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In this tutorial I’ll go over the Display Tag and show you 3 ways to use it. There are some interesting ways you can utilize this tag, so make sure to check it out.

In this video I’ll show you how to customize the viewport to speed up your workflow.

If you’re interested in the robot arms you can take a look here: https://www.thepixellab.net/tech-pack

I had a chance to interview Sergio Saleh who is a motion designer and co-founder of Lumbre. The work Lumbre does, for clients such as Fox and National Geographic, is really inspiring so make sure to check out their work. Big thanks to Sergio for taking the time to share with us!

Did you go to school for motion graphics?

Not exactly. My degree is Audiovisual Designer from the School of Design and Planning at the University of Buenos Aires. It is the film career of the UBA and is separated from the Graphic Design career.
There wasn’t a specific career in motion graphics in Argentina. Everything I know about motion graphics I learned it in my career, but also taking specialized courses, classes in graphic design in the same university and mostly working.

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

My first job was as electric at a film company best known here in Argentina as POL-KA. Along with 4 other students, we were summoned by a teacher who worked there. I work only a few months there, but it was an important experience and made my CV somehow appealing.
A few months later I sent my CV (in fact my grandfather sent it!) to the sports channel TyCSports and I was called for an interview. I was thinking that I would be hired as an electric or as an assistant cameraman or as a replacement, but they were actually looking for videographer operators at the in-house graphic department.
That was in 1997 and I could hardly turn on a computer! I worked there for 3 years, one and a half as videographer and one and a half in the promotion department. In 2000 I started to work at Medialuna Studio where I started as an animator in After Effects and Jaleo and end up working 7 years and became creative director.

Tell me a bit about where you work and what they specialize in. Are you at a studio? Freelance?

After my 7 years at Medialuna Studio I worked 3 years as a freelancer, particularly providing creative direction services for TyCSports and Fox International Channels and NatGeo. (www.sergiosaleh.com, vimeo.com/sergiosaleh)
In 2010, along with my partner and executive producer Paul Encabo, we founded Lumbre (www.lumbre.tv, vimeo.com/lumbre, facebook.com/lumbre.tv). I am currently the creative director and owner of Lumbre, working for clients like Fox and NatGeo International, Zee Channels in India, Carburando Argentina, Endemol Argentina, Canal Encuentro Argentina, etc..

How long have you been in the industry?

Since 1996.

What software do you use?

First: MY HEAD.
Second: Mail from Mac. :S
My team: After effects, Maya, 3D Max, Cinema 4D, Final Cut, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.

How would you describe your style?

Classic. Excentric. Smart. Versatile. Functional. Risky.

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

That the design process always involves anxiety and a great effort and never ever will I get to finish a project idealistically.

Do you have any websites or books that you turn to regularly for inspiration and training?

Motionographer.com
Vimeo.com
Universaleverything.com

What are the most important things you need to do or be to excel in our industry?

Patience, perseverance, humility and learning to listen.

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

To be hired to solve any creative need and to be able to choose the team for each project.

Make sure to check out lumbre.tv if you want to get some serious inspiration! Thanks again to Sergio. I’ll leave you with the Lumbre Reel 2011:

I had a chance to interview Jake Mathew who is a motion designer freelancing in the Chicago area. He had a lot of great tips for creating a portfolio and getting into the industry. Big thanks to Jake for taking the time to share with us!

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Did you go to school for motion graphics?

When I entered college, I didn’t even know the term “motion graphics”.

What did you study at school?

I went to the Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.). I got a B.S. in New Media Information Technology, which covered a wide range of disciplines. (Video editing, audio design, animation, web design, print design, typography, web programming, interactive media).

When I finished, I felt like I was decent at a whole bunch of things, but I really wanted to be great at just ONE thing. I have always loved animation and wanted to improve my design aesthetic. I went back to R.I.T. for a Masters in Computer Graphic Design. It was during graduate school where I really got into motion graphics design. (I didn’t even know such a job existed until then).

The design part took a while to get good at (and I’m still learning). But, the motion aspect was much easier for me as I have been animating in one form or another since I was a kid. (Ranging from flip books to very crude animation software from the mid 1990s).

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

Landing my very first motion graphics job was difficult. A lot of students want to become motion graphic designers so there was a lot of competition. It is hard to get a job without a demo reel. But, it is hard to have a demo reel without working any jobs. It was a Catch-22 situation.

So in order to start building up a portfolio of work,  I treated every class project and assignment as a potential spot for my reel. After about a year of grad school, I had enough work to create a 30 second demo reel that I could send to companies. Thirty seconds may sound really short, but I made sure to include only my BEST work.

I landed a job as a motion graphic designer at a local post production company. I spent my final year of grad school working there between classes. The types of projects I worked on at that company were just local and regional TV commercials.

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Tell me a bit about where you work and what they specialize in. Are you at a studio? Freelance?

After I finished grad school, I got a job as a motion designer for the TV channel, Current TV. While a lot of people are not familiar with Current, they have a really talented in-house graphics department and I learned a lot during the 2 years I worked there. After Current TV, I moved to Chicago and have been freelancing at post-houses around the city.

