Inspiration

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Creativity and Adaptation in Mihaly Sipos

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Is there a magic formula to remain inspired and motivated?

Every once in a while you do get that random bunch of online gurus trying to sell you the ULTIMATE SOLUTION TO REMAIN ENDLESSLY INSPIRED™, but creativity simply doesn't work that way. Creativity is flexibility, adaptation, intuition and passion. Creativity is the beast that visual designer and animator Mihaly Sipos is still learning to tame after so many years.

For this Member Spotlight we are getting to know an adaptable and passionate professional with an unparalleled spirit of adaptation and a genuine love for his craft – render engine crashes aside, that is.

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How did you get into the industry?

It was a slow self-discovery. I started off with Webdesign, then I slowly realised every time I designed something there was an obsession to make things move. I thought the best course of action is to go to university. I have always been an autodidact, so thus in this decision the milieu, the connections were the main motivators. It was a good decision as it turned out.

At the start of the 2nd year, we received an email from our storyboard teacher about a project. A company, called Immersive, worked with Greenpeace to create a projection mapping event that was the part of the worldwide campaign, Save the arctic. They were looking for students to contribute. I was fascinated with projection mapping, but I never did it. I had zero clues.

However, in the end, I contributed more than 3 minutes of projection mapping content to a nine-minute long piece. One of the directors offered me an internship for the next summer and from there I worked with them for good 2-3 years. I learned a lot there. I met many highly skilled artists and technicians.

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I am London based, I live in Wapping, very close to Tower Bridge. It is a beautiful area (sorry, I love to brag about it). Last year I started my own company and under that, I work on a project basis with many different studios and agencies.

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If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

When a render engine keeps crashing and I spend a day with troubleshooting I keep swearing to myself that I will become a carpenter. So there is kind of a Freudian slip. Or perhaps a teacher; history or literature (education is not much of an industry, despite some treat it like that)

Can you explain your creative process?

I like to lay down on the floor and stare at the ceiling in silence and waiting for the image to appear in my mind like a mirage. I am not even joking. However, I cannot do that most of the time. The way I see is that when we do art we get into a state of mind in which the intuition can work freely. That state is unique.

The way that leads there is different. Probably the most common path is through inspiration and the act of work; processing and re-shaping the inspirational image. Inspiration comes from the outside, intuition comes from the inside. But when it is paid work things cannot be that abstract, of course, details must be fixed, conceptualised, written down, drawn, shown to the client, etc.

If I want to be honest, I do not have a fixed formula. Every client has different needs and I adapt to those as much as I can. There is a well known and suggested work pipeline and like everyone else, I follow that; research, research, mockups, storyboards, pre-viz and style frames, assets creation, framing, cinematics, texturing, lighting, etc. Yet, it is not a linear process and that's something we hear less about. The creative process is organic, as ideas strike us like a thunderbolt. We can try hard to give structure to it and channel it into phases, but in my experience, from the start to the finish it is never a straight line. There are plenty of corrections, revisions, a back and forth process. Like a conversation. A very time-consuming conversation.

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How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

In 2012 it was impossible for me to render out GI on my local machine. Nowadays, we have access to such crazy processing power in a simple desktop that it is not even a question to have GI. It is easier to develop looks at very early stages and it is a big advantage. However, in the end, it is still pen, paper, keyboard, drawing tablet, mouse and the miraculous human mind. 

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

I cannot tell you, it is a secret.

Seriously, I don't have one. Sometimes I think that, yes, I have it, but then a week later the same thing does not work. For example, Instagram. Sometimes I swipe through and see stuff that I save because it is inspiring or technically challenging that I would like to learn. Other times, it makes me very depressed and angry as it seems to me idiotic content is appreciated.

Or I see work which is amazingly beautiful and think, crap where am I? If there is one thing that I might dare to suggest, as banal as it sounds: try to listen to the inner voice! That whispering weird pressure in the back of your head. When I follow that, I am good.

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

Weirdly the first job I ever did, with Immersive for Greenpeace. That was a noble cause.

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How do you recharge away from the office?

Good books are an absolute treat to the soul. I guess anything just away from the machine. Conversations with close friends and family always have a very positive effect. When I am down I watch Peepshow (A highlight of the British comedy).

I noticed I enjoy old sci-fi movies a lot. Some of them are really bad, but (!) they always surprise me. I simply don't know what is going to happen and what kind of crazy idea appears. I think moviemaking used to be braver than nowadays.

I also produce music, I am a proud band member of  'Still Optimist' (check us out, if you like trip-hop). I work with a super talented Ukrainian female vocalist and producer. I work a lot on our live set programming, the days fly by quickly, but it switches me off. 

I also like to write, it clarifies ideas and events.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Show that you are a hard worker. Be patient and never shout to anyone even if you are in a managing position. It kills creativity and any relationships. Respect your invested work and do not go under the regular fees.

Listen and learn from others, and if you are uncertain, ask! Talk, have a conversation, express your doubts but remain humble. And most importantly if you work for a client leave your sensitive, artist side home. Paid jobs are not the channels to express ourselves, they are not your personal projects. You provide an expensive service (talking of motion graphic designers and 2d/3d artists), and many times decisions will be made against yours. It is not a personal thing so emotional art-farty dramas are totally inappropriate (I saw people hitting the desk and getting all passive-aggressive, not cool).

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If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

That self-indulgent, impractical design evaporates from the mainstream. Also Less spacemen in my Insta feed (I just realised now I also have one in a 'Space Odyssey' suit).

I guess less gossip and talk behind the back. I noticed it happens even in studios with good spirit. More honesty, in short.

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