The Art of Animation | PALOMA

NERD Productions team sat down with a director duo Paloma to talk all things animation, their inspiration, favourite work and the concept of less is more!



We had a great chat with both Alicja and Lucas and we can’t wait for you to dive deep into their world!

How did you fall in love with animation?

Lucas: Spending summers in Catalunia as a kid, I was lucky to watch lots of animated movies. Having a background in graphic design, I was always surrounded by people who were interested in animation and naturally, it became something that I wanted to do. I wanted things to move 😀

Alicja: My background was in fine arts and liked to draw. I didn’t know much about animation, that’s when I went to do my Bachelor’s degree at Kingston in Animation and Illustration. I was convinced I would stick to illustration. However, in the second year of Uni we had to choose and I was so confused as to what to pick, sleepless nights and my gut helped me to choose the right path and go for animation. Once I made my decision I started feeling like the fish in the sea.

Tell us about the animation project that kick-started your career?

Lucas: I was working at the animation company and building a wider portfolio for myself. All of a sudden a producer contacted me with an offer to work on a TV show with an incredible story. It was 6 months of all ink illustration/kinetic animation and I worked on it with my wife. This became my first award-winning project that opened a lot of doors!

Alicja: For myself, fresh out of school with no confidence, I went on a Festival round with my own personal project that kick-started my career.

How would you describe your art style and what are your biggest inspirations that developed it?

Lucas: We try to simplify everything as much as we can. When we do our design we always look and see if we can de-complicate our drawings. Although at the same time, as a solo animation director I don’t think I have a particular style as I have mastered a few different visual styles.

Alicja: I totally agree with Lucas. One of the main inspirations for me is an American Illustrator – Saul Steinberg along with Johnny Kelly and an animation duo Kijek / Adamski. I love their simplistic style which contains lots of information. 

We also love lines that form things and characters and over the years it developed into one of our signature moves. 

From your perspective, what’s the key to animation that really lives?

Lucas: In animation, I really love the fact that I can be very self-sufficient. While I also work in live-action where there are a lot of the things I can’t do on my own. Whereas, animation is something I can do even when I am very old and grey, I know I will be able to have the idea and create animation thanks to technology and lots of simple tools. This is what makes animation live for me.

Alicja: To make an animation that really lives it is all about having an idea and the energy behind it. Sometimes it is quite hard to control your imagination and you can always roam free when working on personal projects, unlike commercial work.

Show us your favourite or most impactful project that you’ve worked on – tell us, what is it that makes it special and what were the memorable moments or challenges?

Lucas: Definitely Casper – it has characters, it was very fun and we had an amazing relationship with the agency. Overall, from the very start to the very end of the project everything was perfect.

Alicja: I agree with Lucas and I would also add my recent personal short film Turbo Love which recently got nominated for the Golden Unicorn at Alpinale in Austria, and got an Audience Award at Prowinjonalia, Poland in April.

What is your favourite piece of technology or software that you use and how does it help your creative process?

Lucas: I love technology in general. I fight against settling with just one software and I am always hungry to explore all the new software and plugins to connect with technology. When my son was born I had quite a bit of time and learnt DaVinci. We always try to find new things and learn how to use them in our work. 

For example, working on our current project for Google, we are using new things once again.

Alicja: I work a lot with Toon Boom and Lucas always pushes me to try new stuff. I am very grateful for this as I am of conservative nature but do try to learn every day!

Outside of the field of animation, what really inspires you?

Lucas: For me, it is live-action transitions, how you can magically go from one thing to another without using VFX and stop-motion. I get a lot of ideas when I do sports, ride bikes and surf. This is where the magic happens, all the ideas come through on my 1.5h bike rides.

Alicja: I look at a lot of things online, everyday life and of course, sports. It always helps to clear your mind even when you are stuck with ideas.

What do you think are the misconceptions about animation throughout the industry?

Lucas: Sometimes people still see animation as a childish thing, something that is only meant for children. This is common for people who don’t have a lot to do with the industry, although we are happy to see how it is changing.

Alicja: People think it takes less time than it actually does. Some clients do not realise how long some things take. Reflecting on what Lucas said, I recently watched Undone on Amazon Prime and it was clearly a very adult story.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring artists?

Lucas: Find inspiration and create your own world in animation in your personal projects. Fight for doing  what you love while you have more time and you will see how these personal pieces will bring you commercial work too. 
Alicja: Build relationships in the industry, that’s how I met Lucas and here I am. Be open to opportunities and tough challenges!

