Tonight was the end-of-the-year Motion Graphics showcase for the class of 2011 at SVA; and their work was nothing short of spectacular. It was both exciting and humbling to see such talent. My eyes were moving as quickly as my brain as I took everything in. I was thinking back to my class' show – just four short years ago in 2007 – and how much our work would look out-of-place amongst this year's selection. For the past few hours I've been racking my brain trying to analyze what they had done and the choices they had made. And while some were better than others, it was still an impressive showing.
While I certainly don't want to lump my former classmates in with me, I know I wouldn't feel comfortable showing my senior year work alongside this grouping. It just wouldn't stand up. They seem to have a much better understanding of composition and texture than we (I) did back then. They also used a wider variety of mediums and effects. Sure, I saw a few animation hiccups here and there and a few odd timing choices throughout, but the overall polish of these projects astounded me. It probably also helped that they were (almost) all in HD, widescreen...something I always envied later years for being able to do.
At the end of the day, I figure three things could explain this jump quality:
- This class is simply talented.
- They have better tools (faster computers, more advanced software and plugins, cheaper DSLR HD-capable cameras) at their disposal, which in-turn creates more polished pieces, more easily.
- Motion Graphics, as a medium is still young and paths blazed by earlier classes have helped propel the art-form further than we were able to imagine it – thus bringing us to this higher level of accomplishment. Basically, the entire industry is moving forward, getting better and learning more, faster – thus the students start with a greater proficiency from day one. (For example, I never touched After Effects until my first mo-graph class at SVA in 2005, however I had been using Photoshop since grade school. It's very possible that these subsequent students have had earlier and earlier access to After Effects).
Points 2 and 3 take some of the credit away from the students and faculty, which I'm not necessarily inclined to do. You can tell from the concepts and general style that these are bright people with great ideas – it doesn't matter if you're rendering on a G4 with After Effects 4.5 or a Mac Pro with CS5.5 – a good idea is a good idea.
It is interesting to see some of the style trends that many of the students were drawn to. A good number of pieces employed a "vintage/grunge" style which looked like something out of Instagram or Hipstamatic. Film, overexposure, grain and handheld motion were all present. Also excessively small typography in the guise of "delicate typography" was a recurring theme. I found myself wanting to see some of these treatments bumped up maybe 10%. These aren't necessarily bad things, but speaking as someone who is still relatively new to the industry, it's intriguing to see new trends emerging.
As of right now I can't find the 30+ minute show online anywhere, but I've included some individual pieces below.