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Design Tips from Designers

Joey Korenman

Design sure is hard, ain't it?

That's one of the reasons we built Design Bootcamp. In that course we dig into the principles of design but, more importantly, how to apply those principles in the real world. Knowing color theory is great, but when you're looking at a blank screen in Photoshop it's not enough to know what a triad color scheme is... you need to have some tricks up your sleeve to make the design process happen on your client's schedule.

Here are some tips from masters

Part of the Design Bootcamp experience is the course podcast. All of our big courses have them, and we interview some of the industry's best artists so we can dig as much knowledge and as many workflow tips as possible out of them. Normally on registered students of these courses get to hear these episodes, but we wanted to share some of the amazing content with you. In this episode, we've compiled some of the best tips from over 12 hours of Design Bootcamp podcast audio. You'll hear from Kevin Dart, Joe Donaldson, Bee Grandinetti, Ryan Moore and Andrew Brown of Gretel, Erica Gorochow, and My Tran. Check the show notes for links to their work, and check out Design Bootcamp for the full podcast series and an incredible Design education.

Show Notes

Design Bootcamp

Artists Featured on this episode


Podcast Transcript Below 👇:

Intro (00:00:01):

He's about 455 yards. He's going to hit a button.

Joey Korenman (00:00:07):

This is the school of motion podcast. Come for the MoGraph stay for the puns. Here's something that's bothered me lately. I love this podcast. I love meeting amazing artists and industry leaders and frankly, just people. I'm a huge fan of, but the part I love most is sharing the podcast with you. If we just recorded these things and we never released them, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun. And it certainly wouldn't be very useful to you either. So here's the dilemma. Most of our courses like animation bootcamp and design bootcamp have private podcast series that go along with the course. We booked guests, we interview them and we learn a ton from them. And then the only people who get to hear those interviews are the students who enroll in those courses. Now from a business standpoint, this makes total sense, but it feels a little unsatisfying to have all of this incredible content that many MoGraph offers we'll never get to here.

Joey Korenman (00:01:03):

So we had an idea. What if we cut together some of the best parts from these interviews and made a best of episode for each course? Wouldn't that be cool? Well, we're about to find out this episode features sound bites from our podcast series that goes along with design bootcamp, our training program that teaches you how to apply design principles, to create professional style frames and storyboards. We interviewed some incredible people for the course, including designer, me, Tran, Kevin dart, Joe Donaldson, Erica gore, chow, Ryan Moore, and Andrew Brown from Gretel and bee Grandinetti. We've taken nearly 12 hours of audio and condensed it down into some of the best moments from these guests. You'll also get to hear a little bit from design bootcamp instructor and a dear friend of mine, Michael Frederick, one of the best designers. I know he's the guy with the Southern drawl. You can't miss it.

Joey Korenman (00:01:54):

So let's start with me Tran, who is an incredible designer based out of Los Angeles. She also animates and some of her design work is incredibly intricate and detailed. And as an animator, I would be nervous getting her boards just because of the sheer complexity involved. So I asked her about this. He does, let me ask you this. Cause I'm, you know, coming at it from the poor animator down the line, who has to then make sense of that and animate it. Do you know, because you, you did animate in the beginning. Did you ever find yourself, you know, when you were designing something that you were going to animate, does your find yourself kind of holding back a little bit? Cause you knew like, oh, I don't, I'm not really quite sure how I would animate that. It looks really cool, but it's going to be really hard. So maybe I won't, maybe I won't that, did that ever happen?

Speaker 3 (00:02:42):

Uh, I mean there was definitely, there was a pitch I remember, um, where, um, we, we definitely said, okay, if they choose this, then we're kind of like, cause we have no idea.

Joey Korenman (00:03:00):

So what's your, what's your philosophy on that though? Do you think it's important to kind of ignore that fear a little bit and like, just go for the cool idea or do you think you have to temper that with like the reality of realities of production? I'm curious what your thoughts are?

Speaker 3 (00:03:14):

Um, it's twofold. So, um, there has been a case where, um, I designed something and then it became more 3d and uh, you know, it started out as 2d and then it became 3d. Like the lions came off the paper and you know, all of a sudden we're in the 3d world. And um, the, the, our director said it wasn't necessarily because they couldn't pull it off. It just wasn't necessarily the right solution for the client. Like, uh, they wanted to keep it very flat in 3d because, and not 3d because, um, not just the timeline or anything like that, but just because, um, they, they wanted it to be more elegant and not necessarily like this crazy motion graphics piece. So part of it is are you really, you know, solving for the client? Are you making something really cool? Um, and then the other part of it is like, normally, normally I just don't think about whether or not they can animate it.

Speaker 3 (00:04:07):

They're gonna animate it, you know, like they, someone will, you know, we're going to work as a team. We're going to make sure this comes out. And part of it might be that you have to make sure you have the people on it that you know, can deliver. So, um, right now the teams that I'm working with, like the artists are just phenomenal. So I don't question their ability to be able to do this, you know, so it really varies on what, um, studios you're working for. Um, obviously, but for the most part, I've never had to think about whether or not they could deliver. Um, it's, it's, there's just so many amazing artists out there, so yeah.

Joey Korenman (00:04:45):

Yeah. I guess, I guess the way I was kind of thinking about it as like, when I'm in, after effects, I feel like I'm wearing my animator hat and when I'm in Photoshop, I'm wearing my designer hat and, and, and sometimes like, I'll, I'll get lazy and I'll try to design an aftereffects and I'll find like my design sock, because I'm already thinking about how I'm going to execute it and it kind of hamstrings me. Um, and I'm curious, I'm just curious, like if you personally ever felt that when you were animating,

Speaker 3 (00:05:14):

Um, I, something came up pretty recently where I'm, I'm starting to play a little bit more with, uh, X particles. And, um, we basically had this, um, project where I was playing with it in the design sense. And they're like, can you animate it? Can, can we see motion tests? So it, it ended up creeping up that I had to switch and, you know, become the animator for that. But, um, normally, uh, especially if you're building in 3d, the, the good thing about it is that you're building stuff that someone can take over an animate pretty easily. Um, but when it comes to like, uh, things like photo real, say a photocopying over the real stuff in Photoshop, and then transferring it to after effects. Now I don't, I don't really try to limit, because normally you're just focused on trying to solve the situation, trying to find a solution. And as long as you're focusing on that and you win the pitch, then you know, then you get into the technical side where

Speaker 4 (00:06:17):

Yeah. That makes total sense. Yeah. So, I mean, I worked the same way. It's basically, um, I'm assuming that the great artists out there and the great, you know, designers, motion designers, animators, 3d people, the studios are going to figure out how to do something. And usually

Speaker 3 (00:06:35):

They normally try to hire the appropriate people to get the end result.

Speaker 4 (00:06:38):

Exactly. And I find it, my, my own case that sometimes I, you know, I designed so simply like, I'd always try to figure out like, okay, here's the, here's the dilemma, here's the project. And I try to create a solution that's so boiled down, that's so simple. Like I just try to bring it down to like the, the essence of what it is that sometimes it, you know, even the animation is so simple, it could be like a cut, you know, it's sometimes it's sometimes so super simple that, you know, some people kind of scratch their head and say, well, that's, that's easy as it they're disappointed, but you know, there's two ways to look at it. You could look at, like you said, you can kind of like throw the kitchen sink at this thing and make it really complex, full of effects, 3d whatever. And then sometimes you can just make it really, really simple. I guess it's comes down to really what you're working on now.

Speaker 3 (00:07:33):

Yeah. And people, I think underestimate the fact that simple is hard.

