This week we sat down for a chat with our Creative Director, Theo Hicks. 

Theo talks about his background, his role, what makes him tick and also gives us his thoughts on the animation industry as a whole.

To mark the opening of The Animation Guys’ new 3D animation studio, Theo also shares his views on 3D animation and explains how the team are using it to develop immersive, innovative and engaging videos for clients.

Good afternoon Theo.

Good afternoon.

First things first, where are you from?

It’s complicated… I am American and Belgian. Dual nationality, twice the fun! My parents are from the States and I have spent a lot of time there but I was born and raised in Belgium. I attended the international school where my parents both taught, so didn’t really get the authentic Belgique experience either (sacrebleu!). Sometimes I just say American when I’m sick of giving my life story to a fairly common question. Depends on the day really, but feel like a man of no land (name of my first country album). So London suits me quite well actually! 

Wow! Where do you now live?

In the hustle and bustle of London. Specifically Dalston. A vibrant area with lots of character and charm. It means I get to walk to work, and you can even occasionally find a pint there for under 5 pounds! (*sober sobbing noises)

Very edgy! How long have you been in animation?

Since I first booted up a computer! I was always looking at ways to make interesting things move on screen. Professionally I have been in the animation industry for about a decade.

How long have you been involved with TAG?

Jay and I started TAG about 5 years ago. We recognised the need for a reliable solution for companies looking to communicate with their audience through thoughtful video production and effective storytelling.

For someone unfamiliar with the industry, how would you describe your job role?

As Creative Director / ‘wearer of many hats’ I mainly live on the production side of things. I am a part of the process right from scoping the project out to delivering the final deliverables. I am either directing, or hands on throughout the process to make sure the client is getting what they need.

What would you say is your preferred animation design style?

Hmmm that’s a tough one. There are so many wonderful animation styles out there! I personally love simplicity and vibrance paired with character and it being effective for the underlying message.

How has the animation industry changed over the course of your career? Any new challenges?

The main thing I have noticed is that it is just getting bigger, better and brighter! Animation in media is well positioned for a lot of the way we started to consume content over the last decade so demand is high and the work out there reflects that. I think audiences’ expectations have risen as a result! The software changes every year but good foundation, design, art, ideas etc is still at the heart of successful animation. That will never change!

Sound advice. What is the most memorable 3D animation project you have worked on?

A fun recent one we did was AutoRek. In this project we created this conceptual animation for one of our Fintech clients.

Where do you look for inspiration when working on a 3D animation project?

There’s a lot of good blogs/video curated channels out there (motionographer, WINE after COFFEE to name a couple). My instagram feed is just a sea of work from some stellar animators and studios that’s always very inspiring (or overwhelming!)I think most of my inspiration comes from day to day life. 

What would your dream 3D animation project be (nothing is off limits here)?

I love working with awesome artists on awesome projects, which is why I feel so lucky with where I am and who I’m with. The project can look like just about anything as we are quite diverse in style! All our projects are my dream projects! GO TAG TEAM!

A very diplomatic answer! So, why have The Animation Guys decided to open a new 3D studio?

My background is in 3D and have always had a goal to push for more 3D in the studio. We have done a fair amount of it over the years but it was always more of a specialist area. We don’t want to limit our solutions to clients by medium. We always consult right from the initial enquiry on what style will suit your message best and create the style off the back of that, so want to make sure we have enough oomph to give to the 3D the projects.

What would you say is the most exciting aspect of opening a new 3D Studio?

Long render times! Just kidding. We love creating in new mediums and having new opportunities to bring the same passion and charisma to a new format of story telling. We want to bring the same fun 2D style that were known to 3D!

In your opinion what are the key features and benefits of 3D animation?

There’s a whole other dimension to explore (literally!). There’s no easy answer, your video is an investment of time and money and will represent your brand for years to come. It needs to be just right. Sometimes that’s 2D and just as many times that 3D! There’s no data on preference it’s more of a feeling. But there’s no doubt 3D definitely stands out.

Interesting. Thanks for your time Theo!

No worries, thank you!

Hopefully you found our chat with Theo both useful and informative! If you would like to ask him or another member of our team a question about the work we do and how we do it, feel free to contact us. For an in depth understanding of video animation we invite you to download our comprehensive workbook. It covers everything you will need to tell your story and beyond.