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Grumo Interview: Creating animations that inspire people – by Nick Navatta

Here is an interview with Nick Navatta, a talented animator who recently took our animation course.
I checked his previous work and was impressed with some of his stop motion style projects.

What really blowed my mind is that he created an amazing video animating his answers!
Check it out here:

An now the written interview as well:

When did you start animating and why?

Actually, about one year ago while working for a company called Alphachimp Studio in Nashville, TN.
I have always loved to draw and paint, and I began to become fascinated with the question of, "What emotionally connects and inspires people?", or "How do I reach people's hearts?".

So now, I want to use my animations to create emotionally valuable experiences for other people. That could mean doing an animation for a music video-it could also mean helping a startup tell a story about it's new idea. Whoever it is, I want-to help them get the result that makes them, and the people they serve, a little more happy.

What are your favourite tools for animating?

For basic illustrative animations I like Brushes for iPad and iMovie to edit. For me it's simple, fun, and plays to my strengths as an illustrator. I'm really enjoying learning After Effects, especially after seeing that that seems to be the software of choice for demo videos. And I am very interested in even exploring stuff like sand animation. Honestly, I'm an open book right now.

What is your favorite project you've done so far?

My favorite project was doing a black and white charcoal time-lapse photography music video for a musician named Gavin Mikhail. It was a Christmas song named "Evergreen".
I enjoyed it because I got to use my traditional art skills, concept skills, and the music-well, it has emotion in it! So I felt I was able to connect to my own personal inspiration while doing the project.

Miguel: Here is the amazing video Nick did for Evergreen:

Please talk a little about the process of creating the Xmas time-lapse video.

How did you get the job? how long it took? where did you learn that technique?
I got the Christmas Video gig when I was doing what is called 'graphic recording' at a small music workshop in Nashville. One of the speakers was a guy named Gavin Mikhail, who has quite a loyal following on YouTube. We became friends and right before Christmas he contacted me to let me know that he had an opportunity to enter a contest through YouTube-a 'Song for the Seasons' contest.

I created the video on short notice, but all in all, it took about 60+ hours-and that is everything, from storyboard to finish. The technique I used was time-lapse photography. Every second equaled ten photos. I actually picked up this ratio from the artist, Jason Mitcham, who created the Avett Brothers video "Head Full of Doubt".

So, I had to think about what I wanted to happen in one second, and I would make small changes with every shot. I became familiar with the idea of time-lapse through the RSA videos, and had some first hand experience when I worked for Alphachimp Studios.

I got to creating the video and as it turns out, it was selected as one of the 12 YouTube selected , and went on to get 200,000 views in 24 hours!
Which project has been the hardest and why?

One in particular was designing an infographic for a hospital's operation room process. Though I think it was a great cause, there wasn't a lot of times where i was like , "This is AWESOME!". And well, it wasn't an animation and didn't have a lot of room for story. I try my best to find projects with a little room for having fun, and I guess this one didn't strike me as much fun! If I feel connected to the project, it is much easier to give my best work.

Where do you find inspiration for your animations?

Wel, Grumo Media for one 🙂 Really though, your videos are great, and watching these let me know I can have FUN and provide a service at the same time.
I also have a love storytelling artists like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. I actually really like Childrens books of all kinds for their original art.
I can appreciate a lot of the skill that Graffiti artists have, even though it may offend some people. I like stuff that expands and challenges perception too-I like the art of artists like MC Escher. And then there is music and sound effects-I think it is what inspires imagery for me, and helps me think 'cinematically' about animation.

Who are your favourite animators and why?

I am really getting into transitions, so I am digging the sand art of Kseniya Simonova.
I'm a fan of Cognitive Media's videos published through the RSA for their concepting and illustrating.
And just found out about this graffiti artist named BLU. His videos are on YouTube and are so much fun to watch-super impressive!

How can companies get in touch with you?
If you want to get in touch with me, the simple way is to email me at nicknavatta@gmail.com. My twitter handle is @nicknavatta. And I have a website at www.nicknavatta.com

Thanks a million for going the extra light year and creating an entire animation for this interview!
Nick is da man!

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