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Lipstick on a Pig

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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7 Sites for Free 3D Models

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. www.turbosquid.com

2. Exchange 3D

This has quite the collection, with a little bit of everything from cars and trees to furniture and interior models. http://www.exchange3d.com

3. TheFree3DModels

A great resource with tons of characters and cars. http://thefree3dmodels.com

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. http://www.dmi-3d.net/

5. Oyonale

A little resource but a nice range of high quality models. http://www.oyonale.com

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. http://www.3delicious.net/

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. http://www.nasa.gov

If you guys have any other free 3D model resources you recommend, please put them in the comments, I would love to know about them. Thanks!

Pixel Lab Blog

Beware the Lollipop of Mediocrity

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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Organizing Your Crap: A Very Boring Video

In this tutorial I show you how I organize all of my motion graphics projects. This way is a good alternative to pulling out your hair looking for old files. I have to give a shout out to Stephen Konsor over at thediorama.com for this organization tool. I worked with him awhile ago and he introduced me to the way he had his folders laid out and I instantly changed over to doing thing the same way, and have never looked back.

 

Pixel Lab Blog

Welcome to The Pixel Lab Blog!

Please make sure to keep checking back to this site. I have big plans for the future, including giving away freebies, free training, tutorials, showing how I deal with clients and projects, talking about current industry trends, and giving advice for your motion graphics career. I want this to become a community where we can all learn from each other and enjoy hanging out. Looking forward to it!

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