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Interview

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Welcome to the first installment of the “Eye on Design” series where I’ll highlight amazing artists that you need to keep an eye on!  The first artist I’ll be highlighting is one of my favorites, Stuart Wade, who has a very unique 3D style that I absolutely love.  The compositions he creates using simple 3D shapes are brilliant!  Recently, he’s been doing live streams on Youtube that allow you to get a peek into his process!  Let’s see what makes Stuart tick in this short interview I had with him.


Introduce yourself to the interwebs!  Who’s this Stuart guy?

Hello webs! I’m Stuart Wade, but you may also know me by my online moniker, DLGNCE. (Like diligence, but spelled all fancy.) I’m a digital artist, designer and illustrator currently residing in San Francisco. I was born in New York City, grew up in the Philadelphia area, and moved to SF after marrying my amazing wife Jackie about 3 years ago. She’s also a graphic designer, and the opportunities for creatives in the Bay Area are pretty awesome. 

When my nose isn’t 6 inches from a monitor, I also really enjoy hiking, jogging and getting outside. I’m also frequently found in the kitchen, whipping up some tasty dishes for the wife and myself.


Describe your journey getting into design & 3D.

I suppose the whole journey started way back in my childhood. I grew up in the 80s, the son of some fairly creative parents. My Dad is a musician and amateur theater actor, and my Mom is an amazing painter working in traditional mediums. I always loved to draw and read comic books and I was lucky enough to grow up in an era replete with video games, Nickelodeon and the burgeoning internet. 

I’m fairly confident that immersing myself in these highly visual mediums lead me towards my current career path. I can distinctly remember making images in MS Word on my dad’s work laptop some 25 years ago. I wish I still had those files…

I realized in high school that it was possible to earn a living in the visual arts—and there was no way in hell I wanted to be an accountant! This led me to study graphic design and illustration at university. 

Always looking to experiment and grow my skill set, I started toying with 3d applications while working at my first job at a small agency in Pennsylvania. At first it was Google Sketchup, then Blender, but when I discovered Cinema 4D I really began to dive in and fully incorporate it into my workflow


What’s your favorite part about designing for the GIF medium?

I love the simplicity and share-ability of it all. Growing up alongside the internet, it feels like a medium that is truly our generations’. Years ago, gifs were considered the low-brow dregs of the internet. (Think cheesy rotating text and glittering MySpace backgrounds.) As bandwidth has gone up, and as mobile devices are more capable of handling animations, gifs are becoming a ubiquitous and well loved part of the digital landscape.

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You have a very unique style, can you tell us some of your influences?

I try to draw my inspiration from all over. There is obviously more cool stuff on the internet than any one person could possibly look at. Social media provides a constant pipeline of eye candy and inspiration for me to stare at. Some of my favorite contemporary artists are AJ Fosik, Aryz, Ferris Plock, Raymond Lemstra, Grand Chamaco, Boy Kong and Sam Rodriguez. 

I also draw a ton of inspiration from nature and natural forms. There is a ton of beauty to be seen in the hills and water and foliage in the bay area. I have a collection of small succulent plants behind my workstation that keep me company while I peck away at 3d models, and they are a constant reminder of natures beauty. You’ve probably seen versions of them in some of my renderings!


What’s the one thing in Cinema 4D you couldn’t live without?

Great question… and a tough one to answer. These days, I suppose the Capsule primitive… It’s about as basic as it gets and I use it a lot!

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You’re a great example of not needing to know much about modeling to create some amazing 3D artwork.  I love how you utilize basic shapes and forms to create your GIFs.  Do you have any advice for people who are looking to get into 3D but may be too intimidated by 3D modeling?

Thanks!  I’ve always been a fan of playing to the medium, and allowing constraints to inform the final outcome (That’s why I also enjoy working with limited color palettes.) I believe composition and other visual fundamentals are far more important to the quality of the image than fancy geometry or lighting setups.  Not to mention the fact that I do all of my rendering from my laptop, so I try to keep my lighting and geometry fairly simple to cut down on render times. 

