The Instagram account for Wylie-based business, Already Been Chewed, is a kaleidoscope of bright color, world-famous brands, and stunning animation. It’s easy to get lost in the feed, scrolling through video after video of iconic brands we all know and love, watching videos we may even recognize. What may come as a surprise to locals, though, is that these videos are all created here in Wylie, Texas, by a world-class 3D animation studio tucked away in historic downtown.
How it all Started
Originally from Washington D.C., award-winning artist and motion designer, Barton Damer, started his business in 2010 after a freelance design career. An avid skateboarder, Barton was working out of his home without any employees when he took on his first big job as a motion designer for a nationwide skateboarding event. It wasn’t long before other brands took notice and the quickly growing company was adding impressive clients to their list.
Today, Already Been Chewed (ABC) creates 3D animations to tell stories for the world’s biggest brands, from Louis Vuitton to Nike to Disney to Marvel (and many others in-between!). There’s a good chance you have seen their work online, on TV, or even in your Instagram feed.
Already Been Chewed renovated their space in Historic Downtown Wylie.
The Move to Wylie
Barton was familiar with downtown Wylie before he moved here. “I used to visit the skate shop on Ballard called Vertigo. I’m a skateboarder myself and knew of the historic street from coming to the skate shop, and skating the small skate park off Brown Street,” says Barton.
It was around 2015 when he moved his small business to town. Barton says, “I really wanted to be in an historic area. I live in Allen and had looked at property in historic Plano on 15th street, as well as old town McKinney. Wylie is a better investment because it continues to grow, and I like being a part of the growth and experiencing it.”
"Wylie is a better investment because it continues to grow, and I like being a part of the growth and experiencing it."
Barton Damer, Owner
ABC has also participated in the Wylie Economic Development Corporation’s annual Manufacturing Day, which brings High School students into local businesses to explore the future opportunities that are available to them in their hometown. Students love touring the ABC building and getting the chance to talk with Barton and his team about jobs in the creative design spaces.
ABC was originally located on Ballard, but in recent years moved to a newly renovated space about a block away. The studio itself is a creative expression with lots of fun tech and original art, and features products from recent campaigns like Vans and Louis Vuitton. And in case you’re wondering what other brands ABC has worked with, here’s a few that are pulled from an impressive list: NFL, UFC, Mary Kay, New Balance, Disney, Oakley, Marvel, and Nike. Pretty cool, right?
While most of their employees live around Dallas, ABC is a global company, with employees in Greece, Spain, and even Ukraine. The ability to hire globally and collaborate with employees on the other side of the world was an unexpected silver lining to an otherwise challenging time – the pandemic.
The Already Been Chewed building has conference rooms and coffee!
Growth Through the Pandemic
In March of 2020, businesses everywhere had to shut down immediately and unexpectedly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While this created challenges for most businesses, it was a particularly interesting time for ABC, a business that relies heavily on collaboration between employees.
“Working remote was quite challenging for our creative studio. Collaboration and efficiency were very difficult at first. Over time, we looked for solutions to improve remote working conditions, and that opened up a world of opportunities. Literally. Since solving some of those challenges, we began hiring internationally, and have employees in Greece, Spain, and Ukraine.”
Many of the remote working tools that experienced huge popularity booms during the pandemic, like Zoom, weren’t working for ABC. They needed a platform that allowed employees to be online and able to share screens with each other for the entire day, not just short intervals of time. And just as importantly, they needed the service to be reliable, easy to use, and have methods for chatting and communicating with each other throughout the day.
"Over time, we looked for solutions to improve remote working conditions, and that opened up a world of opportunities. Literally."
Barton Damer, Owner
After trying a few products, Barton and his team settled on the popular video gaming platform, Discord. Discord allows everyone to be online for their entire workday and keeps communication open and easy between team members, no matter where they are in the world. It’s this kind of creative, outside-the-box thinking that helps ABC thrive and stay on top of new technology – something that is very important in the 3D motion graphics and design industries.
Evolving in an Ever-Changing Tech World
The only thing that stays the same with technology is that it is always changing, all the time. Design tools are constantly changing, as are industry trends.
Working with iconic brands that are recognized by the entire world means you need to bring your “A” game every time you come to play – no exceptions. ABC excels at that, bringing innovation and exciting, fresh ideas and concepts to every client they work with.
When asked about how the company has evolved over the twelve years they’ve been in business, Barton says, “We’re constantly evolving. The technology continues to evolve which means the way we approach creative is always changing. As a company, we used to offer print services, like laying out catalogs for Malibu Boats. But over the years, everything has gone digital and we are now focused on 3D animated visuals for social media, broadcast and live event content.”
Barton and his employees are comfortable, and thrive, in this quickly changing landscape, which makes them the go-to choice for brands looking for innovative ways to tell their stories and showcase what is unique and beautiful about their products.
The Future of ABC
The nature of working in an industry where tech and design comes together means that it’s important to always be looking ahead so you don’t get left behind. The ability to be flexible, make changes, and try new things can be the difference between failing or being an industry leader.
When asked what he loves most about his job, Barton says it’s the opportunity to be creative and push himself as an artist and businessman.
Barton says the future of ABC is “constantly pivoting and maximizing opportunities. We will continue to adapt to the ever-changing technology that comes out. Our focus is the creative. We’ve done everything from catalogs to holograms to network TV graphics… and now we’re looking at the NFT and Metaverse space.”
Hiding behind the coffee shops and boutiques of quaint downtown Wylie, this little 3D motion studio powerhouse is doing big things. The future of Already Been Chewed is bright - even brighter than their gorgeous Instagram feed.