3D animator Maurice Andresen talks us through the evolution of his art and collaborating with Shygirl
We catch up with the wickedly talented Maurice Andresen after they relocated from Glasgow to London, and discuss their ongoing project, Object Agency.
- Joey Levenson
- 1 September 2021
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
A lot has changed since the last time we spoke to London-based animator Maurice Andersen. For instance, they had only just begun their project Object Agency, which “started as an exploration of abandoned spaces in Glasgow,” Maurice says and is now on its way to becoming an interactive game and simulation. Yet, the development of Maurice’s immense talent hasn’t stopped there. His portfolio has tripled with more exciting, innovative, and contemporary ideas that push the boundaries of animation and graphics – working with the likes of Shygirl and LSDXOXO on their visual packages. “So much has changed it’s really difficult to know where to start,” Maurice tells It’s Nice That. Their aesthetic has certainly evolved, falling in line with the artist’s new handle over greater, more technical software. “I think my visual aesthetic is always hugely informed by my technical skillset at the time,” Maurice says. “What I’ve noticed recently is that my happy place is in simulating environments and narratives, and then recording or filming whatever happens rather than rendering everything the way I used to.” By working in real-time, Maurice sacrifices a certain level of control to work at a more natural pace. Gone are the days he waits 24 hours for a render to finish.
This development of technique has helped Maurice’s Object Agency develop in spades. “It’s come a long way,” he says, pointing to the evolution of the project into a game with a protagonist. “The ideas, theories and myths that started my process are still there, but working with completely different tools and focusing more on one character through whose eyes we will experience the world.” That character is EO, an elusive figure who starts a new job at “Object Agency”, of which the player navigates. To broaden the world of Object Agency, Maurice has turned to the 3D procedural software Houdini. “It’s been an incredible new addition to my workflow, although it almost broke me at first,” they explain. Maurice’s uncanny eye is a perfect fit for the limitless world of Houdini, and so far it seems to be a happy marriage. “I’m using everything that I’ve learned over the past few years to keep expanding the Object Agency world, and I think it’ll be so beautiful when it’s finished.”
It’s to no surprise that Maurice’s incredible talent and aesthetic vision has attracted the attention of up-and-coming superstar Shygirl. With many videos under his belt, Maurice is now a frequent collaborator with the musician and songwriter. “It started with the video for her song Freak,” Maurice tells us about creating an animation for Shygirl’s digital alter ego. “Misha Notcutt, Shygirl’s creative director, got in touch to ask if I would be up for rigging and animating Sy Blake’s beautiful character of ‘Baddie.’” It was a nerve-wracking start for the animator, but he quickly found his groove and realised this field of work was something of a calling for him. “The video for Freak is still one of my favourite things I’ve ever done,” Maurice adds. “And from that point on I have been almost constantly doing bits for her, and I love it so much.” Baddie is now a frequent presence in Shygirl’s visuals, synonymous with her signature wry lyrics and cutting voice. “The process is always different, and usually we’re on a super tight schedule,” the animator explains on creating the digital music videos. “The creative team tells me what they have in mind, then I make something, and then it’s a back and forth until we love it.” For Shygirl’s Alias video, for example, Maurice and the team recorded the artist’s face performing the song, then Maurice animated the background characters, and then finally added in the facial animation. “They’re almost all filmed in one render, so I spent ages setting everything up and then just let it all unfold while filming it,” they explain. “With Shygirl, I really love how unexpected everything always is, like one day I’ll be making 3D frothy foam running down a car and the next I’m making a furry logo bounce around.”
The foray into music has been incredibly rewarding for Maurice, and it’s something he hopes to continue. “I would like to find a balance in my working life which allows me to continue making videos and graphics for music, but also focus on Object Agency a little bit more,” they say. “Music is so important to me, I need it around me to function and create, and working for musicians whose music I love just seems like a natural thing to do.” It’s an exciting future that awaits Maurice, as his work with music videos continues to inspire and inform his personal work with Object Agency. “Overall, the challenges that come with each new commission help me figure out things that I then get to apply to the Object Agency realm,” they explain. “I feel like I have so much I can add to it now because I know how to do it, now all I need is the time and money.” On the horizon, Maurice plans to release an Object Agency short film, which we eagerly await from the always-exciting animator.
Maurice Andresen: Shygirl ‘Freak’ music video (Copyright © Maurice Andresen, 2020)