GSG Live Cast: Learning how to Copy and other ways to Play Guitar

March 23, 2011 - By 

Links Mentioned Thread “Taking It To Far”
Click That Button

Posted In:  GSG Live
  • the first 10 min of this should be watch by everyone who goes to and also anyone in this industry.

  • I’d be flattered and honoured if someone made a tutorial on a technique I did. You only try to copy the best.

    Whenever I follow a tutorial, it’s not so I can copy verbatim the final product. For me, it’s almost never about the final product but rather the steps it took to get to it. With that knowledge, I can use those steps and think of how I can implement them on other projects. I usually like learning new workflows or a new way to do an already learned technique faster/more efficiently.

    As for “exposing” other peoples work via tutorials. C’mon now, it’s not like we’re magicians. Making a tutorial on a popular commercial is how people get interested in this stuff. Does this create a lot of people who THINK they are designers. Perhaps. But at the end of the day, the talented people get the jobs and the copycats don’t.

  • Its all about techniques, Its not like Nick hacks into their creative minds and steal their ability to be creative.

    I have a question Nick how do you separate your creative thinking from the technical difficulties of developing your ideas in a computer?

  • Nick – I was just talking to my wife about how annoying some of the idiots can be – how they can look at what you give for FREE and bitch about it as if they’re entitled to so much more. I was marveling at how you never seem to be affected by their stupid comments and their ability to always see it the wrong way. I guess you kind of showed that it does have an affect. And I don’t blame you. There are however many fine people who do value what you do and take from it what you intend. I play guitar -have been for almost 40 years – and I approach this like guitar. I pick up pieces that I can bring into my own toolset. A riff here, a different way to make a chord there, none of it is blatant copying. It’s inspiration. Trust me, there are far too many talentless losers in the world than people of any real worth. I’m not very talented in the 3D aspect, but I’m mature enough to understand what you’re saying. I think you provide an incredible source of learning and I hope you don’t let the twerps and anons get you down. Half the time these butt holes never show a shred of their own scary talent – but they’re ever-so-quick to criticize. I would be really bummed if those jerks ended up ruining a thing I count as very valuable and inspiring.

  • Greatest thanks to you Nick. And best wishes from me.

  • Nick I really liked what you said at the beginning. I agree that some things are not as hard as they seem, and I appreciate you taking the time and effort to give helpful tutorials. Keep em commin dude!

  • Thank you
    You inspired us to start making tutorials… Just to find out how to make them good in technical sens.
    So again Thank you!!!

  • That was a great live cast.
    I`m excited to see the AT&T tutorial.

  • “you did it all wrong.make it green, make it bigger and 2 px to the right”. i think i’m gonna tattoo this sentence on my neck πŸ™‚ i still can’t stop laughing … i work in graphic design for some years and now i’m learning AE & C4D and this is the best way to put my everyday struggle into words. Thank you Nick for everything you are doing here on greyscalegorilla.

  • @greymachine

    to the question
    “how to move the parent without moving the child” (also scale and rotation)

    before clicking and moving hit the ctrl or cmd key then move (scale or rotate) and the child won’t move with it.

    • I tried what you said, couldn’t get it to work. I know something like that will work in Cinema, but they were talking about in After Effects. If what you’re saying is working for you, what version are you using? (I’m still on CS3 so its possible something’s changed in newer versions)

    • Oh Jason, I was totally thinking you guys were talking about Cinema. My fault, sorry.
      In AE I don’t know of any solution for that problem but I must say I never had that problem.
      Think it’s another good point the adobe guys should put on their to-do-list πŸ™‚

  • Particularly good one today, Nick! Thanks!

  • When this subject comes up it always drives me crazy. People need to realize when you create something to be viewed in public be it design, music, art, motion graphics etc., it is no longer yours. The person creating this should realize this, unless you want to be locked in a basement not making money and feeding your ego that’s the only way you can avoid this situation. To the people saying this is unethical,plagiarism or taking food out of my families mouth, your full of shit. If you’re that good you won’t be taking the work getting offered to beginners plain and simple. Jimi Hendrix didn’t pick up a guitar and destory your soul, he picked up a guitar and wanted to be Muddy Waters probably.

  • Nick the first ten minutes of this cast just goes to show what a credit you are to the design community. Wise words.

  • Really good stuff man, love the first 15 mins about ideas and stuff.

    Keep up all the awesome work man!

  • i allways try to figure out what the hack is, before the tutorial.. and thats what i learned from you, the best way to learn.

  • wow this video made me think for sure..Great work Nick..

  • I think everyone should watch Galaxy Quest again. “Never Give Up!!”

  • Great stuff Nick. I can’t live without Greyscalegorilla now.

