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Review of the Year 2018: Top 25 Animation

Animation’s in our blood at It’s Nice That. Ever since we first crawled into virtual being all those years ago, we’ve never stopped looking for the brightest and best of the animated world. If you’re looking for a fun way to soak up some creative juices over the Christmas period, why not peruse the top 25 animation articles we’ve published this year? You won’t regret it.

  • Xavier-monney-typographic-animations-work-digital-itsnicethat-list Work / Digital Xavier Monney continually enacts awe with his typographic animations

    Xavier Monney’s high-tech and seamlessly designed animations create memorable assets for its clients. Working with the fashion powerhouses of today, from Burberry to Nike, the animator maintains a strong sense of style within his typography-centred creations. Of his consistent sense of creative autonomy, Xavier tells It’s Nice That: “It’s important to me to sustain a certain identity in my work. This whole visual universe was brought to life while I was experimenting, I had no boundaries at that time”. Now working with the highest calibre of clients imaginable, Xavier applies his unique style to projects, which can prove difficult as “you have to come up with design solutions rather than experiment, but the work has more value as it has been done with constraints”.

    Jyni Ong
  • Ingoraschka-2012-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Ingo Raschka’s hand-painted cel animation explores the expectations of a Tinder date

    For New York-born Ingo Raschka, the occupation of being a freelance animator brings up a lot of questions. After graduating from California’s Institute of Arts last year, Ingo’s been working as a freelance animator based in Los Angeles, although he admits, “I don’t really know what I am doing since I don’t have a car or a drivers licence”. What Ingo does have is a number of supportive peers, animators too, who share his “passion for making animation and enjoy the confusion and precocity of life as an independent artist”.

    Lucy Bourton
  • Its-nice-that-sophie-koko-gate-list-adult-swim Work / Animation You know that great feeling of popping a spot? You'll get that from Sophie Koko Gate's new animation

    Sophie Koko Gate, an animator whose wobbling, weirdly constructed characters we tune in to watch time and time again, has made a new film with Adult Swim. The episode, explores love through a shiny pink naked character called Darcy – and fans may recognise him from his twin brother Marcy, form the animator’s films Half Wet and Marcy’s Tenderloin. Everything about Darcy, who “loves to live, but also lives to love,” makes you feel a little uncomfortable, from his deep voice to creepily long fingers – but in a loving way.

    Lucy Bourton
  • List4 Work / Animation Jun Seo Hahm’s animated characters straddle the terrifying line of cute and icky

    In French there’s the term ‘jolie laide’, or pretty-ugly, to describe a unconventional hottie whose attractiveness hinges on a crooked nose or a scraggle of teeth. In Japan the phenomenon of kimo-kawaii (cute-gross) illustration has ballooned in popularity in recent years, with even Sanrio, the creator of kitsch queen Hello Kitty, getting in on the creepy character game (see Kirimi-chan, an anthropomorphic salmon steak). There’s something about human nature that means this intersection between sweet and weird, sexy and repulsive, really gets under our skin. And it’s at this oh-so-freaky juncture that the work of animator Jun Seo Hahm sits, waiting to lick your hand affectionately – or bite off all your digits.

    Laura Snoad
  • Raman-djafari_fjaak_snow_animation_itsnicethat-5 Work / Animation Raman Djafari’s unpredictable approach to animation makes for a hypnotic and emotive film

    For his music video for Berlin trio Fjaak, animator Raman Djafari had the exciting, if intimidating, license to do whatever he wanted. Having known the group for a long time, they gave him complete creative freedom to the point where they only saw the video when it was completely finished. Their trust paid off, as Raman presented them with a hypnotic animation packed with complex transitions, vivid colours and emotive messages.

    Jenny Brewer
  • Andy-baker_nx-worries_music-video_animation_itsnicethat_list Work / Animation Behind the making of NxWorries’ sexy, summery Lyk Dis video with Andy Baker and Robin Velghe

    If you weren’t already in the mood for the summer holidays then NxWorries’ latest video is sure to get you daydreaming. Illustrated by Robin Velghe and animated by Andy Baker, and co-directed by the two creatives, the video stars animated versions of Anderson.Paak and Knxwledge as they cruise through balmy LA with the car roof down, checking out beautiful ladies and sunsets alike along the way. Andy and Robin tell It’s Nice That that the project began with both duos chatting and sharing ideas about the track’s themes, discussing retro 90s references, a chilled LA setting and, specifically, a BMW 2002.

    Jenny Brewer
  • Anna-malin-mantzaris-enough-itsnicethat-list_copy Work / Animation Anna Malin Mantzaris’ new film animates the feeling of when you've just had enough

    There are some situations in the mundane minutiae of everyday life that can make you want to scream: enough! From packing yourself onto a rush hour tube like a slithery sardine to those seemingly awful people that play their music way too loud on public transport. Everyone’s been in the situation where you’ve just missed the bus, weighed down like a donkey with shopping bags. Stop-motion animator Anna Malin Mantzaris, who has worked on projects including Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, has felt similar.

    Laura Isabella
  • Sawako_kabuki_list Work / Animation Unconventional love stories from animator Sawako Kabuki

    “Love is a wonderful thing that colours our life, but love is not always visible and sometimes is vague and ephemeral,” Tokyo-based Sawako Kabuki notes sagely. Her latest animation, Ici, là et partout, “is filled with love and shows the state of being carried away by love,” although not using the visual tropes you’d usually expect to accompany a tale of blossoming romance.

    Bryony Stone
  • Ieuanlewisgeorgewarren-uki-animation-itsnicethat-10 Work / Animation The animated short giving Isle of Dogs a run for its money

    Ah, the self-initiated brief. We all remember this, the term in university when you’re finally left to your own devices to create something that’s truly you. But, maybe, the course you’ve chosen led you down a path where the creative disciplines that are piquing your interest are on the periphery of the subject that your degree is titled. This was the case for Ieuan Lewis and George Warren, two graphic design students at Kingston University who’ve created Uki, a short animation that’s received a nod from the BBC and the BFI, and is giving Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs a run for its money.

    Lucy Bourton
  • James_noellert_its_nice_that Work / Animation Ann Arbor animator and illustrator James Noellert's space age short is out of this world

    We’ll admit that here at It’s Nice That, we don’t know a huge amount about the American city of Ann Arbor. It’s in Michigan, Iggy Pop lived there and…well, that’s about it, really. Until now. Now we know that should we ever find ourselves in Ann Arbor with a craving for a 16” Muhammad Ali Meatfest pizza, it’s Hello Faz that should be getting our custom, and we have local creative James Noellert to thank for that tasty morsel of information.

    Josh Baines

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