animation | Technology

Meet ASMR’s new fun cousin: trippy and satisfying animations

Move over, kinetic sand and whispering YouTube videos! These digital artists are changing the ASMR game

The world of ASMR — autonomous sensory meridian response — is constantly innovating. Last month, Twitter user @altdoly used clips of major fights on American reality TV shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians and The Real Housewives to create viral content. The Jonas Brothers got on the bandwagon with a whispered version of their hit single, ‘Sucker’. The three-minute-long video is equal parts soothing thanks to Nick’s voice, and hilarious thanks to Joe’s antics and Kevin forgetting the lyrics.

Even as myriad kinetic sand cutting and food chewing videos flood the results on a quick Instagram search for #ASMR, a growing number of digital artists’ work is (sometimes unwittingly) finding an audience in the space.

Here are some Instagram accounts to follow, to make your brain tingle with technology.

Studio Moebius; @studiomoebius

Nikunj Patel, founder of this Mumbai-based visual and motion design studio, moonlights as a producer of electronic music under the moniker moebius. “I’ve been involved in numerous projects which are at the intersection of design and music with a touch of live performance added in,” says the NID graduate, who has worked with Magnetic Fields Festival, Saavn, NH7 Weekender and Puma. His work is inspired by music, in that it follows patterns and rhythms that often repeat and are essentially looping structures that evolve over time. “I use loops and rhythm to tell stories through animation, which in itself is a very time-consuming practice. So using loops also helps animators economise on time,” he explains.

Meet ASMR’s new fun cousin: trippy and satisfying animations

While he started out with a 2D hand-drawn aesthetic, of late, he has been trying not to limit himself. “I strive to have a stark graphic quality with all the projects I undertake, but at the same time, think that it’s important to not get stuck with one style that can instantly be pinned to you,” he adds.

The online response has been quite encouraging, with a lot of projects coming in from folks who discovered his work on Instagram. He finds the demographic of his followers to be interesting, and an influx of inquiries and work from the UK is a pleasant surprise.


Oliver Latta; @extraweg

Meet ASMR’s new fun cousin: trippy and satisfying animations

Expect extraordinary — and slightly disconcerting — imagery on this Berlin-based art director and 3D artist’s Instagram feed. As an artist, he is inspired by everyday situations. “I like showing them in an ambiguous and uncomfortable way, trying to focus on provoking sensations in the viewers, forcing them to think for themselves,” he says, “I seek to draw attention to the things that concern or amuse me in a way or another. But rather than showing them in an explicit way, I choose to represent them in an ambiguous way, without being very obvious and always playing with the limits.”

So you’ll see a brain swinging in a pink hammock, accompanied by the sound of heavy breathing. Or a blobby creature walking in tune to an increasingly racing heartbeat.


Andreas Wannerstedt; @wannerstedt

Meet ASMR’s new fun cousin: trippy and satisfying animations

The Stockholm-based artist and art director crafts unique 3D sculptures and mesmerising looping animations he shares with over 600K followers. Describing his work, he says, “My art is all about interactions between shape and space. It’s a sophisticated and whimsical portal into the perfect world of physics, movement, and predictability. Inspired by ASMR, as well as real-world mechanics and motion patterns from our everyday lives, my digital puzzles are brought to life with the help of computers and 3D software, enabling perpetual motion with an abstract touch.”

Over the last 14 years, he has done commissioned work for brands like Google, Adidas, Ikea, Coca-Cola, Spotify, Absolut Vodka and Red Bull. “I want to transport my viewers into a meditative state, and to trigger that inexplicable feeling of odd satisfaction we all know. My art is very much influenced by the way we consume art nowadays, with the help of technology and social platforms such as Instagram. In a time when we are flooded with visual stimulation, I think short loops are optimal to attract the attention of the viewers and soothe their psyche,” he adds.


Oscar Pettersson; @0scarpettersson

Meet ASMR’s new fun cousin: trippy and satisfying animations

The co-founder of Scandinavian design duo, Part One, describes his aesthetic as “seamless intricate animations with geometric designs”. He pairs these quite intelligently with industrial sounds (it almost sounds like heavy machinery functioning at a factory), overlaid with metal/rock instrumental music. He often shares the making of these trippy creations on his Instagram stories to his 74.8K followers.

Oscar did not set out to be an ASMR star; it was an accidental addition to his work as a 3D motion designer. “I studied motion creative at Hyper Island, an international design school. After running a studio for a couple of years with some classmates, I went freelance. I love it!” Clearly, it also gives him enough time to experiment, building his work in Cinema 4D, rendering with Arnold and compositing in After Effects.


Dope Rad Cool; @doperadcool

As the name suggests, this Insta-collective shares work by various artists that falls under dope, rad and cool categories. The moderators say, “The main goal behind our social platform is to give exposure to artists who are working hard to produce content they’re passionate about. We look for what trends are popular with our audience, look for emerging artists within that niche artwork, and then we try to create a finely curated digital gallery. Everyone is looking for a form of escapism, we feel that digital motion graphics and animation are perfect for that because it can take anyone’s most imaginative fantasy and bring it to life.”

They explain that digital ASMR tends to be more edgy than traditional forms. “While there are people that enjoy both, we’ve noticed that the two audiences don’t overlap as much as you might think. One thing to note is that the creators making the animated videos often create their own sounds, which can come off as ‘unnatural’, making people uncomfortable, but they still watch over and over again.”

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 1:05:19 AM |

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