Q&A with Kelly Kurtz


Hello Kelly! First and foremost, congratulations on winning the Vega Digital Awards for your Grad Project “World Ski & Snowboard Festival Promo” and your title sequence project “188 Days”! Also, it is worth mentioning that your World Ski & Snowboard Festival Promo was recently published live and is actively promoting the event!

Q – Tell us, what was your first reaction after hearing you have won?
I was pretty shocked – I received an email informing me the winners had been announced and to check out the winners’ gallery, so naturally I assumed I hadn’t won anything. I was excited to see the amazing work that had been submitted and then found my graduate project on the winners page! And right beside it was another piece I had created, a motion title sequence, which put me into double shock!

Q – What do you think set your projects apart from the rest of the nominees?
I am not really sure!

Q – Can you briefly summarize what your grad project is about?
It is an animated promo for the World Ski and Snowboard Festival held annually in Whistler, BC.

Q – Why did you chose that as a topic?
I used to work in the ski industry full time for 12 years, so when it came to my graduate project I wanted to work on something that I am passionate about, something fun.

Q – How did you come up and define your story line?
I chose the approach of “what do I want my audience to feel” when they view the piece approach. The answer was that I wanted them to feel excited about all the festival has to offer – skiing, snowboarding, nightlife, concerts and events.

Q – When it came to choosing your art direction, what were the steps you took to define it?
Ski culture has always revered fluorescent colours, so when I mixed that idea with the après part of the festival a glow in the dark feel emerged. I defined the art direction in the previsualization stage of my project and refined it throughout production as each frame was drawn.

Q – What is the most important step that you think cannot be skipped when you are in the pre-production stage?
For me music was locked in early, I find it a back and forth process when trying to previsualize a project. The sound doesn’t get enough credit yet it is half the impact to the viewer. When I hear different music I see different animations, the music has a huge impact on what visual elements will work or not work. I had a very clear picture of what the piece was going to look like from the beginning, and when I am working on a piece that I can’t see that I need to spend more time seeing it, otherwise it is wasted time later.

Q – What were the challenges that you needed to overcome when creating your grad project?
My first logo animation that transitioned the rotating skier into the logo was very drippy looking, and didn’t fit the overall art direction. 3D rotating characters doing ski & snowboard tricks required a 3D rotating logo animation. I took the logo into Cinema 4D, twisted it up with deformers and created a small animation that was rendered out to use as a reference to then frame by frame over in Photoshop. The result was not only fitting the overall art direction of the piece but it ended up being a favourite scene for most viewers.

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2016 ADOBE DESIGN ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS: SEMIFINALISTS

The final batch of semifinalists was recently announced for the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. VFS Digital Design now has 17 nominated projects in total combined with the work previously selected in May. Good luck to all the recent graduates and current students!

Congratulations to the following semifinalists:

WHO’S NEXT CARE-Y?
Zora(Xue) Zhao

DRIVE FOR IMPACT – SOAP BOX DERBY FOR CHARITY
Kelly Kurtz
Saida Saetgareeva
Jason Chau
Nikki Ji
Sukhwinder Singh
Angelina Han

WAFFLE FACTORY
Ainara Sáinz

KINO
Ainara Sáinz

BRAVE NEW WORLD
Adriana Ogarrio

BETTER TOGETHER
Adriana Ogarrio

Experimental Light Painting with Class 34

As part of Experimental Practices, an elective term 4 course taught by Dougal Muir, there was a fun session of light painting photography that took place last week. I helped to guide the shooting after sharing some tips on technical requirements and some sources of inspiration. We made use of a camera remote, a tripod, slow shutter speeds, gels, and various LED lights. Check out the following light painting results by Digital Design Class 34!

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Animated Typeface – League Spartan

It’s that time again where students in Term 3 at VFS Digital Design get to work on the Animated Typeface project. Recap: It is a collaborative class initiative where each student makes a second long animated sequence for 3 – 4 glyphs. This time League Spartan was used and this typeface was created by Tyler Finck, Micah Rich, and Caroline Hadilaksono.

These sequences needed to be 25 frames long using three or fewer of the chosen colours. It has been amazing to see the incredible work.

To view the full project, please check out:

League Spartan Animated Typeface

Here is what some students have to share about their experience:

Lawrence Teng

Lawrence Animated Type Screenshot

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