Summer is here, and while that’s usually the time the creative industry slows down and takes a breather, we here at ADC intend to keep things moving — literally. Introducing Motion & Animation Month, where we will be featuring the small but mighty section of our community that brings art to life on projects from the serene to the bombastic. Whether they’re professionals, students or just keen amateurs, they’re all card-carrying ADC Members.
First up: a young New York based animator with an admittedly goofy style and a passion for “every little detail in my daily life.”
KE LI, AKA “LIKO”
New York, NY
Where did your interest in motion and animation begin? How did it grow into something you could see yourself doing professionally?
When I entered my junior year in college I was introduced to Motion. It was one of the most time consuming disciplinary within the five majors in Graphic Design. It requires dedication, commitment and good self organizing skills. At first I just wanted to challenge myself. Then as I started learning it, with the interest of making things move I have since my childhood, my passion towards motion just increased day by day.
How much of your ability is self-taught versus through schooling?
I attended a motion graphics workshop class in junior year and motion portfolio in my senior year. I would say the knowledge I learned in school versus by myself is 50/50. Besides After Effects I am also very interested in traditional cel animation, but my department did not offer course on this subject so I had to learn it myself.
How would you best describe your style? How did you foster that style?
My style is goofy, easy going and funny. I’m not a really “cool” guy. Electric, flashy things and heavy music aren’t really my points of interest. I was born with a goofy personality, and I love making things that can make people smile. Rather than make all other “cool” things that I m not really good at, I would rather focus on who I really am and develop the style I really want to go for.
” I’m not a really ‘cool”‘guy. Electric, flashy things and heavy music aren’t really my points of interest.”
Tools of the trade: what items make your job a million times better? Types of pads, pens, tablets, programs etc.
When I was doing the Six Words Story. I did everything by hand, I drew every single frame on paper and then scanned everything. That was really annoying and time consuming. Later when I was executing the Motion portfolio screening opening animation, I used a Cintique. It is a screen that you can directly draw on, so there is no waste of paper and it saved more than half of my time.
Which project are you most proud of and why?
I m really proud of the 2014 School of Visual Arts Motion Graphics Portfolio Screening show package. It includes Invite animation, opening animation, name animation for students in the show, and end credits. Each year only the best students in the major would have the opportunity to work on a project like this. For this project, under my professor’s guidance, I designed every element in the package as well as the general production. I had to design characters, curate content storylines for the animation, as well as draft and execute the animation. It was a long project but it was loved by students, faculty and professional creatives who attended the event.
What’s the most challenging part of your career?
After I graduated I started working at Google UXA as a contractor. My job was to provide motion prototypes of applications that are operating on IOS and Android. The challenge was to make the transition from the total freedom of the storytelling motion world to a logical, constrained motion world. I did make a nice transition into a career, but this project made me miss what I was doing in school.(laughs)
How would you describe what you do to someone who has nothing to do with creativity?
I make stable stuff come to life!
Where do you go to find inspiration and motivation?
Ideas don’t just come from the internet or books. They also come from every little detail in my daily life. The sizzling of the frying egg white in the hot pan. The water splash when you are pouring a glass of water, the smoke comes out from a cigarette, and so on.
Which professionals in your field do you most admire? What is it about their work that moves you?
Sandar van Dijk. He is a genius. His work creates a fresh breeze for your eyes, but at the same time it has a strong strong impact. The flow of his animation is just second to none.
At the end of the day, what do you love most about motion and animation?
Everybody loves moving things! When things are alive, the energy they carry just becomes that much stronger. I love it because I can use the power of animation to share stories more effectively and ,bring to bring joy to people who watch it.