Joey Korenman (00:07:39):

Simple is definitely hard. Sometimes I asked Erica gore child the exact same question. Erica is an amazing designer slash animator slash person. And she is great at explaining her process in a very practical way. Listen to this, got, have a question actually about, about something you said, and, and, you know, I kinda, I guess I kind of came at it backwards from the way you did. I came in as an animator and realizing I needed to learn design. And one of the things I struggled with was, you know, thinking about the animation as I'm designing and kind of hamstringing myself, not even consciously kind of like unconsciously, I'm wondering if you've ever found that to happen. I mean, maybe cause you started with design doesn't happen as much, but I'm curious, once you started animating, where did you ever find yourself getting worried like, oh, this is going to be a pain in the to animate.

Speaker 5 (00:08:33):

And I would say that that still happens. Like, I, I think you're, and this is to understand your point, like knowing the constraints of animation and then wanting to wanting to design this thing. Do you limit the way that you design to your animation skills or do you say screw it and I'll figure it out. And I I've often found that like, certainly I have, uh, adjusted my design. Like if I know the delivery is five days or whatever, if I know if the delivery short, then I know what not to design so that I can meet that deadline. But in general, I try to, uh, try to, um, put myself in those awkward animation situations or now hire people who are specialists. Um, so that, I don't know. I find that when I push myself when I'm like, well, this is, I think I can make this. I I'm worried, but I think I can make this really great. I know exactly what I want to design. Uh, sometimes those situations where you, you kinda go up and fear end up being like the things that you're most proud of, like that it's like you, you have to push yourself and like sometimes backing yourself into a wall is a good way to do that, even though it's scary.

Joey Korenman (00:10:00):

So it seems like some designers like to push themselves to the edge of their comfort zone on a technical level, when they're designing, setting up a situation where the execution of the idea in the animation phase might actually be really hard and a little scary. And I know in my own career, I've seen this tactic work amazingly well and it kind of pushes me into new areas and, and helps me grow as an animator, Joe Donaldson, formerly an art director at a little place called buck. And now one of the editors at Motionographer among other things, he had another great piece of advice for us. Listen here, as he talks about designing for animation and not just thinking of those two things as separate processes.

Speaker 6 (00:10:41):

So I do come from the animation world and I do like to stay connected to it. But now it's, it's definitely more of a, uh, not a secondary thing, but it's not my primary focus,

Speaker 4 (00:10:51):

But it does sound like that. Animation knowing how to animate, uh, has made you stronger as a designer. It really is.

Speaker 6 (00:10:58):

I don't think, I think when it comes to offering creative direction or even art direction, it's one of the things that's, that is a big pet peeve of mine. And a lot of designers will do this, um, is they do design, you have a 32nd spot and they designed seven style frames and there is no thought or consideration put into how you get from one a, to B, to C to D. And like you'll have, you'll have these style frames that they may be unbelievably beautiful and like, like, I really want to animate that. But you're looking at a and B are so completely different and there's no thought put into how to get from one to the other. It becomes a, and a lot of times it's a fun task for the animator, but it's also a burden at the same time, because you're essentially saying like, I didn't figure this out.

Speaker 6 (00:11:41):

You do it. Or you figure like insert motion graphics here. And, and to me, I think that that's a, that's a failure as a designer. And when you don't, you don't consider how things move, how they go into one another and how the film kind of like it's stitched together. Um, so I think being an animator first really helps when you're developing concepts or developing a story. Cause you can look at it critically and say, okay, this goes to this and then, oh, this transition is going to be really hard. Can we do it? Do we have the resources for it? You're you're at least making slightly more informed decisions on how something is made and how you're telling the story, as opposed to just saying here's seven really beautiful style frames.

Speaker 4 (00:12:20):

Yeah, no, I agree. I agree. Cause we're in the business of moving this stuff. I mean it's designed, that's moving and thoughtful design that's moving is better than design that moves crappy. Yeah, I totally agree with,

Speaker 6 (00:12:32):

And that's like, so I guess if I were to like gripe about one thing is one thing that, and I mean, I've, I've done this before because of budgets or, or just clients that wanted it. But to me, one of the worst types of, uh, I guess motion graphics film is when it's just style Fang, transition style frame, transition, style, frame, transition, and like, and it's not necessarily that you have to have these crazy camera moves or everything needs to do to, to, uh, be overly considered. But a lot of times with the stuff you'll see, you'll see, you can see that the soft frames are essentially created in a vacuum and each one is separate and someone is just using trim pass and masks to more from one to the other. And that, that to me, isn't really storytelling. That's just like a really advanced PowerPoint.

Speaker 6 (00:13:15):

And uh, I think I like it when something can be a little bit more considered and even one thing I use a lot of is cuts. And I, I mean, I'm sure playing people don't like that because, oh, I love, I would rather have considered an informed cuts that emphasize storytelling than just useless, goofy transitions that happen. Um, I know that's obviously my bias, but, um, uh, I think it's nice to have something that feels considered all the way throughout. It's not just that the, where the camera stops is considered and then everything else is kind of thrown to the wind.

Joey Korenman (00:13:47):

When we do our course interviews, we try to get down to the ground level with our guests as much as humanly possible. It's great to hear high level stuff about inspiration and finding your muse and stuff like that. But we also want to know how the heck these amazing artists are using the same software that we are, but just getting much better results. So how are they laying things out? How are they picking type faces? How are they picking colors? Color is actually a topic that comes up quite a bit in design bootcamp. So let's hear, it would be, Grandinetti has to say about it.

Speaker 4 (00:14:20):

I think color is another thing that we could talk about because I think your use of color creates part of your personality as well. So color is, you know, as a complicated issue for a lot of people, um, and it, and it continues to be complicated even for veterans in the business. So can you give us any insight, any secrets into how you use color in your work? And do you have any tips or advice or tricks about how you pick color palettes?

Speaker 6 (00:14:50):

That's fun though, because

Speaker 7 (00:14:51):

I, because I, I don't know if you guys know, but I spent one year studying at Stockholm and before and before I did that, like I never had that many things about my use of color, but the moment that I stepped in Sweden and you know, all of my friends, uh, from hyper, they were like, oh, but his like colors are so I've never had that like so many times before. And, you know, I think that might be something with my Brazilian Brazilian roots, but

Speaker 4 (00:15:20):

Yeah, no, that makes total sense.

Speaker 7 (00:15:22):

Yeah. And I think that, it's funny though, because after that I think I started to push even more, you know, like I became a bit more confident like, oh, Katie, I'm just going to go bananas with it. And just starting to play more and more with it. Uh, I mean, I do have, might have some practical tips that might be a bit,

Speaker 4 (00:15:40):

Please. Yes. Please give those to us. We want to write them down now were going to take,

Speaker 7 (00:15:49):

Uh, okay. Couple of things. I know that some people they like using like a dope cooler that kind of, you know, those websites that you can buy color pallets and stuff. I think they're.

Speaker 7 (00:16:03):

I think it's because it takes you all the joy from, you know, choosing yourself and then finding like when you find a good combination is so rewarding and it's, it feels so good. And I think that takes all the fun away. Like I tried maybe once or twice, but I don't like using dose. I think it takes the joy away. But I think in the beginning, like I just started experimenting really. I mean, of course, like if you study a bit of color theory, do you know some stuff in a complimentary colors, blah, blah, blah. So you know, like how to play around with if combinations and stuff that's really helpful, again, like to have the theory to have the rules so you can play around with them. Right. But there's two really more specific details that they kind of changed a lot, the way that I pick colors overall.

