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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

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: 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? // //

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

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 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:

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

1. A very detailed 3D moon model.

2. Free C4D earth model that is very high res.

3. Free swivel chair curtesy of Michael Ciesielski.

4.  Free C4D satellite which is modeled extremely well and includes great textures.

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.)

In this tutorial I show you how to use a free plugin called ReeperX which allows you to create ropes along a spline. Awesome stuff

Here’s the link to get ReeperX:

Cinema 4D Blowout Sale

I found 7 sites that have really awesome and 100% free 3D models. Make sure to only search for .obj, .3ds or Cinema files since some models only come in Maya or Max formats. Also make sure to check the copyright info to make sure you’re good to go on all of these.

1. Turbo Squid

This is the premiere place to find 3D models. They have a huge paid section, but if you simply type “free” into the search, it will come up with hundreds of awesome free models.

2. Exchange 3D

This has quite the collection, with a little bit of everything from cars and trees to furniture and interior models.

3. TheFree3DModels

A great resource with tons of characters and cars.

4. DMI 3D

This site has amazing vehicles, anything from WWII tanks to modern race cars. A lot of them come in .lwo format which is Lightwave, but they open great in C4D.

5. Oyonale

A little resource but a nice range of high quality models.

6. 3Delicious

A little bit spammy, but if you can get to the models they looks great. They have cars, furniture and technology among others.

7. NASA Space Models

This is pretty funny, NASA actually has a model library of everything space, from models of astronauts to lunar modules to shuttles. Some aren’t the most detailed, but if you need some space objects, this is a great place to check out.


We offer over 200 free models right here at The Pixel Lab! If you sign up for our free newsletter you can get a download link/password to access all of them.

Click here to join our newsletter and get 200 free models

In this tutorial I’ll give a brief overview of dynamics, including a couple useful tips about it, and show you how to slow down time, aka the Matrix effect.


Ever had problems getting a texture to stick in Cinema 4D when using a random effector? This quick and effective workaround will keep you from losing your mind.

I’ve been thinking a lot about mediocrity lately. I read Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, where he says that having a remarkable product is a shortcut to success.

Well, I think that’s understating it. I think the ONLY way to success is to have a remarkable product.

Especially these days, and in our industry, where there is so much competition. A time where computers and software are accessible to anybody, whether a 14 year old playing with special effects or a motion graphics legend. The amount of technology at our fingertips for such a low price means that all of a sudden just knowing the trade is not good enough.

What matters is that you say NO to mediocrity and NO to doing the same thing you did on the last video, regardless of when the deadline is. What matters is that you keep learning, trying new things, and keep pushing yourself to the bleeding edge.

Seriously, guys, I’ve seen a lot of people in a lot of jobs, and you can always tell who will succeed. There is one type of person who looks at a job in front of them and immediately says, “I cannot make this remarkable because…” Fill in the blank. Because the client is boring, because the client wants the same old thing, because the content of the video sucks, because the quality of the footage given to us is SD. You name it, I’ve heard it.

The point is this, you HAVE to look at every project you take on, and decide not to make ANY excuses. Not a single one. Period. Every video should be a chance to try something new, to make an amazing product, to step out on a limb and WOW the client. You can do it, you just have to suck it up, stop making excuses, and GET IT DONE.

I hope you guys know that this is the only way you will succeed. Light that fire under you and get to work! Be remarkable.

‎”Beware the lollipop of mediocrity. Lick it once and you suck
forever.” –Peter Skillman

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