At the end of February, production team members Alesis Heaps and Joe Kryniski flew down to sunny Orlando to attend the KeyFrames Conference, a training event designed for motion graphics and VFX professionals. We chatted with Joe and Alesis to find out what they learned and why it’s important to attend conferences and learning events.
WHAT WAS SPECIAL ABOUT THIS CONFERENCE?
A: It was a large gathering of all motion-minded folk. Most conferences I go to include people in all video disciplines, but KeyFrames was exclusively for people working in motion design, which was neat.
J: It offered a good mix of new tricks and skills plus things that reinforced the skills I already had.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF KEYFRAMES?
A: I liked it overall, but I particularly took note of how most motion designers are filled with such self-doubt and concerned nobody will like the things they do. No matter how talented and experienced these animators were, every one of them felt self-conscious about sharing their work. It made me feel better about how I approach sharing my own projects.
J: I definitely noticed that “imposter syndrome” vibe! For me, the keynote presentation by Aharon Rabinowitz was fantastic. He talked about how his love of 80s TV shows led him to start a special effects company. It really resonated with me, because growing up in the 80s and watching a lot of those shows is what made me interested in video production as a career.
WHAT WAS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW BEFORE?
A: Making my workflow more efficient. I learned some great tips about designing on a tight deadline, like using the right tool/software for the job up front instead of getting ahead of myself.
J: I took classes on building movie trailer titles and kinetic typography, and I’m really excited to use those skills on some upcoming projects. Also, the “After Effects Secret Handshakes” class showed me some really cool Easter eggs in Adobe software.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO USE THESE SKILLS IN YOUR WORK AT BLINK?
A: The more overarching fundamentals we sometimes forget – I want to bring them back here in our own [internal] production workshops to spread the wealth with the team. It’s good to get back to the roots to remember the elements of what makes things good, not just the flashy shiny things that are fun and hip for the moment.
J: On the flip side, I did learn flashy stuff and would love to spice up some of the work I do!
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GO TO CONFERENCES LIKE THIS?
A: It’s incredibly important to continue your education past your formal education. We never stop learning. If we don’t attempt to learn outside our usual outlets (YouTube, peers, etc.), we’ll grow stagnant. You need outside influences and forces. At the very least, you’ll meet new people, see how they do things, and get reassurance that you’re on the right track.
J: This was the first conference I’ve attended at this level, and I really gained a lot of knowledge from it. It was a great way to reinforce skills I’ve learned, and I realized I know more than I sometimes give myself credit for. It’s given me a confidence boost in my work.