See more from Paloma here.

Pride, Drive & Excellence in Production: Ira Giorgetti

NERD Productions’ resident Creative Producer Ira Giorgetti spills the tea on art, producership and being a multi-hyphenate in London

Introduction

Who are you?

My name is Ira Giorgetti, and I’m a creative producer, photographer and entrepreneur.

Where are you from (both in UK and heritage)?

I am of British-Filipino ancestry, although I’ve got an Italian stepfather, so I’m a little bit of that too as far as culture’s concerned! I’m based in leafy West London, where I live with my partner and our three-year-old chihuahua.

What do you do?

I’ve got a very mixed professional background as well, to be honest! The day-to-day sees me working my magic with production, showreels, pitches and directors’ treatments at NERD Productions as a Creative Producer. I’m also on NERD’s roster as an Advertising and Portrait Photographer, with a dash of Still Life and E-Commerce in the mix just to spice things up. I’m currently also working on my fledgling side-hustle Provoke Art.

How did you fall in love with what you do?

I’ve been in the media and advertising game since I was about three years old when my mother, then a creative director for a publisher in the Philippines, decided to “hire” me as a talent for a magazine cover when the model they’d booked got ill and didn’t turn up. As a result, I got paid in Mcdonald’s Happy Meals, which was an exciting start to life in the industry!

Anecdotes aside, I’d always been fascinated by film and photography, and I developed a love for the visual arts from a very young age. I first picked up a camera in high school and have been making pictures ever since. Delving into production felt like a natural next step, as I think that creativity flourishes when paired with a good understanding of how to utilise imagination best and turn ideas into reality.

Production

What’s been your favourite project to produce so far?

It’s hard to pick a single favourite, as I enjoy working with the fantastic roster of diverse directors and outstanding creative talent at NERD. However, a project that resonated with me and my visual aesthetic was a 3D project for Genesis Motors (a subsidiary of Hyundai), which we produced for Innocean USA with our animation director Roman Bratschi. The resulting visualisations were beautifully constructed, conceptually brilliant and genuinely designed with a perfect blend of artistic vision and an eagle eye for details.

What a production tool can’t you live without?

A good old Parker ballpoint pen and ruled index cards. I’m a bit old-school about task management, but I’m trying to learn Notion to better organise my life given how fast-paced things are nowadays!

What’s the most challenging part of the job?

When our team puts hours of effort into pitches only for us to receive word of reworked marketing strategies, delayed campaign dates, or sudden changes to execution and approach. Always hard to hear that the hard work, creativity, and commitment to excellence didn’t make it in front of clients’ eyes. However, that knowledge results in less heartbreak for us in production and our partners, designers, and directors!

What’s something you wish clients knew, but you dare not share?

So much hard work and effort occur in the background, with directors spending hours and hours poring over the little details and flourishes in their work. Sometimes it can feel disheartening when clients want to scale big ideas back or streamline concepts that work best unrestrained. Of course, we always offer our best creative suggestions and advice throughout the entire creative production process, but the client is always right at the end of the day! 

Creativity & Art

What’s your favourite style of art?

I don’t have a favourite style or genre, although I tend to gravitate towards visual and experiential art. I’m a bit musically challenged, and even though I appreciate poetry and prose, I find myself drawn mainly to photography, illustration, painting, sculpture and architecture. I also love a bit of experiential art here and there, even if most people find it to be a bit corny!

Who/what are your top 3 artistic influences?

I have a great love for the works of Zhang Jigna, Darren Aronofsky and Alasdair McLellan.

What’s the most challenging experience you’ve had on the job?

I once had to shoot a summer fashion campaign during a snowstorm! I just managed to pull it off, although the whole crew had the sniffles for a couple of days after.

What’s your fondest memory of making art?

Probably my early days of exploration and experimentation in the Philippines, where I set up self-motivated projects taking portraits of friends and family with no particular goal in mind. I think that whilst my skill and style have developed significantly since then, I still miss the simpler times of my youth when I didn’t have to think about commissioners and how each project fits into my professional narrative. It was a lot of fun just to grab a camera, hop in the car and drive to the mountains with people near and dear to me – something I sorely miss now that the naivete is gone and I have to think a bit more about approvals, deadlines and deliveries. Of course, production is rewarding in many ways, and I appreciate the daily exposure to different ideas and disciplines. Still, there’s something to be said for one’s first few creative ventures and how that shapes their viewpoint, perspective, and approach.

