The Road to DMALA: A New Member Experience

Much like Brant Wells spoke of in his very first blog for DMALA earlier this year, this is also my first blog post for DMALA and I wanted to share my first experience as a new member.

The road to DMALA actually started for me in May of this year when I had read an article on the Computer Arts website about a 2D artist that was transitioning to working in 3D. This really resonated with me as I too was looking for ways to improve my logo and print work with more texture and depth. Also I wanted my work to be transitioned and animated in After Effects, another program I had been learning on-and-off for about 5 years.

That lead me to researching more on Maxon’s Cinema 4D, a program that was to be included in a lite-version (called Cineware) in the Creative Cloud version of After Effects. Ironically Maxon was webcasting live from the the NAB 2013 show. The first presentation was by Barton Damer (see video), from, who was also a print graphic designer who also noticed his motion work lacked the depth he had seen from other studios. Then it was’s Brian McCauley (see video) who was taking his Illustrator files and extruding them with the free CV-ArtSmart Plug-In with amazing results. Finally I was seeing the work that I work I wanted to do more of.

In Brant Wells’ first blog he gave the advice of “always take the job that scares you the most”. I had done this many times in my career, but learning everything about motion graphics and working in 3D has always been something that has overwhelmed me at times. Although I have 20 years experience in print, web and branding, I really knew I needed to add 3D to my arsenal to stay current and take my work to a new level. But even scarier for me was getting away from my computer and actually networking with other creatives.

As luck would have it, through Eventbrite, I was notified by email that Andrew Kramer from was going to speak in Hollywood at DMALA. As a fan of his work and loyal tutorial viewer, I quickly secured my ticket to glean some more knowledge. I didn’t know what to expect from my first DMALA meeting, but I was thoroughly impressed with everything I saw.

As I learned more, DMALA was a monthly gathering of talented people from all walks of the video industry. Not only was I learning more about After Effects and Cinema 4D, but I was also learning about other programs such as Lightwave, Z-Brush, Maya, and many more that I had only heard of but not seen in action.

By attending DMALA it inspired me to extend myself more, keep learning and get involved. This also encouraged me to learn more from other sources such as Greyscalegorilla’s Introduction to Cinema 4D series, Helloluxx tutorials, and Cineversity. Learning and networking has become part of my work now, and it’s all because of DMALA. I anxiously look forward to every third Tuesday of the month.

That brings us to the next DMALA meeting which is on October 28 in Hollywood, and look who is scheduled to return… Andrew Kramer. The last time he spoke, he went through the work he did for the for JJ Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness title opening (see video). This time should be just as fascinating as Andrew is always working on something incredible. Also, as a part of DMALA’s “Deep Dive Education”, Dennis Radeke from Adobe will be on hand to speak about Creative Cloud products such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Speed Grade, Scout and Prelude. Get your advance tickets now at

Thanks for reading and see you in Hollywood on the 28th of October.

Michael Mondragon


twitter: @MondragonDesign

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