Brighton-based Simon Armstrong is the creative director and guiding light behind the creative multi-platform animation studio, ticktockrobot, but he's also well known in his own right as a 3D animator and designer.
As the new ticktockrobot showreel goes live, we caught up with Simon to find out just what makes him tick (tock)
Where did you train and what did you specialise in?
I completed an Illustration / Animation degree at Kingston University in 2003. I specialised in storytelling and creating characters and concepts for complete campaigns.
What kinds of craft materials/tech do you work with and why?
I've always enjoyed all mediums. My specialities are Maya character animation and After Effects animation and compositing. I've also dabbled in Flash animation and coding among other things. I try and learn anything I need to help create the idea I've had and how I want to communicate it. I'm really more about the ideas and getting them produced.
What has been your favorite piece you've created and why?
Honestly, my company ticktockrobot. It has allowed me to work with some truly great artists, operators and clients. Every job we complete we're proud of, as we only take on jobs which we feel work with our portfolio and aesthetics. Also, I do love clockwork and robots so playing with the studio branding is always great fun.
I think Me, Marionette might be my favourite project, which I created with one of our directors, Graham Carter. It was a great launch project for our company and was truly fun and rewarding to create.
I'm also fond of the 40-minute behemoth I directed last year - La Triste Historia. It's an animated film that was projected live with the Houston Symphony Orchestra as part of the Day of the Dead festival there. It was an exceptionally tough brief and timeline but my team were amazing and the response over the pond was fantastic.
Which clients have you worked for?
MySpace, Red Bull, Turner Broadcast, Toyota, UKTV, Dreams Bed retailer, Wellcome Trust, Houston Symphony Orchestra and Goodwood Revival.
What/who are you biggest influences?
I grew up loving Godzilla and Ray Harryhausen movies, Transformers cartoons and greek mythology. A lot of my work is steeped in dark cinematic compositions and low lighting, with themes that often focus on social structures. I collect the 'Art of..' books for animated films, because I feel this is just as interesting and intriguing as the end result.
People whose work or attitudes inspire me are Chris Cunningham, M C Esher, Boards of Canada, Philip Hunt, John Lassiter, Ed Catmull, the Quay Brothers, Radiohead, Michel Gondry, Saul Bass.
What would be your one piece of advice for creatives aspiring to work in the design industry?
Keep going and keep learning. If you aren't proud of what you've done and haven't taken something new away from it, don't worry, but look for it in the next project, or more importantly, start your own.
It's hard to find time for self-directed projects, but it's incredibly important and relevant to a career.
What are you working on now?
We're gearing up to start on a very exciting multimedia campaign for a creative educational organisation, working with our latest signing Chloe Batchelor. The campaign is an important environmental message delivered over the app, viral and print mediums using Chloe's wonderful, colourful and eclectic characters and ideas. We're also creating a music video with Graham Carter, drafting up several children's TV series pitches and I'm trying to find the time to start production on my short film.
Opener for ticktockrobot showreel 2014