Q&A With Beeple About His Latest Animation, ZERO-DAY

September 23, 2015 - By 

Beeple has been posting his creative work every day for over 3000 days straight. If that wasn’t enough, he recently posted ZERO-DAY, the most recent animation in his “instrumental video” series.

We asked him a few questions about his process for ZERO-DAY and about how in the heck he continues to stay so prolific?

Thanks for answering some questions about your new project, Mike. You seem like such a motivated and hard working guy. What keeps you going with all these great projects?

Hahaha, honestly I really don’t feel like that. I feel like it’s a constant struggle to stay focused and productive each day. Damn you interwebz and your engaging content!! 🙂

No, I think the main thing that motivates me is seeing all the amazing work out there and wanting to try to make something like it. The main motivations for this piece were people who do amazing robot and mech designs like Vitaly Bulgorov, Aaron Beck, Greg Broadmore, Mike Nash etc.

What inspired you to make Zero-Day?

Well this is part of a larger “instrumental video” series that I’ve been working on for the last 10+ years. If you look at “IV.10” and “instrumental video nine” it’s the pretty clear next step. I really like making audio and video super tightly synced as I think it illicits some sort of visceral response.

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Based on the themes from Transparent Machines and Zero Day, you seem to have some thoughts on the way technology is changing society. Would you say you are optimistic or pessimistic about the future of a tech connected world?

I would say I am cautiously optimistic. I think technology is doing a huge amount of good and will continue to. I do think there are some potential pitfalls but I think things are changing so fast that there really isn’t gonna be a lot of time to stop and realize if things are getting fucked until it’s too late.

I think these videos might come across as paranoid or very pessimistic but they are really more sort of exaggerations of a worst case sci-fi scenario. There is plenty of technologies like AR, VR, self-driving cars, etc. that I am BEYOND jacked up for. I think these things have the *potential* to be extremely positive for society.

ZERO-DAY Process Video

What was the most difficult part about this project?

Hmmm, I think just sort of defining the scope of the project. I really never have a clear idea about where these things are going when I start. I shit you not, at one point the second half of the film was gonna have a bunch of snippets of 70’s porn on the walls and the film was gonna be more about like how we have this weird machine fetish culture. I even downloaded a bunch of old porn and edit it in to see how it would look. HAHAHA. So this shit is really all over the place until the very end. At best i have a loose grasp on where the hell this shit is going.

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The audio is so great and very integrated to the animation for Zero Day. What was the process like with working with Standingwave?

I’ve known Kyle for a very long time and he did the sound design on Transparent Machines, Subprime, etc. This was the first time though that I’ve had someone else do the music for an “instrumental video”. Which was a bit of a learning curve but Kyle does amazing work and he killed it. Never ceases to come up with great ideas or push things in directions I never thought of.

I’ve noticed you using Octane more. How has Octane Changed your Design or Animation Process?

Honestly it’s very hard for me to imagine going back to the standard renderer. Not until the put in a live viewer at least. Can’t overstate how amazing and helpful that is. Really changes everything for someone like me who has no idea what they’re doing and is just pushing buttons until something looks cool.

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One last thing. What is your favorite artist to listen to when working?

Oh god, I could sit here and be like, I love all this super obscure cool crap (which i usually do) but lately I’ve been listening to just fucking horrible shitty like 90’s rap music like puff daddy and like nelly and shit. HHAHAH, so fucking random and weird. I’m this fucking nerdy ass middle aged white dude all dressed up sitting in his basement alone making robot animations listening to DMX… LOLOL. WTFFFF.

14  comments
14 Comments
  • I love this man. He’s forever an inspiration.

  • coolest cgi guy ever.

  • Simply amazing! Love it!

  • Amazing work, crazy dude.
    I like his approach to design and his nerdness.

  • Mikes honesty is what really brings this home. No propped up bullshit, just wandering around until the desired outcome meets his outstanding taste.

  • Approximate render time?

  • He literally lives down the street from me. Too bad creativity doesn’t broadcast in radio waves! -Appleton WI

  • I’ve been watching Zero Day everyday now since it was released. My Question is, did he first make the animation and mixed the sound afterwards or he made the animation follow the sound – which will be super challenging 😮

  • I would like to have read more about his workflow, and how he dealt with such heavily detailed geometry, especially viewport display/playback issues.

    Questions like “what motivates you/what keeps you going” are a bit woolly and pointless. Being an artist is your primary motivation, beyond that it’s paying the mortgage/feeding yourself/paying bills.

    Finally the question about “how has Octane changed your workflow” – the answer to that pretty much writes itself. Anyone using Octane/Arnold is going to point to the IPR and realtime rendering.

    Disappointing interview overall.

  • Lots of respect! Any chance you could give us an info what are the specs of the computer that you use, or would you use render farms? im just planning to get something that will give me good render times and spend some time in the basement hah

  • I have a question for Beeple. How do you pay the bills while creating this free-to-view web content?

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