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I found a nice pack of 10 free HDRI images and thought I would share them with you. I know I can always use more free resources in my library. Please note the fine print which says they are not for use commercially. Check them out at: http://www.aversis.be/hdri/hdri-free.htm

I recently had the honor of interviewing Carlos Florez and I’m really excited to share it with you. Carlos is an amazing freelance motion designer/art director and has worked on many high level pieces, including a lot of work for MTV. You can see his reel and more of his work at carlosflorez.com.

1. Did you go to school for motion graphics?

I studied Graphic Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. My college did not have a Motion Graphic Design Curriculum at the time. Motion graphics is still a new profession.  So I added more classes concentrating in Interactive Media, Video and also Animation. A friend visiting college showed me his motion graphics that looked really cool and told me about after effects, He told me that 99% of the commercials on TV are done with that program. My eyes lit up. As soon as I found out about Motion Graphics my enthusiasm for print design fully shifted to motion graphic design and animation as it is closer to telling stories, which is something I always had a huge admiration for after watching Steven Spielberg movies like E.T and Jurassic Park, etc. So after my friend introduced me to motion graphics I did an experimental short film and my teachers loved it. In classes where I would otherwise just work on designing a logo or static brochure, my teachers let me do motion graphic pieces involving Animation, Graphic Design and Video all together. I have to say, Graphic Design taught me something huge: concept/Idea is KING. Like in a feature film, the most important thing is the story. If you can tell a story in one frame, that’s a great success and telling a story with multiple frames in motion is even more rewarding.

What did you study at school?

I majored in Graphic Design with a concentrations in Animation, Video, Photography and Interactive Media.

How did you get into your first job in the industry?

MTV New York offered me a full time job before I have graduated, after 3 years of college I found out I had enough credits to graduate. Off I went driving a huge U-Haul truck to New York City. The truck was so big I could barely see the windshield. All of my internships helped me build my portfolio that MTV New York liked. One of the internships was at MTV Latin America in Miami, FL, which led to a few freelance jobs for mun2, and MTV during college. Internships were a great way to earn portfolio pieces.

Tell me a bit about where you work. Are you at a studio? Freelance?

I freelance for some for the best studios in the Los Angeles area. I am now dedicating time to direct my own projects.

How long have you been in the industry?

A little over eight years.

What software do you use?

After Effects, Maya, C4D, Mocha, Final Cut pro, Premiere, Adobe Creative Suite.

How would you describe your style?

Magical realism. Everything for me started with drawing and painting since I was a kid. I grew to discover I could use Photoshop and Illustrator to create art using the computer as my brush and this was an amazing revelation. My influences were fine arts and movies. I have always been a big admirer of Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Steven Spielberg. Then I found out about the work of directors: Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, and Chris Cunningham and I was blown away. I came to the conclusion that directing is the best job for me. Since then I’ve directed several projects, even while freelancing doing motion graphics for a variety of companies. Directing my own projects is at the forefront of my work, as I want to get signed as a director by a reputable production company like Anonymous Content.

Do you have any hints for people interested in the industry, any ideas on how to get started in motion graphics?

Work on personal projects, show your skills and only do it if your heart is in it.

Are there one or two things you wish you had known when you were just starting out?

It’s not finished until its finished.

Is there a fantastic plug in, or tool that you have found recently that you would recommend?

I like the Reeper X Rope Generator plugin by Codeworkers you posted on your site on May 6th:

https://www.thepixellab.net/c4d-reeperx-rope-generator-plugin

After years of using Maya, I started using C4D, which I really like and I would like to find out more about C4D plugins.

What are some websites you visit every day for inspiration or training?

I love motionographer.com and http://www.stashmedia.tv, I’m grateful my work has been featured on both sites.

What is the single most important thing you need to do or be to excel in our industry?

Focus.

If you could have a dream job in the industry, what would it be?

Directing. No doubt about it. I constantly wear different hats as a writer, producer, motion graphic designer, editor, colorist, etc., but I’m a happy man when I’m on set directing actors, getting the shots I need to tell a story. I’m constantly looking for talented interns, and professional artists who would like to collaborate to make great work for the reel, there’s no money on personal projects but there’s more creativity. If you are a 3d artists, compositor, rotoscoping, storyboard artists looking to enhance your reel on original creative pieces and you have the time and the passion to put your best on a project, please email me at: carlos@carlosflorez.com.

Many thanks to Carlos for taking the time to share some tips and experience with us. Please go to carlosflorez.com and check out his reel. Be inspired!

In this tutorial I show you a cool technique for fracturing text with a free plugin called Thrausi. This is probably the best fracture plugin out there, and the possibilities with it are endless!

Find it at: http://nitro4d.com/blog/freebies/thrausi-1-10

In this quick tip, I’ll show you how to use a Spline Mask instead of a Boole to retain fillet caps on the cut out area. I’m really excited to guest host over at Motionworks with John Dickinson.

Click here to view: http://motionworks.net/cinema-4d-boole-vs-spline-mask/

In this quick tip I show you two great free resources to help you easily make customized arrows in Cinema 4D.

Here are the links to the free arrow plugins:

http://olivervogel.net/work/article/13/arrow_toolkit_for_cinema_4d.html

http://www.microbion.co.uk/graphics/c4d/arrow.htm

I had the privilege of interviewing Ed Rhine and I’m really excited to share it with you. Ed has worked for clients like Discovery Channel, Starz, Military Channel and the Science Channel. I had a chance to talk to him about his background, experiences and advice. He gave some really great insights into the industry which I think will be helpful for you. You can find Ed at freed-motion.com.

