Featured Design Student Neal Sotelo


Design student Neal Sotelo has a bold, ultra-modern style. With a focus on motion, his work from this past quarter are meant to move viewers.  We learn more about his process  on a branding and promotion video giving an intimate view of an auto detailing business and a Spotify advertisement.


You are a second year design student. What is the best thing about doing this kind of work?

The process. Seeing the finished product at the end of a project is great, but watching your ideas unfold and dots connect is the most fun for me. Learning is also why I am so glad to be in the field that I am in. You’re constantly learning new things and I know that once I leave here I’ll never stop being a student of this craft. There will always be room for growth.


You’ve been doing motion work for a while. What got you interested?

I remember when I was in the 5th grade, my little brother and I just got access to the internet via dial-up and we were really into these stick figure flash animations. We wanted to find a way to make them so we’d go into Powerpoint, set the slides to .05 seconds each on auto, and did frame by frame animation with stick figures. As for After Effects and Premiere, I think it all started out when I used to make short action scenes with my friends. I’d look up after effects tutorials on how to make explosions and realistic muzzle flashes.


Tell about your process in making the Spotify video. Why did you decide to work on it? How did you concept it?

The idea for this video actually came to me on a long bus ride to school. “Hopeful” by Ta-ku came on while I was listening to music and next thing I knew, I had it on repeat. The concept behind the video was to give a metaphorical visualization of what the creative process looks like, and how music and influences and inspires you during that process. Which is funny because that’s how this idea for the video was born. I knew going into this project that it was going to be difficult to pull off but for some reason I couldn’t let the idea go, and I couldn’t deliver it any differently than I had pictured it in my head. I wanted to make a connection with my peers and give them share something with them that we could all relate to. I just kept telling myself that it simply had to be done.


How did you go about learning the Cinema 4d program?

I’ve never opened Cinema 4D before, so I locked myself in the nerd room for about three weeks and spent hours researching and watching countless tutorials on how to make shapes, get the lighting correct, animating the 3d objects, and so on. I almost felt guilty because of how much fun I was having though.


How did you feel about the results and what are your next projects you are interested in?

I’m just really happy that I was able to pull it off. I know it’s not perfect and still needs to be ironed out a bit, but for the amount of time we had for this project and the scale of it I’d say that I’m satisfied. I’ve barely scratched the surface with doing 3d motion work and already I am having a blast, so I do see myself continuing to do another project in the future though I don’t know exactly what it will be yet.


You can find Sotelo tumbling hard here at irwangitang.tumblr.com.

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