Behind the Project: Visualizing Motion in Air

In this series, we’ll look deeper into some of the projects on Behance.net that were especially admired in our community. This time, we spoke with Mike Campau, a Digital Artist & Creative Director in Michigan. He’s done everything from create compelling Celebrity Portraits to intense CGi work (like in “The Future Of Sports”) – but this time, we talked to him about his visualizations of dancers’ movements in “Motion in Air.

What was your inspiration for this project?
I just had an idea of capturing people in mid-air, but wasn’t quite sure in what scenario I would do this. So, I started my usual process of image searching, browsing stock sites and going through my own catalog of images, when I stumbled upon some very nice studio shots of dancers leaping. That was it, I had my subject matter. I tried to envision the motion that the dancer made before and after that moment in air and thought, “how could I visually create that as an object?”. From this point, I now had my inspiration moving forward.

Can you describe your process in creating this project?
Now that I had my subject matter, I started to scour through stock photo sites looking for as many dancers in mid air as possible. Once I did this, I narrowed it down to ones whose lighting style would fit in with what I was envisioning. Having some knowledge of dance from my daughters taking studio lessons and performances, I had a pretty good understanding of the types of movements the different styles the dancers create while performing. From here I had to visually create a sculpture in 3d that best represented these movements. There was some trial and error, along with completely starting over in some cases until I got the right feel and shape.

Did you expect it to be as popular as it’s been on The Behance Network?
Yes, and no. I knew I had created something that I was very proud of and had an instant appeal once I was done, but I had no idea so many people would gravitate to these images and fall in love with them the way I did.

Did you go through many versions and iterations before coming up with these final pieces?
Yes, some of the images took more variations than others, while a couple of them I nailed on the first try – and probably the most popular one (blue cover image) was one of those that just worked instantly.

Did anything interesting happen as a result of the success of this project?  (fans contacting you, job opportunities, blogs picking it up, etc).
Yes, I received a ton of great responses and posts from this series and I was also contacted by a few clients to use the images for magazine covers and an annual report.  It also helped me indirectly, leading some potential clients to my other work and website, which in turn generated other work.

Do you feel that this project is “done,” or is there anything you’d like to improve on or change in the future?
For me, no project is ever “done” but this one is pretty close. There isn’t too much I would change or do differently, other than some small tweaks here and there. As far as the series is concern, I am not sure if I will go back to it to add more or just leave it as a series and move on to my next concept?