What is your background?
Jim: I have always been very creative ever since I could first hold a pencil, whether it was drawing, creating music, artwork or even experimenting in the kitchen, anything really that allowed me to release my imagination.
I’m actually completely self-taught with no formal training in web-design/animation. I graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University UK in 2005 with a degree in Creative Music & Sound Technology. It all really happened by chance that I got into web-design/animation while studying.
Initially I sold the odd painting of mine to support myself financially through university and I got to a position where I was in need of exhibiting my paintings online. It was then when I first got started using Flash and I have been hooked ever since.
Since then, web-design/animation totally took over my life and I am now a full time freelance web-designer/animator in the UK.
I have always believed anything is possible if you are truly dedicated and prepared to put the work in.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Jim: Pretty much everything! I think it comes from a variety of contributing factors, most of which can all be seen or experienced throughout everyday life. From even the most basic things like seeing shapes in the clouds to admiration of work I see around me, it all helps the imagination grow. I kind of see it as if inspiration is a puzzle with pieces scattered everywhere. As these pieces are discovered and start fitting together it ignites that special spark and a solution is found.
What elements of the site are made with Swift 3D?
Jim: The use of Swift 3D can be seen a lot throughout the site but the most visible would be the letters on the main page. I also found Swift 3D very useful as an aid to visualise character movement and relative perspective. By creating a preliminary 3D version of the characters as a guide, I was able to achieve a much more realistic and smoother flowing cartoon 2D animation in Flash. I would simply import my preliminary 3D animations into Flash and then trace and modify them to reach the desired results.
What features of Swift 3D did you use to create these design elements?
Jim: Creating the letters was quite a straight forward task in Swift 3D so I didn’t really need to be too adventurous in the tool choices that I made. I did however use the advanced modeler, lathe editor and extrusion editor quite extensively when creating the guide models for the character animations.
What was your biggest design challenge with the site?
Jim: I think the biggest design challenge was getting the right balance between usability, simplicity, animation and content. I wanted the animations to play a leading role but not be too overpowering that it would over shadow the content and make it difficult to use. Equally challenging was coming up with ideas that would work well as a transition into the next pages.
What other software did you use for the site, and how did you integrate Swift 3D with these other tools?
Jim: The site was made entirely with Flash and Swift 3D with just a tiny bit of After Effects. The Swift 3D Flash importer worked fantastically well with Flash. It made the whole process extremely easy. I imported the swift files into Flash and then just carried on editing the vector points within Flash.
Where would you like to see Swift 3D go in the future?
Jim: It’s hard to say as Swift 3D already does everything I need fantastically well. I hope the developers and team behind Swift 3D carry on doing such a great job. If I had to be picky I would probably like to see a more advanced form of kinematics control implemented for character animation and modelling human motion.
Do you have any Swift 3D project in the works?
Jim: Of course! I always try to incorporate Swift 3D as often as a can in all of the projects that I do, whether it just be a small part or all of it. I’m very excited about fully exploiting all the new features V5 has to offer in my up-coming projects.