An interview with Fraser Davidson

By Ed Vinicombe on Sep 17th, 2013

Hey Fraser, for those who are unaware would you care to introduce yourself?

Sure, Im Fraser Davidson, animator and designer. I run an animation company Sweet Crude with Simon Tibbs in Hoxton, London. I also do a bit of sport design. Team logos etc.

Tell us about Sweet Crude and 100 frames. Co-founding both of these companies must keep you busy!

Well, sweet crude is our animation collective, we set it up a few months back having freelanced for a time. It keeps us super busy. In our down time, we started our animated project 100 frames. the idea is extremely simple. Animated shorts that last 4 seconds. Thats it. At present we are working on a project about life in London. The A-Z of London.

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Considering you do a lot of sort branding how do you find the inspiration to make each piece of work truly unique from one another?

I worry that I don't occasionally. Obviously I have quite a strong style that informs the way I draw animals etc, and that seems often to derive similar looking solutions to problems that start from quite different directions. I have been drawing lots of wolves and dogs recently and I had to revisit a few of them as I felt they were all starting to look like each other. If you have quite a minimalist style, you find that there are fewer permutations to explore than if you have a more detailed aesthetic.

What has been your favourite project you've worked on this year?

Good question. Probably the piece I animated in January for the Super Bowl. Its a monologue written by Bill Maher conflating the NFL's fiscal policies to those of the left. Its a great piece of writing that I thought would translate well and it seems to have gone over well.

When starting a new project what is the first thing you do?

The final piece. Planning and procrastination just cause me to worry. I like to get a sense of how a project will turn out as soon as possible, so I start working in After Effects or Illustrator as soon as possible. It also helps me keep my enthusiasm for a project up. I lose interest slightly if something is planned meticulously before hand. I like to be able to make decisions on the fly and during the process as much as possible. Often things occur to you as you get into a project and a nice loose brief/ storyboard/ concept allows you to work within that.
Animation is a long process. If you do all the creative thinking before hand, you miss opportunities to improvise and be creative throughout.

Where do you go for inspiration when starting a new piece of work?

I love Dribbble. Its a great source of inspiration for any project of any visual style. Other than that I look at Motionographer a fair bit. It can be a bit overwhelming trawling through all the great work on their sometimes. You can get a bit demoralised by the quality of all the talent there.

Designers you would recommend checking out?

If you are into sports design, there is only one guy in my mind. Joe Bosack. He is a true craftsman. He has all the patience and forethought to gradually hone an idea that I lack. I have been lucky enough to work with him a few times and he's always very positive. He can take ideas and elements from a rough concept I hand him that I otherwise wouldn't have known were there. In terms of animated work its Buck. Beautiful design but most important is the movement. I'm of the opinion that animation is all about key frame velocities and those guys are the undisputed champions of that.

Design essentials? (e.g. hardware, software)

Illustrator, photoshop, after effects etc. Same as everyone else I guess.

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