The Future

What projects are you working on?

I’m handling a fair few productions at NERD at the moment, including having just delivered some pieces for L’Oreal and Hyundai whilst working on active productions for Google, Air Wick and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation. 

Photography-wise, I recently shot the social campaign for E45’s refreshed range of moisturisers and creams. In addition, I won a competition with M&C Saatchi and the Cabinet Office, which has brought my work to large-scale display at airports, embassies and government offices. Although all that commercial progress aside, I’d love to build Provoke Art up a little more! 

With any luck, I’ll be able to take it from concept to budding side hustle. I’d love for it to be a space where queer artists around the globe are celebrated and allowed the opportunity to get their work in front of more eyes and into more physical spaces. I’ve got a fair bit of interest so far, and a couple of friends from the queer and ESEA communities are keen to get involved!

What’s top of your list of goals and aspirations?

I’d love to say that it was to get published in a certain magazine, land a particular client or receive a specific grant, all of which I’m trying to do. But, for now, I’d be thrilled to see my friends and family in the Philippines again after all we’ve been through with this long and drawn-out pandemic!

Where can we learn more about you and your work?

I love connecting with new people, and I’ve got loads of profiles online where I try my best to engage regularly:

PERSONAL LinkedIn | Twitter | The-Dots

PRODUCTION Website | Instagram

PHOTOGRAPHY Website | Instagram | Portfolio

PROVOKE ART Website | Instagram

NERD Producer & Photographer Ira Giorgetti on the Association of Photography, finding a creative tribe and making work that matters

5 Questions with NERD Producer & AOP Board Member Ira Giorgetti

What was it like moving to London and why did you do it?


Ira: I first moved to the big smoke in 2016, back then I was fresh to the local scene and really struggled to find a community where creatives of all backgrounds and interests were both celebrated and supported. I was basically looking for a community  to call my own where guidance without judgment and mentorship without profit were the norm. I’d moved over six thousand miles to be with my partner, but starting over from scratch professionally is definitely a tough period to go through.

The Association of Photographers proved to be a great place where I found kinship with other young artists, where I developed my craft and understanding of the industry and ultimately built many meaningful relationships with similarly minded folk who didn’t put much weight on status, client list or portfolio. I found a real sense of community there, been active in many ways for a few years now and as of 2022 I’m on the Board of Directors!

Why is it important for artists to find a sense of community?

Ira: I never really liked to fly solo, and I think it’s especially important for people in the creative industry to find a safe space where they feel supported both as an artist and a professional. Within the past couple of years, the AOP has really felt like a  community of people coming together and they’ve done so much to support the craft, the practitioners and the business and institutions that keep the wheels turning.

Although I would be amiss if I didn’t admit that there’s still a need to tackle many issues both locally and in the national, professional sphere when it comes to diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity. The organization is thankfully modernizing and that’s been reflected with some changes to the leadership structure. 

Aside from a new female CEO the Board of Directors now also includes a pretty even split between male and female members as well as a couple of seats taken up by people of colour (myself included!). The entire membership supported the new direction which was quite heartwarming as it’s something that the rest of my team at NERD and I take quite seriously and champion daily in our approach to fairer, more equitable production.


What happened when you finally found your tribe?

Ira: I felt supported, excited and largely relieved! Always nice to find people of the same feather, and was always nice when we flocked together to discuss ideas, create opportunities and devour red wine and pizza!

In all seriousness though, I think it really is worth joining your national trade group or professional body as it’s a good place to talk shop, find solutions to problems others have already experienced  and if you’re lucky even make friends!

What do you do for the organisation and what has the organisation done for you? 

Ira: As a newly elected board member I am part of a few working groups that aim to engage more assistant photographers and early-stage creatives that will allow the organization to broaden its impact, increase its membership and work with both the government and the private sector towards fairer representation and treatment of visual artists.

Something that many creatives struggle with when starting out is the legal and this is an area I got a lot of help in especially in the early days! The forums are also great for talking about kit, discussing the state of the industry and making connections.

What are your plans for your future as both photographer and board member?


Ira: I fully plan to continue pushing for diversity and inclusion in all senses of the word as I’d love to see the industry start to really take it seriously and stop with all the meaningless faff and tokenistic approaches towards better representation. I also plan to continue personally providing support and mentorship to up-and-coming photographers and creatives as that’s something the AOP did for me back then that’s had a great impact and has helped me get to where I am today!

