Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Neighbourhood Studio Visit

The Neighbourhood Showreel 2010

After ringing the project manager Sarah Baker last week myself and 2 others went on a portfolio yesterday morning to The Neighbourhood's new design studio. After turning up at their new Lever Street Studio I instantly loved the new place they had just got for themselves. The building itself is fantastic as it has been modernised but still keeping some of the traditional elements of the build. When walking in the studio we were greeted by one of the designers and we sat in their waiting area while the creative director Jon Humphreys had finished in a meeting. From here we could see the studio and the fact they had just moved in the week previous as there were pictures ready to be hung and boxes to be sorted. Even though they had only been there a week they had already made the space their own by adding traditional furniture and creating a coffee table out of old books. This is one of the best studios I have been to as it felt like The Neighbourhood had a home. Some of the other studios I have visited have been quite empty and almost office-like, where as this you could tell they are a design company and they wanted to express that.

After a few minutes we saw the meeting room empty and Sarah (project manager), Jon (creative director) and Stewart (animator, designer and 3D enthusiast) come across to great us and introduce themselves. We then followed them into their new meeting room and sat around their huge traditional dining table. After looking up and seeing all along the wall the awards they had won from various competitions I knew I was in one manchester best design studios. We spoke to the 3 designers about our course and what it was we actually do. They were very interested in what we had to say and where we saw ourselves in the future. They asked where abouts in the country we saw ourselves heading after the course had finished and after we all showed interest of staying up north and hopefully at a design studio around this area they explained that that is where a lot of the business is moving and that we should definitely check out around here before venturing south.

You could tell that the designers liked how we spoke of our work and how we presented them our work. They expected us to take along disks and to use their Tv to show the work but when we said we had brought our laptops to show them our work I think they could tell we were making an effort to show what we were all about as individuals. After the others had shown their work we had a conversation with Jon about how we had recently produced showreels to show the work we had been producing over the last few years. He explained how they can sometimes do more harm that good and that it was important the amount of content you put in as you don't want them to seem repetitive and that a designer only does one way of working. After this Sarah, Stewart and John all looked towards me and I decided that I was still going to show my showreel I had produced. I am glad I did, they were all impressed by it and Jon mentioned he liked the fact I showed my working methods in there as well as my work. After this I showed them my Big draw ident and making of to explain how I put it together and the effort I went through to get the results I did. Also I wanted to show I could do a range of work from Maya to stop-motion. After this is explained the ideas behind ad showed my title sequence which I think went down well.

To finish with they showed us a piece of their work that Stewart had recently made 3D post-production. We all got handed the 3D glasses and were shown how the design world is changing and how ahead of the game The Neighbourhood were. They have been ready for some time for these types of jobs to come around and produce work of which I have never seen before. Stewart explained that making a piece 3D is something else he has just put in his toolbox much like other techniques such as using depth of field. After this we left as we had already taken up plenty of their time and they have deadlines to meet. It was a fantastic studio to visit and I hope one day I can work in a place just like it. The people were friendly, talented and just as passionate about the subject as I am which, is what I want when I leave. This is definitely a studio I will keep in touch with as I think they will be a great contact for the future and hopefully I will be able to go back again sometime.

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