    I am being a little off topic here, but what make are your glasses. They look cool! πŸ™‚

    I like the shining three metal dots on the sides πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work!

  • great start, and i don’t think you could have had a better response to that thread.

  • Faygo ROCK n RYE!!!..LOL..awesome!…been years since i have had a Rock n Rye…you are totally a Michigander….

  • You should totally come to F5.
    Have you seen the line-up?

  • most of the times, all the tutorials online come straight from experiences at work or looking at other people’s interesting works or ideas. it is probably better for you to look at other people ideas and try to duplicate them to create tutorials for us. do these people know that how hard it is to keep coming up with tutorials on a regular basis? i am totally happy by the fact that you put your times and efforts to provide these tutorials for us. we learn the techniques from you so that we can learn more about the tool itself. IT’S FREE FOOLS!!!!

  • So true… seen it so many times.. You come up with something, teach it to someone and ten minutes later, after they do it… they say that they did it… and could teach you how to do it… JERKS!
    Great blog!

  • btw… artistry. =]

    and the button is strangely theraputic. when i find myself getting really frustrated with client requests or a project i just cant get to look right, or maybe just really tedious work.. i head over to my bookmarks, load the button, and click it a bunch of times lol

  • damn dude…I stopped at about 28 just to comment. I have someone pixeling my project right now and I want to strangle them. I think a lot of clients that do this just don’t understand the time it takes to do this kind of work. I always try to set up my projects with multiple color schemes and copies of elements that i can mute/unmute. Anytime I have to ask myself “should it be like this, or like this?”, I try and do both. That way, when I finally meet with a client for a touch-base session, I have a range of options that they can look at rather than me saying “here it is, do you like it?”. I think that just giving a client a piece, and hoping they like it is setting yourself up for a big headache. They are paying you, so they will almost always give you something to change just so they feel like they are getting their moneys worth.

    Im sure you already do this on some level, but it’s something i deal with quite a bit and I just had to add my two cents. keep on keepin on brother!

  • I especially really liked the 12 first minutes, Nick!

    “Columbus was dining with many Spanish nobles when one of them said: ‘Sir Christopher, even if your lordship had not discovered the Indies, there would have been, here in Spain which is a country abundant with great men knowledgeable in cosmography and literature, one who would have started a similar adventure with the same result.’

    Columbus did not respond to these words but asked for a whole egg to be brought to him. He placed it on the table and said: ‘My lords, I will lay a wager with any of you that you are unable to make this egg stand on its end like I will do without any kind of help or aid.’

    They all tried without success and when the egg returned to Columbus, he tapped it gently on the table breaking it slightly and, with this, the egg stood on its end.

    All those present were confounded and understood what he meant: that once the feat has been done, anyone knows how to do it.”


    Thanks again!

    • The final paragraph could for the better be substituted (in this context) with:

      The men around the table got upset and claimed anyone could do what Columbus had just done. To this he just smiled and replied “Yes, that’s true; but I’m the one who did it.”
      ” ..or something along those tones.. (I know the story best in another language than English.)

      Hindsight is one thing, but in the business of art I agree that the techniques are comparable to the secrets of sailing a ship, and whereas the unique and great creativity springs from the ideas and processes of sailing somewhere new with the aforementioned techniques..

      If pointed out to where The New World is and how to get there inspires a sailor to map new territories it’s great! (for those interested in cartography not to mention!)

      But to achieve anything the sailor has to go somewhere new to call himself an explorer or pioneer.

      I didn’t read all the posts in the forum at as it was loong and went all over the place after several pages, but I believe some of those “break-down-phobics” weren’t fearing their secrets revealed as much as they were annoyed by us “fans failing to follow the code of ethics” by blindly copying tutorial techniques and putting it on our reels.

      I’m convinced that doing so would ensure an absolute rejection at most studios, and if using other’s material to impress clients one is not to last long as a freelance either..but that was brought up as besides the point in the board discussion.

      The Gorilla has made effort on several occasions in tutorials and live casts to address the purpose and idea behind tutorials, inspirational work and creative transparency. If one are putting tutorial material on the reel one must’ve picked up that it’s a bad idea. This is also brought up on several tutor-sites and on oh so many community forum discussions.

      The discussion is an interesting one, but the future is always here before you get there. New programs, plug-ins, modules etc. This is the Internet – a huge resource and database; and also motion graphics, ads, music, clips and more are broadcasted across the globe from international channels and products.

      To hold all cards to my chest for more than so long..would just be to hard after some time.

      It’s inevitable that someone will learn or be inspired from you – given that your art is good enough (a basic goal?) Why not get the best out of it on sites like this where it’s presented by real artists with real feelings to a real job in a real marked pointing out even this discussion?