Motion Designer Ed Rhine

Did you go to school for motion graphics?

I attended the Art Institute of Colorado

What did you study at school?

My program was visual effect and motion graphics and I tried to study as much of the design basics as possible.

How did you get into your first job in the industry?

Ha… Honestly my first job was a full time gig at Giant Interactive creating DVD menu loops and I found it on a Craigslist post.

Tell me a bit about where you work. Are you at a studio? Freelance?

I have pretty much run the whole range of jobs in motion graphics. I started with a staff job at a small shop, then moved to staff at a larger corporate agency and then back to a small design and vfx shop. After that I went freelance and worked on-site in Denver and LA and remotely across the country. Currently I have started my own boutique motion design shop, Freed-Motion, with a partner in Denver.

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the industry for a little over 5 years

What software do you use?

I primarily use AE, Cinema 4D, Mocha, Syntheyes, Photoshop and Illustrator

How would you describe your style?

Kind of hard to say as I don’t really feel that I have latched onto one specific style. However, I try to blend creative concepts and story telling to meet the needs of clients and problem solve the needs of the commercial world.

Do you have any hints for people interested in the industry, any ideas on how to get started in motion graphics?

One of the best ideas in my opinion is to study, not copy or emulate, but study the work that inspires you. Is it simple and clean typography, flashy 2D motion work, detailed 3D visual effects or amazing transitions?  When examining those pieces think not only about how they were created, but why. Does it lead the viewer to a message, does it tell somethings about the brand, does it make you question something? Design and motion design is all about communication.

Are there one or two things you wish you had known when you were just starting out?

Try to focus on a good blend of the technical side of the software and creative side of design. The more well rounded you are, the more you will be in demand. This is not to say that you need to learn every program or technique out there, but rather the more well rounded you are coming out of school the more opportunities will come your way. Wait until you have some career experience before you begin to specialize.

Is there a fantastic plug in, or tool that you have found recently that you would recommend?

Not really a tool or plugin, but rather a resource: Mograph.net Some of the top talent can be found on this forum on any given day and topics range from movies to software specifics.

What are 3 websites you visit every day for inspiration or training?

Unmask.tv // Ventilate.ca // Mograph.net

What is the single most important thing you need to do or be to excel in our industry?

By far the most important thing is to be easy to work with and reliable. You may be the most talented person in your field, but if you have an ego that gets in the way, others will pass you by.

If you could have a dream job in the industry, what would it be?

Pretty much what I have just started out creating, which is running my own shop and working with my own clients to collaborate and create fun work.

Many thanks to Ed for taking the time to share some tips and experience with us. Again, you can find him at freedmotion.com.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you an effect that is often overlooked, but one that can generate a really awesome look in a couple clicks. The cel renderer is perfect for architecture as well as many other abstract and sci-fi purposes. The link for the free 3D model is here.

I stumbled onto these awesome free C4D shaders a couple days ago and thought I would share them with you. It’s a fantastic pack done by eggtion.net. There is a nice variety of shaders, including metals, glass, leather, rubber etc. I’ll include a photo of all the different shaders so you can see before you head over there. Make sure to donate to their pay-pal if you appreciate the work they’re doing! Here’s the link: http://www.eggtion.net/index.php?id=1040&l=en

Here are 4 free 3D Models I found that might help you out:

1. A very detailed 3D moon model. http://bit.ly/jrOkAq

2. Free C4D earth model that is very high res. http://bit.ly/ebvBdT

3. Free swivel chair curtesy of Michael Ciesielski. http://bit.ly/mzEgA3

4.  Free C4D satellite which is modeled extremely well and includes great textures. http://bit.ly/iE5p8R

If you know of any great free resources I can share, please let me know!

I was working in the office a couple weeks ago, trying out a really cool new technique I had found. I stared at my screen with excitement at the unbelievable design I had just invited forth. Then I noticed somebody peering over my shoulder. I heard a soft, “meh.” I turned around to see a guy in our office who isn’t in motion graphics. I said,

“What? You don’t think this is awesome?”

He paused and said, “It looks fine, but it doesn’t really resonate with me. You know…I don’t really care much unless it tells a good story.”

Then he walked away, leaving me to ponder my failed attempt at a career. I get so wrapped up in awesome looking design that I forget about the 99.9% of the people who will see it. They are not motion designers. They don’t really care that much if the video looks cool but doesn’t tell a story. Why is story so dang important? Stephen Denning said,

“Storytelling is natural and easy and entertaining and energizing. Stories help us to understand complexity. Stories can enhance or change perceptions. Stories are easy to remember…and engage our feelings…Storytelling enables individuals to see themselves in a different light, and accordingly take decisions, and change their behavior in accordance with these new perceptions, insights, and identities.”

I think it’s easy to watch tutorials and learn techniques and master programs. What we’re missing in education and school and when we get wrapped up in our craft, is the art of telling a story. The techniques and skills we own are a vehicle to tell good stories, and that should always be our focus.

After all, “Amazing design that doesn’t tell a story is like putting lipstick on a pig.”

(Who said that? I did. I made that crap up. And you should write it down.)

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