Welcome to my digital playground
My name is Stanko Beronja and I love everything about design, creating things and being involved in constant flux of creative thinking. I had that rare luck by translating my hobby into a solid career, but even after 20 years of intensive working in this creative field I didn’t forget that delightful thrill of creating things for its own sake. Hence, I still like to get my camera and get lost in the city by searching for those quiet and hidden beautiful moments in time and prolong that split second of random but pure aesthetic sensation in a captured photograph. I still like to sit spontaneously on my piano at 22 o’clock in the evening and develop that beautiful and yet somehow dark and nostalgic music theme until sunrise, when first sun rays appear, and the last missing parts of hunted melody emerge. I still like to collect all smartphone videos, make a motion collage about a period in my life and all those people close to me, and watch how such a video is being more and more valued over time – just like vine or a vivid metaphor. I hope you get the picture about the baseline of my personality: I am one of those kids who never really grow up, who still wonder about pretty much everything around and whose deepest feeling of satisfaction is intrinsically linked with the process of random creation. Or not so random. Hence, it’s no wonder that I have studied philosophy with a heavy focus on aesthetics and theory of film. O jeah, I love movies, too.
The idea for building this site – my digital playground – came up when I was lying in a hospital for almost 2 months. During a deep contemplation about my doing in the past I realised that I made a bunch of interesting things, but they have been scattered all over the place. Thus, I decided to make a place where I could not only exhibit my old staff and track down my very own creative development over years but also a place which essential role is to inspire further the creative thinking and conceptualisation in different aesthetics environments. Therefore, the content of this digital playground is mostly the results of my experimentation and studies in my free time. If you are interested in my commercial work, please send me an email via form at the end of this page or just click the email link in the footer. So happy browsing.
My journey into the world of creative thinking and crafting started very spontaneously with photography. Back to 1999 we were at the party somewhere in Neu Isenburg, and my dearest friend Zoran Pavlovic had a small pocket camera, kind of a cheap touristic one. Of course, it was analogue at that time. In a highly uplifted mood thanks to beverages and other kinds of substances I took one photograph of sunrise on the balcony.
A couple of days later Zoran came to me and handed me that photograph – it was nothing special, a stereotypic depicted sunrise you can find today everywhere on the web, but this one singular snapshot captured my attention for the following weeks, if not months. I just started studying philosophy at that time, aesthetics was one of my beloved subjects, hence sometimes I kind of contemplated for hours over this one particular image. It didn’t last too long until I decided to buy my first camera, a Pentax ME Super, and a passion, at least one of them, was born.
Design & user experience
My first design “job” happened in year 2001: I had to design a flyer for a party which my roommate and myself were throwing. I thought how difficult can it be to put some information on peace of paper and make it a bit interesting. Well after trying this very simple task for about 2 days I realized it is difficult, at least if you are a nerdy student of philosophy who wants to create something visually exciting, but never used indesign, illustrator or photoshop till that day. Sitting down and learning how to get a good graphic designer wasn’t a matter of couple of hours, as you can imagine. But I learned photoshop at least at that time.
A couple of years later I started to work as freelancer for Icelandair, mostly doing video jobs and shooting photos of Iceland. However, from time to time they asked me to design their power point presentations and some magazines, so I dived this time deeper into the realm of graphic design and explored the basic principles, and rules of visual language and how to break them. 2012 I started to work as motion designer at COSALUX, an agency for communication design from Offenbach, but after only 2 years I took the role as senior art director and was involved in many projects regarding pure graphic design and user experience. Here on this site you can find my studies I am doing in free time within this creative field.
Video & motion design
Getting involved in motion pictures was – like many things in my life – also very spontaneously. 2001 I proudly bought my very first digital camera: Sony DSC-S85. It could shoot 4 Megapixel photos, at that time massive resolution for stills, and a video, but more modest regarding the specs here: 320×240 px by 16 frames. However, as a student I had to finance myself completely, so I had various jobs to earn some bucks. One of these jobs was babysitting (jeap, you read it right), and one of mine customers was a general manager for Icelandair in Europe. So, one evening I came to family Sigurfinnsson to watch over their two very sweet kids, Adrew (4) and Silja (2). I brought my digital baby of course and used video function for the first-time. Being myself kind of child in soul AND behaviour we had tons of fun, and some of this fun I captured on video. I let even a 2 years old girl be for a while a camera operator. Jeah, I was pretty scared for my baby camera, but it was worth it. The shots of two years old were just brilliant.
