#mochat 125 – Photorealism

Working towards photorealism can be very difficult. This week on #mochat, we discussed what can help you get there. Some of the biggest obstacles to overcome are texturing (especially imperfections and reflection), lighting, and render times.  Using Global Illumination and Ambient Occlusion can help you get a look closer to photo-real, but can be taxing on your render times.

There’s plenty of knowledge in the full transcript below.

And big thanks to Maxon for the t-shirt giveaway. Patrick Letourneau was our lucky winner this month.

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#mochat 121 – Rates

For this week’s #mochat, we took a look at setting rates, getting what you’re worth, and a host of other issues relating to the business side of working in motion. (Remember to pay your taxes!) There are plenty of ways to figure out how to charge and what rates work for you. Check out the transcript to get some ideas on how to set your rates and things to watch out for.

#mochat 120 – Compositing

This week on #mochat we talked about all things compositing… from keying green screen to sweetening those 3D renders.

Some of the tools & tips for helping with keying included

  • Primatte Keyer, or the entire Keying Suite
  • Refine Matte tools in After Effects
  • Use something like Neat Video to denoise footage
  • Don’t use the suppression or other post-keying features of Keylight—use other tools
  • Rotobrush can sometimes be a lifesaver

For 3D the main advice is to keep as much data about the 3D scene as possible throughout the process. EXR files can be great for storing that kind of data, but can be a little slow in AE. Node-based compositors like Nuke and Fusion offer a different (better?) way to setup a composite.

Red on for the full transcript and even more tips and tricks!

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#mochat 119 – Saying No

Sometimes you need to learn to say no. Whether it’s taking too many projects on or trying to finish a project for a client, there are times where we need to communicate that we can’t do something or manage expectations.

Some of the tips mentioned in this week’s conversation include:

  • Know where you own big goals. Think long term. Say no to things that don’t align.
  • It’s okay to say no. Just don’t be a jerk about it
  • Sometimes it’s just explaining what the status is. We’re the ones closest to it and know it best.

Read on for the full transcript…

[Image credit: Nathan Gibbs]

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#mochat 118 – Staying Healthy

When we sit in front of a computer for most of our waking hours, how do we stay healthy? That was the subject of this week’s #mochat.

Many of us noted our bad habits—not taking breaks, sitting for too long, too much soda, not enough exercise, junk food, and more. Fortunately recognizing those bad habits is how we can change them. Some tips included…

  • Drinking more water
  • Getting up at render time
  • Using a standing desk or exercise ball chair
  • Walking the long way to get somewhere
  • Biking to work
  • Making your own lunches/snacks
  • Making time for exercising

Read on for the full transcript and even more tips!

[Photo credt: jacsonquerubin on flickr]

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#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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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.


#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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