My advice would be to start out by playing and experimenting and learning the types of things C4D is good at, and how you can use it as a supplement to your existing work stream. After some initial exploration, I would take a more tactical approach. Figure out specific things you want to make, and learn how to make them.  The internet is FULL of amazing resources—like eyedesyn.com—that will teach you how to approach certain challenges you may be having with your projects. I’ve been working with C4D for about 6 or 7 years at this point, and I can say the times I’ve learned the most are when I’ve had to overcome specific roadblocks to achieve a particular result I had in mind. 

Lastly, I would also encourage folks to enjoy the process. Cinema 4D is a complex program and it’s going to take a long time to get good at it. So grab a drink, put on some tunes, and have fun digging in!


More of Stuart’s work:

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Keep an eye on Stuart’s work by following him on Instagram, Twitter, and on his website.

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I had the great opportunity to be interviewed by Jared Walker from Super Giant Ninja at NAB last year.  We talked about how I got started as a designer on Quantel Paintboxes and how I struggled starting out being self taught, how I began teaching, and some of the things I’ve learned along the way in my career thus far.

Be sure to check out all the other interviews from Super Giant Ninja including Chris Schmidt, Nick Campbell, and Jeremy Cox!


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Podcast

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS

I just sat down with the man, the myth, the Gorilla, Nick Campbell when I was in town for HalfRez this year.  You can listen to our chat in the latest episode of the GreyscaleGorilla podcast.  I talk to Nick about my career and how I got started as a Motion Designer.

Show Notes
Sketch And Toon Model Pack
EJ’s Tutorials
Eyedesyn

Subscribe to the Greyscalegorilla Podcast At iTunes


Topics covered include
Cinema 4D, Dynamics

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It’s Week 2 of my 5 week long 5 Day Mograph challenge series on Lynda.com!  This weeks challenge is all about the art of keyframing; breathing life and character into even a simple sphere through animation. The overarching theme will be Animation Fundamentals and what terms like “Easy Ease, Squash & Stretch, and Timing & Spacing” mean and why they’re important.  You’ll learn about the most important animation fundamentals that will beef up your knowledge and understanding of what makes an animation look good and why. You’ll be able to apply this knowledge to every single animation you create in the future. Many people who perhaps didn’t go to school for animation, like myself, were not necessarily taught these principles and needed to figure them out all on their own. This Animation Fundamentals challenge will help to build your skills from the ground up each and every day!

I invite anyone who wants to sharpen their animation skills, learn new ones, or just needs a little extra inspiration in order to create to take on these challenges! How these challenges will work is every weekday I’ll present a theme and you’ll then create a short animated GIF based on that theme. There are 5 weeks to this challenge and the schedule is as follows:

Week 1: 08/03/15
Week 2: 08/17/15
Week 3: 08/31/15
Week 4: 09/21/15
Week 5: 10/05/15

Join the 5 Day Mograph Challenge

VERY IMPORTANT! These challenges are completely FREE and open to non-lynda.com subscribers for the week of release up until the release of the next challenge.  For example, the Week 2 challenge will be open the week of 08/17/15 and close 08/31/15 when the Week 3 challenge beings so be sure to join in & watch the challenge videos during the week of that challenges release up until the days leading up to the next challenge.  If you’re a lynda.com subscriber you can join in at any time!

When you’re finished with your animation, please share it on social media using the hashtag #5DayMograph and post it to the challenges Tumblr page: http://5daymograph.tumblr.com

Need more convincing? Here is why daily creation is so important:

1. It expands your creativity by training your brain to find creative solutions to daily design problems & at the same time making those decisions quickly! That translates to being able to handle inevitable tight client deadlines!
2. It gives you an opportunity to try a new technique or style that you may not get the chance to in your normal work day
3. Beef up your demo reel! This is a perfect opportunity to add more work to your reel & show off what you can do
4. Creating work means you can show it off! You won’t learn what’s good or bad design until you share your work and see what people think. You won’t learn that well in a vacuum.
5. Daily challenges will teach you commitment & perseverance. Everyone who is good at design & animation is a former noob, but they didn’t get to be good at their craft overnight. Every day you’ll make small improvements that over time become large improvements!

Did I convince you yet? Ready to join in?

Join the 5 Day Mograph Challenge

You won’t become an amazing animator overnight, it takes time to craft great animations so let’s drop some keyframes!

