Hello! My name is Desmond Du, and I have been running NoSleepCreative Wiki since 2019 summer.
I am a multi-media artist based in Atlanta, Georgia specializing in After Effects, Houdini and automation. I enjoy teaching and runs a software tutorials YouTube channel called NoSleepCreative.
Journey to Art School again (TBA)
Motion Mondays Ep 1.2: Work Inspiration
What do you do when you feel stuck?
Usually I need a consciousness or cognition shift to overcome, and I often do this by talking to my closest motion design friends, and explained the situation. They usually do not have the answers but still offer suggestions. I believe it is not about getting the right answers but actually the process of talking it out your problem and brainstorming together.
What's the best way to improve as a motion designer? The best way to improve as a Motion Designer is your way. There is no shortage of online advice from successful Motion Designers telling you the same things over and over: Do personal projects, put yourself out there, create and post something daily, or collaborate with people. Apparently, something is not working. The problem is that we have a septic focus on "becoming better" when we do not really know what better even means, or how does one measure that type of success. The real question to ask is what kind of Motion Designer do you want to become? How do you position yourself to differentiate yourself from others? One that specializes in After Effects expression/scripting? Or someone who makes beautiful Cinema 4D Octane renders? Or are you known for a certain type of aesthetic or style? I wrote a brief guide on how I positioned myself for success in my Medium article, do check it out for my in-depth thoughts.
Everything begins with your intentions. The strategy is to niche down to your strengths and interests, and manifest those two things into your career or work. Take a look at Ordinary Folk, Vucko, Peter Clark, GMunk, or any other successful artists. Think about what makes them outstanding, and how you can incorporate that into your career. One introspective framework to use the Japanese concept of "Ikigai" which translates to "a reason for being." To break it down simply, it is a compass of your soul that will bring you to where you need and want to be. A strong ikigai lasts a lifetime, and you will never be lost because you know where you are walking. Once you identify what sort of designer or animator you want to become, start creating works that echo that identity. Personally, I positioned myself as an educator; someone who loves to teach and wants to develop a teaching career in the future. I demonstrate that through my YouTube tutorials and doing software workshops for students in school, it is as simple as that.
As for a surefire way to get better at motion design skills (eg. design, animating, expressions), I realized that teaching is the best and fastest way. As the Physicist Richard Feynman said: "If you want to master something, teach it." Teaching is a way to translate the external knowledge you gained into something of your own. It crystallizes competency and expertise, allowing you to challenge what you think you know. Many of you reading this now will think to yourself: "But I'm not good enough" or "I'm not a master so I cannot teach". Personally, I believe that mastery is an act or behavior, not a role or label. You do not need to be a famed motion designer like Ben Mariott or JR Canest to teach. You demonstrate mastery by teaching even if you are just teaching a beginner how to use the pen tool in After Effects. Whether you do that via Instagram carousel posts, YouTube tutorials, or blogging, it is up to you. Find out what works best for you.