🔴 This is how I work

A repository for how I make my designs and animation



Documentation / Tutorials

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Industry / Case-studies

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Inspirations / Mantra


  • Design tools

    • PureRef — Lightweight moodboard and collaging app

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

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

    • ​ImageMagick - command-line image conversion

  • Learning tools

    • Youtube-dl - Download all videos from youtube playlist or vimeo channels

    • Video speed controller chrome extension - speed watch videos

  • Operational Agility & Efficiency

    • Station - All-in one interface that unifies all your work tools

    • Trello - This is where I put all my To-do lists

    • Atom + Ultimate Setup — A hackable text-editor that I use to write After Effects scripts and expressions, 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 Google Docs or Notion.

    • Gitbook (this website) - Storage working knowledge regarding my career

    • Alfred - Spotlight accelerated


  • Website - Portfolio

  • Nosleepcreative.com site - Crystallized knowledge + YT Tutorials

  • Docs.nosleepcreative.com - Working knowledge

Daily routine

Work-from-home (last update: 1 September 2020)

  • Preparation

    • Wake up at 4am, yogurt breakfast as I go through my Youtube Watch later to get my brain running

    • review the written list of things I need to do

  • Deep work (2.5 hours)

  • Meditation with a friend - 7.30am

  • Take a nap

  • Resume deep work

  • Work day ends

    • body weight exercises > shower

    • vocal practice

    • dinner

    • journaling thoughts, listing down things I need to do the next day

    • Audio-book reading at 2x speed and taking notes

    • meditate 30 mins

  • Sleep

Office (pre-pandemic)

  1. Go to office; gym and shower (sometimes I do it during my lunch break or the end of the day)

  2. Read my Outlook emails for any new tasks or assignments

  3. I review my Trello list and see what I can do during my free time

  4. Make coffee using my Aeropress

  5. Do "rounds" within my cirlce; say hi and chat

  6. Frequently annoy my colleague with new expressions or scripts I write

Environment / Infrastructure


Here is my setup at WarnerMedia / Turner Studios:

Ultra-wide LG monitor + Cintiq Secondary monitor + Medium Wacom Tablet

Environment - digital


  • Develop a 60 wpm

  • master shortcuts

After Effects

  • Labels colors:

    • I make the default colors of each layers grey color

    • Text layers are colored because they have high probability of change

    • Labels are named var LOGOS, var PHOTOS for they are always a new variable in a project

    • When I am animating, I only want to see colored layers as the ones that I am animating or adjusting

  • Workspace:

    • import XML into AE preferences folder

    • import AOM



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. In my After Effects Project panel, I have a folder named "Sandbox" or "Messy" (an idea by my friend Rasita). This folder is where I throw all my R&D or experiments into, away from my organized folders.


It is the core belief that we are highly sufficient artists and designers who can manage life and work (but it takes practice)

  • Start by learning that this thing called Parkinson's Law exist, and that time is the most important currency in our lives. Pulling all-nighters is an illusion of hard work and productivity.

    • Assess how much time you can dedicate a project down to the HOUR with regards to other obligations in life. You depend on how hard you want to go. 20 hours, 40 hours, YOU DECIDE how far and how fast you want to go

    • With these set amount of hours, budget them into deliverables: Research, styleframes, motion tests, production, etc WITH SPECIFIC QUANTITY OF DELIVERABLES


Eg. X amount of rough designs by this date, Y amount of styleframes done at this point. It's called a GANTT CHART. Look it up.

You work according to this "map" YOU DESIGNED FOR YOURSELF or your team

  • Do not be distraught by not missing the goals; you will certainly something done if you plan for it but never nothing

  • Ask for help if you get stuck

  • You check in with your supervisors / profs on what you have set to do, what you have done, where you will go next. Your teachers are your co-pilots in your design journey

    • You make something crappy? It's fine, it called experimenting and developing your design methodology and visual language

      • Move on, because you WILL do even better next time. All you need is just practice.


​Matt Van Rys Yeah, I think it is important to begin the process of understanding your limits and how to push them early in your career. For example, in commercial projects you have two main limitations, time and money. In school projects, no money :(, but much time. Budgeting your time becomes a key manner of measuring what you can do in the project and what personal sacrifices you are willing to make. I see many students sacrifice their health (mental and physical) for greatness, but when you have a lifetime of creative work ahead, maybe playing the long-game is a better strategy for long-term creative growth and improvement. Perhaps picking and choosing where to push the envelope is a skill we should all be practicing?


  • 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