These little minute animated gems are made by this British bloke (did I use that right?) which aim to psychedelically capture the individual styles of influential skateboarders. So how does that work exactly? It means that this guy breaks down a trick from a skate video, frame by frame and paints hundreds of individual paintings that make up the trick. Scans every single one and turns it into an animation, kind of like how those old childhood flipbooks work. All animated and edited to a tearjerking soundtrack, the man deserves some type of insane work ethic award.
Where did the idea to start this whole project start? I assume you were doing art or painting before
The idea came about from chatting to a friend about a love of watching skate vids, I didn’t have access to a nice camera and a team of skaters. So I decided I could start painting skate films from old skate vids using animation techniques, I was just experimenting really. I’ve painted since I was young, when I was at school I had a painting put in the Saatchi Gallery, but I gave it up for a while at university to concentrate on more commercial work, but once I was out of art school I felt free to experiment again.
Are you a hippie that loves psychedelics?
Haha, I love old Grateful Dead posters and Beatles films. I’m not really into hallucinogenics though, I find it hard enough to switch my brain off and get to sleep as it is.
How many individual paintings did you do that make up the entire video? I’m guessing several hundred?
I’ve never bothered to count, it’s somewhere between 200 and 300 at least, probably more. If I counted I think I’d be too focused on how many I’d painted rather than trying to do enough until It looked good. I don’t want to be too clinical about it.
How many more of these do you think you can do before you drive yourself insane?
I’m probably a bit insane already haha, I’d say I’m gonna do at least 5 or 6. English sit-coms usually have 6 episodes. Hopefully they’ll get wilder as they progress to keep people more interested. I’m gonna try and make them more psychedelic.
Walk me through making one of these animations
First of all it’s watching a lot of skate videos, then working out which tricks I want to include and importing the file into a program where I can see separate frames. Then It’s either a matter of roughly tracing off an old screen when mine used to work or printing out a shit load of frames, and using a light box to trace roughly and then painting each frame. I try and focus on areas of light and dark. I think that gives more depth to the animation. I scan in every painting once they’re dry. When I hit about 20 tricks I start putting together a rough mix with gaps in the middle of tricks and start recording the music with my buddy Chris. It’s a matter of finding a few more tricks to fit in or give the animation more balance and working out ways I can paint transitions. That’s a part of my animation I want to develop more. I want to make them more surreal. Finally I edit it all together in either Adobe Premiere or Adobe After effects, and exporting it using Adobe Media encoder.
Does getting drunk or stoned help with the painting process?
Yeah, getting a slight buzz on can really help sometimes, It’s about getting loosened up so you can concentrate.
I find certain music really helps motivation as well. I don’t smoke though because I have the lungs of an 8 year old girl.
It depends on my mood , but for the last animation I was listening to a lot of Grouper. It’s pretty relaxing though, Loads of other stuff though, Action Bronson, Wavves, Fuck Buttons, Hot Sugar, Starslinger. Whatever I can get my hands on.
Would you consider doing an episode on someone who is more robotic, like Shane or P-Rod.. Do you think they would translate as well or look boring?
That’s a really good question. I think for someone like P-Rod, the ‘robotic’ style ends up being their style in a way?
I don’t really know to be honest. The original idea was to show influential skaters styles. I’ll have to give it a go really. If people really want to see a P-Rod one they can vote I guess.
What about editing a clip to heavy metal or something really abrasive instead of “beautiful” music?
Yeah definitely, I was really close to using a Wavves song “Post Acid” for the first animation. But I was watching that Theotis & Dill video where they review people’s amateur tapes. Dill made a really cool point that you shouldn’t just put the trendiest rap song to your part because it detracts from your skating, No one’s going to sponsor you because of your music taste. So I thought it would be cool to have a song you’d never use for a skate part. Music choice is always something people think they could have done better than you though. It’s weird, everyone thinks that because they hear a lot of music that their own preference would be better. I’ve got a rule though to never trust someones musical opinion unless they actually play or write music. The same way I don’t trust fat dude’s advice about playing sport.
Is there anything you learned about the skaters or style from spending hours looking frame by frame how Dylan and Dill skate?
Yeah you get to notice stuff like arms, or feet movements just before a trick. It’s really slight movements that skaters consistently do maybe without realizing. Dylan’s got a particular arm movement he does after most tricks. Jason Dill’s landings and mannys are always pretty swagged out aswell.
What other skaters would you consider doing for the next Acid Drops?
The Gonz, Tony Trujillo, Danny Wainwright, Mike Carroll .. I want to know what other people want to see though. I’m gonna do a vote on the Unreal Estate Facebook page for the 3rd episode. Who would you like?