But the last three years has seen Move Summit, Scotland’s animation gathering, becoming a firm fixture on the February calendar. The event has grown from humble beginnings into a two-day international conference, one of the largest celebrations of animation in the UK.
Stampede have been proud supporters of Move Summit from the beginning, and we were excited to once again experience an impressive lineup at Pleasance Edinburgh.
So what did we learn? Strap yourselves in to find out more…
Real-time reaches a tipping point
Growing from the discussion at Move Summit 2018, in 2019 it’s clear that the technology has matured, and looks set to be a permanent fixture in production pipelines everywhere.
The benefits to real-time rendering are clear: more efficient workflows can mean quicker turnaround times with lower budgets. Real-time is established for mixed reality, but even for linear content, the quality is now so high as to be indistinguishable from high end renders.
Ben Lumsden of Epic Games showed off many impressive examples of their realtime technology, including the experimental Star Wars short Reflections. This stunning demo shows how performance capture and real-time ray-tracing might revolutionise the movie moving process.
But this won’t just be the preserve of big-budget Hollywood. Tom Box of independent studio Blue Zoo revealed how the company used Unreal to create their first real-time TV spot in 2018, as well as the quirky Christmas short Christmas with the Moonies.
Animation in Scotland is growing
It’s no secret that the Scottish animation industry has faced challenges, with a lot of catching up to do – indeed Move Summit was designed specifically to face these head on.
But there are visible signs of a revival, due in no small part to the success of Move Summit.
In an exciting prologue to Day 1, Richard Scott of Axis revealed a brand new organisation that is aiming to bring together the industry together to lead it forward. Animation Scotland, born out of the momentum of Move Summit, is a co-operative industry body with a mission to “turbo charge” animation growth in Scotland.
This follows the launch last year of Screen Scotland, the new dedicated branch of Creative Scotland, due to invest £3m in the Scottish TV sector.
Screen Scotland are a major supporter of Move Summit, making a financial commitment that demonstrates a serious commitment to animated production in Scotland.
And with the launch of the brand new channel BBC Scotland, let’s hope the future for animated productions in Scotland can only get brighter.
Exhibition design is sexy
It’s not long since museum AV exhibits were seen as the slightly embarrassing cousin of the broadcast world. But new technology has seen animated installations emerge as an area to watch.
Damien Smith of ISO Design led a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at some of the cutting-edge exhibition design pioneered by the Glasgow-based studio over the last few years.
ISO were the brains behind the immersive experiences in the hugely successful TItanic Belfast (if you haven’t been, you need to check it out).
Sticking to the Emerald Isle, the company showcased their recent work at The Irish Emigration Museum. The project saw the studio creating a “rogue’s gallery” of infamous characters from history, with an interactive element inspiring by 70s kids show Runaround.
Hot off the press was the VR experience Digital Laocoon; a VR experience and AR app which tells the intriguing story of the Laocoön statue that once sat in the historic Mackintosh School.
If mixed reality is your thing, be sure to check out Digital Laocoon and several other immersive pieces as part of Glasgow Short Film Festival.
Weird is good
Without doubt one of the leading motion design studios in the world, Buck are leading the way with design-driven animation.
But it wasn’t always so. Creative Director Joe Mullen showed us how the studio went from their slightly underwhelming 2004 showreel, to working with tops clients like Facebook and Apple.
The turning point was when Buck decided to embrace the weird.
Their Hunter S Thompson inspired short Metamorphosis, a “graphic equivalent of a drug fueled rant”, went viral in 2012, positioning Buck as a company to watch on the animation scene.
A cascade of great work followed, such as the brilliant Facebook Factory, which blended digital and practical animation, in a dazzling strange funhouse.
Finally, Joe finished with a behind the scenes look at how the studio made their recent crowning glory: The Invention of Together for Tinder, “a history of man and woman-kind’s eternal struggle to couple… and do other things”
Authenticity is everything
At Move Summit we’re used to big studios, having seen big names like Aardman, MPC, and Framestore in the past.
But no-one compares to this big name: Noah Klocek of Pixar set the conference alight, with an inspirational keynote about the importance of authenticity.
In an entertaining but illuminating session, Noah set out the key ingredients for creating authenticity: tell personal stories, the importance of good ideas, and balancing spectacle against content.
Surprisingly frank about Pixar’s sequel-heavy output, the art director revealed that the studio are now focussed exclusively on original IP (after Toy Story 4 of course).
Not content with his iconic work on Wall-E, Brave, and Inside Out, Noah is also a children’s author, publishing his first book Cloud Country in 2015 – proof that even Hollywood film makers can tell personal stories.
Move Summit was a massive success, and is sure to be returning with another mammoth lineup in 2020.
Be sure to keep your eyes on the Move Summit website for more details!