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Beginner’s Guide to Motion Graphics

You’ve probably watched the opening titles for a movie or a television show and been immediately drawn into the plot, but have you ever wondered how it’s done? Motion graphics is the answer to your question. Motion graphics skillfully combine sound, text, and motion to create eye-grabbing animations that quickly communicate a message to the viewer.

This method of animation is used across many mediums including social media, YouTube, movies, and television. In a world where our attention is increasingly drawn in countless directions, motion graphics can grab the attention of the viewer quickly and efficiently. 

Hard Skills To Succeed at Motion Graphics

To become a successful motion graphics artist, you’ll need to develop a solid proficiency in many software programs and technologies, particularly those that are used for animation. A lot of the capabilities that a motion graphics artist needs can be found throughout the programs within Adobe’s Creative Cloud, particularly After Effects. This program enables the user to add special effects and animations to their videos in post-production. You can also correct colors, create title sequences, and more by taking advantage of Adobe’s considerable selection of effects.

There are also a few programs you should get familiar with outside of Adobe to help you become a well-rounded designer. The first is Cinema 4D which allows additional editing and special effects capabilities, as well as lighting and texture effects to make your designs more realistic. This program is a Maxon product but Cinema 4D Lite is included with After Effects when you purchase the Adobe Creative Cloud; the full version is available for an additional fee. Houdini is another unique animation program that is known specifically for the nodes they offer, which are actions that can be repeated for a uniform but unique movement pattern; this is useful for animating things like grass, hair, and fur. Finally, Blender is a platform that offers a lot of comparable tools as the previously mentioned programs with one exciting difference-- it is an open-source program and it’s free for users. 

Soft Skills To Succeed at Motion Graphics

Although motion graphics is a highly technical field, you need an arsenal of soft skills at your disposal to be successful. Soft skills are things like creativity, open-mindedness, and communication. These skills are often challenging to measure, and they can be more subjective. Although soft skills are hard to teach, there are ways that you can build upon and improve them before you enter the workforce.

Communication skills are important for any profession, and motion graphics is no different. However, people are getting more comfortable with remote working and, as a result, this is a skill that can be harder to work on. People who work in motion graphics require excellent communication skills because they often work within a larger team. You’ll have to be able to actively listen to feedback from clients and other designers while simultaneously processing this information to understand what changes they are asking of you. You will also frequently be called upon to explain your design choices to people who don’t have a creative background. Communication is also vital when discussing deadlines and timelines, as you may find yourself occasionally managing multiple projects for multiple clients. 

Problem-solving is another area that you need to be comfortable with before you’re ready for professional motion graphics work. These skills will come in handy as you navigate the many different expectations of your clients and troubleshoot problems with the technology you use for design projects. You’ll also need to tap into these skills when you’re required to quickly revise your work after an initial presentation to a client. Regularly using your problem-solving abilities allows you to think quickly and effectively make changes to your work in a short amount of time. 

Careers That Use Motion Graphics

Motion graphics are most commonly used in film and television, but they can also be used anywhere else animation in videos is needed. Some motion graphics designers work in advertising, social media, or video games. Generally speaking, a career in motion graphics pays an annual salary of $77,700 and they are projected to grow by approximately 16% in the next ten years. 

One potential career that requires a background in motion graphics is a Video Manager. These professionals are responsible for managing the development of a graphic from start to finish. Video managers help create digital advertisements and some can get involved in creating episodes for television. You could also look into becoming a 2D or 3D animator with a motion graphics background. With either of these options, you’ll get to storyboard, create, and animate your graphic images to help bring exciting ideas and stories to the big or small screen. 

Learn Motion Graphics with Career Centers

If you want to upskill your current motion graphics expertise and boost your resume, check out the Motion Graphics courses offered with Noble Desktop, a partner program of Career Centers. These courses can be taken online or in-person at their campus in Manhattan. They include an offer to retake the course for free within one year of your original course.

Noble Desktop offers an After Effects Bootcamp, which is an 18-hour intensive course that is open to beginners. If a certification interests you, they also have a Motion Graphics Certificate and a Video Editing Certificate available. Both of these courses can be completed on a full-time or part-time schedule and offer support with building a demo reel that can be presented to prospective employers after completion of the class. 

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