Project Breakdown with Marc Eijkelenboom

1. Give us a brief introduction to yourself.

My name is Marc Eijkelenboom, I am a freelance Motion Designer (Intel/Zoom/P&G/NHS). I’m from Holland, but I currently live in the Costa Del Sol in Spain.

I spend most of my time working with clients. On the side, I work on personal projects to either improve my skills or tell stories I am moved by or interested in.

I work 100% remotely, which has allowed me to travel a lot, working and living in different countries. 

2. Fill us in on your motion design background and what led you to become a motion designer?

I studied in The Netherlands at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), where I completed a bachelor’s in design. 

After trying to make a living in the music industry, as a sound designer (and failing miserably :-) I decided to go back to school for motion design in my late 20’s. I love being in control of a whole project as a designer and animator, being able to show something in the end that you can put your name on and is truly yours.

3. How would you introduce your project to someone watching for the first time? Who else was involved in making it with you?

The Iceman is the origin story of Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete, and author. It’s a true hero’s tale of someone losing the person most precious to them and eventually creating something beautiful from the tragedy.

It was a personal project, so I did all the design and animation by myself. I did get help from the amazing Mario Rodrigues for the sound design.

4. Why did you choose Wim Hof as a subject for your piece? What about the person and the topic called out to you?

Wim Hof is also a fellow Dutchman, and I have been following his journey and practicing the Wim Hof method for a while. I remember listening to him being interviewed once. He talked about how his wife was depressed, and after kissing their children good night, she threw herself off an eight-story building. It was one of the saddest and most heartbreaking stories I’d ever heard, and I think it speaks a lot to the power of depression and the overwhelming hold it can have on a person.

I’m interested in people that manage to stand up and thrive in the most malevolent situations in life. I think it’s important to hear these real-life ‘hero’ stories and take some of that resilience and try to apply it to our own day-to-day. I was so moved and inspired by how Wim managed to turn his suffering into something positive and beautiful that I was inspired to try and tell a small part of his story.

5. Take us through your process. How long did it take? What techniques did you use? What programs are you using?

I worked on The Iceman alongside my client work. It probably took about a month from start to finish, working one or two hours every day.

I tried to see it as a slow burn and just work a little bit at a time, not worrying about finishing it so much. And this was ironically the reason I managed to finish it and not give up halfway through.

The whole animation is 3D; I worked in Cinema 4d and rendered with Redshift. I used a ton of volumetric lighting to create the atmosphere and the long shadows. In After Effects, I only did some color correction and animated some textures that are on top of the 3D to give it a bit of an analog feel.

6. What was your favorite moment or most fun part of the project? 

I love the compositing part; this is where it all comes together; you get to finally see the animation in sequence. It’s the one moment where you get to see if your idea really works as well as you imagined.

7. Did you face any difficulties along the way? If so, how did you overcome them?

The hardest part was figuring out a way to tell a long story in a really short time (90 seconds), especially since I didn’t have too much experience with traditional storytelling. 

I ended up making a couple of different animatics and experimenting with the best way to give the viewer just enough information to piece the story together.

8. Do you think there is currently enough noise around mental health, particularly in motion design?

I have seen some great pieces focusing on mental health. But there can always be more focus on wellbeing, given it affects every person on some level. With the pandemic and people being confined to their homes at the moment, physical and psychological wellbeing are super important. As motion designers, we are in a unique position to tell stories and draw attention to these subjects.

9. What are some things you do towards improving your own mental health?

I am a believer in creating small daily healthy habits, little routines throughout the day that have a positive impact on how you feel. I always get up early, meditate, take a cold shower and do a workout; this always gets the day started on a positive note. It also helps a lot with productivity throughout the rest of the day (especially if you are working from home).

But whatever it is – going for a walk, giving someone a hug, or going for a run – there are very practical things you can do that help with feeling optimistic and more content. (I’m, of course, referring to a general feeling of happiness and purpose throughout the day; there are many instances where someone with mental illness may need professional advice).

10. What would be your message to the industry for 2021?  

  1. Try to survive the pandemic
  2. Get off Instagram! Haha 

Many online platforms can become echo chambers for design work since everyone is looking at the same stuff. But as a creative, I think it’s important to expose yourself to new things and new types of art, things outside and in your immediate surroundings, museums, older artists or painters, photographers, architects, etc. These are all things that can inspire you in really interesting ways.

Thank you so much for being here. Before we let you go, is there anything else you’d like to share about your piece? 

It has been great reading some of the reactions to this little animation and hearing people share their stories and experiences about losing a loved one and mental health; it’s been a real honor experiencing all this!