Arben Vllasaliu, Andreas Wannerstedt and Oscar Pettersson break down their ultra-satisfying looping animation style.
Disney and Pixar are the names that probably come to mind when thinking about animation. It’s an artform that’s long connected people through a unique ability to tell stories and communicate emotions. However, the world of 3D has ushered in a new form of looping animation that's taking the industry by storm.
These infinite 3D loops use mathematical rhythms to tell fun and interesting stories. They take the basic principles of animation and motion design – and build on them with a mix of careful calculation, repeating patterns and pure imagination.
We recently spoke with a few renowned AvantForm creators who are pushing the envelope of these ultra-satisfying 3D animations. With insights from Arben Vllasaliu, Andreas Wannerstedt and Oscar Pettersson, we take a closer look into exactly what makes these infinite loops so special and exciting.
Gold Pendulum – Andreas Wannerstedt
Mathematics Becomes Magic
Behind each looping animation lies an endless exploration of numbers, coordinates and calculations. Every great idea starts with timing, requiring pinpoint precision before it's translated into motion. “Mathematics is everything,” says Arben, who has previously worked with the likes of American Express, Burberry and Porsche. “Once we’re in harmony with the numbers, everything becomes easier and easier.”
“I get really inspired by exploring complex mechanical projects, especially the perpetual motion machines that are really smart-made setups,” adds Arben. “There’s no such thing as free energy, but ‘imagination has no limits’ as Einstein once said.”
“It’s a portal into the perfect world of physics, movement and predictability.” – Andreas Wannerstedt
Exploring the interaction between carefully arranged shapes and space is a core component of creating infinite 3D loops. “It’s a portal into the perfect world of physics, movement and predictability,” says Andreas, who has collaborated with IKEA, Nike Absolut Vodka and Google. “Most of my animations are based on the idea of flawless synchronizations between different objects.”
Complex equations and geometry may not always be related to creativity, but looping animations transform structure and rhythm into whimsical pieces of art. “When it comes to my concepts, I draw a lot of inspiration from real world mechanics and physics,” adds Andreas. “We’re surrounded by interesting motion patterns and behaviours in our everyday lives.”
Anxiety – Arben Vllasaliu
Imagination Without Limits
Try to picture the meaning of balance. What does precision look like? What about momentum? These abstract concepts can be difficult to visualize literally. One defining feature of these looping 3D animations is their ability to express conceptual ideas, evoke emotions, and capture attention in ways that ordinary photos and words cannot.
Take Arben’s Anxiety animation as an example. The loop was inspired by the mountain goats that are able to climb on a near-vertical dam. “The magic here is in between ‘How is it not falling?’ and ‘When is it going to fall?’ which is why I named the animation after anxiety,” says Arben. “I love experimenting with these kinds of emotions and visualizing them in animations.”
His Abandoned animation is a simple swinging rusty ball on an old piece of wood. “It’s the textures and colours that give the video the full meaning of the word,” adds Arben. “Sometimes I try to recreate some moments that you don’t see pretty often and that will stick in your mind after you see it.”
Infinite Time – Oscar Pettersson
There’s an element of perfectionism in each of these animating loops. They’re digital puzzles waiting to be unlocked – brought to life through animation. They bring out the beauty in timing and precision, which is why they’re often described as ultra-satisfying to watch.
Oscar Pettersson, another prominent motion designer who recently worked with Van Cleef & Arpels, Berluti Paris and Telenor, considers his work to be problem-solving. “I love rules,” he says. “At the start of each loop, I have an idea that I start to explore and then the rules start to sneak in, almost like a fence building itself closer and closer.”
It’s this seamless back-and-forth process that keeps you on the edge of your seat. “It’s almost like claustrophobia and creativity have a linear relationship in these loops,” adds Oscar. “I feel that the more restrictions I have, the more creative solutions I can find.”
Andreas similarly refers to his work as “oddly satisfying” and points to the repetitive motion patterns as to why the looping creations are so mesmerizing. “Well-crafted movements are the best way to add some character and life to the piece,” says Andreas. “I like to mimic movements and mechanics from the real world, but then add an abstract touch to enable perpetual motion.”
