Featured Artist – 01: Dave Glanz

Show Reel from Dave Glanz on Vimeo.

Today is the start of something big! We will be featuring artists from all over the world and asking them questions we all would love to ask. For so many of us, looking at an inspiring piece of art or film or animation makes us want to be a better artist. I’ve always wanted to ask Steven Spielberg 100 questions about how he got started or what inspired him to be a director. A very long time ago, I saw a Flash website and thought to myself, Wow, I wish I could do that, but how do I start. Where do I begin? How do I get into this type of art? So I emailed the artist, thinking he would never reply and guess what he did. I had emailed so many artists asking them about how this or how that and nobody would return my emails, but Dave did. And so started an over 15 year friendship and I’m very honored to introduce him today.

medium_user_dglanzDave: When did you know you had an interest in design and animation? Was there anything that inspired you or something that when you saw it or watched said, “I want to do that”.

It was a gradual process for me. I’ve been a fan of filmmaking since I was 13 or 14, having used paper-route money to buy a VHS camcorder. I used that thing to make short, goofy films, editing them by hooking up the camcorder to a VCR. After a while I thought it might be nice to find a way into world of film through video-editing, which led to an internship at a video/interactive studio. It was there that I discovered Adobe After Effects and (Macromedia!) Flash, and that’s where I found the most appeal.

Where do you find your inspiration from? Do you watch a ton of movies or watch a ton of motion graphics to get inspired?

Lately I’ve been getting inspired by clients who are happy with my work. Definitely something I appreciate more now that I work for myself. I’m absolutely a big movie-watcher, and actually cohost a podcast about “older” films (http://reviewedpodcast.lucky9studios.com). I get inspired shooting with my DSLR, experimenting with different lenses.

Dave: Did you ever imagine doing what you’re doing now? If not, what did you think you would be doing by now?

To be honest, when I was a kid, I didn’t have much of a life-plan. I was (am) pretty stubborn, so I had a feeling I’d have to do something that I was good at, or risk never being happy.

Dave: When starting a project, what is your workflow like? Do you sketch your idea on paper, do bounce ideas back and forth with colleagues? Let us know.

For most motion design projects, if I’m starting something from scratch, I like to actually write down what is meant to happen moment to moment. I like to talk it out with a client to get a sense for what they want, and then move onto design. I like to design with animation in mind – meaning I do all my design work in Adobe After Effects or Cinema 4D. That way, when it’s time to get moving, I know I have things set up in a way that will work.

What do you like to do for fun?

I sometimes get “fun” and “busy mixed up. What keeps me busy is: spending time with the family – wife and 2 daughters. Watching movies, photography, cooking. The most fun I’ve had lately is watching my 3 year old daughter sit at her desk and tell everyone that she’s “working” doing “animation.”

How do you keep your ideas fresh and up to date? Do you visit blogs, meet with other artists over beer? What inspires you every day?

I don’t know that my ideas are really fresh or up-to-date, honestly. I try to think in terms of what works best for a project. If it’s trendy style that’s needed, I take a look at Staff Picks on Vimeo, Motionographer, etc. I love using Feedly to keep track of all the various design/mograph/movie/news blogs I frequent. I’ve enjoyed reading and sometimes participating in the Motion Design Slack community (hashtagmotiondesign.com). I’m a big fan of Lillian Drano’s design work (https://www.behance.net/liliandarmono), and loving what my friend EJ Hassenfratz is doing with his tutorials over at eyedesyn.com.

I think I’m too busy to get inspired every day, honestly. Those moments are rare. Extra-strong coffee sometimes inspires me, but that also seems to cause a lot of acid in my stomach, lately πŸ™‚

Dave: What are your favorite tools you use? Cinema4D? Plugins you cant’ live without?

Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects/Photoshop/Illustrator. Typically use x-particles for Cinema 4D, and a number of scripts from aescripts.com in my workflow. “Ray Dynamic Color” is very useful, as is DUIK and Rift for After Effects. Also, I’ve been enjoying Kyle Webster’s brushes for Photoshop.

If you could work on anything you wanted, what would that project be?

An animated short film, possibly. If there wasΒ  a way to make a full year’s worth of income and do that, I’d be game for it. I sometimes think about that when reading my daughter bedtime stories – “wouldn’t this look cool animated in xx way?”

That said, at this point in my career, I’m happy working on anything non-political that doesn’t require crazy hours to complete, and pays well enough to feed and support my family. I don’t think so much about dream-projects as I do about how to age into this industry in a graceful way. I look for projects and clients that I think will return, and am at least trying to stay up to date on what clients like in order to have services to offer.

What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see in 2016?

Currently working with Al Jazeera English on some infographic work, and then with Choice Hotels on some marketing videos.

You can watch more of Dave’sΒ works on his website!
Dave Glanz Productions

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