Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Motion Graphics Designer

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The profession of motion graphics design is a fairly new trade on the design front with the advent of progressive technology. These days there are so many different types of designers out there, making it tricky to keep them all straight! There are graphic designers, web designers, user experience designers, user interface designers—the list is endless. And it’s only multiplying with the continuous advancement of technology.

As creative filmmakers expand both their imaginations and their budget for impressive technology and design, motion graphics designers are becoming desirable team members. Without these savvy, innovative artists, your favorite space and war movies, as well as the beautiful mobile graphics on many websites and apps, would cease to exist!

But what exactly does this profession entail? And how can you get started in this creative career? We connected with a handful of experts currently working in the field to answer this question and more about the world of motion graphics design.

What do motion graphics designers do?

Motion graphics designers, sometimes just called motion designers, create artwork for the web, television or film. This could include movie clips, trailers, commercials, title sequences, etc. They use visual effects, animation and other cinematic techniques to bring life to their creations. Put simply, they design graphics that are in motion – just as their title suggests.

"I get to tell a story in a way that a static image never could."

“I get to tell a story in a way that a static image never could,” says Daniel Abbruzzesi, creative director at Curricula. “The viewer gets to see the world in which the design lives. A world I created. I am only limited by the tools I have and the extent of my imagination.”

By animating graphics and creating vivid visual effects, motion graphics designers bring a film, websites or commercials to an entirely new level. Envision the rolling film credits at the end of a movie. You rarely see a static black background and white text scrolling toward the top of the screen anymore. With the help of a talented motion graphics team, filmmakers have been able to go above and beyond in creating state-of-the-art sequences.

Where does their work live?

“Motion design exists on all digital platforms now,” Abbruzzesi explains. “From commercials and TV shows to mobile apps and websites, motion graphics design has become infused into every aspect of modern media.”

We live in a digital age, so motion graphics have become vital in a variety of media settings. Depending on the type of motion graphics you enjoy creating, you could end up working on a big-ticket film in Hollywood or freelancing the opening intro for a new iPhone app. So don’t think you have to live in a metro area in order to pursue this profession.

Where can I find examples of motion graphics design work?

Motion Graphics: This website is an online community for motion graphics artists to display their work. Check out hundreds of beautifully crafted cinematic beauties as you scroll through this fascinating website. Films range in length, so whether you need some quick, 30-second inspiration, or you’re looking for a longer, thirty-minute affair, this online community will show you plenty examples of music videos, short films and more featuring motion graphics design.

Art of the Title: This website features the motion graphics design involved with opening and closing movie titles. Scroll through the opening and closing credits to films of old and new, and watch the clever animation of these titles.

Motion Graphics Served: Take a look at the amazing work of many of the leading creatives on Behance. Pick up resources and see what tools and techniques other motion graphics designers are using to create their dynamic designs.

How do I become a motion graphics designer?

The most crucial step for anyone hoping to pursue a career in motion graphics design is to become familiar with the basics of both animation and graphic design, according to George Ruiz, concept and character artist at Mantis Digital Arts.

The software most frequently used in motion graphics design is After Effects, Cinema 4D, Final Cut Pro, Flash, Photoshop and Premiere Pro. It’s also important to have a solid understanding of design and animation basics.

“Anybody can learn how to use the computer programs, but those fundamentals are needed to create dynamic and visually pleasing motion graphics,” says Ruiz. He believes a formal education is instrumental in building this foundation because it’s challenging to learn them on the Internet.

Earning a degree is a great start, but there are several other ways to go above and beyond in honing your skills. There are countless online tutorials and resources to help you add skills to your repertoire. Following top animation blogs is another way to get exposure to new trends and techniques.

It’s also important to sharpen your communication and collaboration skills to effectively work with team members, according to Tim Ryan, founder of TAR Productions. “A motion designer who can talk with a copywriter about color theory and audio design will undoubtedly be a much more powerful team than someone without those assets.”

What is the future of the field?

You’ll be excited to hear that motion graphics designers are fairly well-compensated for their technical expertise. The typically salary range for these creative professionals ranges from $66,000 to $99,000 annually, according to The Creative Group’s 2016 Salary Guide.*

Not only do designers in this field have exciting earning potential, but the job outlook is only getting brighter, according to Abbruzzesi. “The future of motion design lies within the boundaries of our technological advancements, as well as popular design trends,” he explains. “Design trends will dictate how motion graphics look and move, while technology will govern how we interact with those designs.”

As technology continues to advance, it’s safe to say opportunities for motion graphics designers will advance right along with it.

Ready to get your career in motion?

If you have dreams of becoming a motion graphics designer, it’s important to acquire the necessary skills and hands-on experience first. Becoming familiar with the techniques and fundamentals of the field will help equip you with the comprehensive knowledge needed to evolve with the industry.

Learn how you can earn a motion graphics degree online and on your own time and get started in this exciting field.

*Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

Lauren Elrick

Lauren is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She enjoys helping current and potential students choose the path that helps them achieve their educational goals.

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