Speaker 7 (00:16:51):

Uh, one is, uh, you know, inside in straighter on the top of illustrator, there is a thing like on the top tool, little thing, there is one thing called color wheel, which is like this, uh, colorful disc. You know, when you pick it, you can like, if you selected, uh, maybe your whole artwork, it can shift the colors. Maybe I could, I can, you know, just take some screenshots afterwards and, uh, and show you that. But if you click that one, like it just gives you access to all the colors that there are in your artwork and you can tweak it like situation. He like this, and you can shift them around like, uh, I wanna exchange that brown with that green and, you know, just try out a lot of different stuff. So that was one, a bit more specific thing that really helped me on, you know, just experimenting and changing colors around. And the thing that really helped me was when I found out in Photoshop, uh, there is this, oh my God. I just really, really escaped the name though. Uh, oh yeah. It's called selective color.

Speaker 4 (00:18:01):

So the likes of color. Absolutely. Yes. I've used it many times where you go in and basically say, I'm going to select, I'm going to select the purple in this design, and then you can switch it to say, well, what if it's red? Or what if it's blue or what if it's green and then it will change it,

Speaker 7 (00:18:19):

Or maybe that's changed to call it. I don't know, but the, the selective color, uh, it's like, it gives you all the channels. Like these are all the reds. These are all the blues, the science, whites, the neutrals, the blacks, especially the neutrals and the black stick and change your whole artwork so much. And I started doing that, that maybe, I don't know, I was creating something on illustrator and I would screenshot that, bring it to Photoshop and just put that adjustment layer and start tweaking the colors, just like seeing how it felt and what I do most of the times with a lot of the works is that I just tweak the colors so much until I'm happy with them. It takes a lot of time. Like it's, it's not something instant, you know, I might be doing something one day. And then on the following day, I wake up and I see it in like, oh, this is. I need to tweak it. And then I do a little bit of tweaking. And then, you know, I had this thing, I don't know if you've experienced the same, but I get so much like blind. If I look at the same thing for too long,

Joey Korenman (00:19:22):

Kevin dart also talked about color, but he comes at it from a very different perspective than most of us. If you look at his work, you'll have a very hard time believing this as I did, but Kevin is colorblind. I literally almost fell out of my chair when I learned that because the, his use of color is astounding and here's what he had to say about it.

Speaker 4 (00:19:42):

Uh, but the first thing I really started to notice when I looked at your body of work is that you deal with colors in such a great way, and you really seem to have some sort of command over color palettes. And I'm speaking for myself and I'm also speaking for others at design bootcamp. When I say that really selecting colors for any project is really very difficult. So I want to know, and we want to know how do you do it? How do you pick these amazing color combinations and how do you work with those? So give us, give us all the secrets you got. All right.

Speaker 8 (00:20:19):

I mean, the short answer is it's all just kind of workarounds that I've learned from ways I've learned to deal with my colorblindness

Speaker 4 (00:20:29):


Speaker 8 (00:20:33):

Uh, yeah, I mean, I don't like, I mean, I, I discovered pretty early on when I was trying to become a professional illustrator that, uh, the, the, the color picker there, I mean, the, the color palette and Photoshop is just really confusing to me. There's like a lot of, kind of weird areas in there that I can't tell what the colors are. And I kind of get really lost, trying to pick colors in there. I mean, like when I was in school, I remember everyone else would kind of just go into Photoshop and just start picking colors and working with them. And I was like, man, I don't know. I don't know how to do that. And I felt kind of like really sort of handicapped in a way. And so one of, one of the things I started making a lot of use of is the eyedropper tool.

Speaker 8 (00:21:21):

Um, and I like, usually what I'll do is I'll find photo reference of something like a, like a mood or like a lighting palette that I really like, and I'll just use the eyedropper tool to pick colors out of it. Um, which is, can also be kind of tricky because I mean, a lot of times when you're sampling like a JPEG image or any kind of compressed image, you'll get like a weird, like kind of unexpected color when you start using the eyedropper tool a lot. So it's kinda like you, I mean, I, I got, I always kind of use that as a starting point, like using photo reference of something. And then after that you just kind of start tweaking them to make the, to make them look good together. Uh, and the other, uh, like another thing that has been really useful to me is just using really ultra simplified palettes.

Speaker 8 (00:22:16):

Like usually by the time I get to like four or five colors and a painting, I'm kinda like, okay, that's, that's like, that's like my limit. Like, I don't really know how to deal with more colors on that. Cause I mean, at some point it starts getting too subtle for me. Like I can't even really tell the difference between a lot of the colors I'm using. Um, and I think that's something people have responded to a lot in my work. They, they comment on like the, the kind of, uh, limited color palettes that I use, um, which is really just me trying to not confuse myself too much. Um, so it's just kind of, it works with my taste too. Like I I'm, I'm really into stuff that looks really graphic. I liked screen printing a lot and like, I mean, all this stuff I use that I really enjoy, it tends to use these really simplified palettes.

Speaker 8 (00:23:07):

So it kind of helps that my, my natural tastes in art happened to align with my own abilities and using color. Um, the, another thing about color, uh, when I was first starting out, cause I, I started out working in video games. Um, cause I, I went to school at the, uh, did Japan Institute of technology and Redmond because I really wanted to work in video games and initially I wanted to be a programmer and, uh, I started off in the engineering program and, uh, at some point I just, I kind of had this burgeoning interest in art and decided that I was going to kind of go for it. So I switched over to their animation program, uh, with the goal of becoming a, an artist and video games. Um, so I learned how to model in 3d and started to learn how to text her and stuff.

Speaker 8 (00:24:02):

Um, but when I went, when I got my first job working on video games, I was working on this, this evil, dead video game for uh [inaudible]. And uh, my art director was on that game. He's like, he's a really awesome with color and he's exact opposite of me. He, uh, he doesn't like to limit his colors at all. He loves using like every single color and all of his paintings and he, so he's spotted immediately this weird quirk in the way I was working. He was like, man, those colors, you're working with a critics strains. And I'm like, oh yeah, it's because I'm color blind. And he was actually one of the first people I've met who was really kind of understanding. I was like, oh, he kind of gave me some really good tips. And he showed me this method of painting completely in gray scale.

Speaker 8 (00:24:51):

So I started, uh, painting all the textures for these zombie characters. I was modeling and stuff, uh, completely in black and white and then, uh, using adjustment, layers and color overlays to add color afterwards. Um, so it was kind of like a real crash course for me and just learning the ins and outs of Photoshop and how to work with all these different tools that are in the, in the program to try to choose some more vibrant, uh, colored textures, uh, on these characters I was doing. Um, and then I started to apply that to the illustration work that I was doing on the side also, um, just to like completely painting in black and white and then colorizing it later. And what I found is that it really started developed my eye for working with tones and values. And I started to really recognize, um, when I did start working in color, I would, I tend to organize the colors more by by values.

Speaker 8 (00:25:54):

So like, like I was talking about how I use somewhere like four to five colors and each painting I do typically like one of those colors is for highlights. One of those colors is for mid-tones one's for shadows. And I of like, I organize them, not just by color, but by value. Like I want each color to represent, uh, some kind of value in the, or tone in the paintings. Um, cause it's just easier for me to kind of organize them that way. Um, and I mean, eventually, you know, you play around with it a lot and you start to experiment. And I mean, now I can sometimes play with colors that are S are similar values. Um, but like contrast in colors to kind of get these vibrating light affects and the painting. I'm not, I'm not sure what the effect is like to people who see color normally, but to my eyes, it kind of creates this interesting kind of vibrating sort of warm, uh, like, like hot light feeling that, and I like to play with, um, yeah, that's kind of the summary of how

Speaker 4 (00:27:02):

Well that's a, that's a good summary and I see the same vibrating to that. You see, it's just, it just depends on what that color is. That's next to it. Like if you put a red and a green color together, it's going to buzz and it's going to create this little halo and it's going to be kind of cool looking, but man, it drives you crazy. Well, I like your, I like your talking about values because I think that's another big thing. I mean, one, one problem is picking colors. It's like, do you pick a triad color scheme? Do you pick a Tetrad? Do you pick a complimentary mix? Things like that. I mean, that's kind of like the basics, but then if you move away from the basics of just choosing colors, you can choose, you know, an endless amount of colors. But I like, I like when you were talking about value, because value is another thing that can create hierarchy and a piece of work where you see something that's more dominant because of its color or its lightness, and then some things are dark. So when you were working with value, what did you find when you first started? Did you find like, oh, okay. I realized that, you know, darker tones and midtones kind of fall back and recede into the distance. And then I knew that, okay, the bright toned objects come forward to the eyes. So then I started to, you know, I could see how things could play out in that way when you're using value only. So could you talk a little bit more just about value because I think that's really another important thing about color.

