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.