While I do agree that there was a certain vibrancy and naivete to the 'early' years of motion graphics that -- by default -- can no longer exist, it seems that much of the energy here as of late has been focused on the negative byproducts of the industry at large and does not focus on the positive advancements that have happened over the past several years, both from a creative and technical standpoint.
Yes, ok, '03 saw a batch of good work. A lot of studios born of the dotcom crash and the folding giants were anxious to make a name for themselves, and they did. But I'd argue that the spectrum of work is much wider now than it was back then. Have there been many landmark pieces since '03? Sure, tons. But the first time is always the best, right? And, in many ways, it's boards like this and festivals like ResFest (etc.) that have contributed significantly to the popularization of motion graphics in mainstream television and film. In short, we've all contributed to the success of this industry, and also -- it seems -- our own self-deprication.
And that's our cycle: and idea is born, it becomes accepted, copied, gentrified, then dies. But what we have to realize is that this is the necessary course of any trend, and new trends and ideas cannot be nurtured in any other way. Of course, there are casualties along the way -- rising stars who have become disenfranchised or couldn't evolve past their one-trick pony. But it has also energized and empowered those who have remained as well as those just getting started.
Also, consider that many of the studios that came from that era had aspirations -- but not a ready opportunity -- to become something bigger. Not necessarily in terms of staff, but more so in scope of work. Now that technology has finally caught up, the past few years have seen a lot of those studios testing the waters with bigger & more ambitious projects. Where's Shynola? Pleix? StyleWar? Busy, I'm guessing. But I'm assured knowing that whatever they release next will be infinitely more complex and beautiful than what came before. Or, if it's not, I'll appreciate that they spent their time trying something new.
And I wish it would happen with more frequency, but the conundrum is that smaller numbers usually equals more creative control, but it also means less projects. And if your ambitions aren't proportionate to your staff...well, you do the math. Not that that invalidates the purpose or impact of this thread, but perhaps it helps shed light on the current state of affairs.
In contrast, studios like Motion Theory and Psyop have somehow, magically, found a way to explode yet still maintain their creativity on the commercial front. Unfortunately, a logo at the end of anything makes it less interesting, for any number of reasons. People cheer for underdogs and hate subsidy. But we should also be cheering for those who have been able to hijack mainstream television with provoking and interesting work. Without commerce, motion graphics would not exist, at least not in its current form. Nor would sites like this. Disagree? Do a Mograph search for Nam Jun Paik, Maya Deren or Stan Brakhage (trust me, it won't take long).
The point, I suppose, is that we write -- quite literally -- our own future. Critics and creators alike, this is a community small enough that all voices matter, and with that comes a certain personal responsibility and incentive to care. Instead of threads about industry burnout and fallen stars, I'd love to see fights over creative expression vs. commerce, art vs. design, Bass vs. Ferro, etc...