How to Du It

A repository for how I make my designs and animation


Too many times i have forgotten how to start a project or rather, i find it hard to switch modes and forget my standard protocol for generating ideas or coming up with visuals. Hence, here is a guide to curate my mental model for approaching Motion Design.


I often begin with researching to gain comprehension of the subject matter that I am working on. It is similar to the Double Diamond process (Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver), James Webb Young technique for producing good ideas, or Austin's Shaw's Design for Motion system. If you were to compare all of them together, you will notice that there is not much differences between them.Remember: there are multiple mental models / design systems to arrive at a solution; best is subjective. You need to find something that works for you and the project that you are working on. Sometimes the best design solution is just to hack at it and do a design sprint / motion test already. The faster you fail, the more your brain will "get" the brief of the project. It goes along with my philosophy in life: Do it first, think later.

Here is my translation of all these designs systems:

  1. Gather resources & references — Inspirations, style reference, tutorials, images, videos

    1. I often like to download these media into my repository of media. For videos, I use clipgrabber

    2. I have a tactile approach to how I look at references. By that I mean, I often download images into a curation of a theme or or artist, put them in PureRef so I can easily see everything at once and have the ease of dissecting designs by zooming in. The only downside is not being able to view videos. If only there was a way to drop videos inPure Ref.

    3. When it comes to new subject matter that I have never design before, I need to understand the big picture so I downloaded everything I think is good broadly > examine them and do a visual analysis

    4. Sources: Pinterest where I scoured for designs that pleases me, and look at the artist.

  2. Pareto principle: What is the concept (20%) that drives the project (80%)


  • I often recommend failing fast, by that I mean:

  • Quick variations and iterative designs: Watch Aaron Draplin for an examples

  • Letting your brain getting a "feel" for the designs or the project



I enjoy organizing every bit of my life include the files on my computer. One thing I realized about file folder structure is that they are in some way a mental model; it organizes how we think. In a project, we are constantly browsing through folders to get our files or to output them; you can compared that to a visual models of a house and rooms. Subfolders are rooms. You wouldn't want to get lost finding what you want if you create a labyrinth in your project folder. Keep it simple and consistent. Develop multiple file folder structures to suit the project you are working on.

Make first, organize later

When you are in the zone of creation, you might find it easier to make stuff first and be messy, then organize when your creative fervor deescalate. This means tidying up your comps, color coding your layers, remove unused effects, trim layers to exact duration.


  • Atom — A hackable text-editor that I use to code and write my thoughts and notes. I transferred to writing my notes to Atom because I realize I was spending too much time formatting my writings on apps such as Gogle Docs or Notion

  • RV 64 — media playback for multiple videos, frame by frame analysis

  • Cinematica - cataloging and orgazing videos, custom field creation, keywords tagging and rating, metadata viewing, commenting, storyboard exporting, live link to folder

  • PureRef — Lightweight moodboard and collaging app

Miscellaenous notes:


  • attachment to the project, I will craft a philosophical treatment with all my knowledge

  • design sprint - make something in AE > Fail, in my mind something click, it's sketching for medo