Robert Seidel is one of my personal favorites in this industry. He utilizes the same tools that we are all accustomed to in order to create something that is singularly his own vision. In an industry that is obsessed with the latest cool thing on ffffound, generally speaking the projects that we see on a day to day basis begin to feel very incestuous.
Someone like Seidel, who stands apart from all that, is very inspiring, reminding us of what we can accomplish on a personal basis with our talent and tools.
Due to the heavy interest in Robert’s process as well as the heated discussion of inspiration in the design community I decided to ask Mr. Seidel a couple questions:
The most fantastic aspect of your work for me is the fluid technique that you use and how it is always very difficult to pic apart exactly how you do it. If it doesn’t intrude on your secret recipe too much, would you mind giving us a little description of the process you used to create a spot like Human Paint?
I’m very interested in the concept of moving paintings, but most of my work is more abstract, really personal and experimental. To draw kind of a line to the commissioned work I tried to find a language and technique to connect more easily to the viewer. So “Human Paint” is based on Motion Capture data of human motions for the “brush strokes”, like “dive painting #1” or the projection on the Phyletic Museum before.
The motion itself is quite mechanical, but otherwise you would blend completely and you wouldn’t recognize it anymore. “Dream Mountains” is related to this concept of overlaying and “transplanting” motion for the painterly washing. It’s all based on a lot of sketch work and technical tests that get fused in 3ds max, After Effects and some special tools. But I’m still looking for hardcore 3d programmers to push this into a more defined direction, but programmers can’t live from air as well.
Due to my write up about how we have a tendency to all look at the same sources in this age of instant web fed inspiration hubs like ffffound and yes, motionographer…there was a bit of a backlashing in the comments section. Rightly so, but through that conversation came the thought of what has inspired and influenced you in your works. So would you mind sharing a few of your sources that have led to your current style and way of working?
A key inspiration to develop such animations was Marcel Duchamp with his “Nude descending a staircase”. This opened my eye that time and space can be combined freely and without any restrictions. And I developed these ideas over several shot films, _grau being the culmination of these ideas.
After university I was a bit lost, _grau took 9 months and then I had to work, translating books on 3d software and writing reviews. This doesn’t make an easy living, but I talked to many motion design houses world-wide and all said “We like your strange stuff, but can’t see a commercial usage”. So all things I do are slowly progressing and following a line. My biggest wish is it to work for months without interruption on a personal project. Hope this happens soon.
To add my comment to the discussion: I’m an artist, not a designer trying or being forced to show as many styles as possible. This is a completely different position and with my little experience in the commercial world, I’m happy that I don’t have to stand such a pressure on a daily basis! Additionally I’m working on my own, which pushes me to find other solutions revolving around my general concepts. But as said before, a hardcore programmer and a generalist animator would make my living a lot easier.
There are a lot of things that inspire me, might it be nature, art, food, travelling, friends like Zeitguised or other people with a totally different background, for example chemistry. This combination leads to my specific style with all its quirks. I’m surely inspired by motion design and I appreciate the things that have been achieved in that field, but it’s quite sad that all this amazing energy disappears after some months of showing it on TV. So I’m torn between several worlds, a naïve wanderer constantly searching…