Life in motion with Ira Hardy
Ira Hardy Reel
How did you get into motion graphics?
I always wanted to be a film director, but after spending a bit of time in film production I found myself more creatively fulfilled by the post-production and editing of a piece. I was making short skits with my friends using a homemade green screen and I could only get so far with the effects, I had big ideas that I couldn’t execute. That’s when I enrolled in the digital design program at VFS digital Design to learn After Effects, but I didn’t even know what motion graphics were, I just wanted to be able to execute my weird ideas. I learned a lot in that year and came out of it ready to pursue a career in motion graphics, animation, and design.
Can you describe your influences?
I’m influenced by a lot of different things; animators, illustrators, designers, films. Sometimes I just like the way something is designed or drawn, but what I find is usually the most inspiring is when someone who has a great aesthetic takes that and applies in an effective way to tell a story. I cruise the internet constantly looking for inspiration, one of my favorite sites is Booooom, I find they curate some of the best inspiration from all disciplines and anytime I’m in a creative rut or just want to look at some cool stuff I just scroll their page endlessly.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m juggling a couple freelance contracts and creating an illustration every day. I’ve also been curating an ongoing collaborative animation experiment with Shawn Hight and Kyle Martinez called “chainamation.” It’s been a great way to facilitate the collaboration of a large network of animators of varying skill levels who would probably have never worked together otherwise.
What is your best creative advice?
Keep creating. It’s easy to get bogged down by self-doubt and it actually stops you from creating at all. I think the advice I try to hold myself to is to try and create lots of work, put it out there and move on and not dwell on it. I’d like to think that I’m working out my creative muscles and by necessity, my work will evolve and get better. I’ve always admired artists that can output work regularly, I find that is when you truly see their creative growth, which is inspiring.
What do you like about motion graphics in particular?
I like how I can be versatile, how it’s an umbrella term for many things. I can utilize 2D animation, classical animation, 3D animation, graphic design and illustration in any combination on any project. Experimentation is my favorite part of my creative process. I feel like I can change styles at any moment, project to project and I find that allows me to approach my work from a wide variety of angles. It also means that it’s hard for me to get bored since there is so much variety.
Tell us about your work with Noravera and T-Mobile connected car?
That was a really fun project to work on. The T-Mobile brand is already so fleshed out that I had a lot of references to base the style on. It’s great when I get to work with the Noravera team, as they give me creative control of the graphics and are receptive to hearing my ideas. The T-Mobile brand has a very specific style; fast, glitchy, young, punchy. The challenge was creating a multitude of different text-heavy screens that fit the aesthetic each in their own unique layout, but also making it legible and getting the message across. We reached a balance where we were true to the brand in a dynamic, eye-catching way. Seeing a picture of our video playing on a big screen in the T-Mobile Time Square store was very exciting.
T-Mobile SyncUp DRIVE, powered by Mojio
What’s the best piece of creative advice you’ve received?
Ira Glass “The Gap” contains wisdom that has stuck with me. The premise is that there is a gap between what our taste says is good and our perception of our own work. It’s helpful to remember that creating work is a process and it takes practice to get good at it. The idea is to not get bogged down by the quality of your work, just keep creating, and with every piece, you are narrowing the gap between the quality of work and your standard or taste for good work.
Any trends in motion graphics that you particular like/ hate?
I think there a lot of cliches that clients love to see in their infographics, my friend Peter Quinn made a video called “Shit Showreels Say” it’s a couple years old now, but it touches on all those trends in a really funny way.
I love cel animation. This trend has really hit its stride in the past few years. Almost every good piece I see has some element of classical animation integrated. It really adds a magical touch.
What do you see as upcoming future trends?
I see a huge push towards skills in classical animation and character animation as huge assets to have as a motion designer. This trend will continue, as it becomes easier to learn the basics of After Effects, people with these niche skills will be seen as separate from the pack and therefore more valuable.
I’ve been freelancing for 6 years, and in the last year, I’ve definitely noticed a huge spike in people in the community who have entered the freelance pool. Maybe that’s the new trend, more freelancers working remotely and less in-house designers.
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