Speaker 8 (00:28:31):

Um, I mean the biggest thing I noticed at doing for me was that I realized once I started working in value that, um, the, the pennies I was doing at the time were way too low contrast. Um, like, like I realized when I would take them to grayscale that it was all kind of just these muddy mid-tone grays and I wasn't using a wide enough range of values. Um, and it's, it's kind of hit home to me. The idea that you, I mean, it's not like, I mean like now I know, I mean, there's some paintings that work in all just really bright values and some that look cool and really dark values. It just a little bit of a light values and numbers something. Right. Um, but, but it kind of just tells me expand and learn to work with more of like the complete, uh, values spectrum that I, that I hadn't been doing before that it's just, it's, it's like immediately obvious when you take a color painting to gray scale, whether it's like making use of the whole range of values or not. Kevin

Joey Korenman (00:29:41):

Also talked about one of his pet peeves, which is essentially when designers let the computer pick colors for you. The way this typically happens is you use a bunch of transfer modes on your layers, which tells Photoshop to use math, basically to figure out what color to show you. I'm guilty of doing stuff like this all the time, especially when creating things like shadows. Now listen to Kevin's philosophy about this. It's very interesting.

Speaker 8 (00:30:06):

That's a pet peeve of mine when people, uh, when, when people create, try to create shadows using, uh, multiplies or something in Photoshop or light though. I mean, I'm always like if you're going to use a, multiply it at least put a color in it because you're never gonna see it. W w when you, when you do like, uh, a black shadow of something, or like a gray shadow, it just kills the, the mood of the image. Um, and I'm always like, I mean, I, I prefer to not use adjustment layers for shadows or highlights at all. I'm always like, just, just pick a color, like, um, it's, it's gonna, it's gonna look better. Like if you just pick a blue or pick a, a red or, or any kind of color to make that shadow, rather than trying to create it, using some kind of layer process. Right.

Joey Korenman (00:30:55):

And Kevin, would you, would you say that that rule kind of extends to your colors in general? Cause I know, you know, a lot of, a lot of designers when they're starting out rely kind of heavily on transfer modes and stuff like that, to get new colors and variations and make things seem brighter, you know, like use the add mode to make things brighter, but would you say that it's, it's better to actually just pick the color and just paint the thing that color?

Speaker 8 (00:31:25):

Yeah. I mean, I mean, this is coming, I mean, I was the same way. Like when I was studying out it, I did so much stuff using adjustment, layers and multiplies and overlays. And at some point I just, uh, I mean, it's kind of a part of just like, you're continuing continually evolving eye for art. At some point I just found the results of that process to be a lot less pleasing to my eye than if I just pick the colors myself, because there's always things. And when you're using an overlay or multiply there's those results that, I mean, like you might be happy with one part of it, but then the way it looks over another color, isn't exactly what you want. So, uh, I mean every artist I work with, I'm always like, just don't do like, I can, it's like so easy for me to spot now because, because I did it myself for so many years, I just know like when I walk up and look at someone's painting, I'm like, did you do this? How does with the multiply layer? And they're like, yeah. Okay. Okay.

Joey Korenman (00:32:30):

That is exactly the kind of tactical ground level stuff that I love to learn from heavyweights like Kevin dart. I remember during the interview, hearing him explain this process and it was like 50 light bulbs went off in my head at the same time. And if you like that tip, you'll probably like this one to me, Tran offered up a really great little trick to use color and more specifically value to lead your viewers. I

Speaker 4 (00:32:56):

Well, can you give us any bore hints about how you do that with contrast? Because that's, I mean, that's a big, that's a big deal when you can really work with your contrast and you can work with that full range of value. I mean, that's, that's deadly, if you can get that right, because that is one thing that your work is that's really great about your work is you do have a lot of these details moving around the screen, but you do seem to have a command over where to put those things. And like you said, a lot of it is a feeling, but it, but also it's based on what the project is. And if you need to read certain types of information, you know, that you're going to make those things either bigger, more, more dominant, or you're going to make them pop using that contrast.

Speaker 4 (00:33:40):

So maybe, you know, color, for example, like the example, we were just this case study of the family channel Canada piece on your be hand site, you know, you're kind of working with a full range of, you know, values. And like you said, there's not a lot of depth of field in your, and your execution of the board, but some of your other boards, you know, like the black list board, the Harman Kardon piece, you did, um, even the Ironman three, I mean, there's lots of like subtle values going on there, but you also are pooling lights and darks away from each other to create that contrast. Is there any other tips in Photoshop that you can talk to us about that kind of would help us with that?

Speaker 3 (00:34:26):

Um, so for, for iron man, for example, um, we had the model obviously, cause we had to repeat him like a million times. Um, so I would rent her out something that did not look like what you see on the screen. And then a lot of it had to be photo-shopped. Um, and you know, we, we, we all render in layers, so sometimes you'll get a multipass where you ha you just have shadows and you have, um, you know, highlights and you'll have the beauty and everything. Um, sometimes what I like to do, if, if I want something to have the most contrast is I'll just duplicate that layer and then put it as an overlay. And that actually, you know, it does something a little different than if you put curves on it. Um, it, it definitely, um, makes it the most contrast thing and sometimes it blows out your highlights.

Speaker 3 (00:35:18):

So you have to, you know, play with the transparency a little bit, but that's just like a good starting point. You put an overlay over it, you notice that, um, okay, this is the object that has the most contrast, and then everything else you start building back, um, with less blacks and, you know, less highlights. Um, I think that the wood almost a good way to think about it is that you shouldn't be afraid to turn down your highlights and, and your, um, your shadows so that they become a little Milky as it recedes into the background. So it depends on your background obviously, but you're what you're trying to do is you're going to try to match those background objects so that, um, they, they're kind of flatter and, um, a little grayer and that's just, you know, making it more atmospheric. Um, but, and then, you know, obviously you, your point of interest has the most contrast. So that's just like something else sometimes do

Joey Korenman (00:36:15):

Julie, interesting to hear how different designers approach design, obviously me Tran makes use of transfer modes and Kevin dart likes to just do everything himself. And that's one of the interesting things that we learned by doing these interviews. There's never one right way to do anything. Um, another one of our favorite things to ask guests is some variation of what is a rookie mistake that you see beginners making when they start to design. And we usually get some really interesting answers that can provide a quick burst of insight into the process of these incredible artists. So we asked Ryan and Andrew from Gretel, one of the best motion design studios in the world, this exact question, are there any sort of, I guess, rookie moves that you see designers kind of pulling out when they're, when they're just starting out that maybe we could just kind of throw up a flag and warn all of our students don't do this

Speaker 9 (00:37:11):


Joey Korenman (00:37:13):

Design, you know, I mean, for example, w w one of the things that, that, that I see a lot of when people start designing, especially if they're coming from an aftereffects background, uh, you know, where you're used to working at like 50% resolution in this tiny little window is everything's too big and you're trying to fill the frame up and not leaving any empty space. Um, so that would be an example. I'm curious if you guys have seen any, any similar things like that, that, um, you know, maybe we could just make the right to the students boil.

