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How to start a career in motion design

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Interested in becoming a motion designer? Learn everything you need to know to get started in the business.


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Are you a tech-savvy person who wants to solve problems using creativity and computer technology? By becoming a motion designer, you can show off your creativity while working with other creative minds.

The need for motion design is increasing in the age of digital entertainment. That’s why now is the perfect time to start your career in motion design and deliver engaging content. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What is Motion Design?

Motion design brings static vector images, stock photos, product images and workflows to life. It is also one of the cheapest ways to create animated illustrations for websites, apps, title sequences, advertisements, and more.

Many mobile app developers and web designers also include small sequences of motion design in their work. These are the looping animations that you see after performing certain actions. Such small movements can really have an impact on users.

What to know before starting a career in motion design

A person with a notepad thinking

Before starting your journey as a motion designer, you should know the following:

  • You will need to learn advanced computer aided design tools and applications. At the same time, you need to be creative enough to tell a story through animations that captivate the target audience.

  • You will need to be passionate about the design. You will also need to invest time in learning the design skills that production studios are looking for.

This is where it gets good: if you learn the basic skills and start producing commercial motion designs, you can apply your skills in a variety of markets. Whether you enjoy working freelance or prefer a full-time job in a production house, there is a long list of clients and employers in the following industries:

  • Graphic design agencies, UI / UX and motion design

  • Advertising agencies

  • Application and website development brands

  • Video game creation studios

  • Film and television production houses

  • Animation agencies

What are the principles of animation?

Before you can start producing commercial animations, you must learn the 12 principles of animation proposed by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas of Disney. Apply the following principles in your movement designs:

  • Staging: Draw the user’s attention to the main message.
  • Anticipation: Prepare your audience for the action ahead.
  • Squash and stretch: Introduce a feeling of flexibility and weight to moving objects.
  • Follow-up and overlap action: See design elements in motion realistically.
  • Direct action and pose to pose: Create a dynamic and fluid illusion of movement.
  • Slow down and slow down: Add more picture frames at the start and end of movements.
  • Bow: Motion graphics design elements must follow an arched route during movements.
  • Secondary action: Support primary action with secondary action.
  • Timetable: Learn the number of frames you need to achieve realistic movement.
  • Solid drawing: Highlight the 3D space by adding weight and volume to the design elements.
  • Exaggeration: The movement should be realistic, but presented in an extreme form.
  • Appeal: Make the motion design element attractive to capture the audience’s attention.

Related: The Best Apps For Animating Photos On Android & iPhone

Where should you look for motion design projects?

Someone is working on a laptop

There are many websites you can use to help you find freelance work or employers. Here are the best websites you should visit for motion design projects or jobs:

To be successful in motion design, you need to learn some advanced tools and applications. The following programs will help you thrive as a motion designer:

  • Adobe photoshop: You can edit images in Photoshop before producing animated content. You can also create raster images using Photoshop for animation purposes.
  • Adobe illustrator: If you need vector images for motion design, you need to learn Adobe Illustrator. You can resize vector images up and down without distorting the display quality. It also offers advanced design processes like dynamic shapes, built-in templates, presets, a free transform tool, anchor point enhancements, perspective drawings, and a shape maker.
  • Adobe After Effects: You can use Adobe After Effects for 3D composition, simulations, slide show design, and kinetic typography. This software is ideal for creating animations.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro: To produce a video using all the images and shapes in your motion design, you need to learn Adobe Premiere Pro. It automates your motion design tasks with features like motion graphics templates, spinning sphere effect, VR editing, transitions, labels, video titling sequences, and more.
  • Boris Moka Pro 2021: Boris Mocha Pro is a robust tool for motion designers who need to remove objects, perform rotoscoping or replace the screen. You may want to use this app to create business animations, like animated items that appear in company portfolios.

Related: How to Use Photoshop and After Effects to Create Motion Graphics

Which visual libraries should you visit?

Viewing the motion design library

For creative inspiration, you should regularly visit websites that offer royalty-free videos, animated graphics, and templates. Here are some useful websites you should bookmark:

Where can you collaborate and connect with other designers?

Illustration of collaboration

Along with mastering the tools, principles, and storytelling of motion design, you should also connect and collaborate with other designers. You should start interacting with other motion designers on the following forums:

Remember to keep learning

Illustration of asking questions

When you see motion designs, you need to be curious to speed up your learning process. Ask yourself the following questions when you find a design that inspires you:

  • How was it made?

  • What is the purpose of creation?

  • What message does the creator want to convey?

You can download project files from the School of movement then recreate the content frame by frame to expand your creativity.

Related: How To Make A Whiteboard Animation Video On Raw Shorts

Put your career as a graphic designer in motion

Although the competition is huge, these simple tips, along with your passion for designing, will bring you success. Better yet, becoming a master of motion design will allow you to work in more advanced design disciplines like UI and UX motion design.


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