Cosmo Ray Demo Reel

Monday, May 14th, 2012 | Blog, Editorial

Who is Cosmo Ray? Not a super villain, but actually a dedicated and talented young motion artist who was one of my best students at CCA. Four years ago, while I was contracting at a local studio, I first met Cosmo who was working alongside. Although he looked young, I assumed he was a junior designer. Astonishingly, I found out he was a young man of but 20! Much later, I had him in my motion design class and was happy to see his work in a school environment. His new reel is a beautiful montage of style, typography and experimentation with the tools. I have the feeling he’s just getting started.

Colin@movecraft: Cosmo Ray. Is that your real name?

Cosmo Ray Rettig. My parents were hippies.

Awesome. Let’s talk about this reel you’ve just cut. What percentage of the reel is student work and what came from client work? And can you mention the sweet intro?

About half and half… and I’m glad it turned out that way. Probably about three or four projects came from your class. As far as the intro, it was just kind of an image I had in my head and I was messing around with the tools. The artwork from the game Journey was really inspiring me- the sand dessert stuff. You know, a reel intro is one of those places where you can just makes something that looks nice kind of for the sake of it. I also had this edit of this audio track which lent itself to a long kind of intro… I wanted to fill the time.

You are probably the only student I’ve ever had coming into my class with more client work then student work. I felt that you had a lot of work experience, but it seemed like you wanted to spend your time in school making weird conceptual stuff. What’s the difference between working on school projects versus working on client work?

Honestly, before I had come to CCA, I had been art directed a lot and part of the reasons for me coming to school was to become a stronger designer so that being told what to do wouldn’t dictate my career. I was really interested in pushing boundaries and doing things I wasn’t able to do in professional work.

Was the difference between client expectations and your own expectations? Plus, how does one “push boundaries”?

Well, I’d say that I have higher expectations for myself. The work and the brief comes from a different place, especial in my school work or a personal project from a place of, well, inside my soul. You know, something that I’m interested in, or something inside me. It’s not just trying to get something done or sell a product- or really not selling anything. It’s just trying to convey an idea.

So selling is the major difference?


It shouldn’t be that way, but that’s how it was before… going to school has helped me understand what I want and need out of relationships with clients, nurturing rather then debilitating. Or soul sucking.

What piece in your reel exemplifies “pushing the boundaries”?

From a conceptual side, the “cocaine ukelele” thing. The random band piece. There is very little time in my professional career to be silly. The whole thing is about doing a line of coke off a crappy framed postcard from Hawaii… Maybe there are jobs like that that are out there or clients who are open to that thing, once you get into areas that are fun or too risque for client work, interesting aesthetic decisions come out of that.



Something that’s fun about that project, too, is the feeling of randomness. In the brief for that project you and the other students were instructed to go to indie band name generator at coolehmag, then get randomly generated rock band names, and finally design a motion piece around it. I can see how artists get so addicted to creating work centered around chance based operations; the roll of a dice. I had another student, when he did that same assignment, his band name was “Crustacean Armada” and became the basis of his final. It was so fun to see him draw and model the crustacean armada, and also just watch someone be purely creative. Can you talk about your final?

My final in your class was responding to basically an open brief I called “Dendrochrono”, which is still a work in progress. This project was based on Prometheus, the oldest tree on earth. I was taking a class on video games at the time. I was thinking about this idea that I had about all these different layers of tree trunks, each one expressing an age of fuel use and technological advancement throughout human history. I thought the construction of it lended itself to interactivity, It was almost as though each was a level of a game. That sort of thing doesn’t come up for me much either in paid work: reinterpreting, reworking, and re-contextualizing work that then takes on another form entirely.

Sounds great. Keep us posted on that when it’s up.

More work by Cosmo Ray 

Download the amazing music by Asura used in the reel