I’m a 42 year old father to two daughters aged 9 and 6 as well as a happily married homeowner. I’m born and raised in London, but have been living in Denmark since 1994. I work as a social educator for young adults with autism, where I educate in all things computer, from word processing to animation. We have just released our first magazine (in Danish) and we have many creative projects in the works. At work I am the tech guy, fairly busy with all manner of things, but that’s the way I like it, I really enjoy my job. A typical day, wake up, eat breakfast, prepare lunch, deliver kids to school, go to work for 7-8 hours. After work I collect the kids from school, no doubt with a few of their friends, come home, sit down for ten minutes before running around doing all kinds of practical things, make dinner, hang out with the family for a while. Then it’s the evening ritual, put kids to bed, watch some series on TV then go to bed. If I have the time and/or energy I might just manage an hour of two of animation, but no doubt end up killing time playing a game or watching some ghost hunting on Youtube.
How old were you when you started drawing? Ever animated anything before?
I’ve been drawing all my life, so I don’t remember when I started drawing. I’d always wanted to animate, but my first real animation was made in 2010 when I got a Nintendo DSi XL with Flipnote Studio installed. Flipnote Studio is a very simple program, but it is so much fun and so easy to use. The limitations imposed in Flipnote Studio provided a challenge when animating. The Flipnote Studio homepage had rigid limitations based on censorship, which made getting some films online even more challenging. I have managed to get some fairly outlandish films online without directly addressing the outlandish issues. I don’t feel that I have breached censorship in any way, but I have always had one foot over the line of decency.
Do you have a favorite artist, animator or cartoon?
This is a hard question to answer. I have a soft spot for Pixar, they provide the complete package regarding storyline and impressive animation. Dreamworks are also good, I enjoy most CG films I suppose. My favorite artist, too many to mention, but Flipnote Studio had so many great artists. For me the art is almost always secondary to the story or humor. There are some exceptions, such as MrJohn who technically pushed Flipnote Studio way beyond the programs intentions, an amazing artist.
What inspires you?
Language, being bilingual has given me a whole new view of language. Many of my animations are a play on words or are language based. Life is also very inspirational, it’s important to make a mental note of so many experiences; these experiences can be altered slightly to make a funny and interesting animation. Gary Larson, the creator of ‘The Far Side’ is also a great inspiration for me.
What are your hobbies?
Animation is my main hobby, if I don’t have the energy to animate, then an hour of playing a game, such as Candy Crush on iPad, Spellit on my phone or maybe even a bout of Mario Kart or Team Fortress 2. I often find myself watching some ghost hunting series late at night too, good old YouTube. The occult has always interested me in some way for reasons that I don’t want to explain. At this stage in my life, time is a commodity. My family comes first, so time for indulging in hobbies is limited.
What is your favorite musician or band? What are you listening to?
At this point in time, Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet is my favorite CD. It’s in the car and I listen to some of those tracks every day. The Wonderstuff are my favorite band. I like most music, but hip-hop and pop music are at the bottom of that list. I need real instruments in my music. I’m not very keen on heavy metal either. I’ll give most music a chance before I sling the CD out of the window.
What are your favorite websites?
YouTube is my favorite website just recently, both as an uploader as well a viewer. I think it’s amazing that there is so much content out there. Google is also great for finding stuff, but there are no content specific sites that really catch my eye as such. I liked the Flipnote Hatena site as it had a great community. I hope to recreate that community on my site at some point (http://geezer.hornsay.dk), or maybe find another alternative where animators can hang out, exchange ideas and have fun.
What are your favorite computer Games and apps?
Favorite computer games: Team Fortress 2 on PC, Mario Kart on Wii and DS, Candy Crush on iPad. I have been hooked on other games, such as Tetris, the Football Manager Series, SimCity, Civilization etc. When I stumbled upon Flipnote Studio, animation replaced playing games. My favorite apps on iPad? DoInk Animation is top of the list, Animation Creator HD is probably number 2, with Doink Express coming in at a third place. Non creative apps I use most frequently are Youtube, Safari and Candy Crush. I’m always going through appstore in search of other great time killers.
How did you find DoInk and what is your experience so far?
I found the Doink apps on a midnight search on the appstore. They seemed interesting so I bought the cheaper Express version first and was instantly impressed so the following day I bought the iPad version. I am familiar with Flash, so it was fairly easy to get into. I’m still getting used to the vector animation, but I am so impressed. The apps are very stable and easy to use, I just wish that the iPad had a bigger screen; the small screen limits the amount of content visible on screen. Excellent app.
If you could add any features to the Doink Animation & Drawing for iPad what would they be?
Sound, not just one soundtrack, but multiple sound layers. That would make it easy to add music as well as sound effects and voices. The iPad’s inbuilt mic is fairly unforgiving though, so I’d probably end up adding sound on the PC anyway. A zoom function on the timeline would be great too, so more layers were visible at one time. Converting text to vector objects would be nice, that would enable better intros and the ability to warp and re-size text. Duplicating drawings would also be very useful. Maybe the ability to render at a higher frame rate than 16 would be good too. It would be great if a film could be made completely using this app, but the iPad’s limitations would make this hard if the film has too many layers. My iPad is so cluttered with games my kids play that I don’t have the space for iMovie. Deleting Subway Surfers will not make me Dad of the Year. Other than this, the app is close to perfect. It always takes time to get used to new user interfaces.
Any advice for other DoInk users?
Give this app a shot, it does take getting used to, but it’s so powerful. Persevere. DoInk Animation is fairly easy and very stable. Get used to the library, all objects and clips you make are automatically saved to the library. Invest time experimenting with this app, it will give better results and it will also give you a really good impression of how to use full blown vector animation programs, such as Adobe Flash. This app runs on an iPad, so you really cannot expect it to be a replacement for Flash, but as a handheld app it comes very close and it is easier to use than Flash. Most importantly of all, have fun.
Any tips on using Doink Animation & Drawing for the iPad?
When making an animation, have a clear picture of making it chronologically. If you have a lot of layers and then decide to put some new animation at the beginning, it’s a dubious task moving all layers individually to make room for that 10 second intro. (I make my intros or title screens on PC if I have already made some intricate animation) Alternatively you could divide your animation into shorter clips, then put them all together in a video editing app/program. For adding sound, I use Windows Movie Maker, as that supports multiple sound files as long as they don’t overlap. Virtualdub is great for adding a single soundtrack. There are also some great iPad apps that do this too. Don’t be overambitious, know your talents and your limitations and exploit them. Buy a stylus, finger painting is so childish and inaccurate. I plan my animations for quite a while in my head before I put pen to screen, the planning phase is often just as long as the creation phase. It works for me.
Do you have a YouTube Channel? If so, what is the link?
My Youtube channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/geezerdk
I have almost 300 films up there, so have a look at them, like them and subscribe, I’m going to be around for a while, so get used to it. I make my films using all manner of programs and apps, I also have films recorded using a camcorder. It’s a mixed bag. I guarantee that I will produce more animations using Doink.
What is your favorite clip that you have done?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31iUNM114Vc&feature=c4-overview&list=UUIvLOWlHjCVl5YJ8ExBWlew is my favorite personal creation so far. I’m still experimenting with this app. I plan to remake a lot of my flipnotes in Doink, as well as make some longer films. The other clips I have created so far are what I’d consider to be purely experimental.