Weeks ago I had the chance to meet Smearballs. His name may not be one you recognize but his work you have definitely seen. From two crazy music videos for the DJ Deadmau5 to creating a completely digital Colonel Sanders for KFC ad campaigns. Smearballs works as a 3D animator which is now one of the leading fields in the current digital revolution. I had the chance to pass on some questions for our YBLTV Spotlight with him:
YBLTV JACK X: Many professionals start off in one profession but for multiple reasons choose to move on to the profession they are currently in, did this happen with you as well?
SMEARBALLS: Yes, I dropped out of art school in 2000 and started a construction company. Ran that until around 2009 and transitioned into video / animation work.
YBLTV JACK X: How did you and Joel (Deadmau5) meet? Was it him approaching you or the other way around?
SMEARBALLS: We kind of met twice through two different mutual friends. My pal Kenny Hotz sent him my short film “The Chickening” back in 2015 and made an introduction. Then the following year my pal Brien was his VJ for a tour and we reconnected then Joel asked me to make some tour visuals for him.
YBLTV JACK X: What percentage of the two music videos for Joel has Cinema 4D involved? Example many artists like to use real backgrounds with software laired on top. Any other software involved in the process?
SMEARBALLS: Hard to say. Cinema 4D was used in every shot of both videos. After Effects was also used in every shot of both videos.
YBLTV JACK X: Explain the process a little behind working with a client who hires you. From approach to final product.
SMEARBALLS: It’s always different. I do TV shows, films, advertising, web projects, VR projects, video games. Every job is different. Sometimes it’s all story boarded and there is very little creativity. Sometimes people hire me to do whatever I want. Some times it’s awesome. Sometimes it sucks. It’s really different depending on the nature of the work, who the client is and whether it’s a cool idea. Lots of variables from job to job.
YBLTV JACK X: Any other work that readers may recognize but not realize it was completed by you?
SMEARBALLS: I was a bit creator on Conan for a few years. I’ve had over 100 bits on Conan’s monologue. I have recently done a bunch of KFC ad campaigns. We just turned Colonel Sanders into a CG Virtual Influencer last month.
YBLTV JACK X: What made you interested in Cinema 4D?
SMEARBALLS: I think it was just the need to place 3D objects and text into my 2D after effects work. Slowly learned more and more until now it’s my main squeeze. Do you prefer Narrative or music based work? I like to mix them together. The Chickening was one of my favorite projects and had both. I started as a Video remix artist and musical VFX remixes will always be my favorite jams.
YBLTV JACK X: Who are your favorite type of clients to work with?
SMEARBALLS: Clients who let me be creative and do my thing.
YBLTV JACK X: The biggest misconception you find in your field of work and your answer to that.
SMEARBALLS: Kinda hard to pin it on one thing. Some clients are super knowledgeable of the process and have some software chops and understand workflow. Some have no idea that a certain change is going to be a huge pain in the ass, like having to re-render something that is nested in a composition that is nested in another composition that is nested in an edit etc… I guess you can’t blame someone for not knowing about complex workflows but some people think there’s a magic button and you have to explain the process. I mostly work with clients who are pretty professional and communication is good all around.