Watch the video:


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5daymograph_banner-copy

I’m excited to announce the start of the 5 Day Mograph Challenge that I am hosting on lynda.com! What is the 5 Day Mograph Challenge? The 5 day mograph challenge is all about getting better day by day and honing your skills as a designer and an animator. Just like athletes need to train every day to get stronger physically and musicians need to practice their instrument everyday, designers need to practice creating everyday. By getting into the routine of daily creation you’re exercising a very important part of your brain…the part of your brain that problem solves. While creating new neural connections, you’re making this part of your brain stronger and expanding on your creativity. So why is it so hard to creating something, anything daily? Many people have the best intentions to try to get creating but always get stuck by the question: “What do I create?” The task of creating then becomes daunting and it’s all too easy to ultimately get overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities and you end up just not creating anything at all.

This is where my 5 day motion graphics challenges come in. They’ll narrow your focus and give you a theme to then create something from. I invite anyone who wants to sharpen their skills, learn new ones, or just needs a little extra inspiration in order to create to take on these challenges! How these challenges will work is every weekday I’ll present a theme and you’ll then create a short animated GIF based on that theme. There are 5 weeks to this challenge and the schedule is as follows:

Week 1: 08/03/15
Week 2: 08/17/15
Week 3: 08/31/15
Week 4: 09/21/15
Week 5: 10/05/15

Join the 5 Day Mograph Challenge

VERY IMPORTANT! These challenges are completely FREE and open to non-lynda.com subscribers for the week of release up until the release of the next challenge.  For example, the Week 1 challenge will be open the week of 08/03/15 and close 08/17/15 when the Week 2 challenge beings so be sure to join in & watch the challenge videos during the week of that challenges release up until the days leading up to the next challenge.  If you’re a lynda,com subscriber you can join in at any time!

When you’re finished with your animation, please share it on social media using the hashtag #5DayMograph and post it to the challenges Tumblr page: http://5daymograph.tumblr.com

Need more convincing? Here is why daily creation is so important:

1. It expands your creativity by training your brain to find creative solutions to daily design problems & at the same time making those decisions quickly!  That translates to being able to handle inevitable tight client deadlines!
2. It gives you an opportunity to try a new technique or style that you may not get the chance to in your normal work day
3. Beef up your demo reel! This is a perfect opportunity to add more work to your reel & show off what you can do
4. Creating work means you can show it off! You won’t learn what’s good or bad design until you share your work and see what people think. You won’t learn that well in a vacuum.
5. Daily challenges will teach you commitment & perseverance. Everyone who is good at design & animation is a former noob, but they didn’t get to be good at their craft overnight. Every day you’ll make small improvements that over time become large improvements!

Did I convince you yet? Ready to join in?

Join the 5 Day Mograph Challenge

The hardest part of creating is going from creating nothing to creating something, so let’s go!

Watch the video:


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lynda

You all may have noticed I’ve been quiet on the tutorials front the past couple months, but not without good reason! I’ve been very busy preparing my first in depth project based Cinema 4D course for Lynda.com, and I’m super excited to announce that it has finally released!  Check it out here!

I am honored to be a part of the Lynda community and getting the opportunity to share my creative process through my courses!

What’s It About?

So you might be thinking, “What’s it about and why should I watch it?”  Well, for one, it’s my first project based Cinema 4D course.  Unlike my tutorials I host here on my blog which are fairly short, quick blurbs on a certain workflow technique or tip; in my Lynda course I’ll show you from start to finish the process I go about creating a finished and polished animation.  From setting up and animating a project in Cinema 4D, preparing it for render, and importing and putting on the finishing touches inside of After Effects.  In this course, I’ll show you how to create a network promo bumper for a fictitious TV network using Mograph effectors efficiently so to animate the entire thing, all it takes is two keyframes, along with some workflow tips and tricks along the way.

How Do You Learn?

I’ve found that I learn a ton from watching people go through the process of creating a project from start to finish and developing my first course demonstrating how I do it was very interesting because I literally had to write down all my steps, all the things I do to create an animation.  When I watch other people work, I love observing all the little habits and processes someone goes through while working in Cinema 4D or After Effects.  Being a freelancer, I don’t have the benefit of sitting around a bunch of other artists and being exposed to how other people work day to day and learning from them, so I hope seeing my process is just as beneficial for those of you out there in similar situations.

