What is it like to work as a Motion Graphics Designer? Some Mograph Designers work for a company and commute into an office/studio, while others work from home. It’s a solitary job and the day usually starts with coffee, but beyond that, a day in the life of a Motion Graphics Designer depends upon the assignment.

Motion Graphics Designers create computer animations that bring text and graphics to life on the screen. They often work as part of a video editing team to produce a video, film, television show, documentary, or advertisement. Motion Graphics Designers work in the movie and TV industry, the music business, advertising, software, and game design industries, as well as create infographics for businesses and non-profits, large and small. Motion graphics are most often used in title and credits sequences, as well as sections of videos that explain concepts. Some land full-time, salaried positions, but many work as freelancers. Jobs in motion graphics pay an annual median salary of $77,700, and the field is projected to grow by 16% by 2030.

The Production Process

Video production is a three-part process. The first part is pre-production, where planning takes place, and Video Editors and Motion Graphics Designers might be part of this planning phase. This is where storyboards are created and the general plan of the production is set. The second phase involves shooting the footage, and there is generally no editing or animation in this process. Post-production is where editing and motion graphics come into play. The Editor watches the raw footage, chooses the best frames, and then puts them together to create the story. This is where the Motion Graphics Designer comes in. With the ability to create objects and text and make them move, the Designer adds depth and interest to the finished product.

Staying Motivated

Motion graphics involves long hours in front of computer screens working with software to create animated effects. The software is complicated and can be challenging, and it takes inner motivation to keep at the task for hours at a time. Some professionals prefer to start in the morning, work until lunch, then start again and work until quitting time. Others prefer to break their day up into smaller pieces with a few hours of work interspersed with answering emails, conferring with colleagues, or attending meetings.

However the Motion Graphics Designer feels most comfortable working, it is important to stay on schedule and meet deadlines. It also helps to be organized. If you keep your files labeled consistently and put project files where you can easily access them, you will be able to work more efficiently and meet those deadlines.

Regular Tasks in Motion Design

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Motion graphics is a creative field and although it requires technical knowledge, the workday is similar to any artist. It can include planning for upcoming projects, using software to add animated text and special effects to videos, creating animation mockups, or conferring with team members and clients. Much of the work is solitary and involves many hours of sitting in front of screens.

Take a Break

Working for hours at a computer can make you tired and sore. It is important to move in your chair every 30 minutes or so and get up and walk around every couple of hours. Motion Graphics Designers sit for much of the day, so some add some lunges and stretches to their daily office routine. Others find a standing desk to be helpful in avoiding back and neck pain that comes with long periods of sitting.

A brief change of scene can be refreshing and many Motion Graphics Designers find going for a walk to the kitchen or restroom is enough of a break. Others intersperse different tasks like answering email or setting up future projects with working to break up the day.

Regular Employment vs. Freelancing

There are some full-time, permanent jobs for Motion Graphics Designers, but many work freelance. Some Designers appreciate the steady income and not having to look for work constantly. Others prefer working as freelancers because they can do different types of projects and often work from home.

Freelancing involves putting together a portfolio of work to show to prospective clients, and advertising on platforms like Craigslist, Angie, UpWork, or Thumbtack. Freelancers need to spend time advertising and networking, but they also have more freedom over how they structure their time. Some prefer to work during the day, while others work at night. Many Designers appreciate the opportunity to work when they feel most productive.

Who Does a Motion Graphics Designer Work With?

Motion graphics is a specialized field and talented Designers are much in demand. They often work as part of a post-production team. The makeup of the team depends upon the size of a show or project. A feature film has numerous teams with a set hierarchy with a Director, Producer, Show Runners, and Executive Producers. For an independent film or small-budget animated show, the Designer will usually work closely with the Director. An advertising project will have a Creative Director, whose job is to ensure that the video accurately reflects the client’s brand. The Motion Graphics Designer may also work with a Producer, Art Director, or client.

Learning Motion Graphics Design

If you are artistic and motion graphics sounds interesting, it is easy to take courses to change careers. There are schools and training programs available that offer intensive classes in software and technique. You can choose classes that meet in-person or online to learn Premiere Pro, After Effects, and other relevant software. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to show you how to do things. Training is part or full-time and available weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.

The best way to prepare for a career shift to a technical field like Motion Graphics Desing is to enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program. These are intensive training courses that run for a few weeks to a few months and will cover the topic in much more depth than tutorials can. Another plus of training is that you will leave the class with a professional-quality portfolio of sample videos that you can show to prospective employers.


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