Motion Design

Hi I’m Paul Silcox and I run Ocula, we’re a motion design company.

How long has Ocula been going on for?

There has been various incarnations for about 14-15 years.

What kind of work do you do?

Its always been marketing presentations, the first job I did was a animated presentation for a award ceremony for super markets. The work is varied but generally its commercial, I enjoy doing all of it.

Where do you start with a project?

Generally speaking you’re looking for ideas from the client, and if the client is lacking ideas or if they don’t have enough to work with then you start researching subjects and finding themes and finding a narrative.

What’s the hardest part?

Selling it to the client. Coming up with ideas isn’t too hard, its coming up with the right idea for the client, that’s something that you learn to do.

Do you feel like your work has an impact?

What we set out to do here is create visual impact, we’re trying to create something that is aesthetically pleasing and visually interesting and that communicates a story, if we’re doing those things we’re doing our job right.

Are there benefits to being based in Bristol?

In Bristol there’s a lot going on, digitally, creatively and business wise and so it is a great place to be based.

How do you build up a network?

You start with people that you know and people that they know and that’s how it all starts. You have to get out there and people will find out about you if you’re passionate and apply yourself. The only thing that’s left is to back that up with positive actions when you meet these people and once you get known through that it starts picking up momentum.

Would you retire and if so, where would you go?

Probably just here, just to be doing what I’m doing is great and to have a creative career and have people pay you to do what you love doing. Every day I feel happy because of that.

Do you have any advice?

Just be professional and be reliable and don’t bullshit people… too much.

What originally got you into motion graphics? Is there something you remember loving that got you hooked!

Computers were associated with graphics from the very beginning for me.  It started with typing peek and poke codes (These were BASIC programming instructions) into my Commodore 64 to create flashing colours and patterns.  

In the 80’s you would type in programmes copied from magazines and load up the freebies or programmes that you swapped in the playground.  One of these was a programme called Deluxe Paint IV for the Atari which had an animation element and I used this software to create my first computer animation.  I was only 13 or 14 at the time but I remember now how much I enjoyed the process.  The next freebie was a 3D programme for the amiga called imagine3D.  I was pretty young but I was hooked from the very beginning.  From these early forays into graphics a passion was born and I have played with various tools ever since.

Why did you chose the name Ocula for your company?

When we started the company we were known as Dragonfly Media and this was a name that we were happy with but there was a conflict with a TV production company of the same name.  It was no problem at first but as we grew into TV work it was evident that this might become an issue so we decided to re-brand.  We examined a lot of names but Ocula was the most popular of the names shortlisted and the name we decided to progress with.  The name comes from oculus, the Latin for eye which seemed appropriate as we were kind of, you know, lensing people’s ideas.

Is there a difference between Motion Graphics and Animation?

Very good question.  Motion graphics is animation, but more specifically it’s design in motion.  Motion graphics is a term that means something to people associated with the industry but it’s not a term that means much to people that aren’t.  It’s a constant problem, trying to explain what we do and I am always up for attempting to answer.

More recently I have been using the term Design based Visual FX, just to complicate things!

With technology constantly changing what kind of work do you think you’ll be doing in the future?

Hopefully we will continue to develop our skills in proceduralism and simulation and become the world’s best Design Based Visual FX company!

By Jay Pearson, Beth Knapp, Lily Humphreys


Paul runs Ocula Design Studio in Bristol, Spike Island.  Ocula is a digital communication agency specialising in 3D animation and motion graphics. They have extensive experience in creating compelling and informative presentations for clients around the globe including brands such as Microsoft and The Discovery Channel. Since the inception of their digital animation studio in 2007, they have been creating compelling, thought provoking and thrilling animations. The studio has animation artists and designers to apply their combination of skills into architectural visualisation, information graphics and experimental generative art.