Please tell us a little bit about your self and your company.
Andy: Originally studying electronic engineering at college, I became a Direct Sales Executive selling Double Glazed Windows from the age of 17 while still studying. I soon realized that Sales was where the money was at, and pursued my Sales career through to board level negotiations with leading blue chip organizations. It was while working for a large company, selling Leased line solutions to ISPs & Web Hosting companies that I started getting involved with the internet. Trained by Cisco, I soon discovered that the internet was not going anywhere and it was something I found fascinating. Ultimately, I ended up working as a business consultant for a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) company that sold custom software solutions to large multinational companies. I started to become more interested in what the programmers were up to than actually selling £millions worth of custom software solutions. I started playing around at home in the evenings and weekends, making my own website “just to see if I could”… before I knew it, a friend asked me to create one for him, then a small business asked for one, then… well, you know how the story goes… Suffice to say, I decided to leave my £70k per year job in London UK and move to Thailand with my partner for a complete life change as a “web designer”. Success was pretty instant given my already well established sales / marketing & business knowledge, coupled with a deep understanding of the internet “from the inside out”. After 8 years or so in Thailand, my partner & I moved to Cyprus last year to be a little closer to our homeland (UK). With what I learnt over the last 10 years or so, I am in the process of launching a new media company offering much more than just web design. Joop Media essentially represents everything I have learnt in that time and we are very excited about it’s wide range of services that will be offered to SME’s and beyond.
How long have been a Swift 3D user?
Andy: I first came across the Erain line of products in about 2000/2001. I was surfing around the net looking for inspiration (usually on the website award type websites) and saw that 3D use within flash was “the next big thing”. Not wanting to be left behind, I took the plunge and ordered up a copy to see how easy it would be to learn. My original web design company (www.4DFlash.com) ended up being designed around Swift 3D with the entire interface being modeled & animated in 3D. Back then (2001) nobody had really done anything like it and 4DFlash became recognized as being at the forefront of flash design, not because of the flash, but because of the use of 3D coupled with the interactivity of Flash. From that point on, I was hooked.
What “real world use” led you to consider 3D as a solution?
Andy: Having used Swift 3D in so many unique ways in the past, I had never tried using it in Video. I use it to make the odd graphic for magazine adverts, extensively in websites, for product prototyping and a hundred other uses, so why not Video? What I love about Swift 3D is that it is so easy & quick to use, I actually find it easier / faster to make what I want in 3D than to either set up for a photo shoot, or hunt around stock photography websites looking for what I need. I can control the light, the camera angles, whatever I want to make it fit in with the project I am needing it for. Again, with the presentation video, I didn’t have any video footage to speak of, particularly anything I could use to illustrate “Web Hosting Services”… Basically, I had a script, with no video. Using 3D allowed me to create the entire video without having to turn my camera on or leave the studio. Not to mention things like the product packages seen at the end of the video, I probably would have spent 10x as much time with a bunch of card, some glue & stacks of printer ink rather than making a couple of textures and slapping them onto the sides of a box in Swift, Job done… After experimenting with the endless export options offered in the Swift 3D package, I found that exporting as raster, Quicktime movie with .png compression allowed me to not only get a great looking end result, but also maintain the alpha channel to use in my video editing software (Adobe Premier Pro).
How did Swift 3D help you meet your project goals?
Andy: What I really love about Swift 3D is the ability to have a vision in your head as to what you want to make, and then hit that render button and see that exact vision come alive on the screen. I find it extremely rewarding when I sit back and think “that’s exactly how I imagined it in my head”. Without Swift 3D, my presentation video (not to mention the other 8 or so I am working on) would not have been possible. Sure, I could have gone to a datacenter and asked them nicely if I could put “Joop Media” logos all over a rack of servers and then set up loads of lighting and done the shoot with a video camera… But let’s face it, time is money and if Swift 3D can save me time, it’s saving me money. Again, the first title screen with the billboard is another example of what would have been unachievable without Swift 3D. I could of course rent all 3 sides of a ‘real’ billboard and then do the video shoot, but then I wouldn’t be able to change the billboard ads for each video that I plan to produce in the future. Although the initial modeling & camera paths took me some time to create in Swift, the next video I make with a different title screen advert on the billboard is just a case of opening up the source file, re-texturing each of the 40 slats on the billboard and hitting the render button. 8 or 9 hours of rendering later and I’m good to go. Swift 3D gives me control, it gives me options and it gives me freedom to expand my offerings beyond the typical “spinning logo” that you see all too regularly. To be honest, using Swift 3D to make a logo spin in 3D is something of an insult to what the software is truly capable of…
Your project is very creative and interesting, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Andy: I often get asked where I get my inspiration from with much of what I create for clients. The honest answer is “I don’t know”… I tend to work the other way round. I look at the target market, think about what they would expect to see, how they expect to see it and try my best to fulfill or exceed those expectations. When you go fishing, you don’t use jelly & ice-cream on the hook as bait just because that’s what YOU like to eat, you use maggots, even though you would never dream of eating them yourself. I rarely create any media that I personally like, but I try my best to make what I feel the target market really wants to see and likes. I believe this is what we are being paid to do by our clients, not to just make what WE think looks cool. I research the target audience, get a feel for who they are, what they think about and I’m automatically inspired as to what anything should or shouldn’t look like at that point.
What is the overall benefit of Swift 3D to your company?
Andy: Because web / graphic design is such a competitive (if not saturated) industry, you have to keep innovating and reinventing yourself to ensure you have a clear set of USP’s (Unique Selling Points/ Proposals) & differentiators to stay ahead of the competition. If you’re a web designer who can use Swift 3D & Flash, you are already way ahead of 98% of the other “web designers” in your competitive market. Just to be able to offer something ‘different’ from the rest is already going to make your job generating referrals and recommendations easier. When I have a meeting with a prospect client, I always show him websites that I have made featuring my Swift 3D work and every time you get the “wow, that’s the best website I’ve ever seen, but I bet it costs loads of money”… So now I am not only separating myself from the competition, but he/she has already started to rethink his/her initial attitude of “a web designer is a web designer, I’ll just get some $200 website template done In India”. Using 3D Animation in websites makes you more valuable to your clients. Making it interactive with flash, seals the deal…
Are there any other projects you are working on that you would like to share?
Andy: The video presentation I have made for Joop Media is the first of around 8 in total that have been planned. Not all of them will feature as much Swift 3D graphics as this current one, but all with have a modified version of the billboard at the start (the Title screen) and a couple of 3D animations where it makes more sense than shooting it for real on Camera. The Joop Media website itself is only really 70% completed. Although the main sections are viewable, I want to use more subtle vector based animations similar to that used in the “THE TALENT” section, Just a bit more 3D to really polish it off. Although Joop Media is newly launched, it is an amalgamation of 3 of my other companies to make more of a complete offering to my clients. I already have a couple of big projects lined up that will be developed under the “Joop Media” brand, of which all I would imagine will feature Swift 3D work of some kind or another.
What types of projects do you plan on using Swift 3D for in the future?
I am really trying to get more and more involved in film & video production / editing. I am currently about to invest in a broadcast quality video camera and I’m hoping to push that side of the business over all other services Joop Media will offer. Having created this first video for the Web Hosting services side of Joop Media, I have broadened my own personal horizons as to what Swift 3D is capable of, particularly with the new updates allowing for transparent textures and a few other additions that came with V5 of Swift. Now I’ve worked out the most effective way of rendering my 3D animations for video use, and since all the positive feedback I have received on this most recent project, I feel Swift 3D now has an even bigger place in my business than ever before.