Above are a set of visuals, one taken from YouTube and another from Bridget Riley, a prominent figure from the Op Art movement. By a simple juxtaposition of the two, one can see the resemblance these visuals have to Op Art. An art enthusiast with an eye for design can easily bridge the connection between the two. However, upon further inspection, this resemblance is not the result of a deliberate decision that said designers came to revisit the Op Art and Kinetic movements. It was not by the natural means of drawing inspiration from the movements, examining the visuals further, and consequently, experimenting with the visuals in a modern context, on Adobe After Effects. It is rather sobering that this familiarity we are noting is the mere doing of these designers following the same YouTube tutorials.
These so-called “designers” have entered a rabbit hole of uniformity. On the one hand, there is the designer that put together the tutorial and curated most of the design choices that brought about a particular visual aesthetic, leaving countless designers, on the other hand, to use that same tutorial that may as well be dummy text – filling in their material and claiming it as their own. This is evident in a tutorial posted around a year ago on a YouTube channel called Dope Motions. The channel is owned by Nikhil Pawar, a Motion & Graphics Designer, according to the About section on his website. He released a series of tutorials demonstrating how the coupling of particular After Effects functions can lead to the creation of several visual languages.
Throughout the past year, a few more tutorials of the same nature were released by the same channel, now, with packs of ready-to-use templates available for purchase from a variety of websites.
What struck me was the heaps of young designers racing to imitate these tutorials, only to produce carbon copies of the original visuals. To make matters worse, the outcomes are then shared as novel design experimentation or as actual work.
Similarly, contrasting colors have shown a recent spike (coincidentally, the black and white trend is gradually dimming) following the introduction of a new flow of tutorials involving C4D and AE from a channel by the name of madebytiger. It goes by the same concept, except it features more 3D objects from C4D, pop colors and better lighting.
The same approach can be seen, but with more technical sophistication. Presenting bold typography and 3D effects, these tutorials have shown to be useful in my experience; upon watching a few, I have grasped a great deal of technical prowess and seen the untapped potential of After Effects and C4DI took the liberty to interview Tiger Zhang, the Boston-based designer behind the channel madebytiger, to gain insight into why he is creating these tutorials.