Animation Spotlight: Alex Grigg

Alex Grigg is an Australian animator and designer who's work is influencing the next generation of animators in a big way. When I was teaching at Mass Art the animation students were all comparing notes on his work as well as watching this great tutorial he put together on animating within Photoshop. Let's check out Alex's work in this Animation Spotlight.

First let's talk about his Photoshop tutorial, if you haven't watched it and are at all interested in animating within Photoshop you should check it out.

Photoshop is a tricky program to animate in because it is simply not designed for it, but Alex does a great job breaking down how you can do it as well as providing you tricks to streamline the process and options to help suit your own work flow. Not only is he a great animator with a distinct style, but he's opening that style up for all animators by pealing back the curtain and showing people how he does his work and how they can do it too. That's pretty awesome.

I know from the students at Mass Art that this not only helped them learn how to animate in Photoshop but it inspired them with the ability to create new designs and styles that was out of their wheelhouse before when limited to simpler mark making programs like Flash. With Alex's help they were able to push the style of their animations further than they might have been able to on their own, and that is a really incredible thing.

Now onto Alex's commercial work, he has a very bold and dynamic style. Strong colors, no outlines, and dynamic movement and composition set Alex's work apart. You can see it in his section of the Cartoon Network Summer spot that kicks off the commercial. Fluid, kinetic, lots of energy.

What Alex is probably best known for at the moment however is his independent film Phantom Limb.

You may have seen it as a Vimeo Staff Pick or at one of its many festival screenings, it's done very well for itself. The story of a guilt ridden man over the accident that lost his partner's arm, it is a unique film with minimal dialogue and powerful visuals.

To me Phantom Limb is more than it's narrative though, it's the combination of great sound design, visual metaphors, smooth, fluid animation, and a bold style that make it stand out. All of that is obvious as to why a piece is successful right? But having taught at Mass Art and seeing the students experience this film in tandem with his Photoshop tutorial created something really special amongst the student body.

A lot of animators when they first see independent films think "man he must have had a huge budget or team or whatever I could never do that." It can be a hard thought process to shake, to put yourself up there with people making big successful films. Alex's film Phantom Limb along with his Photoshop tutorial helped students be able to say "oh, he did that by drawing all of it in Photoshop, I can do that." Sure there's lots more that goes into Phantom Limb than just drawing it, but when it comes down to it that's what he did.

He drew it. You can draw stuff too, you deserve to be right up there with all the big hot shot successful animators and directors.

Alex Grigg not only is a great animator and story teller but his revealing of the man behind the curtain and his bag of tricks created something cool to see unfold at Mass Art and I'm sure other places with other people as well. He's encouraging new animators and giving them confidence to create awesome and unique work, and that is so cool.