One could think that, due to all his great accomplishments, Ryan Honey would be a hard to talk to person, but the opposite is true. Sitting in the Water Street Cafe on a sunny morning, he welcomes us students with a big smile and makes us feel very comfortable right away. We are still a bit shy and ask him to share a bit about his life and how he got where he is today. To my surprise, instead of saying how hard he worked or how lucky he was to be talented, the first thing he says is that he was very lucky meeting the right people who helped him get where he is. It’s not that he didn’t work hard or wasn’t very talented, he certainly did and was, but I think it’s really great when we can recognize other people’s help in our path and remember that we are not alone, but need each other.
First, I would like to thank VFS for the amazing opportunity to have lunch with Buck’s Creative Director, Ryan Honey. It was a pleasure to meet with a former VFS Digital Design graduate who has successfully climbed the ropes of the motion graphics industry. His company has become a highly sought after and respected agency that continues to surprise and surpass expectations with its visually stunning and highly technical creative pieces. If there is one message that clearly came through, it was that everything is possible. In regards to the work the company creates, the more quirky and the more crazy, the more fun. Ryan enjoys the creative challenge that comes along with being one of the top dogs of the motion design industry.
When Ryan gave our projects feedback as an Artist in Residence, it seemed as if he had seen them a million times. He was quick to spot places we could improve on, and was direct about it. He has been in the industry for years…he knows what he’s talking about.
Admittedly, I was very nervous about the lunch. I mean, it’s Ryan Honey, co-founder of Buck! And for those of you interested in motion graphics, you ought to know that Buck is where Jr. Canest (Jorge) interned after graduating from VFS.
Three students from Digital Design won a once-in-a-lifetime lunch with motion graphics legend Ryan Honey, co-founder of Buck. I was fortunate enough to be able to sit in with them and also ask Ryan some questions I’ve had in the back of my mind as well.
The students — Adriana, Leon and Magda — had excellent questions concerning the motion graphics industry. Adriana, in particular, pointed out her interest to use motion graphics as a tool to bring awareness for social change. She asked questions like, ‘Should a designer bear responsibility for any negative impacts his/her design has had on individuals and/or communities?’ and ‘How important is it for a designer to thoroughly research and understand how his design will be used, and who it will affect?” All tough but important questions. Ryan had remarkable acuity, explaining that in order to make any money in the industry you need to do projects that you aren’t entirely happy with. The upside is that the money you make from the those ones can give you time and money to support projects that really mean something to you. Buck has done many amazing non-profit projects that bring awareness for social change, for example, they did all the background GFX for ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘, a video documentary by former United States Vice President Al Gore to educate people about global warming.
I, on the other hand, had more technical questions about the particular work flows and processes that Buck uses for creating some of the most amazing, hand-rendered clips in the motion graphics world. Ryan unveiled how they usually start off with a CG version of the project and use it as a guide. This way the animators don’t get too far off track and they can concentrate more on the details and transitions. They also do most of the classical animation work on a Cintiq and use flash to animate. I also asked if it is difficult to find good classical animators. Ryan explained that they don’t like to hire classical animators because they are trained traditionally. He would rather get amazing art directors and teach them how to animate classically, this way the style and approach are more in line with Buck’s vision.
All in all, it was an amazing experience. Ryan was very generous with his time and knowledge. We all definitely walked away with some incredible insight and inspiration.
It was exciting to be back in the halls of VFS Digital Design — my old stomping ground. I graduated from the program, back in 1997, when it was called Multimedia, and it’s been a surreal and gratifying experience to be able to give back as an Artist In Residence. It was a whirl-wind week that reminded me of why I got into the industry in the first place — that hunger and passion to create new experiences. And it’s inspiring to see students who have so much boundless energy and enthusiasm and can’t wait to embark on their careers.