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Bill Snebold

Paramount Pictures
Disney
PBS
20th Century Fox
NBCUniversal Media, LLC
The CW
Bill Snebold
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In my career, I've made significant strides in design, particularly within entertainment advertising. Here's a brief overview: Paramount Pictures: My tenure here was a highlight, where I crafted movie posters for major releases, honing my visual storytelling skills. Bill Snebold Design, Inc.: In 2008, I founded my own firm to expand my services, from entertainment advertising to corporate branding, aiming to meet and exceed client expectations. Expertise: I specialize in various design areas, including advertising, branding, and web design, with a focus on creativity and strategic insight. Recognition: My work has been recognized for its visual impact and marketing effectiveness, making me a preferred designer for impactful projects. Influence: Beyond achievements, I've contributed to mentoring upcoming designers, aiming to inspire with the transformative power of creative design. My career reflects a dedication to design excellence, with a portfolio that significantly impacts entertainment advertising and beyond.
Q

Can you discuss your experience working with a team, and how you collaborate with other disciplines?

I love working with other talented individuals to solve a client's creative and marketing goals. I find that each person on the team brings unique vision, perspectives, and skills to a project that helps to enhance the final outcome. So much great work can come out of the cross-pollination of input across various creative disciplines. The best thing to do is for everyone on the team to be open and willing to share ideas, and to feel free to chime in and contribute. I've always loved the notion that "there are no bad ideas" because even the most ludicrous ideas can spawn a discussion that gives rise to something that's novel and unexpected.

Movie poster for Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Q

What got you interested in Animation particularly?

The ability to give life to a still image. Who doesn’t love that? Adding that extra dimension of time really opens up entire worlds of possibilities. I don’t recall a particular point in time where I decided to get into animation. I think perhaps it was just a natural outgrowth of how digital technology was changing everything in the 1990’s. Tools like Macromedia Director made animation more accessible to creatives who up until that point had only been involved with static design. When the World Wide Web started to take off I was an Art Director at Paramount Pictures designing movie posters, and we started doing websites for some of these movies. Then a product called Future Splash (later called Flash) came along that made doing animation on the web feasible, so I guess maybe that was the starting point for me. Most of my animation is done in Adobe After Effects these days, and sometimes Blender for 3d elements.

Q

Before starting a new project, what information are you looking for from the Customer? What do you ask them?

The first thing I do is just listen. I want to gain the best understanding I can about the problem they have and what a particular project requires, so I want to make sure I’m completely open and not preloading any of my own bias before they tell me about their needs. I tend to ask questions that help me clarify for both of us what we’re trying to achieve. Obviously, I will also ask about timeframes and specs, but that usually comes towards the end of a discussion.

Q

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends & technologies in your field and how do you incorporate them into your work?

I’m often an early adopter of technology in my creative work. Even before I got my hands on a Mac in the 1980s I experimented with designing logos on a Commodore Amiga. A bit later, while others were still using pen and ink to draw logos and graphics I was using Adobe Illustrator. I have always seen technology as a way to enable me to have more control over the design process. Before desktop publishing came around I used to have to mark up a type written sheet of paper with font and size “specs” and hand that off to a typesetter. Now I can do my own typography and make changes on the fly. It’s very powerful!.

The internet makes it very easy to stay up to date with what going on these days. I subscribe to various newsletters and subscribe to feeds in my social media feeds that are relevant to emerging tech, especially as it applies to the creative field. Lately I’ve been very interested in generative AI, which has been progressing at an incredible pace. I used to subscribe to a stock image website, but now that’s been replaced with Midjourney. Instead of hunting through endless pages of redundant, often irrelevant imagery on a stock site, I can now prompt Midjourney and get something much more customized to my needs.

Poster for the 8th annual PBS online film festival
Q

How are you able to sculpt and model clothing to fit the style of any character? Is there a certain technique that you use when sculpting to be able to create stylistic shape languages?

I honestly don’t do a lot of 3d character design in my work. I’ve done some, but it’s not my main area of focus. Usually I use 3d to create title treatments or other elements that I render and bring into either After Effects or Photoshop to combine with additional video and photographic assets.

Q

How do you walk the line between being unique, giving a good user experience, and having commercial appeal?

I always start with the question of what the end goal is for a particular project. What am I trying to convey? I’m not trying to server my own sense of uniqueness. Sometimes, in order to stand out in the marketplace you need to find a unique way of presenting something, but just as often the client needs something that fits their branding. Even within that context it’s important to stay fresh, but always relevant. You really have to have an understanding of who the client is talking to and let that drive a lot of how you approach the project. User experience and commercial appeal go hand in hand with that.

GossipGirl ad with a razor blade in a woman's mouth
Q

How do you approach problem-solving when encountering a difficult design challenge during the 3D modeling process?

I usually try to envision how I’m going to approach modeling something before starting. I don’t just dive in without a plan. If I do run into an issue during the modeling process then I may back up and rethink how I’m approaching it.

Q

As an Art Director, is it possible to create anything that you can imagine?

These days, with all the tools available from 3d to AI, I believe there’s almost no image that can be imagined that can’t be created. That said, very complex images that require a lot of time to achieve may not be doable within the budget of a project. This is especially true if there are particular product elements that need to be present in the image or certain celebrities that need to be featured. However, as technology get more capable these issues become less problematic.

Choice 2020 poster
Q

You have worked in a multitude of realms in the entertainment industry, what is next for you? Is there more you want to explore?

I’m very fascinated by what’s going on with generative AI right now and how it will reshape everything in the entertainment and creative fields and beyond. As we move into a future where anyone can just conjure up entire fully immersive worlds with relative ease, where does that take us? How does it change the entertainment landscape as well as how people communicate in general? My entire career has been in service to helping clients communicate to their prospective market. I hope to be able to continue to do that into the future no matter what form that takes.

ad for Prison Power Politics
Q

Cats or Dogs? ...or other?

Finally, the all important question. :-) For me it’s always been cats. My family has had a few cats over the years. Each has its own unique personality. One of our favorite cats passed away just a couple years ago. He was the best! However, I think our current cat is bipolar or something. Sometimes he’s nice, but he can transform into a wild animal at any moment.

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