Since joining AOP Board Ira has taken part on the judging panel of the Black History Month exhibition at Canary Wharf. See more of Ira’s work as part of the AOP’s Black and Minority Ethnic Member Spotlight Focus as well as his profile at NERD.

NEW SIGNING: NERD Presents Its First Ever Photographer – Gabby Secomb Flegg

MidSummer

We are excited to welcome Gabby to our roster of amazing talent and get creating and empowering from day ONE. We are convinced she will rock the commercial world with her powerful and refreshing visuals!

To properly start the season of new beginnings, we signed our first photographer – Gabby Secomb Flegg. Gabby is a queen of magic and a pro of telling people’s stories through her shots. She brings powerful female energy everywhere she goes and makes sure to capture authenticity and diversity of every person who happens to be in front of her camera.

A few words about this big step for NERD from our Founder & Executive Producer Milana Karaica:

As a production company that prides itself on being forward thinking, promoting collaboration and diversity, it was only a matter of time before we added talented and fresh photographers to our talent pool!  To make our NERDy mark on the industry and truly complete our creative offering to our agency and brand clients, alongside the live action directors, animation directors and illustrators we are proud to present the first female NERDy photographer! Gabby, who shares our ethos and mission is an incredible addition to the family. Her work is concentrated on diversity and female empowerment which is exactly what we practice at NERD.

To help you get to know Gabby a little more, we spoke to her about her story, inspiration and plans with NERD:

When did you decide to become a photographer?

I have been photographing since I was 19 years old (coming close to that 10-year mark now, yeesh!) but I only took it very seriously when I was around 25. I was working as an event manager full time for an insurance company and was shooting weddings, 21st, formals, christenings and everything in between on weekends. It got to a point where I was getting so busy and worn out that I couldn’t maintain the energy for both of those career paths, so I took the plunge into photography full time and have never looked back since! 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Take the plunge earlier! Not that I didn’t take it at a great time, but I could have saved myself a load of suffering by not working as a check out chick at a local supermarket. However, that being said, I believe everything we experience makes us who we are (even the hard stuff) so had I taken the plunge earlier and missed out on all those in between jobs, perhaps I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now! 

What played the key role in your positioning as a photographer?

Getting rejected from college. Yep. I took my then portfolio to apply for a full-time photography course but was advised I wasn’t ready to take it. This was such a critical part in my desire to prove people wrong and to thrive without any formal education. I took their 12-week weekender course for beginners to understand the basic functionality of my camera, but I went off to do my own thing after that! It was one of the best things that never happened to me.

What excites you the most about being the first photographer to join the NERD talent family?

Who doesn’t love being the first in something haha?! Really though, what I love about NERD is the diversity in their talent and their desire to represent women in this space. I’ve admired NERD from afar for about a year and decided to throw myself out there a few months ago to just see what would happen – and here we are! What I am super excited about is the opportunity to help build this sector of representation in the NERD family and to have the opportunity to work with so many incredible like-minded, talented artists. 

What inspires you on daily basis?

Inspiration is a funny one, I don’t think it’s a daily experience, it’s more of an anomaly. Seems to show up when it feels like it but when you chase after it you can never find it! For me I find myself most inspired when I am travelling or interacting with other talented people. Seeing others thrive in their creative field really sparks joy in me which can then lead to inspiration. But usually, inspiration hits me in the quiet pockets of space I try to carve out through the week. 

What shot are you most proud of?

I had a full afternoon shoot just for fun with my friend Renee and incredible makeup artist Anthea Billet. We took to the Newcastle beaches in Australia to get some moody fashion snaps and I convinced poor Renee to get into the freezing water and make floating look effortless and ethereal. Turns out floating in a sequin dress is actually really hard, so we tried some standing shots.
By a stroke of pure magic, the sun came out and beamed through the misty sky and lit both the sky and water up like liquid gold. It was the most perfectly timed shot I’ve taken to date and I’m so proud of it.

Tell us about your women empowerment strategy while shooting.

Before I started shooting more editorial and fashion-based work, I shot as a female empowerment boudoir photographer. I spent 8 years as a pole dancer so female empowerment was a huge message that threaded through this experience and kind of subconsciously made an impression on my work. I really thrive helping women see a side of themselves that they’ve never seen, it brings me so much joy for them to look back on their images and say “holy shit, is that me?!” 

