Singapore-based creative duo Machineast, “a creative design studio that provides high quality, fresh and dynamic key visuals”, were present at the recent POLYCON 2016, an international digital media arts festival held at Bandar Sunway and Kuala Lumpur, to educate The One Academy students about ways of the industry including active participation during Masterclass to refine their design skills.
Co-founder Ando, short for Rezaliando, has worked in various motion graphic studios with clients ranging from Ubisoft, Disney and ESPN to MTV, prior to establishing Machineast with his partner. With a passion to impart his knowledge, he conducts plenty of workshops internationally. To boost his credit, he was also part of the top international designer team behind Project 2501, the homage to “Ghost in the Shell”, a highly-popular Japanese media franchise.
Ando’s counterpart is Fizah Rahim, whose design palette is highly influenced by animated title sequences and music videos as she was growing up. Her clientele prior to Machineast include some of world’s best brands such as Nike, IBM, ESPN, HBO, Ubisoft and TIME magazine. She has been awarded the prestigious Promax/BDA World Gold Awards for Animax Pupil music video.
At POLYCON 2016 Bandar Sunway, both of them were generous in letting The One Academy students learn about their journey to success and also their valuable approaches to design. Titled ‘Visual Aesthetics in Design’, their day-long Masterclass covered steps to provide creative solutions for execution of both idea and visual. Based on over a decade of experience, they asserted that designs should not only be visually appealing but also meaningful.
During the class, Machineast decided to put the focus on style frame, which is a “frame that encompasses the entire look and feel of a video or image”. Therefore, they are important indicator of a project’s style and direction. The style frames are a designer’s initial “promise” to a client as it guides their end expectations of the project.
To make great style frames, Fizah said that one has to “feed your brain with lots of inspiration” through websites, books, photography and travelling. All the skills that could appear minor will actually be helpful in the long run, for example sketching, photoshop, illustrator and especially photography that improves sense of framing.
But most importantly, the deciding factor is never the tools one uses, but their design instinct. “It’s your art sense that matters the most, not your plugins,” Fizah said.
During the style framing exercise, The One Academy students were instructed to create frames based on different settings and visuals. One exercise that stood out was framing a samurai fight scene. According to Ando, character placement in the foreground and background is crucial in creating a sense of depth. Taking advantage of character poses can also convey different meanings and moods.
To be better in creating style frames, Ando gets inspired through movies from a design point of view. A scene’s direction, mood, atmosphere, lighting and other appealing aspects are not only observed, but reasons behind their use are understood. According to Fizah, there’s always scenes in movies that attract us, and as a designer, “you must understand why you like that scene”.
Both Ando and Fizah had uncertainties and no clients when they first started Machineast. Nevertheless, their mutual interest had brought them together. Due to their talent and similar vision towards their goal, Machineast became known in the design circle, and they started receiving invites to conferences and talks, while also being commissioned by countless international brands.
Both of them said that if you enjoy doing something, just do it or you will never know what happens. “Go with the wildest idea first. Don’t think about the difficulty of the end expectation, or you’ll never get anything done,” Fizah advised.
In the current tertiary education, institutions encourage talented graduates to stay on and continue lecturing after studies, be it part or full time. The One Academy takes a step further and curates successful industry professionals to provide a ‘Masters Train Masters’ learning environment so that students can learn and be inspired by the best role models.
Ando and Fizah during ‘Visual Aesthetics in Design’ Masterclass at POLYCON 2016, The One Academy.
Style framing of predator and prey during ‘Visual Aesthetics in Design’ Masterclass at POLYCON 2016, The One Academy.
Ando handing out Machineast goodies at POLYCON 2016, The One Academy Bandar Sunway.