Owner - Peprally
Erica Gorochow honed her craft as a freelancer in New York. She now runs PepRally, a creative studio specializing in illustration-based motion design for established and emerging screens. Clients include VH1, P&G and Red Bull as well as musicians including Rihanna and Mac Miller. Her work has been recognized by Vimeo Festival, Fast Co. Design and AdWeek. She has written about the world of motion design for The Creators Project and Motionographer and has been an adjunct professor at NYU’s ITP graduate program.
Q & A
WHERE DID YOU STUDY? OR HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE DESIGN & MOTION FIELD?
I studied film at Northwestern University right outside Chicago. The extent of my formal animation education was a history of animation class and an intro to After Effects class.
The history of animation class found me at a critical time. It exposed me to animation pioneers like Oskar Fischinger, Norman Mclaren, Sally Cruikshank and Zbig Rybczynski. As a kid, I wanted to animate cartoon shows but was intimidated by the brutal, magical force of cel animation. When I was introduced to After Effects, it was a revelation: animation could be this diverse sandbox of techniques to explore. Motion design felt like a new horizon that also connected back to what Fischinger, McLaren and others started in the 1920s-50s. That really turned me on.
On a more practical note: when it came to acquiring concrete skills, I learned a lot on the job (and at internships) and through endless Googling.
HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE YOUR ASSETS/FILES?
When it’s just me: I use a lot of pluses to force alphabetical order and basically don’t throw anything away. I make an “x_old” or “z_old” folders that go to the bottom, just in case I have to recover something.
Here are two very different projects. First one is from a mobile game I’m releasing really soon. It’s called Specimen! This AE project has been in active existence for about a year and a half. (Yikes!) We used AE to prototype interaction as well as make sprites (little bits of animation that would be triggered at certain points in the game). There were so many moving bits of animation that each changed several times over. After Effects was almost like a sketchpad: a tool to easily show my developer friends new ideas. I often needed to find specific, old versions of tiny things, so sometimes I would make “z_old” folders directly inside other folders. Once things felt locked, I reduced and made a special AE folder as a way to clear out the cobwebs. Staying organized was so difficult, but absolutely crucial on this one.
Secondly, something more familiar. Here’s a online TV package I worked on with one of my favorite collaborators, Adam Plouff. (Adam’s incredibly organized). Not only did we have to pass this file back and forth amongst ourselves, this AE project had to be handed off to the client for future versioning. Everything had to be super clear and as foolproof as possible. Lots of guide layers and use of coloring layers to stay organized as well as super organized comps, precomps and assets in project’s bin.