Issue: April 1, 2008


No on can deny how wonderful life is in the digital world. We can be reached anywhere, anytime, we can listen to pristine digital audio while running a marathon, we can watch our favorite TV show on our handheld while flying across the country. With all that, we still long to meet face to face, read a book and see live music.

And today’s “digital” artists recognize that to get the best product, they sometimes have to live in both the traditional and digital worlds, and that is what our cover this month illustrates. While post artists are going to NAB to pick new digital tools, they still need to call on some old-fashioned ones from time to time, like the handy #2 pencil.

Dallas’s Janimation created our cover this month, and CEO/ creative director Steve Gaçonnier, says, “Art is, and always will be, in the eye of the beholder. So whether you're a fan of the queen of hearts, hot robot chicks, flat screens or maybe something more cerebral, as you walk the NAB show floor this year, keep in mind that although the show is 98 percent digital, take a look at the analog elements that help leverage that technology.

“Although we require the tools,” he continues, “it’s about the fantastic people who invent, modify, improve and creatively utilize them to deliver content. As much as I love to hate my laptop, I never feel that way about a Sharpie — maybe it's the smell of the Sharpie?”

Animator Matt Ebent, from Minneapolis’s Gasket Studio believes that analog tools in design, animation and visual effects have “an air of classic sophistication to them. Hand drawing, cel and stop motion animation are analog-style techniques we use here, and they require more skill and patience to work with because they are not as forgiving as their digital counterparts. Because of that, they receive more respect.”

He also feels that analog media leaves evidence that “someone was present; that the artist left their mark. But digital tools allow us creative flexibility and organizational freedom. Once you move into the digital realm, there's more immediate gratification — multiple avenues are available at once. We prefer to combine the two based on the creative needs of each individual project.”

James Larese, creative director at LA’s Syndrome, views computers and technology as another tool in the creative process. “Computers are the device used to bring all of our elements together. We prep through traditional mediums, ultimately digitizing textures, illustrations, footage and photography to create the foundation for our digital purposes.” He says, everything begins with a sketch, “but ends with a “Command S.”