Speaker 9 (00:37:44):

Yeah, we probably each individual text for me, just the general trying to do too much in anyone, either framework. He's such a big part of it. Um, I taught last week for years, and it was so much about keeping the students from not, you know, not letting them have too much rope because the tendency, when you're a serious to try that to where you get really excited at first of all, cause you're doing, you want to show, you want to show off all of the things that you can do, and you want them to be able to show off all the things that you can do, sort of like one or two things at a time. I think there's a tendency to bacon. This is going to have three in 2d and also have all these different colors, but also have this one color and then have to use it really express [inaudible] so much of it is just pairing.

Speaker 9 (00:38:42):

You didn't see any young person. Um, you know, there, weren't some clarity of thought it's just really refreshing because I think a lot of people are really good at emulating the current style, but this one needs to be someone who's whose work is really focused and not at all the projects need to sort of feel the same diet. It's better on their sobriety that, okay, this person isn't address tempted by all the things they can do and really thinking about what should they do when you feel like a total? Obviously they're like, you know, whenever we say like rules that are kind of, there's always like opportunities to break those rules obviously said like, so for me, like right off the bat, I do think like just mixing too many typefaces at once. They're different sizes, you know, it's very like that immediately. Like for me, if I can turn off when it's just kind of like, to me, it needs to firing at once and yes. Yeah. It's, I think it's the same for someone's website or portfolio that should just be a window through to your work. And if you get into overwork and the way that it moves or give yourself a really fancy logo or something like that, just if you can get it to them and just become less about the work and what you can do it and more about you, you know,

Joey Korenman (00:39:56):

Erika Gord shall also got this question and she brought it back to some of the rookie mistakes that she used to make, check this out.

Speaker 4 (00:40:03):

What are really common mistakes that you're seeing out there from, you know, uh, green, young designers, people that may not be as experienced as you, what are they doing that they shouldn't be doing?

Speaker 5 (00:40:16):

Um, well, I'll say what I see and what I, I know at least from my own passes, like color, color selection, not choosing all the colors, but being, um, just really, uh, I don't know, conscious of, um, how and why you're making color choices. Um, like I, I feel like now I always go with a kind of vaguely split complimentary thing. I, I didn't know color theory until like maybe a few years ago, it's still not a pro in it, but like

Speaker 4 (00:40:55):

Right. Does, I mean, color is such a rabbit hole of craziness. I mean, when you get into it, we'll keep going. Yeah. This is interesting. Cause color, we could probably open up, uh, if we could open up that can, and it would probably whip our with our because it's so complicated.

Speaker 5 (00:41:16):

I think it's just, I know that, again, speaking personally, like I used to think that to make something colorful, you needed to have lots of colors. And I think actually something feels colorful when, uh, you're really conscious. Or for me, I think, uh, constrained about colors. A conscious might be a better word because I don't want to say that every, like do a tone of try tone color thing is the way to go. But, um, yeah, like just using colors consciously is probably the biggest thing. And then like, I tend to see, um, and younger designers, like being really conscious about, um, consistent line weight across things, especially if you're doing something like with shape layers, like in that world. Um, I don't know, line weight seems to trip. I feel like that can trip people up, like having you either feel consistent or look consistent, especially if there's like you have something that's super zoomed out or zoomed in. I mean, it's actually kind of hard. I'm doing something now that like, uh, it should feel like it has a consistent line weight throughout, but then there are all these things at different angles that are different like deaths, um, where it gets, it can just try to wrap your brain around that can

Speaker 4 (00:42:41):

Make it hard, make your brain hurt.

Speaker 5 (00:42:44):

Well, I also sometimes tech pop your feet. I think it's just, I think in general, I know that I started out very throwing the kitchen sink at everything, be a typography or color or otherwise and feeling okay. To be more constrained and have more conscious choices as,

Speaker 4 (00:43:05):

Um, right now I'm a big fan of starting simple knowing why you're starting simple and then building up from that point. So at least once you know the fundamentals, then you can sort of add the kitchen sink if it's appropriate. Totally.

Speaker 5 (00:43:20):

Yeah. I feel like for me personally, it's like when I make boards, I go through the stage where it's like, my first round is always way, like my first personal internal arm, it's always way too complicated. I throw away too much at it. Probably like self-consciousness, I'm like, oh God, what am I going to do? And then I pick away, I think, so I bring it way back down. So I'm like, okay, what year is really working? And then from there I tend to build it back up. So I find some like middle, middle ground in terms of what's the right amount of kitchen.

Speaker 4 (00:43:53):

Yeah. I think that's, I think everybody goes through that period. Probably their entire careers is when to stop. I mean, that's the hardest thing sometimes when to know, to stop adding stuff, because it's, it's kind of like you got controlled chaos and then you have moments of not controlled chaos, but that, but that chaos is really hard to control.

Joey Korenman (00:44:18):

Many of the design bootcamp interviewees are known for a specific style that they've developed over the years. Having a quote personal style is something that a lot of designers strive towards, but it's very difficult to achieve. Here's what the brilliant bee Grandinetti had to say about it.

Speaker 4 (00:44:36):

So what we want to know is, did you try to develop your style or did it just kind of find you, so what do you think about that, about your style? It's tough question. I know, I know

Speaker 7 (00:44:49):

It's actually kind of a funny question because when I, I, I studied graphic design for four years and I remember like, uh, I had this a friend, he was he's in most are like illustrator. He illustrates so well and like kind of realistic, you know, uh, and I was always complaining to him, like I don't have a style, you know, like I don't have a personality, my drawings, and always like, struggling about that. And, and so a certain point, I think in the middle of the, of the, you know, my studies and the university, then I kind of realized that maybe not having a CYO could be good as a designer in a way that I could, you know, be more versatile and play around with different styles and, and, you know, maybe trying to mimic or go, go for different styles without having to focus in just one, you know?

Speaker 7 (00:45:42):

So that could be good from a design perspective. And then I think, I mean, of course, I guess that you build up your style through your choices, even though like you're working with different, with different projects, they require different looks and different, you know, approaches, but I think still like, uh, you know, you see all of this big design studios with really, you know, you, you can tell that this was done by that studio or LA, but it comes down to the choices like, and that kind of shapes up the personality, even though each project has its own nature and stuff. But I think that as I started like to work more with motion and animation, it kind of started to, I think I also had access to projects that I could, you know, try to narrow down and find the stuff that I, that I liked more doing. And also like one thing that I think that happens that I think I, I started to get more jobs that were, and were resonating a bit more with my personality. And I think that played a big part on, on trying to find my style, like getting work that really resonates with my personality and, and actually making that more, more truthful and more and stronger also. Does that make sense?

Speaker 4 (00:47:10):

It does. So, I mean, it makes total sense because as a creative, your personality, which in, in your style, your personality really comes through more than more than most people probably is what is what I see. And I think that's a good thing because it's your personality and what makes up B that really creates the work. I mean, you're, it comes down to color the way you pick colors, the way you do type or graphy the way, you know, the way that you put things together with, you know, your sound effects are so rich and, you know, the way that the music works. I mean, there's just so much humor, but it's so clever. And without that, it falls apart. So really it is about your personality. So, so what you're saying is that your style has been developed because of you kind of handpicked maybe the jobs or the projects that may fit your personality better because you can sort of let your personality come through.

Speaker 7 (00:48:09):

Yeah. I've been seeing like this happening lately that the more related to my personality, my, my jobs are the more, the better, stronger, and more, a bit more regional and, and just truthful, you know, like then the more it can be full hearted towards a project, the better it becomes. So like, uh, yeah, I was talking about that the other day. We've just been also that because I graduated in graphic design. So our coughs, of course I can pull off something that is a bit more fancy or maybe a bit dark, but I don't think it would be ever as good as the things that I am and the things that I experienced, you know? So of course like that, the job that is a bit more, you know, funny, stupid, and because that resonates so much with my own personality,

Joey Korenman (00:49:01):

Joe Donaldson also spoke about this and there are some similarities between his answer and B's, but he also takes a pretty practical approach to style. Listen to this,

Speaker 4 (00:49:12):

Your work is playful. It's incredibly sophisticated, but, but what do you think is your story behind your style? Because you were just talking about it?