Future Courses

Some people have already asked me if I have any more courses in the pipeline, and I’m happy to say that I’m planning on releasing a total of 8 courses this year for Lynda.  It’ll be a challenge, but I’m definitely excited to take it on.  The course I released is almost 2 hours of content, so it was definitely an adjustment coming from doing 5-15 minute tutorials for my blog.  My Lynda producer was great in mentoring me in the process of creating professional training content so I’m looking forward to my continued improvements in how I can deliver information and knowledge to you all in the future!

What’s This Mean For the Blog?

It means better content for you!  I’m going to continue producing my own short Cinema 4D based content here on eyedesyn.com just like I’ve always been, I’m committed to creating better and better content and my experiences working with the great Lynda.com folks will only make me better at creating training content.  I already have tons of tutorial ideas backlogged in my brain!  Not to mention a big update to Text Edge FX that should be coming out soon!

Feedback

For those of you who check out my course (or for just those who watch tutorials on my blog), please let me know if there’s anything I can do better, or if there’s anything you’d like to see for any of my next Lynda courses or even my tutorials here on my blog.  What’s something you’d really like to learn?  What’s some workflows you’d like to see me demonstrate?  I’d greatly appreciate any and all input you can give!

What is Lynda.com?

Lynda.com has a multitude of excellent training content for everyone, not just motion graphics artists.  For example, they have great courses on how to be a freelancer, how to conduct business meetings, photography, setting up video shoots, and the list goes on and on!  Not only that, but they’ve joined up with Video2Brain.com to add even MORE great content (including multilingual content) to the Lynda.com universe.  And even if you’re just interested in After Effects and Cinema 4D, they have some AMAZING artists on there sharing their knowledge such as my fellow authors Chris & Trish Meyers, Chad Perkins, Mark Christiansen, and Rob Garrot.  In the coming year there is going to be a ton of new AE and C4D content to go along with the highly anticipated updates for both pieces of software, so stay tuned!

Thank You

When I first launched my blog a little over a year ago, I didn’t imagine that it would grow as much as it did, that I would be presenting for MAXON, working for Lynda.com, or having all the other great opportunities I’ve been given along the way.  I couldn’t have done it without the support of all you out there pushing me to keep doing what I’m doing and seeing that people are learning a bit of something here on my blog.  I did this in an attempt to pay forward all the training that has been provided to me for free online when I have been learning Cinema 4D the past few years, to give back to the awesome motion graphics community that inspired me all these years.  Thank you!


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c4dr14

Cinema 4D R14 Announced!

It’s Christmas in August!  Cinema 4D version R14 has just been announced and I’ve had the opportunity to be able to play with R14 over the past few weeks and check out all the new features. While you may be hearing most about the new Sculpting features in Cinema 4D, I’m going to focus on some of my favorite new features that I think I’ll be using heavily.

 

1. New Snapping Tools

You can now move and align geometry with more ease now with the new snapping tools.  You can have splines or polygons faces, points, or edges snap to other objects geometry in the scene as well as being able snap to guides and workplanes.  This makes having a cubes face align to another cubes face very simple and you’ll spend less time in the Coordinate manager.

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2. Aerodynamic Wind

This has got to be one of my favorite new features and one that I noticed was missing when I did my balloon tutorial.  With the new Aerodynamics function, Rigid and Softbody objects can now interact according to their aerodynamic shape with all of the particle modifiers such as Wind, Turbulence, and Gravity.  So a balloons shape will be taken into account when floating about when a wind object is applied to it and not just float linearly.  Along with this new feature, there is also Acceleration and Force modes.  Force Mode takes into account individual object masses and affect it’s interaction with the modifiers, while Acceleration mode disregards object mass.

(Check out my Aerodynamic balloon tutorial here.)

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3.  New GI Mode and Sampling Method

Sky Sampler GI mode has been replaced with a new and faster Discrete Sky Sampling (DSS) mode.  This new Sky Sampling mode works as the last one did where you use a Physical Sky or HDRI texture applied to a Sky object to light your scene, but new in R14 is the ability to have your Sky or HDRI texture cast shadows in your scene according to your Sky or HDRI textures contrast.  Along with DSS is the new GI Sampling Method of using Radiosity maps that, long story short, speed up GI calculation.  Radiosity maps can also be saved and used again like prior GI sampling.

