Work / Animation

Lucas Zanotto on his seamless animation loops and his journey into the digital

For the past four years or so, us at It’s Nice That, have been captivated by the work of the Italian-born artist, director and now animator, Lucas Zanotto. His humorous work featuring a familiar pair of eyes has consistently grabbed our attention, stirring up a whole range of emotions from two very simple elements; two round white circles with a black dot in the middle. In the past, he’s transformed all manner of entities with the effective addition of this illustrative detail. Giant rocks, trees, cliff sides, even rectangular bits of paper have all come to life with a pair eyes applied by Lucas’ skilful touch.

Now however, he’s expanded on this signature subject, taking the eyes into the digital, and more specifically, into animation loops. Since we last wrote about him two years ago, Lucas’ practice has become increasingly digitalised. He’s also joined Nexus Studios in both the UK and US working on number of exiting projects, not to mention some exciting ones coming up in the future.

He’s also worked on a few projects in China, won an Apple design award, completed a few eye ball installations (one for Pictoplasma) and generally, adapted to the increasingly fast pace of the digital and analogue world. “The whole world is becoming faster and faster,” he adds on the matter, “and to keep up with it, it’s become more about how fast you can deliver something while keeping the quality.”

Back in 2017, he also started by learning the basics, looping minimal objects, before making a whole series based on hands. Then, just a few months ago, he introduced his trademark eye balls into the equation “and it worked out very well,” says Lucas of his hypnotic animations, “it’s a bit of a fun, personal take on the 3D realistic loop trends that you see on social media.”

On top of his work as the founding design director of Yayatoy, where he makes playful tools for kids, we’re glad to see that Lucas is still finding time to pursue his love for creative expression. “I’ve always loved to build things with my hands,” he tells It’s Nice That, “feeling the textures and the forms.” With his physical work, Lucas’ primary objective is to achieve “the perfect smooth surface” either through a seamless background or just the right lighting. Working in the digital however, requires the opposite. “When I first started to play with 3D software, I realised it comes form the other end, as you have to add imperfections to make it feel more real.”

For Lucas, all in all, the “whole [digital] process comes very close to the analogue process.” Overall, it’s satisfying, it’s faster and easier to produce the final project. The only con is that “you are staring into a screen the whole time while building sets and filming is a more holistic experience,” adds the animator. In the end however, Lucas finds that the overall outcome and impact of the work, is irrelevant to the medium. “It’s more about the whole experience you build up over time,” he explains. Trying things out and finding inspiration through experimentation is the most important aspect of Lucas’ work, the medium “is more about using different tools to get there.”