Mettle Interviews VinhSon Nguyen, CreativeDojo

Mettle Interviews VinhSon Nguyen, CreativeDojo

You may already be familiar with VinhSon Nguyen. He has his own tutorial website called, and his tutorials have been shown on many sites, including our own. We thought it would be fun to find out more about the Dojo. Here’s a recent conversation.


Abstract Transforming Text Using ShapeShifter for After Effects by VinhSon Nguyen

Nancy: Hey VinhSon, thanks for speaking with me! So, what is the thinking behind the name CreativeDojo? How did you come up with that?

VinhSon: I chose the word “creative” because it’s a generic name to describe my passion and content on the site. The “dojo” part gives a more authentic and memorable name to the site, and brings the oriental side of me, ha!

N: I was a bit surprised to find out that you are based in Texas. I couldn’t really pinpoint your accent. Do you feel Texan? Or more virtual?
V: I personally don’t think I sound Texan, I believe my accent developed through learning English and Vietnamese at once as a child. I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world!
N: That’s great! You posted your first tutorial for XVSProductions on YouTube in July of 2009. How has your approach changed over time?

V: When I first started making tutorials, I used to talk very fast (and still do in some ways) due to all the pre-planning and constant retakes. After several years of practice, I was able to slow the pace of my tutorials down a bit and sometimes even improvise tutorials when I’m feeling great with my coffee. Now, I mostly do improvised tutorials with an occasional outline depending on the complexity of the tutorial.

N: After all this time, how have you seen the world of internet tutorials change?

V: Unfortunately, the internet tutorial world hasn’t changed much in my opinion, though it’s great to see many people finally get the concept of a microphone instead of Notepad.

N: You have posted 71 tutorials. That’s a lot for one guy! Did you ever imagine that you’d reach this point when you started? What have been your most popular tuts?

V: 71 tutorials and probably 3 that I’m actually proud of! I never did imagine making this many tutorials when I first started as a hobbyist, but with all the support and positive feedback, the tutorials kept on coming. Some of my most popular tutorials include the “Dubstep Guns Laser Tutorial” inspired by Corridor Digital, “Breathe Life Back Into the After Effects Lens Flare Tutorial”, and “3D Transforming Logo Using ShapeShifter Tutorial”

N: I think you can be proud of all of them! That’s a lot of effort, and you’re still a student. Do you have any free time at all, between studying and preparing tuts?

V: In short, free time doesn’t exist in my book. Studying is a must, and tutorials are planned with time set aside for. Aside from making tutorials and learning, I enjoy photography, cinematography, and music. Piano is my instrument of choice, but I know the violin and guitar as well.

N: So you’re a also musician. Busy guy! Do you compose music for your motion graphics work?

V: Eventually, I would love to get to the point where I could compose pieces for my motion graphics work. Currently, I mainly compose piano and orchestral pieces, as I’m a classical kind of guy.

N: Somehow, I’m not surprised to hear that. So what’s the most surprising comment that you’ve ever had on a tutorial? V: “I don’t have the CC effect”
N: And do you find people want beginner or advanced tutorials?

V: Unfortunately, with society’s current attention span, I’ve noticed a lot of people stray away from long complex advanced tutorials and tend to enjoy the 2-5 minute basic tutorials. The best way to push out an advanced tutorial is to break the concept down into multiple parts or tutorials, something more digestible to humans.

N: Good point. So what are the most important lessons you’ve learned from your work so far?

V: No matter how many views you get, you will not pass those girls and make-up gurus on YouTube in the “How-to” category. All jokes aside, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned was to reach out and network. You can make millions of tutorials, but it’s no fun if you don’t interact with fellow instructors or educators. Have a heart of steel for criticism, be professional, and have fun!

N: I have to agree, I think that’s what it’s all about. Do you have any favorite stories from your work life?

V: Towards the end of 2011, I committed myself to expand more on my creativity and push my tutorials and assistance to the next level for the upcoming 2012 year. Ironically, during the first 2 months of the new year, Mettle reached out to me for some ShapeShifter tutorials, Aharon Rabinowitz gave me a shot at a tutorial for RGTV, I was accepted as a Tuts+ Premium Forum Moderator and was requested to do an After Effects course for Tuts+ Premium, and a bunch of other works came at me. Now I’m sitting here answering interview questions!

N: Good for you! Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to pass along to up and coming tutorial guys and gals?

V: Get a mic, practice and prepare your tutorial, and enjoy what you’re teaching. Remember, when you’re teaching others, you’re also teaching yourself. You can never master something until you can teach it.

N: So true. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me! Much appreciated.

V: My pleasure.


Important info: ShapeShifter AE (Mac version) for CS6 is currently in Beta. ShapeShifter AE  (Windows version) is currently available. Any purchase of ShapeShifter AE for CS5 and CS5.5 will be given an free upgrade to ShapeShifter AE for CS6 when it is launched.


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