion capture data, combined with character models from Fuse, Cinema 4D and Octane Render. The video forms part of a movement in 3D animation we’ve increasingly seen emerging, but represents a step forward in its use of the technology to innovate and create something more sophisticated and refined.
“From a creative perspective I think everybody is documenting their process much more, with results in a lot more short form, experimental content online, which helps the wider community grow and learn,” Alex comments. “From a technical point of view, it’s become so much easier to work with 3D in the past few years. You don’t really have an excuse not to create!”
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