SpectraCollectionOne

#mochat 114 – Organic & Practical Elements

This week on #mochat we discussed using organic/practical elements in motion design. Using footage or stills from the real world is a great way to add depth to your designs. Sometimes it can be the best way to accomplish certain effects, such as powder/dust or ink, too. Some people had shot their own elements, while others found it easier to purchase some stock online. At the end of the chat, @aimeebruss was the winner of our random drawing, and took away Spectral Collection One from @madebyflame.

Here are some great examples of practical elements in design. The full transcript is after the break.

[Image from Spectra Collection One by Flame]

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#mochat 113 – The Future of Motion

This week’s #mochat topic revolved around motion, and what’s in store for the future – both for the industry as a whole and the designers themselves! A very popular suggestion focused on designing for interactivity, as well as getting more involved in programming, although the language recommendations varied across the board. We talked about where motion is headed for gaming, interfaces, and UX.

Read on for the full transcript.

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beatgram

Designer Profile: Shinsuke Matsumoto

Twitter is a great resource for motion designers. You can converse with others about the industry, ask for help with your latest problem—or help with others’ problems, get inspiration from numerous other designers, and gain exposure. One of the motion designers you might run across is Shinsuke Matsumoto, but you might know him as @beatgram.

Shinsuke Matsumoto (aka beatgram), in the flesh.

For Shinsuke, Twitter (and the motion design community at large) is very important. “I need to help the community in order to be helped by talented & skilled folks,” he reasons. “I help somebody cause it feels good to me. I help mographers to improve my skills.” Shinsuke jokes, “Yeah, it’s all for myself!”

Having grown up in Oita Prefecture in Southern Japan, Shinsuke later moved to Tokyo where he currently lives. He learned piano as a child and music became important in his life, later even forming a blues band. His Twitter handle stems from that. “You can find beats in your favorite music, in your favorite movie, in your favorite book, anywhere.” He thought about “Beatles, Beatnik and Beat Takeshi(Comedian name of Japanese directer Takeshi Kitano). And I came up with a nice idea, Beat + weight(Gram) = beatgram!”

“I fell in love with AE and still keep on learning about AE, especially expressions.”

Shinsuke first started in design over 10 years ago in web and print. “I have a little experiences of HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Action Script coding. Now I hate coding, though,” he says. At the time, Shinsuke was very interested in Flash and Action Script, which he says may have led him to try After Effects. He recalls that he “fell in love with AE and still keep on learning about AE, especially expressions.”

Expressions are a big part of Shinsuke’s work. His blog has several posts on expressions where he shares code for achieving circular arrangement, finer control over looping, and more. He also has plans to release a script to automatically rig layers for piston movement. “I thought that I might be able to make a big difference to my style by animating with expressions,” Shinsuke said. His previous coding experiences, especially in Action Script and Javascript, helped a lot. For Shinsuke, expressions are a way to animate some things quickly, and the only way to animate other things. “So is there any reason why we refuse to use expressions?” he jokes.

“Hoodie Guy Walking” by Shinsuke Matsumoto on Dribble.

“Hoodie Guy Walking” by Shinsuke Matsumoto on Dribble.

When Shinsuke isn’t coming up with expressions, he’s designing illustrations, particularly vectors. He’ll often animate these later and post them in-progress. Though Shinsuke’s always striving for improvement. “I’ve not been fully satisfied with my output yet.” He further quips, “I’m not necessarily lacking in confidence but I think I’m still crappy. Or I’m a contrary person.” It’s a position many designers can relate to.

To post his works, Shinsuke often uses Dribbble. He explains “I really love the Dribbble’s design trend(minimal, flat, simple) and I feel like Dribbble is a game for designers.” The community on Dribbble is a draw for Shinsuke. He says it’s encouraging and has top notch tallent. It can also be career advancing. “[S]ometimes you can receive a job inquiry. So it’s an exciting game, right?”

Dribble also serves as a source of inspiration for Shinsuke. He notes how fun it is to search for GIFs on the site. Other sources of inspiration include Vimeo, Behance, and Tumblr, which he’ll often clip to his Pinterest boards. “It’s really helpful to be a curater about design,” he notes. “I [also] run a Vimeo channel called Hidden Treasure. They help myself out.” Shinsuke draws inspiration from more than just animation. Different kinds of music, movies, Japanese TV drama all help him discover new concepts.

Despite Shinsuke’s apparent skill, he still feels he has a long way to go. He notes that he wants “to design what I want & animate the way I want. I’m still a copy of a copy at this stage.” Copy or not, Shinsuke is a talented individual and an asset to the motion design community.

Shinsuke’s current setup is a Windows8.1 workstation with a Core i7-3770K, 32GB of RAM, and nVidia GeForce GTX 670. His software of choice is After Effects with ft-Toolbar2, Keysmith, Duik, Connect Layers, and his own scripts.