How long have you been in the industry?

About 6 years.

What software do you use?

I use the Adobe Creative Suite and Maxon Cinema 4D for everything I do.

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How would you describe your style?

I prefer to create designs that are surreal, love using bold bright colors, creating quirky/weird animations. It is a very graphic style. I prefer that to photographic-based designs. I try to constantly create things that are outside my comfort zone just so be a more well-rounded designer.

When creating my reel, I tried to place a mix of different styles, but everyone tells me that I have a very distinct style.

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

I’ve noticed a lot of students and people just starting out in the industry very focused on the technical aspects of the field (such as what software to use, which plug-ins to use to create such an effect). Plug-ins that may be very popular today may look cheesy and dated a few years from now.

While you are in school, take courses that will improve your design-sense. Learn about typography, color theory, composition. Good design never goes out of style.

Build a solid demo reel. Take your best class work and place a few seconds into it. If you have any freelance projects or personal projects that you are proud of, use that. Get a nice web portfolio together. Sending a web link to your demo reel to companies is going to be the way you get a job. Don’t worry about creating a DVD as most companies prefer viewing it on the web so they can easily email it around or bookmark it if they like it. Quicktime files are preferred.

Some web portfolios have crazy Flash interfaces with animated menus and buttons and transitions. I would stay away from this unless you want a job working in Flash. Otherwise, make a clean website where the demo reel and other select projects can be viewed in the least amount of mouse clicks.

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Are there any fantastic plug ins, third party tools or books that you have found recently that you would recommend?

There are so many more free sources of information on the web now than there was when I was starting out.

As far as some of my fav plugins, I’d have to say the Trapcode suite (mainly Particular) can be very handy.

Andrew Kramer over at VideoCopilot.net has several free and paid plugins and presets for After Effects that are very helpful. I recently used it VC Reflect plugin that is a huge time-saver when working on a project that requires a lot of floor reflections.

Also, for 3D animators who bring their work into animation for further tweaking/compositing, Re:Vision’s Reel Smart Motion Blur is a must-have to get realistic motion blur that renders in the fraction of the time as using motion blur that is built into your 3D program.

Do you have any websites or books that you turn to regularly for inspiration and training?

I think that motionographer.com is one of the best place to see some of the best motion graphic spots currently out there.

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

Always be animating/designing things that you love and try to evaluate your own portfolio/reel every few months and pick out your weaknesses and figure out a way to improve them.

Sometimes you may have a staff job or a freelance project that does not inspire you or challenge you. If that is the case, try to find a job that will. And if you can’t, create personal projects. Some of the best pieces I’ve worked on were just fun experiments I did in my spare time without any clients involved.

Each year, you should be a better designer than you were the year before. If you stop improving, change something.

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

Chicago doesn’t get a ton of this type of work, but I would love to just work on graphics-heavy music videos and animated title sequences for films. But for the most part, being a freelance motion graphic designer is a very satisfying job. (It depends a lot on the project/client).

Special thanks to Jake for taking the time to share some advice with us. You can find him at jakemathew.com.


In this tutorial I’ll show you one way to use the displacer deformer.

In this quick tip I’ll show you a way to select all the items in your hierarchy using the same texture, and also a way to replace that texture with a brand new one. It’s a workflow tip that will save you tons of time!

UPDATE: An even faster way was shown to me by Dave Davidson over at renderpimp.com/wp. He mentioned that you can take the texture you want to use and then in the materials window simply hold Alt and click and drag that texture onto the one you want to replace and it will delete that texture and replace it with the other one. Really cool tip, thanks Dave.

In this quick tutorial I’ll show you a way to use the align to spline tag to easily light a scene, and also a workaround to a gotcha that occurs when using this tag.

I’m very excited to guest cast over at robertleger.net. Robert is one of my C4D heroes and I’ve learned tons from him. I’m pumped up to be able to share a quick tip on his site. In this video I’ll show you how to use the volume effector to make a scrolling video board display.

Check it out here! http://robertleger.net/blog/2011/07/quick-tip-6/

I found some free 3D models that may be helpful to you.

1. A free model of a police riot shield by Ben Tate. The texturing is really nice, looks awesome! http://bit.ly/mU3vTm

2. A free soda can, or pop can depending on where you live.This is a freebie by Sweet.  http://bit.ly/ioBUtX

3. Here’s a free Android  Droid model! Pretty cool little dude. You’ll have to like Sweet’s FB page, but I recommend that anyway, plus you get this nice freebie. http://bit.ly/lQbYqP

4. This is a little light kit, with different interior light models. Some bulbs, hanging lights etc. Nice little pack that comes in handy!  http://bit.ly/mUze04

If you know of any other free models to share, please let me know!

In this quick video I’ll show you an awesome, free resource I found online. Make sure to grab it at www.joelotron.wordpress.com. Joel has tons of great tips on his site too, so check it out. His medical animations are ridiculous!

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