An Interview I did with Toolfarm

Pixel Lab Blog

I was recently interviewed on Toolfarm’s blog and newsletter. If you’re interested, here it is!

What is your background, are you self-taught or did you receive formal training for 3D design? Do you have any influences or mentors, or favorite artists and designers?

My background is actually in video production. I have a Video Production BA from Cedarville University. My background in video definitely has helped me with motion design and being able to tell a good story. The narrative aspect of motion graphics is so important and is sometimes overlooked in favor of flashy graphics. Having that background in fundamental storytelling has been invaluable. Towards the end of my college years I started to dabble in After Effects and really fell in love with it. I remember the first tutorial I watched was Andrew Kramer showing z-depth and parallax effects, and it was a whole new world that started to consume me. I essentially am self-taught when it comes to motion graphics. Out of college I spent a few years learning on my own before transitioning from a video editing job to a motion design job. People who have helped me on my journey are Tim Clapham, Rob Redman, Robert Leger, Nick Campbell, John Dickinson, Andrew Kramer, Aharon Rabinowitz and Maltaannon. I consider all of these to be legends in my field, and I’m very grateful for all the resources, knowledge and time they have shared with me and our community!

How did you decide on Cinema 4D as your program of choice, and what was your learning process?

Six or seven years ago it was very obvious that including 3D elements into my motion design was no longer a novelty, but a required skill if I was serious about motion design. It was a pretty tangible moment of realization that After Effects chops were not enough to keep me relevant. I spent some time researching different 3D packages and talked to a lot of studios and found that the up and coming star of motion design was Cinema 4D. I took a gamble and bought it, since I thought the trend to C4D was permanent. Years later I’m incredibly thankful I made that choice. Other 3D packages are fantastic for certain niches in VFX etc. For motion design, though, C4D is hard to beat and is trending as the top dog. I spent quite a bit of time going through online courses such as Lynda.com, and then watched all the online tutorials I could find. There weren’t nearly as many back then, but I learned a lot from greyscalegorilla.com, pariahstudios.co.uk, robertleger.net and c4dcafe.com. I’m a visual learner, so video tutorials, and lots of them, were the ticket to gaining a strong understanding of the program.

Do you have any advice can you give to people starting fresh with the program?

It can be daunting since it’s such a complex program. The main thing is just to be consistent in learning. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. He’s not joking. There are no shortcuts, you simply have to put your head down and do the work. My suggestion would be to consume as many tutorials as you can but be very intentional about how you consume them. Find out what works for you. I wasted a lot of time watching tutorials on one screen while toggling through twitter, Facebook, news etc. on the other screen. The information went in one ear and out the other and was a total waste of time. I would recommend having C4D open on one screen and the tutorial playing on the other. Follow along with the tutorial and create the scene or effect. You will learn so much more and will actually retain the information. Don’t watch tutorials, engage with them.

Your model packs are fantastic- our customers love them!

The model packs came to be through my friendship with Remco, who is a tremendous modeler. We became friends online and conspired to create our first model pack together half a year ago. After that pack sold quite well, we decided to continue cranking them out. The model packs have been received very well and I’m excited that so many people have found them useful! We’re trying to cover a wide variety of subjects, so that when people have a specific project need they can look at our lineup of model packs and find one that fits that project. The prices are very low so instead of getting one or two models on a 3D model site, you can buy our pack with 15-20 models for the same price, and have a full lineup of models in your library for that subject.

What goals do you have for your site?

I love the Cinema 4D community because it is so generous and friendly. Helping out other people, spreading free resources, training and engaging with everybody in the community is a ton of fun. I’m quickly finding that I am learning more personally from running the blog than I ever have! It’s forcing me to research trends, plugins, resources and techniques so I can help everybody continue to learn. It has been a very rewarding experience for sure! My goals are to continue to give back to the community as well as create affordable products that help people with their projects.

To read the rest of the interview, click here.

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