Ian Frederick, a Seattle-based motion designer and 3D artist, recently worked on an animated concert graphics for EDM performer Wooli. Frederick, who works with EDM musicians, created visuals for Wooli’s 2021 tour with a challenging “fire and ice” theme. He used Cinema 4D, ZBrush, World Creator, and Houdini to create realistic animations. Frederick’s interest in motion design began when he worked as a freelancer and later became a graphic designer at Amazon. He learned the value of mastering After Effects and motion and decided to master it. Frederick now produces launch films for high-end devices and materials for the new products team, while also creating performance visuals for bands while studying motion design and 3D in his spare time.
A discussion on the creation of animated concert graphics for EDM performer Wooli with motion designer and 3D artist Ian Frederick.
A motion designer and 3D artist from Seattle, Washington, Ian Frederick. When not making product launch films for Amazon, Frederick works with EDM musicians to provide animated concert graphics. Adam Puleo, often known as Wooli, is an American DJ and record producer.
According to Frederick, he recently worked on visuals for Wooli’s 2021 tour, which had a difficult “fire and ice” theme. But he was able to produce animations with fire, magma, fog, fabric, and a lot of devastation using Cinema 4D, ZBrush, World Creator, and Houdini.
Frederick got down with us to talk about his Wooli concert visuals, which he considers to be the most successful Wooli project to date, as well as his experience with 3D and how he keeps pushing himself to learn more.
How did you originally get into the motion design field?
I studied graphic design in college, but I’ve only lately developed an interest in motion design. Prior to getting a job as a graphic designer at Amazon roughly eight years ago, I worked as a freelancer for a while. After almost four years, I learned that I would be moving into an animation job and making device videos, launch videos, conference title sequences, and Amazon Smile animations when I got to work one day.
I have no prior expertise with animating or using After Effects. In order to prepare for my first project, which was due in five days, I spent a few hours watching YouTube videos.
I was fortunate enough to get paid for picking up some very fascinating new abilities, and I could see the value in mastering After Effects and motion. I made the decision to master it as a result.
At some point, I understood that 3D was the path I wanted to go. I took a quick course in Cinema 4D and spent every waking hour watching tutorials on the bus or the treadmill. At work, designers took me under their wing and let me ask questions and learn from them.
I just switched teams and am now producing launch films for high-end devices and other materials for the new products team. I continue to create performance visuals for bands while also working and studying motion design, about web design and more and 3D in my spare time.
How did you get into doing concert graphics in your own time?
I wanted to do concert graphics, therefore I started working on side projects to gather skills. I love electronic music a lot, and I remember the amazing graphics on the giant screens at festivals. I produced a music video out of fun since I was inquisitive about how to get started in the business.
I picked a song I loved and did the best I could to make a video for it. I then uploaded the movie to a Facebook fan page for a DJ I respected and introduced myself as an aspiring animator. I got about 120 answers that day, and Wooli was one of them.
There are two different methods for creating concert graphics, I’ve come to realize through time. Some musicians simply need a repetition that lasts 10 seconds and is continuous at any pace of 135 beats per minute. Some people, like Wooli, like specific animations for tracks. He likes to build a quick story by synching videos to a certain music. Electronic music is generally composed of abstract sounds with little words, allowing for a lot of artistic freedom.
Describe the newest artwork you produced for Wooli
In concert visuals, I’ve noticed that there aren’t many simulations of pyrotechnics, liquids, and cloth. Only the top animators are allowed to create these animations. I worked on intricate particle simulations because I wanted our work to be distinctive.
While there are many melodic and beautiful passages in the music, there are also loud and mechanical sounds. So, Wooli’s idea of a fire and ice pattern caught my attention.
Fire and ice appeared to go well with the primitive and primordial environment in which a mammoth may have lived, given that his logo and emblem are Wooli mammoths. The ice depicts the colder, more melodic aspects of the music. Moreover, the fire stands in for the more ferocious dubstep songs, enabling a wealth of innovative settings and simulations inside this cosmos.
When combined with dubstep in a live setting, I wanted to create something that would make people lose their minds. I animated the droid using robot references after modeling it in C4D’s volume builder.
After adding flame emitters in Houdini, I imported the alembic file again into Cinema 4D for texturing and lighting. All of my renderings utilized Redshift.
Where did the planet’s and its landscapes come from?
Wooli had these ideas. He wanted a camera that could quickly zoom into different scenes as well as one that would just pull back and do so. He appreciates fanciful settings, like those seen in Magic: The Gathering. In order to make a range of landscapes that could be quickly read, I entered World Creator and experimented with a number of color and content juxtapositions.
Every time I use World Creator to build something, I’m in awe of the program’s potential. Everything seems really lifelike. After that, I imported these sceneries into Cinema 4D and set up the cameras and compositions.
Additionally, I used KitBash3D modules for architectural specifics. I created the animations and camera motions before using Houdini to mimic the magma.
Would you mind sharing anything you learned while creating Wooli’s illustrations?
I learn something new every time I make a new image. Being allowed to do things I wouldn’t often be able to do for Amazon or another corporate customer is one of the beautiful aspects about concert visuals.
I had no prior experience with Houdini to produce fire, destruction simulations, magma, or electricity until the most recent round of Wooli graphics. I was able to learn how to accomplish all of that because Adam gives me plenty of time to explore and gain experience.
What part of designing concert graphics do you like the most?
the freedom to express oneself creatively. Working on the side for Amazon or other corporate customers is quite regimented. The designs must be presented to committees of unoriginal, MBA-type people, who frequently offer constructive criticism that considerably weakens and detracts from the final result.
Although I like corporate job, it may occasionally stifle creativity. In contrast to this, concert visuals are created. There is total creative freedom. There isn’t much of a story, no product is being marketed, and there isn’t a board of directors to get their approval. It just comes down to making something that looks amazing when it’s timed to music, and experimenting is highly encouraged.
I can experiment with novel approaches and produce absurd ideas that are truly well welcomed. Working with artists is exciting as well since they are imaginative and have great ideas. When people do offer input, it’s usually constructive and adds to the piece’s sense of collaboration.
What is on the horizon for you?
It seems like I’ll be making more concert graphics for Wooli and a few other DJs I’ve long loved this summer. That I’m even on their radar is gratifying, and it’s also incredibly exciting. Perhaps some music videos We shall watch.
For further information
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Pictures from Ian Frederick