Meet Mehdi Alibeygi, the animator of awesome movements

One time visiting animator Mehdi Alibeygi’s Vimeo account can work a treat. His animations are short, concise with mesmerizing motions. The gestures alone are so strong and rich on their own that they can guide you from the first second to the last of the whole story. The fluidity and smoothness made us gaze each frame in awe. We had to know the guy behind this black magic. We had to. So we knocked on Mehdi’s door and got the chance to chat to him about his craze for animation, inspirations, and future projects.

Hi Mehdi! Please tell us something about who you are and what you’re passionate about.

My name is Mehdi Ali Beygi. I was born in Tehran and I grew up with Eastern European, Japanese, and some Disney animations. I graduated with a B.A. in Graphic Design. I started my career in animation as an ‘inbetweener’ and a clean-up artist in a studio when I was 19. At the same time, I was drawing cartoons and caricatures for press and festivals. I also did some character design and concept design works. Up until few years ago, I didn’t even know what my job actually was or what I was meant to be doing, but I was certain that I enjoyed comedy and humor.

What then pushed you into the path of animation? And what are some of the most important things you learned while doing so?

I think it started in school when I used my textbooks as flip books. Later I worked on short comic strips with small ideas. On the other hand, I became familiar with animating and I was always intrigued to animate my ideas. That became a reason to make my first short animation, “Evolution”.

There are challenges in almost all aspects of an animation project that I have to learn or try new things to find solutions for them, and sometimes find out how others solve those problems. Solving these puzzles is what I enjoy.

Your work features many energetic characters with rich body language and movement, especially “8″ (below). Where do you find inspiration for this aesthetic? And how has it shaped your working process?

I simultaneously exaggerate and simplify my characters as much as I can, either in the form or the personality. I limit the numbers of their characteristics and emphasize on them. In this manner, a character movement becomes clearer and more understandable.

About “8”, I should say this animation is about one of the most famous former Asian football players, Ali Karimi, who had extraordinary abilities in the field. In this animation, I wanted to experiment if it’s possible to find an equivalent of this football player’s movements in an animation medium, an equivalent just as unpredictable as his movements in the real world. Beforehand I had more or less an abstract format in my mind that its combination with this character seemed interesting to me.

01 copy Sketch Color-test Colour test

Are there any new themes or motifs you want to incorporate into your work, but haven’t had the chance yet?

There are many themes and ideas I hope I can make them someday, but it is difficult to put a good idea in a practical format. But there are many artists with good and different ideas. It has happened many times that I have had an idea in my mind, and I watched a work only to realize they had made and created the same idea in the best possible way. I am fascinated by Eastern themes, specially Iranian miniature painting, in which I see a great potential for animation.

Last but not least, do you have any recent or upcoming projects that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes, I prepared a TV series plot about a character with bipolar personality that is like a “reversible coat”. A simple sneeze can turn him inside out and the other side of his character appears. I also have a short film called “Change Over” that was shown in Annecy Film Festival this year.

Thanks Mehdi!

Scroll down for the concepts of Mehdi’s latest animated short “Changeover.”

03 04 still Changeover

And an excellent short called “Bazar,” Mehdi’s most favourite work so far!

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