You might not recognize Jessica Libby‘s name, but you have definitely seen her work. Based in Winnipeg, she scours inspiration the world over to create fun and playful animated videos. Having worked with some of the most renowned Manitoban and Canadian brands, such as the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Canada Summer Games, and the University of Manitoba, it goes without saying that Jessica is a Winnipeg creative-to-watch.
A graduate of the Graphic Design & Multimedia Coordinator program at Red River College, she now splits her time between her own business, a motion studio called Ubuntu, and shaping the next generation of great animators produced out of Red River College.
We asked her everything we could think of from our not-so-tech-savvy minds, from where she gets her inspiration, to trends she foresees for the future of animation.
Where do you get inspiration from, or who/what influences your work most? All sorts of places! Sometimes I’ll look online at sites like Dribbble, Pinterest, Vimeo or Behance, but mostly inspiration comes from real life.
I love people-watching and I’ll often create stories for people I see. I once saw someone wearing a leather jacket bust out their hairspray and a comb to fix their hair in a business window on Portage Avenue. It was like a scene from Grease — I keep meaning to animate that one.
Can you give us a brief walk-through of your creative process? Coffee and music are key to my creative process. I work from home, so my setting can be a bit boring sometimes but we have nice, big windows in our living room that overlook downtown, so I’ll usually sit in there to write down ideas or draw. Sometimes I’ll meet a creative friend at a coffee shop and talk out some general ideas, blow them out of proportion, and bring them back in later on.
What do you do to get out of a creative slump? It all depends. Creativity is really a mind game and sometimes I’m in a slump because I’m too focused on the outcome of a project. I put more effort into making it “the best thing I ever made,” rather than getting lost in the process. When that happens, I try to step away from the computer and get outside to try new things. It also helps to pick up a real pencil or pen and just draw whatever comes to mind. Anything that I can do to enter a state of flow will really help me reconnect.
The weight of life and to-do lists can get to me, so other times, I’ll do a brain dump and write everything down. Then you can forget about it and move on!
What changes do you foresee in the near future (5-10 years) that will affect your work? I definitely am seeing a shift from Mac to PC, especially in the motion graphics industry. We are also seeing more VR, AR, and automation. I think I see myself getting more involved in motion graphics in AR and VR. I’m also currently learning a plugin that allows you to plug in data from Google Docs into an animated template in AE.
Work smarter, not harder!
Can you tell us a little bit about your favourite project, and why it’s your fave? Winnipeg hosted the 2017 Canada Summer Games and I was asked to put together a line-up video to announce the music festival that was happening alongside the games. It was also Canada’s 150th birthday so I was honoured to create a video that celebrated Canada, music, and sports!