April 1, 2019
I recently found myself entranced by a series of type generators — websites that allow you to create experimental animated type, then transform them into personal pieces of moving art. It’s easy to lose track of time playing with all the settings. And if you get frustrated (and I honestly don’t believe you can because they’re so fun) there are presets you can toggle to help.
The mastermind behind these sites is Kiel Mutschelknaus, a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans design, animation, typography, and recently, coding. Mutschelknaus, an educator at Maryland Institute College of Art in their graphic design department, has been working on more than 30 different generators, and he’s published four online so far. He calls them Space Type Generators, and the different versions — v.Cylinder, v.Field, v.Stripes, and v.Coil — offer different parameters you can customize, like how the text animates, the colors, speed and, of course, what the text says.
I reached out to Mutschelknaus to learn more about the generators and his process.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
What was the inspiration behind making these generators?
They mainly come from a place of learning and experimentation. Last year I was creating these typographic chandeliers and it was so hard to experiment and iterate on the forms with the software I was using (After Effects and Cinema 4D). It took the programs forever to render changes. I decided to switch up the tools and translated into a coded environment, Processing.
From there it just exploded. I could get instant feedback of the forms through changing the parameters as it was animating. I kept adding more and more waves and parameters to different aspects of those forms. It was crazy easy to generate motion graphics. And to generate generators. And to iterate on those generators. Crazy fruitful. I’ve ended up with 30+ generators.