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Q&A with Paul Conigliaro

Motion designer in Minneapolis

My name is Paul Conigliaro. I’m a motion designer in Minneapolis.

How did you get started in design and motion art?

My interest in motion design first started when I sat in front of After Effects 4.0 (version 4, not CS4) for the first time in high school. It was the first time I was able to do more with video than edit short clips together. After high school, I attended film school at Columbia College Chicago for editing. It wasn’t until I took a motion graphics class that I rediscovered After Effects. I continued to take motion graphics classes each semester until graduating.

Since my education was primarily in editing, most of my motion design work at the time was strictly related to edits I may have been working on — corporate videos, documentaries, or broadcast commercials. Around 2007-2009 when the recession started to take hold, my work started to shift from primarily editing to full motion design videos. This happened partly because of shrinking budgets — motion design was seen as a less expensive alternative to large film/video shoots.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working full-time in the creative department at Code42, a software company based in Minneapolis. I work on projects ranging from animated explainers to supporting graphics & VFX on live-action promotional videos. My current freelance projects include working on graphics for the music show Spaces and an animated short as part of a documentary series on Isle Royale by my friend George Desort.

What tools and software do you use for your work?

My go-to programs are After Effects (along with Photoshop & Illustrator) and Cinema 4D. I use a host of scripts from AE Scripts, but my most-used are probably ft-Toolbar, DuIK, Keysmith, and Rift. I also use a few utilities on OS X like Alfred, Clear, and Text Expander. It might be a shameless plug, but I also depend on CrashPlan for backup and SharePlan at work for collaboration with the rest of the creative team.

What is your ideal work environment?

My ideal work environment would have a lot of open space in a partially closed off area for privacy and focus, but near my coworkers for collaboration and conversation. It would be nice to have just enough isolation where I could unplug my headphones without having to worry about distracting anyone else.

My desk at work

Right now my current work area is close. We are on the 6th floor right off the Mississippi River with a lot of natural light and space to move around. However, it is an open office plan with all the associated distractions.

Snowy view from the creative department

Where are your favorite places for art?

With a family, a full time job, and freelance, I don’t often have the opportunities to get out to galleries or events to see live art. Instead I rely on the Internet, which isn’t always a great substitute, but I’m glad it’s available. I mostly view whatever catches my eye on my Twitter feed, Tumblr, and Vimeo.

Who are the designers, artists you admire most?

Lately I’ve been admiring the work of Ash Thorp, especially the FITC Tokyo titles he directed. Linn Fritz is doing great illustration work at Cub Studio. Timothy Reynolds does some great low-poly illustration work. I’m also a big fan of the title work from Pablo Ferro, Saul Bass, Kyle Cooper, and Danny Yount.