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What Do Motion Graphics Designers Actually Do?

Think of your favorite opening title sequence to a television show. Credits for Game of Thrones, Westworld, or Mad Men might have come to mind. These sequences immediately draw the viewer in and make them feel like they can’t skip the credits, even though they’ve seen them countless times before. How is this done? Through motion graphics design! 

Motion graphics is an exciting component of video editing that combines animation, text, and sound to create images that quickly capture the attention of an audience. This animation technique is used in areas like social media, television, and movies. Here, we’ll explore more about what it takes to become a motion graphics designer and what the future holds for careers in this field. 

Skills Needed for Motion Graphics Design

Unsurprisingly, successful motion graphics design requires technical skills with many different software programs; the best artists use a variety of tools to achieve the most realistic and visually appealing effects. But there are also some people skills required to truly shine as a motion graphics designer.

Hard Skills

  • Adobe After Effects: Simply put, Adobe After Effects is the industry standard when it comes to motion graphics. It has motion tracking tools to capture an actor’s performance, compositing tools for combining many effects into one shot, and rotoscoping capabilities to give animation a more realistic appearance. After Effects is also heavily utilized in video game development as well.
  • Cinema 4D: While After Effects has some amazing capabilities, the best designers use additional software for more enhanced effects. Cinema 4D is particularly praised for its texture and lighting effects that make any design appear more realistic. While this is not an Adobe product, Cinema 4D Lite is included with After Effects as a bonus when you purchase the entire Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Houdini: This software program is particularly handy because of the unique nodes available within. Nodes are actions that can be repeated in unique but uniform patterns, which is very useful when animating things like animal fur, grass, and human hair. Popular animated movies like Frozen and Zootopiaused Houdini as part of their animation process. 

Soft Skills

  • Communication: Although you might imagine their work as largely solitary, motion graphics designers generally work as part of a larger team to make their creative vision a reality. Not only will you have to explain your creative choices to folks who don’t have the same design background as you, but you’ll also need to actively listen to feedback to change your designs to new specifications. Communication is also essential when it comes to discussing timelines and deadlines; people will need to know when they can expect your work to be completed.

  • Patience: This is a necessary skill for most jobs, and motion graphics design is no exception. In this profession, you’ll need to navigate relationships with an array of different clients and you’ll also frequently need to troubleshoot the various software programs you work with. You might find yourself frustrated from time to time, so it’s important to allow yourself breaks and time off so you don’t get overwhelmed. 

Daily Life of a Motion Graphics Designer

One of the most exciting aspects of daily life as a motion graphics designer is how varied everything is. While some professionals work set hours for specific companies, many motion graphics designers do freelance work so they can make their schedules and complete tasks in their own time. 

You’ll likely spend a lot of time in front of a screen, but that’s where the similarities end. For instance, if you’re assisting with a brand redesign or a major marketing campaign, you might have more meetings with your client to ensure you’re accurately capturing their vision. If you’re working on a film, you might help find soundtrack options that help enhance the mood of your designs. The daily life of a motion graphics designer is full of technical work and interpersonal experiences that come together to enhance your animations and the overall quality of your work. 

Salary and the Future of Motion Graphics Careers

While a lot of motion graphics are seen in film and television, these designers can work anywhere that animation is required. Many work in marketing, video game design, or social media. Careers in motion graphics typically pay an average of $77,000 per year. What’s more exciting is that careers in this area are expected to rise much faster than average; it is anticipated that this field will grow by 16% in the next ten years.

This growth will lead to new and exciting software that you’ll need to keep up with. Adobe recently released a new program called Character Animator, which allows users to input their motions and facial expressions into the system for quicker and more realistic animation. Adobe Sensei uses artificial intelligence to speed up workflow by making more accurate editing predictions. For instance, the program offers more intuitive editing and search features so you can spend more time creating and less time searching for appropriate stock images. 

Learn Motion Graphics with Career Centers

If you’re ready to start down the path toward a career in motion graphics, check out the Motion Graphics courses offered with Noble Desktop, a partner program of Career Centers. These courses can be taken at their campus in Manhattan or remotely from the comfort of your home, wherever you live! All of Noble Desktop’s courses allow students to retake the class for free within one year.

Noble Desktop has an After Effects Bootcamp available, which is an 18-hour intensive course that is geared toward beginners. If a certification sounds more appealing to you, Noble also offers a Motion Graphics Certificate and a Video Editing Certificate as part of their programming. These courses can be completed on a full-time or part-time schedule depending on your individual needs. The expert instructors also provide support with building a demo reel that can be presented to prospective employers once you’re ready to enter the job market.

Learn more in these courses

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