Interview with Jan Sladecko: a C4D Motion Designer and Our Beloved Client with Contentful Portfolio
Before we start our passage, Fox Renderfarm, as your powerful render farm service provider, would like to invite you to see a well-made compilation of the animated shorts.
Space Struggle (Ep. 1 - Ep.4) © Jan Sladecko
Space Struggle is a short CGI animated series and also an excellent integration of character design, motion design and a bit of humorous storytelling. Fox Renderfarm is so honored to have a talk with the creator - Mr. Jan Sladecko. He used to work in famous studios like The Mill, Elastic.tv and Trizz Productions, SL, and now he is a freelance creative director and mainly working on personal projects.
- Jan Sladecko
- Creative Director / Motion Designer
- From: Czech Republic
2019 Showreel © Jan Sladecko
Jan’s love for CG can date back to the age of 12 and after the efforts and dedication in the CG industry for more than one decade, he gained audiences and success in multiple areas, such as, animation, movies, series, music videos, commercials and so forth.
Transformers IMAX: The Last Knight
The Americans - Teaser
J. Balvin - Azul (Official Animated Video)
His excellence in production has earned him a reputation in the industry, so he has been invited to share his experience by multiple famous conferences, brands and competitions, like IBC Conference, Adobe, Maxon, SIGGRAPH, Motion Design Awards (MDA).
（From left to right）IBC 2016, Interview with Adobe, SIGGRAPH 2017, SIGGRAPH 2019 (Invited by Maxon), Interview with MDA
Here comes the interview with Jan who shared his working experience throughout his career, more information about getting inspired and his unique creative vision.
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Jan, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Would you please introduce yourself?
Jan: Hi, thank you for inviting me, my name is Jan Sladecko, I’m a creative director currently based in LA with roughly 10 years of experience in the industry. I’m lucky that I could work in many different leading studios around the world. Currently I’m freelancing and trying to focus more on personal projects.
GUIDED BREATHING © Jan Sladecko
Fox Renderfarm: How did you encounter CG and get started in the CG industry?
Jan: I started with Flash animations when I was around 12, then learnt After Effects during highschool and gradually found the way to 3D world. Luckily I had a chance to join a VFX company right after school which taught me a lot.
ARXIV | OFFF Barcelona 2019
Design, Animation, Matchmoving, 2D Comp © Jan Sladecko
Fox Renderfarm: From 2D to 3D art, do you find 2D play an important role in developing your 3D art?
Jan: I worked many years in Flash and then After Effects where I was doing 2D compositions and motion graphics before I started learning 3D software. Nowadays I combine both and choose what is more fitting for each project and getting inspiration from both worlds. But I rarely start 3D art from 2D design, unless it is a client's reference.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you introduce your best commercial and TV works to us?
Jan: Hard to decide which one is my favorite one. I really enjoyed my older work with studio Oficina, but I’ll say IMAX: Transformers which I enjoyed to animate and design, it was a project I worked at the Mill.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s your pipeline of 3D art?
Jan: Before I dive into 3D I sketch often on paper, even though my drawing skills are really limited :) Most of the time I work on animations so as I start developing the 3D scene I’m already planning how things will be animated. When animation has many I always do a previz to get the overall timing and dynamics and from there, I start developing the shots.
When it is more complex 3D which needs more people, then I develop basic scenes and then give the rest of the team necessary data for their input and put everything back together later on. When I do styleframes, I focus on getting the composition and mood first and then add all the details.
ROBOT © Jan Sladecko
Fox Renderfarm: What projects have you worked on at The Mill? Is there any unforgettable work and experience to share?
Jan: I worked on many projects at the Mill. In some of them I was mainly an animator, in others designer as well. One of my favorite ones were Americans, Imax, Audi, Arxiv and Nissan (all can be seen on my Behance https://www.behance.net/sladecko)
The Americans Teaser
Audi E-Tron Range
ARXIV: A Mere Cipher
"Nissan Next" Brand Film
Favorite one was probably IMAX as it was my first job when I got a lot of responsibility for the entire spot and led other artists. Audi was also really interesting where I worked with a big VFX team which was doing realistic renders and high quality 2D comp and I was supplying them with all motion designs for the spot. But there are many other projects I could talk about and especially amazing people who I met there.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration of your short CGI animated series, Space Struggle? How did you come up with the idea and style?
