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This installment of the Creative Inspirations series takes viewers into the life and home studio of one of the entertainment industry's most sought-after motion graphics designer. Rick Morris is a classically trained illustrator who successfully transitioned into the world of motion graphics. His highly expressive works have appeared as opening titles for films such as Mi Vida Loca, television programs like "Survivor," and commercials for Toyota, Kyocera, and Michelin. He's also designed the menu titles for the DVD of "The Sopranos." This installment of Creative Inspirations shows how Rick evolves his skills and applies them to moving images, how he continually develops his creative perspectives, and how he became a popular teacher at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and Otis College of Design in Los Angeles. To learn more about Rick Morris, visit his website at nobleassassins.com.
(Music playing.) So initially I started as an illustrator, everybody starts from something at some point. I was just a constant and persistent nonstop scribbler. Cars were one of my first fascinations. I grew up in Detroit, so there was no avoiding it. Sit down lies, these were just some sort of figures. Okay, random scribbles. I was just sort of, I was going further like for these primitive shapes and I don't start out figuring out what the end result is going to be.
I hit on an image, I hit an idea or something and then I decide where I am going to take it, whether it's going to become a motion piece, contribute to our project I'm working on or just become a static painted personal item for me. Type-wise, there is just not one way of working with type. Type is as open and expansive and expressive to me as anything else, any shape, form, object or whatever. I just like to be just as free and uncalculated with that as possible.
I will just sit and fill up a page and then one page will turn into three pages, will turn into like pretty much half a book by the time I am done. This is kind of a demonstration of the continuation of the line thing. Once you develop a lyrical line flow, it's like developing a lyrical rhyme flow or any other kind of flow or ice skating or whatever it takes. It's just this one nonstop motion that just takes you through and everything connects and you know every curve and bend to make it, twist and turn and just when it's needed.
Everything is a line drawing before it becomes a flowed in, inked in colored, finished deal. People who don't draw basically just go find images in different places, scan things and then just paste them together. Learning how to do draw gives you the ability to where if you just have a head shot, or like down to the mid level shoulders or something. If you have to finish something off, you understand the rest of that physical form, or whether it's a car or a building or an animal or? You have a complete understanding of what it takes to complete that.
So you are fine with the starter pieces to get you going. The illustration thing figures in prominently here. It always has for me. These folks were calling for a "Sal Bassy" approach and I know he is everybody's hero, but that's because his specific style just came from illustration and somehow being born of that, it just gave him a patent signature look to everything he developed.
Created like all these different variations on a theme. Which in brief means if you took a speedometer like this, which was like the first frame and broke it down to the fundamentals, it ultimately just becomes a circle and then it's just design play with that. The graphic becoming the sort of like illustrated element. To me what makes a motion piece great, truly? There's the technical school that is always going to be alert and aware of what people are doing with rabbit in a hat tricks, and visual magic and special effects flies. I think there is some truly amazing things happening.
Then there is the other school is, what kind of a story are you telling and that can be done on the lowest of low-fi kind of approaches and treatments. It doesn't require big effects. It doesn't require heavy gear. I mean it can be as simple as just a line drawing moving across the screen. If I feel a sense of that I am being taken somewhere, especially if I am being taken somewhere unexpectedly, then that makes for a great motion piece to me.
I love unexpected endings.
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