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Already Been Chewed: “Expect to be constantly adapting”

Many 3D studios already qualify as digital fashion ones. At least if you look the creative briefs of Already Been Chewed – a Texan studio that’s landed collaborations with brands such as Nike, Vans and Louis Vuitton with spectacular output. “The days of a one trick pony are gone”, says founder and CEO Barton Damer, pressing the importance of technology adaption.

 

Can you tell us a little about your studio? How did you start out and what does the team look like today?

 

– Already Been Chewed is a motion graphics and 3D animation studio working across a variety of industries from high fashion clients including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. to creating visual stories for product launches with Star Wars, Disney, Marvel, and DC Comics. Other clients include the NFL, the NBA, Nike, UFC, Google, and New Balance. I started AlreadyBeenChewed.tv in 2008 as a design/inspiration blog. It was a relatively active blog that allowed me to interact with the design community back then. Additionally, I would post my own work on the blog in hopes to associate it with other innovative digital artists I was featuring at that time. My work won “Digital Artist of the Year” by Computer Arts Magazine (RIP) and was featured in galleries both in London and Germany. 

After building up demand for my work as a solo artist, I decided to quit my day job and work under the brand name AlreadyBeenChewed.tv (ABC).  My SEO was really good from the blog interaction so it made sense to transition the content over to my personal portfolio site and build off of the existing traffic and brand recognition.

 

After working with Nike on a variety of shoe releases from Kobe to Kyrie to the 30th anniversary of Airforce 1, I began to ask myself “what could I accomplish with a team?” So I began to hire others that would help free me up to expand ABC’s capabilities as a growing studio. Today, we are a team of 18 people and continue to push ourselves as artists and expand our capabilities. 

 

 

Louis Vuitton orange fabric silk Already Been Chewed

 

What big technology trends are you seeing right now in the 3D art space?

 

– We’re heavily focused on real-time and pushing our productions to be bigger and bigger. The advancement of technology is really allowing us to do things, creatively, that we never imagined before. We’re currently working with RTFKT and Nike on some of their upcoming physical and digital NFT drops. As an artist, I’m literally giddy for the level of production we’re able to create using Unreal. Things that have not been possible in traditional 3D programs are blowing our minds right now as we continue to learn more about this new tech.

 

How has technology changed the role of the 3D artist do you think?

– Technology is making things more accessible. So the days of a “one trick” pony are gone.  You need to be a great generalist or find an expertise where you can accel supporting larger endeavors. It’s an exciting time with AI, NFTs, and creative opportunities that keep popping up. Expect to be constantly adapting. Be ready to switch from mac to pc and vice versa. You’ll likely be learning all new software every few years! That can be frustrating for some and exciting for others!  

 

 

630 red VAN shoe in 3d rendering

 

 

The 3D fashion scene has grown and evolved quite a lot over the past two years. Do you see a difference in what the fashion clients are asking for today compared to when you were starting out?

– We’re really excited about the production level and potential these days. We’re incorporating more and more CG humans into our work which opens up a whole new “world” of storytelling around these products! We’re not experiencing a push from clients towards this, necessarily, but we are able to offer that to enhance the storytelling and it is being well received now that the metaverse and metahumans are commonplace. 

 

Are there new technologies you’d like to experiment with at the studio that you haven’t yet tried out?

– I see us adding interactive. Now that we’re in Unreal, adding an interactive element seems inevitable. 

 

 

Oakley 3d fiber colorful threads on a helmet

 

 

You’re an artist yourself, running a bigger team. How do you as the company head make space for your own creative endeavors?

– So.. I think I’m wired for client work! I have ideas for visuals and stories around products for days and am putting together about 100 – 150 creative briefs per year! So when I did have time for personal work (years ago)… I’d typically start with a shoe as the centerpiece for the artwork and create personal work around that shoe! Thankfully, (we) get paid to do that all day every day!

 

 

north face sneaker and robotic machine

 

 

 

What digital creators should we keep our eyes on in 22/23?

– I definitely have my eye on RTFKT and their partnership with Nike.  Seems like they are setting the tone for digital/physical product releases and how to use the blockchain!

 

 

Already Been Chewed 

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