      Sharing the link to the forum discussion beneath the post is another sign to that this is a healthy community.

      This debate is probably as old as art itself πŸ™‚

  • Great video. Lots of good infos here guys.

  • Hey Nick. Friend of mine found a bug on Click That Button (don’t actually know if it is a bug, you decide). If you press once with your mouse and then you press Enter on PC or Return (or whatever that key is called) on Mac, the click number keeps rising. So, some really bad people can cheat and I think in this economy we or I should say you – the project manager – cannot allow this. So I leave this for your own conscience.

  • Nick, thank you for sharing your knowledge. You’ve helped alot of people become better artist by being generous with what you’ve learned. These tools that we use are so complex and without someone like you most of us would be stuck making the same old thing over and over. Keep on truckin!

  • man notice that, this video is not working in Chrome.. thanks

  • Nick, great work on a breakdown of a real project. If anyone is threatened by this, then good! It will keep you sharp. What will set you apart is your own skill. The copycat will cave under pressure to come up with something original.

    Keep it up, Nick. Learning how others work opens up new avenues of thought in the creative brain. I think about the scene in Amadeus when Mozart re-interprets Salieri’s music on the spot – dramatically improving it. Much to his dismay.

    The question is: if one is afraid of another artist figuring you out, is it because you are Salieri?

    In the movie, Salieri planned Mozart’s downfall instead of focusing his time on becoming a better composer.

  • Nick I think what you do here is wonderful. A lot of us getting into motion design see commercial spots and think how the hell did they do that? Watching the breakdown puts it into perspective and makes everytihng a little less overwhelming. We come here to learn and go through your tutorials to find out about new tools and process that we dont know about. Hell the AT&T sphere resembled the softbody glass mesh tutorial in a way. Now whos to say the designer didnt get that from you? Im not saying they did but you never know. The fact of the matter is you give us high quality lessons we cant from get from sitting in on professional projects. Hey we all have to learn from someobody right? Inspiration comes from all over. Keep up the good work buddy.

  • The level of pettiness and just plain nastines on sometimes is a little depressing. Some of those people are so insecure that it’s sad. I appreciate what you do and what Kramer does and I think it’s a sign of professionalism and faith in your abilities that allows you to want to share with others. No one watching any tutorial should be plagiarizing the work shown. It’s there to learn concepts and overall techniques. I believe that is the spirit in which most of us watch your tutorials. Some peolpe will always abuse the trust, but they will do that one way or another. You can only feel sorry for them.

  • So, nearly everything under the sun has been done before? Well, bite me. A cake has been baked before, but does that mean one should not try to bake a cake? Basketball has been played before, but does that mean Michael Jordan should never have played? Sex has been done before, but does that mean you should not have sex? If someone tells you “it’s been done before”, as long as you can say, “not the way that I do it”, then go fuckin’ do it. Tutorials have been done before, but not the way Nick does it. Thanks Nick.

  • Too bad there’s so much people that throw in tutorials in their reels.

  • Let me copy (steal) this quote from T.S. Eliot, who sheds some light on the subject.

    β€œImmature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.”

    β€”T.S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (1922)

  • I have 5 years art school under my belt and a degree in design and illustration. Over 25 years in this business. At the university level, we were taught art history. We were taught the processes the artists took to make their art. We were told to draw. We were sent to museums to draw from the master’s work. We also were taught to learn from the world around us. We were taught how egg tempera worked. We learned about the camera obscura, which by the way was the Cinema 4D of the 18th century. I am degreed from the University of Illinois in Urbana, studied at UofI Chicago and the American Academy of Art. The people and the complaints you have heard, Nick are from people who do not have practical professional art school training. Period. Otherwise, they would not level their ridiculous charges.

    Nick, you provide a necessary and valuable service. Cinema 4D ships with no manual. You cannot find an instructor to spend 8 hours with for one-on-one training. Believe me, I’ve tried. I work for a large corporation who will pay for any and all training I need, but I can’t find anyone.

    So what we’ve got, besides Cineversity and FXPHD is you. And you come at a reasonable price.

    So keep on rocking/ Jealous people will complain, because little people always throw stones when they’re jealous or envious. Take it as a badge of having arrived.

    You rock, your products rock, don’t let the losers bring you down.

  • A bit late to the party on this one, but just wanted to throw in about copying others work to learn:

    It has been done this way since art began.

    Modern classical painters STILL copy the masters to learn their techniques. There is absolutely no difference in learning from how to do an ATT spot in C4D than there is in learning paint and form on a canvas by copying Rembrant.
    Bottom line is reference and copying from reference is the best way to study and practice. How else are you going to build up that visual vocabulary?

    But like Nick says, just don’t try to pass it off as your own.

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