The Day-to-Day as a Motion Graphics Designer
Motion Graphics Designers, sometimes referred to as MoGraph professionals, use visual effects and animation to create artwork for: television, film, tech devices, software, live-video, video games, applications, and the web. Motion Graphics Designers sometimes work alone but can often be found working on a team with: Animators, Art Directors, Graphic Designers, Copywriters, Concept Artists, Compositors, Coordinators, Designers, Creative Directors, Editors, and Producers.
Motion Graphics Designers can work in essentially any industry where an electronics screen is involved! They can find work in: marketing, retail, tech, video games, television, and movies, including at motion design studios, television networks, film studios, video game companies, tech companies, corporations, nonprofits, startups, and more. They can find this position in full-time and contract roles or freelance. There are mostly in-person opportunities for Motion Graphics Designers, but remote positions are becoming more available, especially for freelance. Motion Graphics Designers work in a fast-paced environment, for a typical 40-hour work week, on a deadline and project-based schedule, only working overtime if assigned to television or movies or with a hard deadline.
The responsibilities of any individual Motion Graphics Designer will vary based on their: employer, specializations, niche, and platform. A day in the life of a Motion Graphics Designer involves tasks like meeting with clients to hear their ideas or receive feedback, meeting with team members to plan a project, creating graphics, sketching, editing, reading and planning based on new design briefs, presenting their rough drafts, creating computer-generated imagery (CGI), or designing 3D characters.
What Skills Should Motion Graphics Designers Have?
Motion Graphics Designers must be fantastic sketchers and drawers, and should also be proficient in both 2D and 3D animation skills. They should have the keen ability to take other people’s 2D or 3D art and create a motion graphic out of it. Motion Graphics Designers use tools such as Photoshop, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, computer-generated imagery (CGI), and 3D animation software to do their job and should have a deep understanding of each. Lastly, Motion Graphics Designers should be talented visual storytellers.
It is absolutely crucial for Motion Graphics Designers to be able to communicate with clients, stakeholders, and team members. Motion Graphics Designers must be skilled at creating art to client specifications and company brand style guides, guided by best practices and current trends. Motion Graphics Designers have to be able to take and implement constructive feedback on their work from clients and upper-level staff. Motion Graphics Designers often work on a team and must be able to collaborate.
Motion Graphics Designer’s schedules are determined by their deadlines and projects, which often makes for a fast-paced work environment. Motion Graphics Designers will often be in charge of managing the motion graphics portion of a project, including setting deadlines.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Motion Graphics Designer
Video editing is most commonly the use of digital software to manipulate and organize video and sound files into a final deliverable. Video Editors use software like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Filmora, and others to create videos that compel, convert, inform, or tell a story.
After Effects is a computer software application developed by Adobe used to create visual effects and motion graphics. After Effects is used in the process of creating films, video games, television series, and other videos. It is most commonly used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation.
Premiere Pro is a timeline-based video editing software application developed by Adobe. Premiere Pro is used to edit videos for film, tv, and the web.
Motion graphics are pieces of digital footage or animation that create the illusion of motion. They are usually combined with audio and used in multimedia projects. Adobe After Effects is the most popular motion graphics software.
Cinema 4D is a 3D software suite created by Maxon. It is used for 3D modeling, animation, nad rendering in motion graphics, modeling, and texturing. It is most commonly used by small teams and solo artists.
Typical Qualifications to Become a Motion Graphics Designer
While more than half of all Motion Graphics Designers have a bachelor’s degree in design, art, or animation, it is possible to become a Motion Graphics Designer without a degree. There aren’t any certifications for Motion Graphics Designers, but there are associations and unions to consider joining further into their careers.
Searching for Motion Graphics Designer Jobs
Motion Graphics Designers can find freelance, temporary, contract, and full-time positions, at motion design studios, television networks, film studios, video game companies, tech companies, corporations, nonprofits, startups, and more. They should look for jobs on animation-, studio-, and art-specific sites first, but plenty of opportunities are available on general job boards as well.
Motion Graphics Designers can find jobs on these sites:
- Simply Hired
- Animated Jobs
- Media Match
- Authentic Jobs
- Coroflot jobs
- Creative Hotlist
- Chris Mayne’s Spreadsheet
- Google Jobs
Motion Graphics Designers can find freelance and contract gigs on these sites:
Tips to Become a Motion Graphics Designer
Motion Graphics Designers who are seeking employment should first consider their experience level. It may be helpful to work your way up by starting in a 2D or 3D animation position within the industry or type of employer that you’d like to work for long term. This will strengthen your skills, improve your resume, and give you the experience needed to prepare for this combination role.
Every Motion Graphics Designer must have a demo reel for their applications. It should be short and sweet with your best work in the beginning. Minimize background music and keep it under 2 minutes–about one minute is a best practice for newer Motion Graphics Designers. Host it on Youtube or Vimeo and share it on all of your social media platforms often, especially LinkedIn, while you’re searching for jobs or gigs.
Having a strong online presence, even if it’s only a website and a LinkedIn profile, can be a big boost in the job search. Motion Graphics Designers benefit the most from having their portfolio, a brief blog, and an About page on a simple website. They can also put their portfolio on sites like Dribbble or Carbon Made. Pick a project or two and create a case study on your website, either as a standalone page or within the blog on your site. How did you arrive at this amazing final video? Share style frames, storyboards, detail work, thought processes, and the planning process. Use this case study, or make a few, to show that you have a clear, professional, repeatable process.
A major factor in the job-hunting process is trust and networking. Build trust by working on landing well-known clients as early as possible. Collaborate with other artists on a public project, as this will help you gain recognition, trust from their audience, and show that you’re a good collaborator for jobs that involve teamwork. Make sure you’re utilizing every possible networking opportunity from LinkedIn to Meetups. Try reaching out to other Motion Graphics Designers or other professionals who work at the companies to which you’re applying and asking for an informational interview and offer to buy them a coffee or tea. These are the people who will have the best tips for you and who can connect you with jobs or people who can help you land your next gig. Above all, be genuine, not job thirsty.
What Job Titles Would a Motion Graphics Designer Hold?
Motion Graphics Designers have many transferable skills, such as drawing, designing, animation, and some soft skills. This means that they can certainly apply for animation positions as well, but we’ve rounded up the most commonly found Motion Graphics Designer job titles. Read the related careers section below to see what other positions are also a good fit for someone with a Motion Graphics Designer skill set.
Motion Graphics Designers can look for these job titles:
- Motion Graphics Designer
- Associate Motion Graphics Artist
- Junior Motion Graphics Artist
- Principle Potion Graphics Artist
- After Effects Artist
- Title Sequence Artist