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Jason Koxvold's Match Preview

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It’s Thursday, I’m Jason Koxvold, and this is your match preview, from a balmy New York City. You’re in for a bit of a treat, I think; this is shaping up to be a rather unique match. For a couple of reasons.

As if it wasn't exciting enough that we've seen some of the best designers in the world going head to head, Coudal and his gang have in recent-er times extended the call to motion graphics artists, filmmakers, musicians, photographers, and just once, a basset hound. Some still say that match was underrated.

But if I have one pet peeve about Layer Tennis, it's when the artists riff off each other too literally - repeating visual elements, layering other textures over them. It always seems a little too easy. For me, it's much more interesting when they mess with each others' ideas more than the specific elements; take the thought and reinterpret it in a different medium or style (music? voice? time? illustration? 3d? Ok, you get it).

And I don't doubt that these two maniacs will do exactly that -Ęthey each bring unique styles and disciplines to the table. On one side, there's Curious Pictures' Matt Smithson, originally from South Carolina. As a kid, he wanted to be a pro surfer; sorry bro. Nowadays, when he's not busy making me look like a grumpy man with fat neck, he performs under the alias Man vs. Magnet. His richly illustrative style whimsically blends the futuristic with the handmade for clients like Nokia, Nike, Google and the rest. I wish I could draw like him.

And then there's Daniel Oeffinger, currently on staff at the amazing Buck. His aspirations to become a scientist were apparently motivated by a fascination with mixing coloured test-tubes together, which may explain his choice of profession: that's as good a description of motion graphics as I've ever heard. He's done work recently for the Sundance Film Festival, The Bravery, VH1 Rock Honors and V2 Vodka. When asked what his secret weapon would be, he claimed to have hidden a box of dynamite in Smithson's basement; inexplicably, Smithson's defence against this was an elaborate lie involving volcanoes and Oeffinger's father. I guess we'll see.

Now, I have a love/hate relationship with motion graphics. And both of these guys, perhaps unknownst to each other, share my frustration that it takes SO LONG to make great work. Which brings us to my next point: that the other interesting thing about this match is the time it'll take. Ardent, or at least old, LT fans may remember my battle with Bran Dougherty-Johnson, which may have been the first of the motion graphics matches. The time limits were slightly extended to allow for rendering and posting the large files, but there was no getting round it: motion is a cruel master. We were both trying to pre-empt the other's next move, set up tricks ahead of time, anything to get an advantage. It was a great effort, but we couldn't help but feel that there just hadn't been enough time to prepare great work.

So here we are again, and this time the artists have a whole week to do battle. Starting Friday, we'll see ten rounds unfold - two per working day. While we'll be posting each volley at 2pm and then 3.30 to accommodate your insufferable lazinesses / burrito comas, both men will in theory have an equal number of hours to complete each piece. So, in short, you're in for an nice, long, extended treat. Be sure to follow on Twitter for reminders of when the volleys are up.

Ladies and gentlemen, like Tron, it's on.


Play by play commentary for this match is provided, as it happens, by Jason Koxvold.
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