Jan: I was experimenting while I came up with an idea of a flying car. At that same time Elon Musk sent a red car into space so I thought I could make a joke that astronauts trying to get into a flying car. Animation became really popular and I truly enjoyed storytelling so then I started working on new animations in that direction. Even now I have a lot of sketches for more and more episodes even though I’m taking a break from the series..
Space Struggle (Ep. 1 - Ep.4)
Fox Renderfarm: What is the most enjoyable part and the most difficult part while creating the Space Struggle series?
Jan: I enjoyed coming up with the ideas, when I was laughing in my head I knew that it is a good direction. Also I loved when I saw people reacting to the animations and laughing, that meant so much to me. The hardest part was definitely making character animations. It takes a lot of time, especially all interactions with ground and objects in the scene. I or my friends had to act these scenes for animation reference. Even though astronauts are a little bit easier to animate than normal characters as their movements are more restricted.
Fox Renderfarm: The Silly Wheels series are really cute and funny. How did you make it?
Jan: In that time there were really popular satisfying loop animations. I was trying to create some animation like that as well, but with more personality and humor. Initial idea of following the car I got from one pitch that I worked on at that time. And then through my imagination I started to think about things that could happen around it. For example melting Ice Cream track I thought it could be a nice moment of surprise for the audience.
Silly Wheels (Ep.1 - Ep.3 )
Fox Renderfarm: As an Award-winning Art Director, you were invited by Maxon to do talks at IBC 2016, SIGGRAPH 2017 and Siggraph 2019. How do you feel about that?
Jan: It was an amazing experience, it actually all started by speaking publicly in Czech TV and then conference Mouvo for about 400 people in 2016. I was really nervous, but excited and I was able to share my story in a funny way, entertain and educate people and that made me so joyful and happy. From that I got invited to IBC which was more technical, but it felt great to share know-how and tips, meet more people including the Maxon team and later on I got even a job offer for the J Balvin music video based on my SIGGRAPH talk. Worth mentioning that this project ended up being rendered on Fox Renderfarm :)
J Balvin - Azul (Breakdown)
Fox Renderfarm: What movies/tv shows/ games are your favourites respectively?
Jan: I watch and play way less than I used to (unfortunately). But one of my favorite movies was District 9, great visual effects and I loved the way the story telling was done. Miyazaki‘s movies are amazing and many other movies. From TV shows I like the cinematography of Game of Thrones, humor of What We Do in Shadows, metaphysical content of Midnight Gospel and the craziness of Love, Death & Robots. And my top games are Counter Strike, Age of Empires II, Company of Heroes and Ark: Survival Evolved.
Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?
Jan: I don’t search much for inspiration in the 3D world, but I like the works of Ondrej Zunka, Taehoon Park, Gryun Kim, Woosung Kang, Maxim Goudin, Sasha Vinogradova, Alberto Mielgo and many more.
© Ondrej Zunka
0110 © Taehoon Park
“Hunters” Main Titles © Gryun Kim
True Detective 3 Main Title © Woosung Kang
2020 showreel © Maxim Goudin
Spells © Sasha Vinogradova
THE WITNESS © Alberto Mielgo
Fox Renderfarm: Any software or new methods you are learning right now?
Jan: I was recently studying a lot outside of the motion design industry as well, but I’m interested in VR and interactive art.
Sim Nebula - Process Reel
Fox Renderfarm: Would you share with us your next step?
Jan: Currently I’m finding new ways to effectively connect through my work with the audience and have a positive impact on their life either through humor or mental health. Thinking also about a shift from client work to creating a product in that direction.
Flow of Love © Jan Sladecko
Fox Renderfarm: How do you like Fox Renderfarm’s rendering services?
Jan: I’m amazed, it works so smoothly, great user interface and amazing support. We were choosing between a few different render farms and Fox Renderfarm was a clear winner.
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?
Jan: Have fun, do what excites you and try to mix different inspirations with your own taste to achieve originality. Also don’t be afraid to reach out to your heroes.
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