OFFSET London Titles with Aran Quinn


Using what seems like every second of his time when he wasn’t working at The Mill+ in New York, Dublin’s Aran Quinn created our OFFSET London titles. We caught up with Aran to see exactly how it all went down and how he injected his quirky and inventive use of stop motion along with that cheeky sense of humour into producing this brilliant piece of work.


What was your source of inspiration for the OFFSET London titles?
I’m inspired by so much around me all the time so it’s hard to pin point how I get anywhere exactly. I love character driven animations so I knew I had to get characters in whatever concept I came up with to keep it exciting for myself. Visually speaking Lisa and Bren told me they were drawn to me after watching the Birthday Craic stop motion I made for my girlfriend, so straight away I wanted to hop on the opportunity to make something practical and involving crafts.

At the time I was approached to make the titles I was obsessing over a newly purchased book I got of Libuše Niklová’s toys from the 1960s, Andy Rementer’s People Blocks project, and Conor Finnegan’s Sound of Horns stop motion boiling technique. I also dug deep into Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller for guidance on sketching out girds for hand drawn typefaces. With these aesthetics in mind I took bits and bobs from each piece that I loved and made a personal cocktail of them, hopefully resulting with an animation that has my own taste and personality present.


A still from “Birthday Craic”.

What pulled you towards cell animation and stop motion?
I just absolutely love the look of them and always have. The imperfect handmade feel that comes with cell animation and stop motion automatically portrays some unique personality, because it’s such a manual process. Luckily I thought it tied in with the conference as the guest speakers come from varied backgrounds and use all sorts of mediums and ways to create their lovely work.

Aran using a hairdryer to animate a character’s hair.

What was your daily process during the making of the titles?
There was a nice mixture of tasks that kept the process exciting.
After the animatic was made, we blocked out a schedule for Damien and I that we kept strict to the whole way through which really helped us. Lisa and Bren were really trusting and chilled about the process. During the last 6 weeks we checked in every Monday.

The Making Of Vid (below) best demonstrates the breakdown so have a look if you fancy. Then our hero Gavin, saved the day and had his team at Echolab do an epic sound design, bringing it to full life.

How did you manage the time consuming process of these techniques alongside your full-time work with Mill+?
This was the toughest part for us honestly. We couldn’t really find a balance of Mill+ work, OFFSET’s Titles, and a social life…so we wiped out our social lives for the most part. We started in August and wrapped up in November. At the end, it felt like the day before was July, it flew by without much time to think but we loved making this piece so much that it was worth it…I hope. In terms of time we worked before and after Mill+’s hours during the week, and full days on the weekends. So no crazy secrets really, just had a solid schedule laid out and worked an enormous amount ‘til it was done. Left feeling happy, exhausted and a bit of a newly light weight on the ol’ drink which was nice.

Damien painting the letter “F”.

Fellow Irish animator, Conor Finnegan, inspired your technique; do you feel there is a strong contingent of emerging and established Irish animators working in the field at the moment?
Absolutely! It’s inspiring and daunting how much amazing work gets churned out of the little land of green. There are beautiful animation feature films, short films and a load of TV series coming out of the Irish, it’s really amazing! I’m excited to see what Whirligig does too as it’s a fresh idea for commercial animated work in Ireland. It seems there’s also a fresh new wave of animators that have a solid sense of design, who are creating and developing their own personality online, which is something that’s really important and inspiring to me. Good times ahead all round for Irish made animation I reckon.

Damien painting the Japanese character.

You worked with your colleagues, Damien Bastelica and Michael Girandola, is working together on side projects aside for The Mill+ a frequent occurrence for you?
Yeah when we can, we love collaborating! Mill+ encourages us to work on side projects if we can manage both, they’re supportive by letting us use their equipment and space but the Mill+’s hours alone are no joke, so we try to balance work with time spent away from screens. It’s really nice because there’s so many talented people in here whose taste I respect that it’s quick and easy to get brilliant feedback on what one’s working on. There’s so many different departments sitting closely together, so you can ask, “hey would it be alright to use the studio room from 8pm onwards tonight?”. People are really solid in here, Damien’s an all round machine who’s always hungry to get on board of a fun project, can’t thank him enough!!

Your work with Dublin based Guts magazine was recently nominated for a Stack award, do you try to keep strong ties with the creative scene here at home?
I really love keeping in touch with mates back home. I’ve been so lucky to grow up surrounded by a creative family and a load of talented friends. I reckon in general Design as a whole in Ireland is booming, and from an outsiders perspective living abroad it feels like a really nice underground movement of independent talents are forming collectives like OFFSET and Guts, I’m honoured and shhtoked to be a part of that. New York is obviously great but at times it feels very corporate so it’s really refreshing watching this rapid movement of creatives rising up in Ireland and receiving global recognition. It feels pure and genuine and the more of that the better!

Some of Aran’s work for Issue Two of Guts.

What can we expect to see from you next?
O jaysus that’s hard to say. I don’t know really, I’d love to waffle about a few personal projects I have going on, but I’ve set myself deadlines for them that are way too loose and juicy projects like OFFSET pop up that I can’t say no to. I’m going to just keep pushing myself to make fun weird things that make me happy and hopefully others too. Cheers again for inviting me on board!