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What does it take to be a Motion Graphics Designer?

motion graphics design

What does it take to be a Motion Graphics Designer?


There are plenty of articles & tutorials on the internet, teaching you on how to improve and learn new motion graphics skills. But I will be discussing, what it takes to be a motion graphic designer. So if you are planning to become a motion graphics designer & interested to know about this field, this article is just for you.


What to expect & what to not:


1) You need to have an eye for design: Motion Graphics is not all about creating animation with programs such as Cinema 4D and After Effects. It is very essential to have an eye for good design. If you look at any good motion graphics work, the first thing that attracts a viewer is the design. Your scene could be animated brilliantly and to a high technical standard, but if it’s not well designed, the chances are your piece wont work. Motion graphics is a series of graphic design sequences, so make sure each and every frame is designed well and makes sense. To sum up – before you jump into After Effects or Cinema 4D, please learn Graphic Design.

2) Money>Passion?: You came to hear, that one of your friends or relatives who is a Motion Graphics Designer has started to earn a decent income… If that’s the reason for you to get into this field then I would suggest stay away, this is not meant for you. It takes lots of skill, patience and continuous learning to be a decent Motion Graphic Designer. If you just want to earn a quick buck, try some other job, but not this. As those who enter this field with the sole motive of earning a fortune will be disappointed.

3) Accept Criticisms: A Motion Graphics Designer needs to have a big heart. You will face a number of constructive/destructive criticisms from your clients, bosses, peers, fans/followers,etc. Hence you need take those criticisms in a good spirit and try to implement whatever is required to take the work to the next level.

4) New challenges ‘EVERYDAY': Motion Graphics is one of the most exciting and challenging professions. Why? Because it is a constantly evolving industry, with new styles, plugins, techniques being introduced every now and then. Also in most of cases your next Motion Graphics project will be different from your last one.

5) Be Open: No one in this field, knows ‘EVERYTHING’. A Motion Graphics Designer needs to be open to new ideas and accept the fact that they have a lot to learn. The moment you believe that you know everything about Motion Graphics, then I believe you should quit working at that time. Even after working as a Motion Graphics Artist for more than 5 years, there have been instances where I have received helpful tips and tricks from colleagues and friends,and juniors. So ‘Be Open’ to learn in this never ending journey of Motion Graphics and keep growing.

6) No Fixed Working Hours:¬†There are more often than not, no fixed working hours for Motion Graphics Artists. It may sound ¬†great to a few of you who prefer not to work in a 9 to 5 job. However quite often a Motion Graphics Artist ends up working more than 10 to 12 hours per day, (without any overtime financial benefits) in order to meet a deadline. There will be times when your social life disappears because of this. Luckily I am fortunate enough that my close ones understand the demands of my profession. So if you enjoy your work like I do, trust me you won’t even realise the overtime!

7) What? Motion Graphics? : Many of us have faced this situation at some point, when people ask whats your profession? When they get a reply such as ‘I am a Motion Graphics Artist’, they seem to be confused. Chances are they’ve never heard about such a profession. It can be quite tricky tying to explain Motion Graphics to people outside of the field. As anything related to animation means either a ‘Toy Story’ or ‘Avatar’ to them.


Motion Graphics Design

There are lots of young students who enroll themselves into Animation Institutes whilst being completely unaware about the branch of Animation known as ‘Motion Graphics’. Often if you ask students upon their enrolment “What do you want to do once you complete this course”, you receive a common set of answers i.e. Modelling, Rigging, Animation or Visual Effects. It’s a shame their institutes do not inform them about ‘Motion Graphics’ as there is a niche market for it compared to the Multi Billion Dollar Hollywood Industry.

Lastly, I’ll end by saying that I am still looking out for a perfect definition/explanation for Motion Graphics. This field is so vast it’s difficult for me to explain about it to others who are not from the industry. I don’t look at Motion Graphics as a job or a medium to earn a livelihood. For me and many others, Motion Graphics is something more than that. It is something which we EAT, DRINK & SLEEP. In case any of you have better ways to explain about Motion Graphics, please share it down below. I desperately need one.


Comments (11)

  • roman

    February 10th, 2014 at 10:47 am

    These are some really good tips in here, after reading them I still want to be come a motion graphic designer

  • Billy

    February 24th, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I am currently studying for a bachelor in digital media in Sydney Australia. I was interested in motion design before I started and hoped that the college of fine arts UNSW would have encouraged this. Instead as you have suggested they mainly only nurture the people interested in 3D and the rest are neglected . If I had of known this at the beginning of my degree I would have dropped out and gone elsewhere but I’m almost finished now so I’m holding out. I have pretty much had to teach myself everything I know from Google.com. It’s been a very slow process and I am nowhere near where I want to be. I am at a bit of a loss as to where to go from here as I feel that sitting at home struggling to teach myself is just too slow. I have looked at the industry here and the only way to break in is by either doing an internship ie work full time for no salary and hope you learn something and get offered a job at some point or just keep practising slowly until you do reach a point where you may be good enough to get noticed and get some free lance work but it seems by that stage everyone else has moved on and left you behind. I feel stuck between a rock and hard place. Any advise you might be able to give a budding motion designer about how to get into the industry Thanks.

    • February 25th, 2014 at 4:42 am

      Hi Billy,

      Keep your enthusiasm going for Motion Graphics. Keep looking for this space. In the process of writing on How To Get Your Dream Motion Graphics Job. Good Luck and keep learning.


        January 24th, 2015 at 11:14 pm

        I believe that If u want to get into motion graphics, the best thing is to get your reel straight. Its not easy making a demo reel but maybe start by following on tutorials online. I had to learn through internet and tutorials also as I could not afford to get an education in Animation and Visual Effects. I suggest that sites like Abduzeedo and behance are a great source of inspiration for design and find what u love the most and keep at it. Although u can’t get rich doing motion graphics working for others, u can start up a group with like minded people and start a small studio or group. Just set some goals like a few months dedicated to your reel. And because of your education u will certainly get a job. As for me I had it hard when I apply for a job but reels do come a long way in my case.

        • Tim

          May 10th, 2015 at 7:18 pm

          I agree with some of what youre saying. But i really disagree.. it is not simply about watching tuts and making a good reel. Its not about tech skills. Its about design.

  • sheran

    April 23rd, 2014 at 6:48 am

    thanks you so much for share us this wonderful article

  • May 10th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Sheran

    I am glad you liked it.

  • john peter

    September 12th, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Hello Hi sir,

    Now i am working as motion graphics artist, as you said above i am getting some critics,
    really its giving hard to my heart, even though i am trying to satisfy the clients, some thing is missing i don’t know exactly what i am missing can you guide me sir.

  • Akil Blanchard

    December 14th, 2014 at 5:13 am

    I’m only 15yrs and I just enjoy doing it and I’m doing it for no pay at all….So I guess if I do it now and enjoy it i guess I’ll love it when pay comes in….It’s only simple stuff tho…

  • reel fortunes

    April 1st, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    hi, I work with a broadcasting company… what I do is motion graphics. Since I started working with the company, I’ve created just a few things (start to finish) but they weren’t really appreciated, as they said it was not their style…and since then I’ve been using templates from envato and they (my colleagues and boss) get impressed not knowing I didn’t design them.I really have to use the templates because of my deadlines, but I feel like I’m losing it…my creativity and all.Should I quit using templates?.I need help or an advice maybe.

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