Speaker 6 (00:49:23):

Well, that's a, it's a tough one to answer because, and I think it's also important to note that like none of us and myself included kind of got to where we are, came up with the look that we're executing in a vacuum, it's all based on, what's kind of relevant right now, what we're seeing, what we're inspired by. So yeah, like I'm, I'm definitely very inspired by pretty much all the artists that you named off. And also just the surroundings that I'm in. So it's like, I can't really pinpoint it to like a decision that I made where I was like, aha, I'm going to do everything this way because it's, there's so many factors and variables that have contributed to this.

Speaker 4 (00:49:58):

Yeah, it's your life. I mean, it's your life accumulated since your life accumulate stuff, you collect stuff. And then that collection of stuff, and this is over time, it's not like last week you went online and you've collected all this stuff on your Pinterest account and you said, oh, look, I'm going to do this. Now this, your style has developed from years of experience of living, of traveling, doing all that kind of stuff. Right. I mean, it's, yeah, it's, it's,

Speaker 6 (00:50:26):

It's also a response to, I guess, uh, my creative process and computers, because I guess the thing is that I don't like, uh, the technical side effects. Uh, I mean, I guess historically speaking, I was, I spent more years as a after effects, animator after effects, generalist than anything else. And it was funny that I was always in this position because I don't use expressions. I don't do anything complicated. Like I'm kind of more of a brute force animator. Uh, once it starts to get technical, it stops being fun for me. So I literally just key frame everything. Um, and it's even as that's evolved, it's even gotten to the point where if I had the ability to, I would just want to do everything in Photoshop without, you know, like, cause it's just like, it makes the line that I want it to make it simple.

Speaker 6 (00:51:12):

There's not a lot of buttons. So a lot of my style and the reason why I've gravitated towards this stuff that I do is like a quest for like, for simplicity and to lessen my brain to kind of remove the burdens of all the technical stuff. Um, because that's, that's kind of where it, it's not fun for me. So that's why I like to draw everything by hand. I don't even use the pen tool. I just draw it in Photoshop. Um, so it's like a lot of that as a response to just finding a simple workflow that, that works for me. And then I'm happy with, and one, I guess, instance that I had a bit of an aha moment, if you will, was when I was working on my film for the New York times, I was still very much figuring out what I wanted to make or what I wanted to do.

Speaker 6 (00:51:57):

Um, that was kind of like, uh, one of the first pieces that I had done that was kind of the process of defining or developing a voice. And there's a scene where there's like a top-down view of a, a desk or a teacher at a desk. And I was sitting there and I though it was almost a three minute film that I had to do by myself from three, three weeks. So it was, it was insanely ambitious and I'm sitting there and I spent a whole day trying to get the perspective right on all these objects and a lamp and a coffee cup and all this crap that's on the teacher's desk. And I looked terrible and I hated it and I hated doing it. And I just got to the point where I said, it, the perspectives are going to be all wrong.

Speaker 6 (00:52:38):

And I intentionally made every perspective, different and every perspective wrong. And then that was like, kind of honestly, the funny thing is, is now whenever I go to draw anything, the first thing I do is just intentionally draw that perspective wrong. And that it's part of, uh, something that, that works for me because it's something that I'm engaged by, but because it's not, I'm taking liberties in how I'm rendering a lamp. I'm not just going, oh, let me go on west Elm and pick a cruel, booshy looking lamp. I'm saying like, okay, I know I'm not very good at drawing a lamp realistically, but how can I draw something that looks like a lamp, but it doesn't really matter that everything's terrible on it. Um, and that was a big moment for me of realizing that there's no right, and there's no wrong. And that's something I, even to this day, everything I do, the perspectives are horrible. I guess, nothing ever lines up it's

Speaker 4 (00:53:31):

Horrible, then they work.

Speaker 6 (00:53:33):

Right. And that that's like a big, that was a big thing for me. And, uh, this was going to be really silly, but I absolutely love star Trek next generation. And I think it's one of, it's probably my favorite show of all time. And one thing, and my point of bringing this up is they do so much in that show with so little and like the first few seasons, I literally think they only had three renderings of the enterprise flying away, which that's right. They would have, they would have it going from like bottom left to top. Right. And then they're just inverted. So bottom line to top left and like literally for a whole seasons, they only, it's a space show in the middle. They have three renderings of the space ship and they just keep reusing the same ones. And to me, that was like, that was kind of amazing to me because it's like, holy crap, this is a wildly successful and amazing show.

Speaker 6 (00:54:30):

Amazing. But yeah, they're doing so much with so little it's definitely a less is more, I mean, they weren't doing it for a less, as more reason they're doing it because they have no budget, but it was kind of a moment for me where I was like, oh, I don't need the perspectives. Don't need to be great. The, there doesn't need to be all this detail. The characters don't need to like be perfect. Like there's kind of a, a beauty in simplicity. And that's something that has really inspired me in a really weird way is like how the next generation told these amazingly rich stories and created a whole universe and only had three renderings of the spaceship,

Joey Korenman (00:55:04):

InDesign bootcamp. We also talk a lot about working with clients and how to manage a project from start to finish. The whole course is actually built around a series of fake client projects. So it makes sense that our guests would talk about things like research and concepting and how to manage client expectations. Gretel has a particularly unique way of approaching the first phase of a job. They talk about it for hours and hours. Apparently their concept phase is so methodical that some designers just can't handle it.

Speaker 4 (00:55:36):

Uh, how did, how did you start the process? Do you guys just do, do you just have a bunch of people that are in cubicles and they're just sitting down just poking away at a Photoshop or do you like have a big brainstorm? Like how does, how does it first sort of start?

Speaker 9 (00:55:52):

Yeah, I think for any brand new job like this, you know, we're big on strategy in the sense of, um, coming out with sort of the core thought and we like to talk about, you know, three tiers or three processes, key processes and developing a new ground. The first one is the ethos, the ethos to us means what is that the core of this brand? What does it, how hard is it even if you can't really articulate, um, specifically what that means in the first it's about it's about for us, that's having lots of conversations in this room. We're in, ran out, um, trying to distill the whole or the intangible ran into one clear thought. And so for us, and it was a long process to get there, but that clear crystallized thought for something in your lifetime and became this idea of the abandoned barn on style brand.

Speaker 9 (00:56:42):

So when we get a brief from a client, you know, like anyone with any kind of job, let's go up and we spent quite a bit of time going back and forth with the client, trying to get at their perception of what that ethos might be. And some clients are really good at expressing it and others need a little bit more of, um, you know, a conversational approach or even a sort of research-based based approach. Um, but for us, there's a lot of time before we spend any, any amount of time in Photoshop or app effects or anything like that. There's a lot of writing and sketching and thinking and pulling them in some, tagging it up on the court, clearing it away, you know, throw away everything that doesn't work and really out a few images that do work and I'll build a new mood more around that.

Speaker 9 (00:57:23):

That for us can take weeks, you know, before we even get into setting type at all. And you do this with us a lot, right? Yeah. For some of our, for some of our younger designers and certainly for our freelancers, this process of these long conversations and these long meetings that continuously last, I don't know, three hours sometimes through lunch, you know, it's not for everybody. And I think a lot of people just want to get started and jump in and start making stuff. And we're not saying that we don't do that. We of course love to sketch. And you can't just spend all day talking about something and I'm sure your students that had you guys had an experience where you have what seems like a really good idea of, as soon as you start to express it to someone even verbally, it kind of breaks out.

