An Interview with Luc Dimick
What compelled you to start a career in art?
It was the only thing I was good at as a kid. I remember my mom saying, “Luc, you are pretty good at this art thing, you should be a graphic designer, that’s the only way you’ll make any money.”
What was the first piece of animation software that you used and why?
The first animation software I used was Director, on the job. Director was kind of one of those programs we had on the hard drives that we never used, but I would play around with it.
What do you use now?
I’m using primarily After Effects and Flash.
Can you tell me what your workflow is on a project?
I start with frame-by-frame animation because I like the squiggly-line effect of the hand-drawn look. From Flash I’ll export that out and bring it into After Effects and composite it with backgrounds I’ve created in Photoshop, Illustrator, or other .swf files. I’ll typically layer it in that way.
Do you make use of the 2.5D aspects of Flash and After Effects?
Yes; for example on my film Prison Beta I used it to bring another layer of dimensionality to my 8-bit characters to make them look like they are turning in 3D space. Rather than just kind of flipping in 2D space, now I use it when compositing swfs in After Effects to get that extra sense of depth and perspective in between the foreground and background.
Can you share a moment when you found something really inspiring?
I always kind of fostered this interest in the fine arts and kind of kept it hidden away and focused on graphic design and animation because this kind of art is ‘okay.’ This other kind of thing, fine art, is for people who live under bridges. Until I saw Basquiat. That film inspired me and made me really excited about fine art, it made me think this is something I can do and I don’t have to be ashamed of it. Once that door opened I saw how I could combine that interest in fine art with my skills in graphic design and animation.
What aspect of the 3D skillset appealed to you as an artist with a background in traditional media and 2D animation?
I really like that technique I’ve seen in The Triplets of Belleville, where it’s obvious that a 3D-generated element was added, like the vehicles, but had a 2D feel to it. I’m interested in that area where 3D can overlap into 2D.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Other artists, the work of other artists. Recently it’s been Cy Twombly. My interest in him comes and goes, and recently it came back and I was looking at his work again. He passed away recently. I’m interested in that scratch and smear style of painting and making it move, animated. It would be interesting to see how 2.5 could play into that, and get that depth I was talking about earlier.
What is your dream project?
An animated feature of some sort. Something nontraditional. Nontraditional meaning something more in the vein of Triplets of Belleville than say something like Bakshi.
What have you done so far that you are most proud of?
My short Prison Beta. It’s a 23-minute found-footage/8-bit animation short film. It’s not the animation that I’m most proud of, it’s the conceptual idea behind it.
What skills do feel like you are still learning or improving upon?
I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my skills as a traditional 2D animator and translating my drawings into animation. it’s good that has been able to cross over nicely into my teaching. The students in my 2D classes tend to gravitate towards a more hand-drawn look.
I feel like college-aged students right now have a real appreciation for craft, do you think that 3D has had an influence on this?
Oh, definitely. 3D has set this bar for quality. That bar has been set, and they are working to get their 2D stuff to that level of quality.
Is there any movie that you’ve seen that you wished you worked on?
Ratatouille, my favorite Pixar film. The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist. There’s a lot actually.
Excerpted from 3D Motion Graphics by Bill Byrne © 2012 Elsevier Inc All Rights Reserved