However, when I came home I looked quickly on the web how you can edit videos, and after watching some ridiculously slow-paced tutorials about using movie maker I sat down and edited those shots. Next day I sent a CD with edited video to papa Gunnar, and what to say: he called me on the same day and asked me if I could make videos about Iceland in that manner, meaning funny and emotional at the same time. The only requested change – except content of course – was putting a bit more pixels in there. And if possible a bit more fluid. “Jeah of course”, I said very excitedly, that’s no problem at all. I am a professional. Well, I lied a bit, and corrected this only a couple of days later. I went to library, pulled books about professional video making, read them in next 2 days (and nights), bought my first DV video camera Canon XM2, in SD quality at that time (720x480px), and in 7 days after phone call I was for the first time in Iceland making videos. Professionally. After that in the next two years I was five times more in Iceland on behalf of Icelandair, and my career as an enthusiastic video producer started to look promising.
My first experiments with raytraced CG date back to 2003 when a friend of mine Jonas showed me how easy is it to model and render something in Cinema 4D, which – at that time – looked amazing. I fell in love immediately, sat down to create my first 3D room filled with objects which I modelled exactly as I had it in mind. It was a pure joy because I count myself as one of those individuals who like to create things from very scratch. Tabula rasa. The euphory lasted until I pressed render-button for the first time: for 1280x720x still picture my pc needed about 50 hours. That damn GI! After sleepless days of modelling now I must wait for days to see the result – not cool at all. Hence in next decade I did only occasionally projects in 3D, mostly with VRAY. The gamechanger came about 2012 and it was called Octane Render: world’s first unbiased GPU render. O man, here I picked up quickly and dived deeper into the world of raytraced computer graphics, also called offline rendering.
As for real-time graphics it was not until 2016 when I jumped in. I was playing video games for very long, even back to the very first personal computer Spectrum 48 and Commodore 64 in eighties I was spending nights playing Donkey Kong, Pacman, and similar. But after having couple of projects done in raytraced render engine the graphics of real-time engine just looked dull and flat to be interested in experimenting with. This changed when I did my first commercial project in Unity. The request was to develop a futuristic and flexible UI concept around a transparent glass out of glass in which have been placed about 120 different electronic products. All of these were supposed to be rendered in real-time. So, I had to make it pretty, and the effort was a pretty huge success. We won even red dot award. However, there was awaken my enthusiasm about game engines, and after making some more projects with Unity 3D I discovered Unreal Engine 4. My enthusiasm transformed into pure delight, and since then I am doing the most of my projects with UE4.
Tunes & music production
Music played a very important role in my life from very early on, and I can only agree to Nietzsche’s saying: “Life without music would be mistake”. Firstly, I was a passionate listener, it was kind of greatest luck in the world for me getting to record that particular song on radio or buy that so long lusted record. First attempts to making music were born out of necessity. In 1992 Bosnian war started, and electric power became a rare luxury: we got about two hours in two weeks. Two weeks without music??? No way. So, I learned to play guitar and sometimes I sat for hours by the river playing only couple of songs in endless loop. Well, one must exercise, but the main reason was I couldn’t stop listening to those fragile sounds coming out of my very old guitar.
After coming to Germany and starting to study here in Frankfurt am Main I got 1998 a Roland’s groovebox MC-303 into my hands. Man, those next days were completely sleepless. I just couldn’t stop playing with this baby, I even produced the whole album within couple of weeks. However, I quickly recognised the hard limitations of such an all in one device, so I started to check out the main DAW music software like Reason, Cubase, Logic Pro, and finally I landed by Ableton Live. Jeah, it was the same guy who introduced me Cinema 4D, my much-valued friend Jonas, who showed me Ableton Live for the first time. After couple of years I also discovered the world of Native Instruments, bought their Komplete Suite and Maschine, added to that the plugins from Urs Heckman like Diva, Zebra etc., and those are my weapons of choice.
Jeah, those are my roots. As you can see, my path into the world of creative thinking was dominated by random events, but somehow, I think it fits beautifully the core of my personality. I discovered the world of artistic expression in Columbus manner, and since then I just keep discovering and surprising myself further, which is kind of dream comes true for me. I like rituals, but I don’t like monotone repetition – a job being the same day for day would be a living hell. For me.
So now that you got a glimpse about the architect behind this digital playground please feel free to dive into my studies and my experiments. Comments are appreciated, and if you have an interesting project going on and you think my skills could help you, write me an email and let me know about it (the link is bellow in the footer).