Life With Pixels

Over the past couple of years, a growing group of designers, animators and other folks involved in motion graphics have come together for the Boston Mograph meetup. Although not typically thought of as a hub for animation, the Boston area is home to many talented individuals who work in a variety of capacities in film, video, advertising and marketing. The flagship gathering of the group is known as “Life With Pixels, and this past September, the second iteration of this event was held at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Several members of the CGI team including myself, attended the meetup.

There are various ways to describe LWP: it’s partly a spinoff of the group that acts as a more formal industry conference, a place to show off and discuss noteworthy projects, and a place for people to compete in themed animation contests. Portsmouth based Bunthol “B” Kim, owner of Koi and artist at Saltwater Creative Agency, is the organizer and founder of LWP and an alumnus of CGI Interactive. The city itself is home to several production companies that were represented at the event.

Half Man/Half Bird

Guests were treated to several great presentations of work by local agencies, starting with a behind the scenes look at “Birdman”, a viral tv spot for C&J Trailways created by Anchor Line and Koi. Creative Director John Dorlean and Co-Owner Ken Dodge went into a detailed look at their process to create this memorable and unconventional commercial for a regional bus company. The Q&A was a great insight into doing something a bit crazy with an adventurous client, and how it can pay off.

Big Shoes

Also on hand for a presentation were Nick Girard and Lucas Van Oss of Fortland, a pair of talented cinematographers and editors who made a fun YouTube spot for the Truth X Vans collaboration, along with several behind-the-scenes videos that were so good they became part of the campaign. As the team explained, key to the success of this the Snapchat-inspired deliverable was devising a system for the perfect point-of-view shots, which involved a cannibalized motorcycle helmet among other things.

Easy Tracking

Tim Montgomery of Boston-based Finish Post did a live demonstration of camera tracking and masking using Mocha for After Effects, a powerful module within the application that many users don’t even realize they have. In an impressive display of the capabilities of the software in the right hands, he was able to successfully extract a moving figure from a background in about five minutes, with the pressure of the audience watching every move.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

And of course, a Boston Motion graphics meetup wouldn’t be complete without a design contest, and the theme for the night was “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” Several attendees submitted short animations and competed for votes. The winner took home bragging rights along with an awesome Boris FX plugin suite. You can watch CGI Interactive’s entry below.

The next Life With Pixels will likely be returning to the City of Boston, and it’s sure to be an event worth attending for members of the motion design community. If you are interested in joining the group, request for access in our Facebook group. I look forward to seeing you at the next one!

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