Tony Babel - Master of Looped Vintage NFTs

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Hello and welcome to another Discovery of the Day! MSQ just moved into its Open Beta, meaning you can sign up for a profile, check out the site and leave some reviews on some of your favorite projects! From Monday to Friday we bring you our Discovery of the Day series, articles that take a closer look at our top picks from the realms of NFTs, DeFi protocols, Blockchain games and the Metaverse! Today we explore the work of a particularly talented animator with a penchant for vintage loops…it’s Tony Babel!

The Origins of Animation

Since time immemorial humanity has attempted to chronicle its path across the ages—primitive renderings line the walls of countless caves while innumerable paintings, frescoes, sculptures and etchings are on display in galleries and museums across the world. A great deal of what we know about our past is contained within static texts and images, and it was only in July of 1877 that Charles-Émile Reynaud built and presented the world with the first-ever Praxinoscope.

While relatively simple in its construction, when spun, the Praxinoscope displays a looped sequence in which a given figure or image could be seen seemingly moving and changing over time. While nothing more than an optical illusion, the Praxinoscope was (and still is) a delight to both adults and children alike.

Slightly different static images + kinetic motion = animation!

Reynaud could not possibly have known just how profound his invention would turn out to be. Over the past few decades, the art of animation has changed and shifted, and with the advent of modern technology and automated information processing, animation has become significantly easier to carry out, requiring much less time and energy to render a given sequence.

This is not to say that animation is easy, but the tools available to artists makes it far more accessible and intuitive, thus providing particularly talented artists with the means to create high-quality pieces of moving art in a fraction of the time it would have taken them in the past. In other words, artists still need to be talented and capable, but they can carry out a lot of the more monotonous work far more rapidly than they could before.

Tony Babel

I usually try to come up with fun and witty titles for these articles, but with the sheer caliber of artist I’m discussing today, it really isn’t necessary. Tony Babel isn’t some opportunist or fly-by-night charlatan. He’s actually been creating fun animated loops for several years now—just take a look at his Instagram page and you’ll see how his work has changed and progressed over time…and you can be certain that what you see online isn’t where his journey began. In fact, Tony has been at this for what I surmise to be 16 years now, honing his craft and style over the course of many, many months. And the results of this tireless dedication to his craft? Well, take a look for yourself:

As you can plainly see, Tony’s work is nothing short of pure technicolor goodness. What sets him apart from his contemporaries is a combination of elements including sound design, motion, color palette, characters, lighting and composition. At first glance you might think of these animated loops as relatively simplistic, but if you consider all the subtle details, the many individual parts and the timing of interconnected events, the brilliance of Tony’s work becomes abundantly clear.

Despite the fact that these animated sequences consist of stylized forms and are often humorous in nature, there is a very evident polish inherent within Tony’s creations, and just to the right degree as well—nothing is overproduced or out of place, and every last element feels deliberate, directed and necessary. The animation itself comes across as very organic with little or nothing to suggest that it was rendered using a desktop computer.

Learn from the Best!

So just how does this animator from Israel bring his creations to life? Well, the main principle that Tony follows is to ‘animate simple shapes first’ and then add the important details later. Now this may sound easy enough, but I have no doubt that Tony’s summation is something of an oversimplification. Needless to say, animators who are able to master this approach and refine their technique may well get the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience in the not-too-distant future…

‘Check, please.’

As testament to Tony’s continued success and rise up the ranks of the NFT world, his most recent work, ‘Check, please,’ at time of writing, was sold to @artifact for 15.0 ETH in an auction that took place on SuperRare. This is nearly double the 8.0 ETH what was paid by @siinamota for ‘👀’ (yes, that is in fact the title of the work) on Foundation on October 21st, 2021:

‘Check, please’ by Tony Babel

‘👀’ by Tony Babel

Tony’s work is truly remarkable and will undoubtedly go down in history as some of the greatest NFT art ever produced. His creations contain a heap of authentic passion, expert craftsmanship and an unbridled love for the art of animation. If you haven’t yet, be sure to follow Tony over on Twitter as well as Foundation, SuperRare, Instagram and Showtime. No need to ask why. It’s creative forces like Tony that truly bolster the NFT community and demonstrate just what can be achieved with time, dedication and persistent excellence.

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When not playing drums in his death metal band, Brynn can be found reading up on all the latest developments in the world of Web3, watching horror movies or playing online games with his friends.

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