The future of motion graphics

Argentine motion design master Esteban Diácono discusses 4k, the decline of branding and why live gigs will continue to blow our minds

Argentine motion designer Esteban Dicono kicked off 2013 with a phone call from Jessica Walsh, inviting him to work with Sagmeister & Walsh on the studio’s recent 6 Things exhibition for the Jewish Museum. It wasn’t a bad start to the year by anyone’s standards – and according to Dicono the year has continued on the same “crazy, wonderful” trajectory.

We sat down with him in issue 217 of Computer Arts – where you’ll find our full interview (including why Darth Vadar can be partially attributed to Dicono’s success as a designer). Here, we asked him for his expert take on the future of motion graphics…

Computer Arts: You’ve been working in motion graphics for a while. How have you seen the industry change, and where do you think things are headed?
Esteban Dicono:
I’ve seen things change a lot but it’s still is very difficult to predict where the industry is heading. 4K is on the horizon, and I’m starting to sweat thinking in future render times. I can’t believe that I still have some SD pieces on my reel, but that’s because HD wasn’t a common thing until a few years ago. In Argentina we have maybe 15 HD channels, but it's unthinkable to work on SD resolutions – it doesn’t make sense anymore. YouTube and Vimeo changed things forever.

I think the non-on demand-cable television will eventually begin to fade, making space for on-demand content and subscriptions as our main surce of entertainment. I hope this doesn’t provoke a decline of the branding industry... I hate to think that the future of branding will rest on animated backgrounds and icons for the Apple TV, Xbox One or PS4. I still love a good ID, bumper or a clever line up.

I think live concerts and installations will continue to blow our minds, again and again, with new tricks to defy reality. My friends at Marshmallow Laser Fest are the most amazing proof that as long as there is curiosity out there, there will be innovation. [Scroll down]

CA: How has the internet changed the creative industry?
It's changed everything we thought we knew, and my career as an independent motion designer has been defined by it. Content creation, distribution and delivery are very different now, and you can literally work from anywhere, at any time, for any place in the world as long as you can connect to the internet and be able to respect a deadline. This was unthinkable 10-12 years ago, but it has become a real possibility, not just a theoretical idea. I’m still amazed by how things work now.

CA: At OFFF this year, you said: “Sometimes a simple hello can lead to a million things.” What do you mean by this, and can you tell us about a time when this has happened to you?
It’s absolutely literal. Many of the most rewarding things of my work life started with people reaching out, saying “hello”. In the Sagmeister & Walsh case, it was me writing and saying ‘Hi’ to Jessica, or in the case of the Ljsi video it was Olafur reaching out and offering to make 'the smoke video' the official companion to the song.

We need to take advantage of how easy is to connect and collaborate with other people, but always respectfully.There are amazing things waiting to happen out there, but you need to do your part. Things don’t usually happen without a little push of the shoulder. The possibilities are so great now that you can never know where a simple ‘hi’ could take you.

CA: What three pieces of advice would you give anyone looking to break into the motion graphics industry today?
It’s always hard to give advice. Maxims and quotes always look great on our keynote slides, but reality is much more complex and difficult. I would try to keep things honest and grounded, like: try to balance your creative needs with the need to earn money; have fun, experiment and play, but also be responsible; always work hard and learn to appreciate the hard work of others. Give your best and be always be kind.