I have received the latest issue of Web Designer magazine, which hosts a full page interview presenting my thoughts behind the creation of Space Alone flash animation, now a part of >FlashTv website, too.
You can read the full interview in WebDesigner magazine issue 145 with the main header saying: “Ancient greek philosophy is given a modern-day spin in our latest animation from Flash man Ilias Sounas”. Nice! And there’s a full video with the animation included in the DVD.
By the way, Web Designer magazine has great tutorials about flash, dreamweaver, photoshop, php relating to web design as always. And it comes from UK of course!
“Everyone is looking for a friend. Even in space…” Watch the allegoric eternal journey of beings driven by their natural instinct to find other people to communicate. Even though its end is not always positive, the final encounter creates something special: memories.
Q1: Where did you find the inspiration behind SPACE ALONE?
A1: Space Alone’s true inspiration comes from ancient greek philosophical theory that humans are social beings and always try to find friends driven by their nature (Aristotle). Based on this belief I had the idea of depicting this very human instinct in an allegoric animation about loneliness and friendship set in a space environment. I strongly believe that there are two kinds of people: those who are looking for friends throughout their lives (represented as a programmed robot in Space Alone film) and those who are just waiting “on their planet” for others to get in touch. Sometimes though, friends can’t always be together and after their paths are separated (for various reasons like death), their memories are what is left. So the yellow creature of the film is the true Space Alone character living with memories (the pile of chips) of all the friends he has encountered so far.
Q2: What tools and techniques did you use in the creation of the piece?
A2: Space Alone approach was entirely digital. Flash was the main tool for the composition of different characters and backgrounds. I drew roughly all the frames of the characters’ motion, which I exported to Illustrator. There I drew clean vector lines using a custom nice brush for smooth line art, while using different layer for every frame. Finally the line art was imported in Flash, where colour was added. I used mainly blue and dark colour shades for a sad look, which I then enhanced by using various textures in different blending modes in Flash. Of course the most important guide was the beautiful music track I used, which gave me the rhythm for my storytelling. All the frames created in Flash were exported as high quality image sequence and the final composition with the music track was made in After Effects.
Q3: What is it you enjoy about animation, and where do you hope it will take you in the future?
A3: I regard animation as the best way to tell stories with strong messages based on philosophy with surprising end points, which have simple designed, yet nice and appealing characters. I really enjoy the magic of giving life to illustrations facing a great challenge: no use of dialogue. That’s the most difficult part for me, to tell efficiently the whole story in full emotion and feelings, using only sketches. The lack of dialogue is filled by the use of great music melodies, which contribute to the overall mood. So far there was a very positive feedback from people around the world and my future stories are still based on these principles. I hope they will be regarded the same, too.
Q4: Any words of advice for those looking to break into animation?
A4: Though I admire excellent drawing skills in animation, I don’t think these are enough to make your stories stand out. Animation is like the real films, you need a balance of nice animated illustrations along with a strong story plot. Without a central message, it’s hard to make the difference. Just shape up your personality!