Welcome to the “The Ask,” a content series that gets up close and personal with the people of Weber Shandwick Seattle. This month, we sat down with Gus Hinton to talk about the life changing art of sandwich making and the world of motion graphics. Here’s how it went:
So, Gus. What’s your story? How did you get started with motion graphics?
My motion graphics journey didn’t begin until right after graduating college. I actually started out as a biomedical engineering major, but was up to my eyeballs in math and physics classes. Not ideal. So I decided to switch majors (and schools) to focus more on kinesiology, but that wasn’t doing it for me either. In the end, I decided to study digital film at UW-Stout and signed myself up for as many animation electives as I could. After I graduated, I moved to Seattle and got my first freelance animation job at Weber Shandwick. And the rest is history!
From freelancer to full-time employee. It’s a modern-day Cinderella story!
Does that make Weber my fairy godmother?
Yes, it does. And you’re Weberella. Speaking of Weber, tell me a bit about an average day for you?
I do a mix of all things video at Weber, but focus on animation. A typical day could be editing live-action footage, adding animation to that footage, switching to a totally 2D animation, and then adding a little movement pizazz to small social media post. I’ll usually switch back and forth between multiple projects to make sure they all keep moving forward.
Spotify or Pandora?
Neither. I use YouTube almost exclusively for my music needs. Did you know you can right-click on a video and select “loop” to make it play over and over? Try it. You’ll see.
What song is on repeat for you right now?
“God Save Our Young Blood” by Lana Del Ray. You caught me on a good day. Usually it’s much more embarrassing.
How do you help clients understand concepts before they become animated?
It’s important to understand how movement will serve the story and concept. Sometimes, words will communicate an idea perfectly, and animation can be used to just spice it up a little. Other times, concepts are complex or cloudy, and seeing it in action is the best way to provide clarity. Those are the moments I like to discuss in depth with the clients. I explain how different movements will communicate different ideas so that they can visualize the piece and feel confident about it before production begins.
Cool. Do you have a favorite piece of work that you’ve produced so far?
I really enjoyed working on an animation for one of our pharmaceutical clients. The video used watercolor spreading over paper to guide the viewer to different lines of text. I often animate in a quick, crisp, punchy style, but this animation was slower paced and the motion more organic. I’d also never animated water color or made text move like this before, so I had to learn some new techniques to execute it. But I love learning new skills! The challenge made it all the more rewarding to view the finished piece. I felt proud of how it turned out, Weber was happy, and the client was happy. What more could you ask for?
What about outside of work? A little birdy told me that you recently released a video game called “Cover of Darkness.” What was that like?
I guess I’d describe the whole process as challenging and fun, but also pretty frustrating at times. Producing a video game was totally different than the work I do at Weber with motion graphics. Hang on. Let me back up a little bit. So Cover of Darkness was a passion project collaboration between myself and my brother, Alex. He programmed the game (aka created the skeleton) and I sent him animations as a series of images (aka the muscles and skin) that helped to bring the game to life. There are a lot more restrictions when it comes to designing video games, like having to keep the file size really small, but that forced me to be more creative and smart with every frame. It took us about a year to create and I’m really proud of the result. You should check it out!
Speaking of things that require being creative and smart… What’s your simple trick to turn a so-so sandwich into an awesome sandwich?
Chipotle mayo. Give me flavor and give me calories.
OK, last question. What one piece of advice do you have for aspiring motion design professionals?
Remember that you’re telling a story. If the message isn’t communicated well, all of the lovingly crafted and carefully placed key frames will lose their magic, and the viewer will be confused and unimpressed. Once the story is clear, then you can pour your time and your heart into making your movement beautiful.