Speaker 9 (00:58:11):

So it has to be able to be expressed in some visual form, but, um, the people who scratch their heads too often, or who are back here just like looking more, it's this really important part of the process, don't tend to sit around and read all very long, sometimes be really frustrated and, you know, like kind of like practicing that where you really kind of have to get something working with like pulling references. Um, it just kind of like having something, um, being able to really talk through something before you're even sketching it, it's like a really challenging exercise, but then when it's time to go and it's time to start a, it it's a lot smoother process. Yeah. You know, we want it to feel like this idea of this core component of each. Those can answer every question you might have. So if we're talking about the other door and Brad has a fast repeated, uh, you know, even within a narrow range of unadorned on style type cases, we probably have 20 options going. At some point, you know, all kinds of different cloud models, faces, you know, um, it affects innovation to the next color, the next photography, it affects everything about around. Once you have that core idea, you should be able to make those decisions. Those decisions should actually make themselves as you go.

Speaker 4 (00:59:32):

I see. So that's interesting that you're, you're saying that as well, when you start the process of thinking and gathering and sort of clearing your mind, once you kind of hit that core sort of ethos, then you said that other questions be, are being answered, which is kind of interesting as a, a nice way to put it. I guess that once you kind of scratch the surface, other things start to evolve because it makes sense they sort of connect.

Speaker 9 (01:00:01):

Yeah. And I think, you know, you can feel that happening. I'm sure you guys know what I mean on new students. Probably know what I mean on any given project, you crack open one little part of it and if it's right can sort of inform everything else. I might just see sometimes it's just a mistake and after effects or it's a mistake and Photoshop where you drop a layer in the wrong place. And wait a minute, I thought it was pretty interesting. So now I'm going to build on that. Um, that's what you want. I think if it feels swimmy and loose and arbitrary, and you're just kind of pulling together huge from different rapids without core thought, you kind of feel lost and like you're wandering in the field and it really takes the courage. I think, especially when you're younger to fight through that, like ambiguous, uncertain days, I know that it will come out the other side,

Joey Korenman (01:00:50):

Gretel's dedication to uncovering the right concept behind everything they do is one of the reasons their work is just so spot on, make sure you check out their stuff if you're not familiar with them. But as Ryan mentioned this process, isn't for everybody in there are other ways to find the core idea in a project. Here's what Erica had to say. What I noticed working with designers like Mike and other designers, like that was that not only were the pictures beautiful that they were making, but they were like killer these great ideas and not just, you know, ideas like, all right, we've got this concept. That's brilliant, but also just visually clever things. Right. And, and I'm curious, you know, have you, have you seen any correlation between sort of like the success of a designer and the level of thinking they're able to bring to their design? Or is it okay to just be able to make pretty things, but you need someone else to feed you the idea?

Speaker 5 (01:01:47):

Right. So, so I think personally the way that it works for me is like, I try to always start from some sort of kernel of an idea. And then when I go into design mode, I, that sort of in my subconscious and I sort of, I release myself from because then ideas can also like weigh on you and then I try to make something. And then from there I can take a step back and look at what I made and say, did that idea actually make it in? Should I revise? Or, oh, I I've, I've just been able to make something and now I can tease the idea out of it. Like I get what you're saying. I think that like I, a successful design should always have that, that intellectual angle to it. Or you should always sort of know why it is, you went down a certain route, but if I'm also to be totally honest with myself, sometimes I kind of just have to work from in-state and then understand the pieces later.

Speaker 5 (01:02:49):

And I feel like there was a time I felt kind of guilty about that. Um, but I, I don't as much anymore. Like, I think that, like, I hopefully have gotten to a place where it's like, my gut is worth something, so, well, I wouldn't say like, yeah, just go and make pretty pictures. I would say like, um, try to think about the currently of the, I try to like, try to sit down and think about the kernel of the idea or like how it, how it connects on a sort of higher level. But then when you're in design mode, don't, it can be paralyzing. If you feel like, let yourself free, let yourself feel free a little bit to just like shoot from the hip and get it out and then go back and reexamine how you hit the mark. It's sort of hard to be thinking and doing it at the same time. Um, so I find that I need to ping pong between the two where I'm like, I'm just, I'm trying to make the best thing that I can, and then I'm trying to intellectually sort of understand it and take it apart. And then hopefully by the time you get to having to, uh, present it to a client, like those two things are very much in sync, but I think that I just don't want to under, I think that instinct building up an instinct as a designer has its merits. And, uh, yeah. Does that,

Joey Korenman (01:04:19):

I want to reiterate something you said, cause it's very, it's really interesting. And I think it's worth reiterating is that, you know, I think we like to think that there's this nice clean process where you come up with an idea and you think about it and hone that idea. And then you turn it into a visual idea when you design and, and you know, for some applications that's probably the best way to do it. But I remember hearing, uh, an interview that it's one of the ones Ash Thorp did with Albert OMAS and Albert, you know, makes these weird like melty, Barbie doll, looking people who are always naked for some reason. And he said on that interview that he works backwards. He has some look he wants to achieve, and then he just does it and then figures out what it means afterwards. And I was the same way I used to. And that's sort of how I'd normally work too. And I felt guilty about it because I thought, well, that's not the way it's supposed to be done. And here here's this sort of, you know, well-known, you know, very odd, naked, 3d modeler saying it's okay. And it's like a perfectly valid way of doing it. So I'm glad you brought that up, Erica.

Speaker 5 (01:05:25):

Yeah, I think it's just like, it's like two, it's like a Jekyll and Hyde thing. And like for me, the most successful thing is constantly ping pong in between the two, because they can say opposite things to you and you can feel guilt if you don't have one or the other. But if I'm, if through the process I'm constantly like I'm just letting myself design or like I'm thinking really critically about what it is and why I'm making it. Um, if those things are a dialogue, uh, I think that for me, feels like the most honest answer to, yeah,

Joey Korenman (01:06:02):

Metreon also talked about the challenge of has Michael likes to call it, cracking the nut, figuring out the core idea that will help you show your client an option that solves their problem. And this can often be the toughest part of the job. Her answer to this question really echoes what Gretel said.

Speaker 4 (01:06:21):

So, yeah, let's, let's talk about that a little bit because I'm a big fan of like always call it, cracking the nut. Like when I'm trying to crack the nut in my head, I will, you know, sometimes I won't do anything. I won't even look at the computer. I won't even think I'll just kind of, you know, do other things to try to get my head in this space where I can think clearly, because that's all I'm trying to do is I'm just trying to sync. So simply that it's really, really, really difficult. Do you find when you're working, if you're having a block, if you're having a mental block and you're just going, I'm looking at this blank page and I just can't figure it out. Is there any, any things that you do that you could shed light on that would help other people kind of say, oh, okay. I understand what she's saying. I can do that.

Speaker 3 (01:07:09):

Oh, I, I always say research people. Um, you only have, I feel like you only have, um, a block for ideas is because you're not exposing yourself to enough solutions. So, um, I mean, they're not necessarily all the right solutions, but you just need to really dig and see. I mean, I've definitely had those moments where I'm designing something and I thought it was a good idea. And then I have to give up on the idea and just start from scratch. And that happens a lot. Right. So, um, if you, if you just, if you get to that point where you feel like I can't make this work, then you have to go and go back to research and just look up more imagery, get more inspiration because, um, it's definitely, the answer is definitely out there. It's not like, you know, it doesn't exist. It only exists for certain people or anything, but, um, it's definitely just, you know, you don't know what's out there, you don't know how other people have solved similar questions. So it's not really helping if you just try to design in your own little bubble.

