Visiting Artist Marcus Morris visits ASC

By Jesse Cutrell

This week, a fashion photographer, Marcus Morris visited CCAD. What was unexpected, was that he specifically asked to speak with the Animation Student Collective to discuss opportunities for animators in the fashion industry. Naturally, many animation students (including myself) weren't really sure what those opportunities could possibly be. I was pleasantly surprised by just how much of the fashion industry is prime real estate for animators wanting to work commercially.

The first artist that he showed us animating for fashion was Jo Ratcliffe, whom he had worked with on the Lady Gaga music video for her song, Applause. Morris's biggest comment on the whole project was that animation requires so much time for production, that post-production of videos like this has to be compressed to ridiculous extremes. Morris notes that the editors for the music video were working up until a few hours before the video premiered.

He also showed the collective an animation made by Disney for the Barney fashion company called Electric Holiday. The video was really wonderful and had cameos from all sorts of critics, models, and designers who play a big role in the fashion industry. Of course, some cameos by Disney's own characters appeared as well. The video acted as an advertisement for Barneys as well as a display of their latest pieces of clothing. After watching these videos by Disney and others made by Jo, we were starting to get an idea as to what kind of work there is for an animator in the industry of fashion.

After the videos, Morris opened himself up to questions from the animation students attending the talk and I was definitely itching to ask some!

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I asked about what he thought about how animation could affect the fashion world long-term. He said that fashion designers and advertisers try to get the very best and newest things in their work as a way to show themselves off. Animation to them, is very new in the sense of displaying their work to the public. Though animation in the field is currently almost all 2D, he said that 3D could very well be coming soon, and that advertisers could even want to delve into Augmented Reality in the future.

I later asked if he thought that animation would eventually phase out the traditional fashion show since it would be much easier to make an animated model show off the new clothes and could be seen by anyone, anywhere, and at any time after the video is released. Morris went on to say that he thinks that it's only a matter of time before something very similar happens because traditional fashion shows are already being made obsolete because they've begun live-streaming them. He said he thought they were going to turn into more of a fine art experience and display more of the high fashion pieces rather than a seasonal collection meant for retailers.

Finally, I asked him if he thought that the consumers would start to see these advances in animated fashion advertisements or even AR posters in the clothing stores in the next ten years. He went on to say that he definitely thinks so and that one concern about the field currently is how to get those types of ads to the retailers and to the public. Morris believed that it's only a matter of time before these advancements in technology branch out into the entire industry and into the stores. He used the term "digital fashion show" when talking about the idea of animated fashion ads or AR implementations in stores.

After we all said goodbye to Morris and he left the Animation Department, the students who stuck around all began to talk to each other about just how interesting it was to see and hear all of these ways animation could be used that none of us had even considered before. Marcus Morris definitely left an impression on the ASC and me. His talk might even open up more collaboration between Fashion majors and Animations majors at CCAD.

Jesse Cutrell is a Junior Animation major at CCAD who enjoys making video games, playing other people's games, and sleeping in.