Minds Eye Creative is a local animation studio in Johannesburg who have an impressive portfolio of clients and skills. They’ve recently contributed to Pixelsmithstudios to help us with our crowdfunding campaign and that shows a rare quality of helping others in the animation industry.I applaud Minds Eye Creative for the dedication and resources that they pool in the local animation industry to help it grow. That’s why I didn’t think twice about asking for an interview.
Without further ado, we’re proud to feature what happens behind the doors of Mind’s Eye Creative!
1. Where did Mind’s Eye Creative start and where are you headed?
We started out as strangers cobbled together to rescue an animated series outsourced from France. After a dizzying learning curve, the team managed to deliver on the studio’s promises. Delirious and emboldened by what we had accomplished, we pooled our resources, performed the blood ritual and formed Mind’s Eye. Ultimately, we want to create original shows of all genres and formats for all platforms.
2. Did you start off with 2D Animation as your specialty?
Yes, the skill sets we gained from demanding projects made us 2D specialists by necessity. Our form began by experience, but improved by passion.
3. Could you tell us more about a typical day at Mind’s Eye Creative?
Loads of banter. Grovelling for coffee. Ingenious pranks. Geeky glee at the latest software tools or the new techniques our artists apply to their work. Deep, meaningful conversations. Scarring each other with weird and obscene videos. Between service projects, we craft the creative ideas fluttering around the office into market-ready development materials.
4. What are the biggest challenges when running an animation studio (as well as one in SA)?
Generally speaking, capital outlay and liquidity. In order to operate legitimately, you need to invest in authentic licenses, optimal hardware and skill development. From a South African perspective, our unique value proposition depends on our ability to be competitive while maintaining a high-quality standard.
5. How many animators work at Mind’s Eye Creative?
We have a core team of six in-house artists. Depending on the scope and scale of the project, we contract from a database of proven professionals.
6. What’s your favorite creation to date?
We thoroughly enjoyed working on our latest project: “The Lighspeed Pioneers” – the trailer for the 2.D animated space adventure formatted for a 4K full-dome experience!
MEC Showreel 2014
7. How do you/the team kickstart your creativity when creating animations?
In terms of ideation, the first phase is to discard ego. All that matters is what’s best for the project and the best ideas are seldom created in a vacuum. The second phase is to reference similar, existing shows and agonize about what makes them work. The third phase is to herd artists into a room and withhold pizza until they’ve made some magic 😉
8. What software do you guys use on a regular basis?
Toon Boom Harmony 11, Storyboard Pro, Photoshop, After Effects and Cinema 4D.
9. If money wasn’t important what project would Mind’s Eye Creative go for?
Producing shorts parodying popular game titles, creating educational content promoting science and critical thinking, collaborate with game developers to produce properties for all platforms, and create sincere serialized animated stories.
10. Any advice for beginner animators?
Join Animation South Africa and network with your industry. Opportunities arise at random and we go with the people we know. Studios need you as much as you need them. You represent our future and the capacity we need to produce the projects we want, so have the willingness to learn and synergize. All that matters is what you are capable of doing, so edit your portfolio to showcase the fundamentals. If you include a team project in your showreel, specify the extent of your involvement. Refine your craft:
- Recreate reference material
- Study tutorials
- Undergo workshops
- Consult e-learning sources
- Enroll in online courses
- Internships, etc.
The best abilities are always referred first.
Anyone remember the name of Nickelodeon's 2.D short featuring 2 devil-like monsters scheming against each other, ending in them both losing?
— Mind's Eye Creative (@mindseyecreate) July 4, 2014
Facebook: Mind’s Eye Creative Facebook
Vimeo: Mind’s Eye Creative Vimeo
Thanks for the interview guys, we wish you all of the best in your future endeavors! Keep on inspiring and stay awesome!
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Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.