I think there are so many photographers out there who give no direction or positive reinforcement (a lot of them definitely don’t shout ‘YASSSS QUEEENNNN’, mid-session) which can have a huge impact on the result of the shoot. 

I really enjoy making people feel comfortable and eliciting genuine reactions at a shoot, so I am lucky to say that empowering people comes very naturally to me. 

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I’m actually a massive introvert. I can come across as very extroverted to people but I recharge best being on my own! Give me cartoons in bed by myself any day over a social function! 

See more of Gabby’s work here.

Breath of Nature with AIR WICK directed by PETER S.

Breath of Nature Air Wick by NERD Productions directed by Peter S.

‘Every single decision we made, had that “Zen feeling” in mind’.

It only takes pressing the play button to take a deep breath in and exhale in relief. This wonderfully textured photorealistic CGI piece, crafted by NERD Productions x Havas London for Air Wick, takes rhythmic pulsing and deep breathing to a whole new level. Just when the world needs to breathe in the new season; the film brings the whooshing sound in the ear, blended with the graceful flower dance and water rippling effect, right on time for spring!

Orange Air Wick - still from the film
Click to play

Director, Peter S says:  ‘A blossom’s wonder only increases the closer you investigate them. For this film, I was surprised to find that lavender bulbs are so fuzzy!’ The spot transports us to an enchanting garden, warmer climates and reminds us that you can experience calmness from the comfort of your couch.

Peter’s local flower market visually inspired the animation during the pandemic. The sound design, which is so important to immerse the viewer in this Zen zone, echoes the beauty of what we are witnessing visually.

Lavender Air Wick still from the film

‘It all comes down to the pace.’ says Peter, ‘Having the edit and animation work together at a unified pace which were treated with cross dissolves so that absolutely nothing disturbed the film’s tranquility. Every single decision we made had that” Zen feeling” in mind. Each camera movement stays at a certain speed. The animation of the flowers sticks to a certain rhythm.’

Rose Air Wick still from the film

Executive Producer from NERD, Milana Karaica also mentioned: ’Working on this piece during winter, being in lockdown made it very special as we were all looking forward to those much-needed brighter days’.

From the client, agency, and down to the last animator, this brief felt exceptionally refreshing.

NERD Productions’ Roman Bratschi crafts mouth-watering visuals for Sephora

Sephora is launching its first natural ingredients perfumes collections this September. Roman Bratschi, tastefully designed the gorgeous CGI ”DO NOT DRINK” key visuals for the campaign – so good; we want to taste these!  

The collaboration between Roman, NERD Productions and Sephora is a splendid one, just like the mix of elements inspired by nature and texture details that ultimately enhance the overall aesthetic of the products. We spoke to the team about the ways they brought these mesmerising concepts to life.

Continue reading “NERD Productions’ Roman Bratschi crafts mouth-watering visuals for Sephora”

NERD Productions’ Billelis Continues To Reach New Mythical Heights With An Epic TROY Key Visuals & Animation

After last year’s legendary collaboration, NERD’s Billelis, SEGA & Creative Assembly bring back some new epic artwork to support Total War Saga game: TROY launching on August 13th. Set against the stunning setting of the Bronze Age, TROY explores the epic conflict from both the Greek and Trojan’s perspectives. 

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Live-Action Director, Brett de Vos’ Guide To Supporting Friends / Family Coming Out To You

This year’s Pride month marked the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots – when transgender people, gay people, and drag queens protested against police brutality for six days after a brutal raid at NYC’s Stonewall Inn. Because this year’s celebration overlays with a global human rights movement, we should continue to liberate, educate, and celebrate voices of the queer community – stand in solidarity and, become better allies. Pride isn’t a one-off event and at NERD Productions we are proud all year round. We are committed to amplifying the voices of those who are underrepresented and produce work that reflects today’s society. In this heartfelt read, Live-Action Director, Brett de Vos, discuss the best ways to support friends/family coming out to you.

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NERDs’ tips for staying productive and motivated when working remotely

At NERD, we’ve been crafting in a flexible & remote approach for nearly 5 years now, due to our international talent & global clients. Our collaborative nature from our birth has meant that during these times, we have been continuing to bring to life visual delights, without risk to our teams, clients, and brands. With the working from home situation likely to be extended until later this year, we asked NERDs to share how they’re keeping productive and motivated while working from home. We hope their thoughts might empower you too!

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