Eran Stern is multi talented digital artist and helping hand for aspiring ones. Enjoy his amazing interview.
Eran Stern has helped hundreds of artists to carve their professional career in their selected creative world. The Virtual Assist spent great quality time with Earn during his interview. Check out excerpts below.
Hi Eran, Welcome to The Virtual Assist. Kindly let us know about your academic background.
I have a BA in business management as well as B.Sc. in Computer Science.
How you dive into the field of Visual Art?
I was in the army (In Israel we must join for 3 years) and in my last year I was due to create a training video which explains the uses of optical gear inside a tank. Since I’m coming from paint and drawing background, I’ve used Macromedia Director (this was 1991) and created a short-animated movie. It was a huge challenge to print it back to video so we end up filming the computer screen. This was the day I knew I found my zone.
Since then I’m basically doing the same thing with better and more complicated tools in order to tell a narrative story using type, video and 3D – hopefully I’m getting better at it as time goes by.
Kindly let us know about your professional credentials in brief.
I come from a painting background and started working in the Animation field 30 years ago, started in desktop publishing using one of the early Macintosh computers. After my military service I continued the same theme as a graphic designer at a weekly magazine. From there I moved to video editing working for Apple, SGI and Autodesk, where I assimilated and taught on high-end systems such as Flame and Smoke.
At the same time, I worked as an independent video editor and designer on Adobe’s design tools. I also wrote several exams for Adobe ACE program over the years.
You are a versatile artist as well as an expert software trainer. How both the things complement each other?
It is very similar to sports, I will use tennis as an example (only because I have some experience and love for the white sport). You cannot teach someone how to strike if you yourself do not know how to do it. In addition, if you only teach and do not play on your own, after a short time you lose touch and everything becomes a technical matter. That’s why I try to keep myself in constant shape.
I do it myself and not just teach. It completes itself naturally and hopefully helps to improve.
What is the workflow of your thought process to create any motion graphics shot? (conceptualization, designing of elements, animation, effects, look and feel development, rendering)
I’m a big fan of pre-planning, that is, asking a lot of questions and collecting tons of references, then building mood-boards and deciding on a color scheme and typography. But it is not always possible. So, what I do on many occasions is just jump into the water and start swimming. I come from a post background and therefore I start from the end, that is, I open After Effects and start playing with concepts and ideas. Although this is not the most efficient way to work, in many cases this approach leads me to unexpected places and shortens the overall process.
If I’m stuck, I call the customer and ask what I should not do. I noticed that sometimes the answer to cracking a project is hidden here.
How ‘SternFX’ got established?
The business of SternFX started for two main reasons: first, minimizing my erosion as a lecturer. I realized early on that if I continued at this rate, my energy would quickly wear out and I looked for a way to preserve the courses I taught frontally, which led me early to the insight that I should record myself teaching and thus conserve energy and make it accessible to as many people as possible.
The second rag was a bit more personal, I had to generate extra income. My wife got cancer and could not work anymore. The financial responsibility rested only on me, and I had to find a way to bring in another salary while I was still in it, without leaving home.
How you got associated with various leading Visual Effects and Training verticals like Adobe, Lynda, Creative Cow and many others?
I applied the principle of “foot in the door”, meaning I simply offered my wares to everyone I knew and with a little Israeli chutzpah I continued to nag until I got a green light. As soon as someone gave me a chance I did everything I could to keep the momentum and establish my position. In short, there is no magic recipe here – a combination of tenacity, a few connections and as with everything in life, some good timing and luck.
Let us know in detail regarding your role and responsibilities at Future Media Concepts and Shenkar – Engineering. Design. Art.
I’m part of the creative team at Future Media Concepts and act as Program Manager for some of their international conferences such as NAB and Adobe Video World. I’m also hosting a monthly FREE webinar to get people started with Adobe After Effects.
At the Shenkar, I’m the head of the Motion Graphics department, as part of my job, I am in charge of the relevant courses, write content and exercise files, recruit lecturers, guide the final project, and teach four different courses, ranging from introduction to advanced level.
Are you planning any VR related video contents?
Not really, to be honest I don’t think the current form of VR is adding real narrative benefits. To me it’s more of a trend that is currently quite limiting, since it does not allow real depth and acts mostly as flat projection. I’m monitoring it closely and following the developments. Hopefully it will grow to something closer to what we see in Sci-Fi movies, until then, I’m still on the fence.
What are your future goals?
Create more on-line titles in both English and Hebrew.
Teach in conferences and help people who are making their first steps in motion graphics and design.
Be a good father and family man.
Be healthy, smile and catch up with my playlist on Netflix.
Here are Eran’s credentials to learn motion graphic through After Effects and many more.
1. FREE After Effects monthly webinar by FMC (Future Media Concepts)
2. Power packed industry standard 15 course of After Effects and 2 course of Premiere Pro at Lynda.com / LinkedIn learning
3. NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show, New York
Follow him on his official social media networks.
We thank Eran Stern for sparing time for the interview. We wish him best luck for his future endevors and joyous personal life.