Barry Chapman mixes sound and sport for satisfying animation

Barry Chapman is a motion designer, but his inspirations come from all things sound, sport and photography.

Two of his personal projects riff on basketball courts and sports staples, making for a fresh take on the many satisfying 'simulation animations' seen out there. 'The Big Flip' (below) sees bowling balls and skateboards move around people-less places to a bumping soundtrack, making for one sensual trip in motion design.

"I'm currently working as a motion designer at
Stink Studios in London," Barry tells me. "Before that I was at the creative content studio, Piranha Bar in Dublin (I'm Irish). Previously to there I was working in a few ad agencies around Dublin. I started off my careers working in a studio in Canada, so have been around the block a bit as they say. You can find all my work on my website here."

"'The Big Flip' came about as I was looking to improve at 3d. Around the time I started making that project I was introduced to the photography of George Byrne and Petra Leary. I love the effortlessly playful yet visual sophistication of their work, so I was hoping to try and do my own version of that vibe.

"And from that came the second project 'Courts'. I reached out to Petra Leary, who's an incredible aerial photographer, and shared the animation I'd made. She asked would I be interested in doing a project with her work, and obviously I jumped at the opportunity.

"Petra sent over some of her photos that she felt would work well with animation. I picked a few that I thought I could hopefully do something interesting with. After that we had a little back and forth on what I'd work on.

"The process was really fun, I must say. She was really open to me playing around with her images and experimenting with adding 3d elements; she's a very generous artist, very easy to work with."

Barry describes animating the 'flips' which see each court turn and change design as "really simple".

"I just needed to get to the next court stage as quickly as possibly," he explains. "I wanted each of the transitions to be really smooth and snappy, just so the viewer would need to view the process a few times to understand what is happening.

"I also wanted each transition to be different to the last, just to give the whole thing a bit of variation and also to challenge myself to re-think new ways of getting from A to B.

"Naturally I think that I enjoy making fun and playful work so I suppose the 'flip' style came from me trying to amuse the audience with unexpected twists and turns."

These animations may look less magical though without the sound work at play in them.

"I'm definitely someone that buys into the idea that sound is just as, if not more important, than the visuals," Barry agrees. "I'm a (very much part-time) musician so I am interested in the music/ sound design process.

"Whenever I start a new project I spend quite a bit of time thinking about which sound studios I would like to work with and what they might bring. Usually I just give them free reign creatively.

"I find that by doing that people become more invested and seek to put their own stamp on the project and do their own thing. I worked with two great sound studios on these projects;
Mt Wave Studio and Folding Waves."

Play ball with Barry @barrychapmanmotion.

Related: Sound Design 101, our guide to animators and audio artists joining forces

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