CG Chatter 028: Senior Motion Graphics Designer Sergei Prokhnevskiy

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Welcome to the CG Chatter Podcast episode #28! In this episode I chat with Sergei Prokhnevskiy, Senior Motion Graphics Designer at FOX Sports and founder of ukramedia.com.

I particularly enjoyed this one because of how inspiring Sergei’s story was. Despite growing up poor in Kiev, Ukraine with eight siblings and without much hope for the future, he totally turned things after moving to the states. He got an education while staying totally debt free, and now creates amazing motion graphics work for national television with FOX Sports.

On top of an impressive portfolio of work, Sergei produces awesome tutorial videos on YouTube which I have personally found incredibly helpful for improving my own workflow.  And, in my interview with him, he offers many nuggets of wisdom, quotes, and advice, which are just as helpful and actionable as the advice he gives in his tutorials at ukramedia.com.

Episode Guide:

  • 2:45 – Why I like Sergei’s tutorial videos so much
  • 3:07 – What Sergei does as a Senior Motion Graphics Designer
  • 3:52 – He works next to Chris Watson, the guy who created Cletus, the CGI robot mascot for FOX NFL Sunday
  • 5:00 – Sergei grew up in Kiev, Ukraine with eight siblings, not much money, and a pastor father who faced religious persecution
  • 6:29 – Realizing the future did not look bright, his family moved to the states in 2000 when Sergei was about 13 years old
  • 6:47 – Sergei’s first time owning a color TV was in the US
  • 6:54 – Growing up without color TV or videogames, Sergei’s main passion was soccer
  • 7:09 – He didn’t do well in school as a kid, and had to deal with some terrible teachers
  • 7:50 – How things started to turn around after moving to the US
  • 8:04 – Sergei’s friend Mike Wolf first exposed him and his twin brother to creative software, which gave them a new way to express themselves
  • 10:41 – His twin brother is a web developer, and younger brother is a motion graphics artist
  • 12:25 – Sergei didn’t even think of going to college until he met his wife
  • 13:02 – Avoiding any form is debt is supremely important to Sergei, and he was able to stay debt-free by doing two years at a community school then two at a state school
  • 13:47 – His school training was actually more focused on character animation in Maya, and not motion graphics
  • 14:43 – Comparing Maya, Blender, and Cinema 4D, and why Cinema 4D is so great for motion graphics
  • 17:24 – He took on a huge variety of freelance production & post-production projects while in school, including weddings, a bull riding tour, and a project about the Navajo Nation
  • 19:02 – Being debt-free upon graduating allowed him to start by taking a job that wasn’t necessarily high paying but would help his career in the long run
  • 19:31 – His time at Vazda Studios
  • 19:58 When his wife got pregnant, they moved to Columbus, Ohio to be closer to family when raising their kids
  • 20:23 – After three years in Ohio working at Mills James Productions, he and his wife missed the south and decided to return
  • 21:25 – We talk more about the value of avoiding debt
  • 23:42 – The massive effort Sergei put in to be able to get all of the freelance gigs he had in college
  • 23:56 – “If you don’t knock on doors, opportunities won’t come to you.”
  • 24:53 – Sergei’s work on “Graphics Package Elements For College Football 2015” (see video below)
  • 26:46 – How sports graphics are created to allow for easy swapping of logos and other elements
  • 27:01 – How they use Viz, a real-time engine similar to Unreal, to allow for immediate swapping of graphics without requiring pre-rendering
  • 29:39 – Sergei’s work on “Graphics Package Elements for NFL 2016” (see video below)
  • 32:17 – Sergei’s work on his 2014 Demo Reel (see video below)
  • 37:29 – Sergei’s work on “Starting Lineups For MLB World Series 2015” (see video below)
  • 38:23 – Keying out green screen footage can sometimes be painful
  • 39:15 – You don’t have to be a sports expert to start a career creating sports graphics
  • 40:08 – Sergei’s work on “In-Game Promo For FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015” (see video below)
  • 41:28 – What it’s like for Sergei regularly seeing his work on national television
  • 43:14 – He talks about his website, ukramedia.com, and why he started it
  • 44:03 – Coaching soccer taught him that teaching others can be a great means of educating yourself
  • 47:47 – Why he calls it “Ukramedia”
  • 49:45 – He talks about his expressions tutorial
  • 52:55 – How Sergei finds work/life balance with all he’s got going on, between his family, FOX Sports, and ukramedia.com
  • 58:15 – We chat about what it’s like having kids, and Sergei talks about why it’s been such a wonderful thing for him
  • 1:00:33 – The Jim Rohn quote Sergei loves: “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”
  • 1:03:35 – “Health is not a boomerang. Once you let it go, it doesn’t come back.”
  • 1:04:07 – Soccer or other sports can be much more enjoyable ways of getting exercise than simply running
  • 1:04:30 – Sergei asks me about my morning routine, and I talk about the “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod
  • 1:05:36 – Sergei’s started following the principle of “The One Thing” by Gary Keller
  • 1:07:28 – He talks about his advice for those wanting to launch careers, beginning with the value of dreaming big
  • 1:09:48 – “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
  • 1:11:22 – “You definitely reap what you sow”
  • 1:11:35 – “Overnight success is built on years of hard work.”
  • 1:12:07 – Constantly set goals. “If you shoot at nothing, you will get it every time.”
  • 1:12:39 – “You are what you are because you want to be there.”
  • 1:12:58 – “Don’t burn bridges”
  • 1:14:39 – Don’t neglect your family and friends
  • 1:15:46 – Be wary of watching tutorials as a form of entertainment without actually taking time to practice the concepts
  • 1:16:25 – How Sergei keeps inspired by seeing the daily work of his amazingly talented coworkers
  • 1:17:08 – It’s so valuable to be around people that are better than you
  • 1:17:42 – Having a full-time job enables Sergei to be surrounded by a team and not have to work with clients
  • 1:18:04 – His long-term goals for Ukramedia and how he stays motivated with it
  • 1:19:21 – You get what you give
  • 1:20:32 – “Eventually your dreams will catch up to your life”

Episode links:

Featured Work from the Episode:



Sergei Prokhnevskiy Demo Reel from Sergei Prokhnevskiy on Vimeo.


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