Heroes of animation: Animade

Six studios joined forces for the London's Hero speed animation challenge - and we're profiling each of them. Today we look at Animade.

Animators from across London have come together for a unique challenge at ZED, HP's pop-up studio for creative professionals in London's Soho.

Curated by New York-based Cut&Paste and powered by HP Workstations, the contest saw six studios take part in a speed animation challenge in front of a live audience. Each got just five hours to create a 10-second clip that shows a different stage of the life of London's first superhero - from baby to senior.

Meet the team

We wanted to catch up with the teams involved, and find out what drove them to get up in public and expose their creative process for all to see.

We've already met Golden Wolf, Fred & Eric, Blackmeal and Territory, now let us introduce you to Animade, a London based animation company that makes things move for games, ads, stings and other digital things.

This one minute animation introduces Google Creative Lab's Chrome Jam experiment

Q: Is this the first time you've done a project like this?

"It's the first time that Animade has been involved in a collaborative animation project. However, we have ties to Cut&Paste that stretch back to when it first landed on British soil.

"Tom Judd won the first ever London-based competition and more recently Ed Barrett judged in the 2012 Event."

Q: Why did you agree to do it?

"We love the idea of pushing ourselves into situations that are new and slightly unfamiliar. The burst of adrenaline you get when you are against a clock allows your brain to kick up a gear and your creative output moves outside of its comfort zone. More often than not, results are positive. It's also great to work in a semi-collaboration fashion with other studios and creatives that we truly respect."

Q: What are the biggest challenges of this form of collaboration?

"I guess the fact that it is half blind. We only get 30 frames on which to form our preconceptions of the connecting animation. The Exquisite Corpse concept is a winning formula making the resulting film highly anticipated.

"The other issue is timing. We are all very busy studios so fitting in time to brainstorm and create around commercial work is always going to be a bit of a squeeze."

Animate designed and produced a series of animated vignettes for the McDonalds website

Q: What's good about working in London?

"Over here in the heart of Shoreditch we have fallen in love with the social buzz that we are so lucky to be surrounded by. We just have to step out the front door and we are 10 strides away from several drinking holes populated by other animators and creatives. There are also great events such as See No Evil, and of course Cut&Paste which amplify this 'real world' social networking."

Q: Why do you think there is so much animation talent in the city?

"London is certainly a magnet for animation talent. I guess it is due to the monster studios such as MPC and The Mill all pulling in international talent. This talent pool then allows companies like ours to dip in and grab some great freelance talent when we need to expand for a job. And when all these studios produce great work you get clients chomping at the bit to get in on some of the action. It's circular."

The company directed and animated a series of six international TV commercials for HTC

Q: What technologies play the biggest part in what you do?

"Wacom tablets and After Effects are our staples. Every job we do uses both in a pretty significant way."

Q: What are the main qualities do you look for in the technology you use?

"Freedom and flexibility are the key qualities that make these technologies work for us. For instance we have absconded from using After Effects for what it was built for. Instead we have found that we can flex it to fit to our creative process."

Q: What are you most proud of?

"Ready Steady Bang! - an iOS game and series of short animated films featuring our iconic Cowboy character. It was a self initiated project that sparked the creation of Animade as a company. It has been downloaded one million times around the globe and the film that Ed finished this year ('More than just a Hobby') quickly became a internet hit. We just love that little Cowboy."

Q: What is your biggest inspiration?

"The internet! We would never like to circle a single entity as our biggest inspiration. Animade actually started back in 2009 as a blog where I would collect all the inspirational animations that I found online.

"Today, keeping the blog updated is part of our weekly routine. Last Friday we posted our 1000th animation so slices of cake
all round."

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to start out in animation?

"Learn to animate. This sounds silly but we are strong believers in learning to make things move before trying to get your head around any complex animation software.

"Read books by the masters and study classics frame by frame. It's all out there but a lot of people neglect to realize that the animation program (what ever you may choose) knows as much about animation as a ream of paper and a light box. They are our tools and we are the craftsmen."

A tear jerking character piece produced for the charity War Child

Q: Who is your favourite superhero?

"Iron Man because he is just a clever, rich man who makes things out of other things. We are silly and poor so we idolize the guy."

Q: What do you see as essential attributes for London's super hero?

"He should be slightly flustered at all times with a superhuman ability to rewind awkward pauses in confrontational situations (normally whilst queuing)."

Delivered in conjunction with ZED!

This content was produced in collaboration with HP & Intel as part of ZED - a Pop-Up Studio for the Creative Community held in Soho, London. For more information about ZED and any future events see here.

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