Speaker 4 (01:08:12):

Right. So, so you're saying if you're having this block that may be getting closer to something and kind of getting more involved in the process of doing the research and trying to like dig and sort of take this thing apart and rebuild it and look at it in different directions in different ways. Sounds like that's what you're saying is like, if you're having a block, that's what you're doing. You're kind of going at it. You're even attacking it harder because you're saying I need to figure out different ways to solve this problem.

Speaker 3 (01:08:44):

Yeah. And sometimes, um, sometimes what happens is you're in a group you're working with a group of designers you're on the same team. You have to remember that. But, um, sometimes you know, they come up with this really great idea and all you can fixate on is that, oh wow. They came up with a really great idea. I'm just screwed, but really you just have to try to look at it in a different light and in different way so that you're not doing what they're doing. And you just do a totally different direction sometimes. Um, sometimes if, if I feel like, um, I'm kind of trapped in that, I'll just try to do something completely off the wall and completely different so that we are just showing a variety of work. And, um, and sometimes it, it, you know, if it doesn't get picked, it doesn't get picked, but it's just good. I mean, it's good to be contributing in that way. Um, they don't want, you know, four of the same directions. They want to see a variety. And even if your, your contribution is that you're just showing variety, it, it actually speaks volumes. So yeah, I think that, um, people aren't are aware of that, that you, you need to like go completely different

Speaker 4 (01:09:57):

And you do that because you're showing the client variety. And because of that, the client can make an easier choice. Do you think,

Speaker 3 (01:10:06):

Um, I think what it does is, uh, it sometimes presents the client with other options that they never even thought about as an, uh, as a possibility.

Joey Korenman (01:10:14):

Another thing we always ask our guests about is career advice. We're chatting with people who have, at least in our eyes achieved a certain amount of success in the industry. And hopefully we can dig some insights out of them to share with our students. So here's Joe Donaldson, again, with some advice that, well, it's pretty blunt. Uh, but it's something I think every MoGraph artists should be aware of.

Speaker 4 (01:10:36):

So let's just say I'm somebody and I just finished design bootcamp and I'm feeling the mojo. I'm feeling really good about what's happening. I got some work, I got a portfolio, so I want to get out there, get my hands on some really good projects. So this is kind of a two-part question. So, Hey, what does it take to be a designer for a place like buck, for example, and B, because buck is so good. Should I, as a beginner? Should I maybe look for another studio? That's maybe a little smaller, maybe doesn't have quite the reputation, but I can get some experience first and then try for those bigger studios. What do you think about that?

Speaker 6 (01:11:19):

Well, I think the, the easy answer, like if you're just starting out and you want to be successful is just good in New York city. Um, a again, that's actually another, that's another, uh, I guess, statement that people want to argue about in the comments, but, um, with my experience, um, obviously like, uh, I started out in Florida doing this stuff and then moved to Chicago to go to school. And it was, I was definitely kind of involved in this world, in this industry for quite a few years. And when I moved to New York is when everything started getting much easier and much better. Um, so for me personally, it was, it was one of the best decisions I've made for sure. And I've seen that work out for many other people. Uh, like I've never had of all the people that I've met in New York. You don't really ever come by people that don't have work. You know, like if they're in the scene and they're trying, um, and there are at least like, uh, at least like a good level of skill, every single person's working and everybody's getting emails all the time.

Speaker 4 (01:12:15):

That's good. I want to do, I just want to stop you right there because I thought what you just said was really important that if you're just out there and you're just trying, there's no reason why you can't get work. Right. If you, I mean, that's, that's kinda what I think too. I've, I've kind of seen the, the New York scene and the LA scene and the Boston scene. And I see the same thing as if you're just competent and you're showing up half the time. There's so much work out there that you're going to you're bound to get something. Right. I think, I think that's important. I think that's, I think that's huge because you're saying that yeah, you can live in the big places like New York and LA where there's lots of competition and there's lots of great people, but there's so much stuff going on that really just getting out there with your portfolio is like the first thing you need to do.

Speaker 6 (01:13:07):

I think there's like, there's different hurdles that you obviously have to like jump as you go to New York. And I think the first one is obviously getting there and like acclimating to the city, but then like E the big fear everyone has, is like, oh, am I going to get work? You then soon realize that's not a problem at all. You're going to get options for work. The next hurdle becomes, how do I get the work that I want, or stop taking bookings that screw me out of better booking. And that's like a whole nother game entirely. Um, we have like a whole hour long conversation about like hustling in New York.

Speaker 4 (01:13:42):

No, I can, I can, I can see, I can see the image right now of Joe hustling in New York down the streets.

Joey Korenman (01:13:49):

So I guess we're all moving to New York, but seriously, I think Joe's advice is pretty spot on while you don't have to move to New York, you can't ignore the influence of your physical location on the opportunities that are available to you and actually moving to a different city or even a different country. It might be necessary depending on your goals, but of course there are other ways to get noticed. So here's what B had to say about taking some risks and getting your work out there.

Speaker 7 (01:14:17):

And one thing, uh, that might be a good tip for your students is don't be shy to put your stuff out there and just, you know, just put yourself the stuff that you're working on and your development, and, you know, even tiny practices that you're working on. Because I think I only actually got the Sydney job because a couple of weeks before I was, it was back when I was doing my internship at Animade and I was doing this fire cycle practice. It was so hard. And I just posted that on my Vimeo channel. Like it's a ten second loop of just a fire cycle practice. And I think that that was what got me to Sydney job, because I think that the, yeah, because I think they universe, so everything that I saw that for some reason, and because I know that they liked that video back then, and they wrote me afterwards. So like, we shouldn't be that scared of putting our stuff out there because that's the way that we get seen

Speaker 4 (01:15:16):

Great advice. I think that everybody, including myself, you know, that's, that's, it is, you're an artist, you're a designer and it's a visual medium. And if you don't get it out there, guess what people don't

Joey Korenman (01:15:29):

B I want to ask you about that. Cause I, I w I think what you're talking about is imposter syndrome, you know, like you do something, you know, cause, and what's interesting by the way is I, I, I looked on your website and I saw that flame, uh, cell animated flame that you drew. That's great. And I know how difficult that is. It's not surprise that universal everything was impressed by that, but I'm sure at the time when you did it, like, I mean, it looks beautiful and a lot of that is because you just, you illustrated it so beautifully, but I'm sure you looked at it and you were like, oh my God, this is like the worst flame animation have ever seen. And what was it that gave you, uh, you know, I guess the confidence to post it and just put it out into the world because I think a lot of people struggle with that and you were able to overcome it.

Speaker 7 (01:16:20):

Yeah. I mean, sometimes I, I think like this, this sucks. And, but sometimes I think that most of the stuff that I post I'm actually kind of proud of them in a level like maybe it's just because I learned something new and I'm really happy that I learned it. Or, and then like, I'm only going to realize that it sucks maybe one year afterwards, I was like, wait, why the hell did I post that? This, which is actually a really good feeling because it makes you realize how much you evolved during like such a short amount of time, you know? So that's also a really good feeling.

Joey Korenman (01:16:55):

That was a long one. I hope a hope you took notes. I want to say thank you to be Kevin Erica, me, Ryan, Andrew, and Joe, for all of the amazing insights. And I also want to mention that we didn't have a chance today to hear from Ted Roberts director, extraordinary at viewpoint creative, who also has a podcast episode in design bootcamp that is exclusively about getting hired as a designer. So what'd you think, did you like this episode, please let us know. You can hit us up by emailing [email protected] or tweeting at us at school of motion. We'll be putting together episodes for all of our courses in the near future. So watch out for those. And if you'd like to hear the entirety of these interviews, plus several more solo episodes with Mike Frederick, check out design [email protected]. Also make sure you check out the show notes for this episode to find links to all of the people and companies that you heard from. Thanks so much for tuning in, and I will catch you on the next.

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