Joining the University of Teeside as a mature student after four years as a BT telecoms specialist, motion designer Martin Craster started university (then 21) as a focused individual. Taught by Marcus Diamond, the co?founder of Neasden Control Centre, Martin was exposed to a “very different but very enjoyable way of manually producing graphic design” – a hands-on approach that drove his hunger to experiment with other disciplines. “Creating motion graphics excited me more than just producing a static piece of graphic design, I felt it took my ideas to the next level,” he explains.
Testing out this theory, Martin interned at The Rumpus Room, working closely with Tom Roope and his team on an interactive project for Talk Talk called Brightstage. This asked fans to film themselves singing or dancing to pop songs, and if they were good enough, the footage would be shown before X-Factor. It used sound-reactive, face-tracking and augmented-reality software, and included designing a series of fun props for people to interact with.
This stint left a lasting impression on Martin and he transferred to the University of Salford in Manchester for his final year to be closer to studios where he could pick up technical skills (such as Mainframe North where he interned two days a week), and taught himself Cinema 4D and After Effects along the way.
Winning a place at D&AD’s month-long Graduate Academy just after finishing his course in 2012 (and picking up a Yellow Pencil for his HP Moving Image brief), Martin then went on to intern for VFX studio MPC (where he created motion graphics for Cravendale), Young, Double G Studios and Bibliotheque, building up an impressive and varied portfolio of commercial work before making the decision to go freelance. “I racked up six internships before saying enough is enough. The studios I wanted to work for weren’t hiring at the time, so I decided to work for myself.”
Since then Martin hasn’t looked back, and has recently been freelancing on some soon-to-launch projects for Rupert Ray, the new agency set up by Alex Maclean and Caroline Matthews (both formerly of Airside).