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British Ad Trends #1: Film Craft in VFX and Animation
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London, UK
Framestore’s Brad Silby and Rascal Post’s Gareth Brannan, two of this year’s Creative Circle Gold Jury Forepersons, discuss the trends influencing British VFX in 2022 and beyond

Over the course of the last two years, the British creative industry has faced major challenges as a result of the global pandemic and Brexit. For those working in all aspects of  film craft, change had to happen rapidly in the face of remote working.  

A recent study by the Advertising Association predicted the ‘UK’s bounce-back in 2021 to be the largest across any major international ad market – including the USA, France and China – while outstripping the global rate by more than 12 percentage points’. The UK’s creative industry has always been one of its biggest export markets, but its resilience in the face of big global change is astonishing. With this in mind, and ahead of the 77th Creative Circle Awards in Margate in September, we will be exploring the current trends shaping the UK creative industry in TV, Print, OOH, Audio, Digital, Film, Music Video, Craft, PR, Social and more. Across this series, each of the esteemed Gold Jury forepersons at Creative Circle 2022 will share their take.  

As market leaders, each major player on the Creative Circle judging panel has managed to remain at the forefront of the industry, adapting to the burgeoning trends, technologies, and events of the last few years. Creative Circle managing director, Jeremy Green, believes each juror will offer a fresh, unique perspective and invaluable insight to their category. 

For this first instalment, LBB’s April Summers spoke with founder and creative director of Rascal Post, Gareth Brannan, and head of animation IA at Framestore, Brad Silby, to discuss the benefits and challenges remote working brought to the table, how a renaissance in graphic style is being driven by the silver screen, and how game-engine technology might transform creative. 

LBB> What has been the biggest change to your industry in the past 12 months and what do you believe has caused that change? 

Brad Silby (Animation Gold Jury Foreperson)> The biggest change has to be working from home as a result of covid. I myself am a big advocate for the WFH model, and it's been great to see that our industry was able to keep going through the pandemic. Animators all over the world were fortunate enough to be able to continue creating, away from the studio. It's not for everyone, of course, but the majority of feedback I get is that people are much more satisfied with their lives working this way, which can only be a good thing for the final product.

Gareth Brannan (Film Craft Gold Jury Foreperson)> The pandemic obviously threw challenges at us which meant we had to craft films a little differently. I feel like the industry embraced the changes brought about by covid and found creative ways to overcome challenges presented to it. For example, during lockdown, remote shooting changed the way we communicated and shared work, on a global scale. This had a knock-on effect to where we are today at Rascal. We are now able to manage talent from around the world, working simultaneously with the best talent, on any project. It means that now we can easily tap into other resources and cultures, sharing screens, files and meetings, as well as ideas with a new pipeline built around this ethic. Coming out the other side, I can see it has vastly improved our ability to advise storytellers and play more of a visible role throughout the production process.

LBB> In what ways has film craft and animation adapted to new technologies and trends over the last year?

Brad > In terms of trends in animation, I'm loving seeing CG animation get back to its roots. 2018's Into the Spider-Verse blew me away, and now shows like Arcane and movies such as The Mitchells vs. The Machines are continuing to push the graphic and painterly look. When combined with the accuracy of motion, and the high level of character performance and detail that CG animation can bring, the end results are spectacular.

Gareth > Over the last 12 months the use of real time technology has shone through. Software such as Unreal Engine is now being used throughout the film making process from pre to post, with huge leaps in motion capture and a vast marketplace with ready to use CG assets. We have so many more options available to us, I am very excited to see how this will progress this year.

LBB> What developments should British creative talent be excited about in animation and film craft in the coming months?

Brad > It feels like we're in something of a boom time for UK based animation. We continue to win awards on the global stage and do great work for a wide variety of projects, across Feature Animation, VFX, Games, Commercials, Episodic and Theme Park Attractions - there are opportunities aplenty out there for the right talent, wherever you come from!

Gareth > Coming out of the pandemic we have found ourselves with so many more tools at our disposal. The technology is moving so fast and the way we consume our content is growing, it's a great time to be a creative.


As ever, Creative Circle will continue to pledge 10% of all award entry fees and 100% of membership fees to supporting greater diversity in the creative departments of the future through the Creative Foundation. 

As of 2021, the show forms part of the UK Creative Festival, a 3-day event hosted at Dreamland, in Margate. Following the success of last year’s festival, which saw a wide range of creative leaders, speakers and students from across the UK congregate for a series of talks, workshops, panels, wellness activities, and social events, the awards show will return to the seaside town on 8th September 2022. 


Entries for Creative Circle 2022 are now open here. The deadline for submitting entries is 8th April 2022. Key dates can be found below: 

  • Entry Deadline: 8th April 2022

  • Online Judging: April - May 2022

  • Live Gold Judging: June - 15th July 2022

  • Shortlist: End of July 2022

  • UK Creative Festival: 6th - 8th September 2022

  • Creative Circle's 77th Awards Ceremony: 8th September 2022

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