Others consider looping creations relaxing and meditative, bringing viewers to a hypnotic state. “As somebody with OCD, I really enjoy seeing things moving in perfect timing,” adds Arben. “I initially started to create these animations for myself because the process of making them was really therapeutic for me.”
“After I shared some of the videos on social media, I started to receive really great feedback,” Arben continues. “I was shocked because I had no idea that my videos can have an impact on others, so it will always be special to me as long as people can benefit mentally from my work.” Now, Arben often includes muted colours, balanced compositions and natural materials to play off these therapeutic qualities.
American Express Platinum – Arben Vllasaliu
Infinite Creativity with Professional Value
Don’t mistake mathematics for boring. These infinite loop animations are a sure-fire way to turn heads and grab immediate attention. They're a fun and engaging twist on cookie-cutter animations – perfect for brands looking to break away from the cliché and stand out from the crowd.
Arben, who has a background in traditional graphic design, fell into his style because he was bored of watching his artwork always being static. “I wanted to extend the canvas to express my thoughts through art even more and find that joy to go deeper,” he says. “When I saw the potential and how powerful it could be, I totally quit working as a graphic designer and now I work as a freelance 3D artist."
“Everything is constantly evolving and most successful companies are accepting this fact." – Arben Vllasaliu
This exciting animation style can really elevate projects to the next level through endless creativity and unlimited possibilities. “I can steer the project a lot particularly because of the abstract nature of loops,” says Oscar. “And since they have a mesmerizing and persuasive feel, the clients usually love it.”
Since these 3D loops can be short as a few seconds in length, they’re also perfected suited for capturing the attention of modern-day audiences. “My art is very much influenced by the ways we consume art nowadays with the help of technology and social platforms such as Instagram,” explains Andreas. “In a time where we are flooded with art and visual stimulation, I’ve found that infinite loops are optimal in order to attract the attention of the viewers.”
In addition to the bite-sized format, Andreas loves to mesh his “oddly satisfying” style with the brand and products itself. “It’s all about things working in perfect harmony, smoothly and effortlessly, and with optimal synchronization.”
Van Cleef & Arpels – Oscar Pettersson
For F's Sake
All that being said, it’s still crucial to choose synergistic projects and align them to your overall goals. “I usually measure them in the 4 Fs – fortunate, fun, fame and future,” explains Oscar. “Then I adjust my expectations and commitment after that.”
It shouldn’t always be about chasing the highest dollar amount. Money is definitely a factor in most decisions, but there’s also fun and excitement to be had in these collaborations. “Sometimes it’s a low-budget but super fun project, and sometimes it’s the other way around,” adds Oscar. “When I know why I do the project, I can meet my own and the client’s expectations.”
Ball Balances on Rotating Shape – Andreas Wannerstedt
Getting Started with Infinite Looping Animations
There are no shortcuts when it comes to improvement. Practice makes perfect – and that goes for everything in life. The first step is always to make a long-term commitment to improvement, followed by having the patience to see it through. “It’s all about putting in the hours,” says Oscar, who also has his own Masterclass on infinite 3D loops in Cinema 4D. “So try to find what you love doing and then put up some rules for yourself, like posting one animation every Friday.”
Building an audience over time can help a great deal in exposure, but the numbers are not the be-all and end-all. “Don’t get caught up by chasing likes or followers, as it needs to come from your creative lust,” adds Oscar. “I like the mindset ‘I’m not supposed to be good now, I will be good in 5 years’ because it disarms the fear of creating. Then after 5 years you say the same thing.”
From the physics to the timing, there’s also tons of depth behind each of these infinite looping animations. “When it comes to this particular style, it’s all about the details,” says Andreas. “Make sure to focus on the movement and really pay attention to the keyframes and curves.”
Many of these animations speak on concepts of unexplainable satisfaction that lie all around us. “The starting point for a piece often comes from an object or motion I see in the real world,” explains Andreas. Each of these three creators then use their imagination to give these shapes, mechanics and mathematical rhythms an art-directed twist.
So get those creative juices flowing and seek inspiration in your day-to-day life. Fascinating patterns and arrangements can be found literally anywhere – you just have to look. “Every shape and object we encounter has its own unique properties,” says Arben. “Once you start to break it down and analyze it deeper, you will really find the magic inside of it.”