2015

#mochat 112 – 2015 Goals

2015 has begun! This week on #mochat we talked about our goals for the year and how to accomplish them. There was a wide range of responses, everything from getting away from the computer more to finally working on that short film that’s been sitting the drawer for years. There’s far too much to summarize without leaving out too many good topics. So read on for our first chat of 2015!

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“Winding Roads” – Twisted Poly

Winding Roads is a short, fun animation by Nejc Polovsak, aka Twisted Poly. Nejc got started in motion design after first getting into 3D as a hobby about 10 years ago. Within three years, he had his first job. “I began with doing lots of modeling, texturing, just doing lots of stills, some game graphics, but not so much animation,” Nejc recalled in a brief email interview. That changed a couple years into his job. “I fell in love with animation and started experimenting with motion design.”

Nejc was drawn to the freedom and many possibilities of creating something in motion. “I really like idea of having good, polished design which is taken to the next level when in motion.” The converse, he says, is also true. “The best and most fun thing for me is try to combine both in the elegant way.”

Still render of Winding Roads by Twisted Poly, using Cinema 4D and Octane Render.

Still render of Winding Roads by Twisted Poly, using Cinema 4D and Octane Render.

Winding Roads came about from Nejc’s daily/weekly personal projects he uses to learn from. In this case, he was experimenting with Octane Render. “I was just trying to come up with something cool and interesting in a couple of hours,” he said. “[T]his was a good project to test out how render engine behaves with multiple lights and lots of out of focus areas.”

Staircase Ball by Twisted Poly. Rednered using Cinema 4D and Octane Render.

Staircase Ball by Twisted Poly. Rednered using Cinema 4D and Octane Render.

The layout and design we’re an extension of previous still renders Nejc had done arranging things into spherical forms. Those and other renders can be found on his Tumblr. “I wanted to try and continue to make little a series of them. That’s how I got idea of this crazy roads twisted in a ball.” Originally, cars were not even going to be a part of the project, but came about in the process as an extra detail.

Animation itself was not even one of the original goals, but Nejc thought it would be a shame to pass up the opportunity, especially given feedback from people asking to see it animated. “I didn’t plan the animation when I started this, but when I finished the still, I thought it could look pretty cool animated if cars are driving around.”

In the end, Nejc had a nice, polished little piece and learned more about how to use Octane. he leaves us with one last bit of advice. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of any free time and dive into similar fun personal projects.” Learning by doing… and having something pretty cool to show for it.

Nejc’s current setup includes a PC workstation with a 3930K over clocked to 4.2GHz, 32gb of ram, nVidia GTX 670 and 780, SSD, and dual displays (27“ + 24”) running Windows 8 with Cinema 4D and After Effects.

#mochat 103 – 2D/3D Workflow

Last night on #mochat, we talked about 2D/3D workflow and compositing.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that passes out of the 3D application of choice (depth, motion vector, object buffers, diffuse, reflection, shadow, etc) are extremely important. For a good example, @discreetflame posts a set of passes for one project. UV passes were also extremely helpful for compositing 2D graphics onto 3D objects. You’ll need a plugin like ft-UVPass to work with them.

Cineware wasn’t used by that many people (surprising or unsurprising depending on your experience with it). But C4D was generally the preferred 3D package. Element 3D and AtomKraft were also brought up for 3D integration in After Effects.

Read on for the full transcript…

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#mochat 98 – On Air with Brian Behm

Tonight we ran our first #mochat On Air, a hybrid YouTube broadcast and Twitter chat. To kick us off, Brian Behm (@flabbyironman) walked us through what it’s like to work at Rooster Teeth, a couple projects, some of his favorite tools, and baby ghost busters. It’s well worth the watch.

Since this was our first try at this, we’d love to know what worked and what didn’t, aside from the technical glitches. Is this something you’d like to see more of?

Read on for the Twitter transcript behind the video.

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#mochat 97 — Careers in Motion

For this week’s mochat, we talked reels! Particularly when starting out or going freelance, reels are likely the single most effective way to show clients what you can do. While it’s common to let them slip out of date when you’re full-time or otherwise occupied, it never hurts to keep your reel updated or give it a refresh between projects.

Some tips for updating your reel (or making your first!) —

  •  It’s okay to retime clips to fit the music. Energy is key.
  • Keep the length concise, not too short, not too long. It’s best to stick somewhere in the range of a minute to a minute and a half.
  • One thing to consider is whether you feel comfortable using unlicensed music vs. licensing or producing your own. There are a lot of quality resources for licensed music out there (one common recommendation is Killer Tracks). It’s also a good opportunity to lay down your own track if you’re so inclined.
  • Consider tailoring multiple reels to different types of clients. It can be effective to have a general reel for your web presence and tailored reels to submit to clients for different types of work.

Read on for the full transcript…

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