Last year, Toby Heys, Head of the School of Digital Arts (SODA) at Manchester Metropolitan University reached out to frequent collaborator, Animator & Notch Designer Patrick Defasten, about creating a promotional video campaign for the school’s opening. The artist knew what Heys wanted, as they’d previously worked under AUDINT, a sonic research unit which Heys co-founded. Likewise, Heys was well aware of Defasten’s sensibilities, so they found it easy to arrive at an initial idea for visual design and branding.
Defasten spoke with Heys and the rest of the school’s faculty–industry-experienced teachers with access to state-of-the-art equipment for students to produce innovative works in the fields of 3D animation, VR/XR, film, digital music, game design, photography, and web/UX design. After discussing the faculty’s goals as an educational team, Defasten concocted a sleek, digital motion aesthetic that felt like a journey inside the virtual space powering the very computers the students would be using. Mutant Jukebox provided the musical accompaniment with a continuously flowing melody that paired well the visuals.
In addition to a motion design package, Defasten also created 3D architectural visualisations of the interiors of the new SODA building with Unreal from Revit files provided by the building’s architects. The artist and the school’s faculty developed a narrative script that formed the foundation of the animation. Defasten combined Notch’s real-time design process with an offline, rendered workflow, iterating various concepts quickly. The final result mixed 3D models, 2D assets, and both generative and keyframed animation.