 

4. Camera Morph Tag & Camera Calibrator Tag

Animating cameras in any piece of software has always been a pain, trying to get from framed shot to another.  CSTools has eased this a bit with EasyCam, etc.  But, basically what the Camera Morph Tag does is bring that CSTools functionality completely integrated into R14.  Now when you’re setting up camera moves, you can keyframe multiple cameras, throw vibrate tags on them, etc, and using the Morph Tag, you can now seamlessly transition between all of them.  You can also add “steady cam” like shake effects to add some natural shake to your camera animation.

Camera Calibrator Tag helps you recreate the camera’s focal length and position from a still image.  Using this, you can easily composite geometry into that flat background image.  Huge new features for sure!

r14-cameramorph

 

5. New Normalizer and Weathering Shaders

Normalizer- This sort of makes the Bump Shader obsolete.  By using a Normalizer shader in the Material Normal Channel, you can use regular textures (grayscale or otherwise) that you’d normally use in the Bump Channel to calculate a pseudo Normal Map.

Weathering Shader- Adds realistic grunge or bleached effects to your objects to give it that weathered look.

r14-weathershader

6.  New Xpresso Features

Xpresso got a lot of great new additions that range from new UI and workflow enhancements to entirely new nodes.

  • R14 brings a new, slick UI to the Xpresso Editor
  • Create ports by simply dragging and dropping one or multiple attributes into the XPresso Editor
  • New Xpresso Node “Track Operator” – Very nice addition.  This node outputs animation values and can pass on animation and time information to other objects
  • New Xpresso Node “Dynamics Body Status” – Using this node, you can now trigger dynamics on and off using Xpresso when a boolean value of True or False is used.

7. Import .C4D Files Directly Into After Effects

Cinema 4D has always been lauded for it’s integration with Adobe products, specifically After Effects.  In addition to being able to export out an .aex file from C4D for use in After Effects, you can now open C4D files directly into AE and PS.  On top of that, you can create a “.c4d” file from After Effects (that includes all animation (including Expressions), Cameras, Lights, 3D materials, and Null objects) and open it into Cinema 4D.

 

8.  Overall Interface Enhancements

Not exactly the most sexy addition, but there are a load of tiny GUI improvements that you’ll barely notice but will really enhance your workflow.

  • Object highlighting –  Hover over an object and a white outline will surround the geometry, select it, and the white outline turns yellow.
  • Camera Crosshairs – One feature I clamored for that is now in R14 is a center crosshairs option for your Camera Object that stays visible in the viewport even when the Camera Object isn’t selected.
  • Specular and Specular Color Channels have been combined into just one material channel.
  • All Dynamics caches can now be baked from inside a Dynamics Body tag.  No more having to dig into the Attributes manager to find that option under project settings.
  • “Commander” is very cool, it works just like in After Effects when searching in the Effects & Presets search bar.  Commander lets you search for objects, tags, tools and much more by beginning to type the name in the Commander search bar.   You can also drag and drop search items directly into the interface so you can customize all the commands in your C4D layout.
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Here’s a nice roundup of other sites describing some of the new R14 features from The Pixel Lab.

That’s all I got for now, stay tuned for some in depth tutorials on some of these features, as well as more Xpresso features!

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Finally got around to putting out my 2012 (more like 2011) reel. This is a collection of what I’ve been hard at work on over the past year or so. I’ve got to say in 2011 I learned a lot, worked on some of the coolest projects yet, and met a ton of very cool people in the industry, and 2012 is looking to be even better year! I appreciate all of you who have visited my newly update blog over the past few months and I hope you’ll stay tuned in the coming weeks and months. I plan on putting out some Cinema 4D tutorials and some more free stuff! Here’s to 2012! Keep on learnin and hustlin!

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timthumb

My buddy @JorenKandel at PixelLab.net was gracious enough to ask me to be interviewed by him for his website.  Here I talk about my work, my thought processes, and some tips for people trying to get into the industry.  Hope you get something out of my ramblings!  Enjoy!

Listen to the podcast here.