Are you considering a career in motion graphics but are unsure of how to start or what type of training is needed to switch your profession? With the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipating a 16% growth in the motion graphics job market through 2030, there is no better time to make a career switch! This career guide will cover all the key areas of working in motion graphics design, the type of education needed to secure a position, and how to keep your skill set fresh with fast-changing technology.
What Does a Motion Graphics Designer do?
The field of motion graphics encompasses the animations that bring graphics to life, whether that be in film, video, or advertisements. Simply put, motion graphics is the combination of animated images and text. Motion graphic designers work in a variety of different industries ranging from television production to advertising. In the past years, the demand for virtual content and more realistic animation in video games has grown and fueled the demand for motion graphics professionals.
What Type of Training does a Motion Graphics Designer Need?
While some people choose to obtain a four-year degree in computer graphics or animation, this is not the only way to make a career switch and get started as a motion graphics designer. There are a variety of motion graphics certificate classes available that teach all of the fundamental skills needed to start a new career. These immersive classes teach the software and skills required to secure a design position and provide students an opportunity to build a motion graphics demo reel to showcase their work to prospective employers.
Skills Needed for Motion Graphics Design
Those looking to start a career in motion graphics design should have solid technical skills and artistic ability. Similar to other creative design careers, working as a motion graphics designer requires individuals to be organized and adaptable, with strong communication skills. It’s important for these creative professionals to have a solid understanding of graphic design principles, animation, and 3D modeling to achieve professional goals. It’s important for any creative design professional to stay current with their skills through continued studying and networking with others in the field.
Additional key skills needed to excel as a motion graphics designer include:
3D Design Skills: While the fundamentals of a motion design project are based on 2D concepts, 3D design skills and graphics are commonly used in motion graphics today. Having a solid understanding of 3D design and modeling will help provide more career opportunities for professionals with solid 3D design skills.
Timing Skills: Motion graphics designers need to have a strong understanding of timing and pacing to ensure their content looks realistic. It’s important that designers are able to adapt their work so all areas of the project work in sync with the music and other additional elements to successfully convey the overall intended message.
Animation Perspective: Understanding the principles of animation and animation perspective are crucial to motion graphic designers. Though the animation is just a piece of what is used in motion design projects, having knowledge of audience perspective and how to create complex movements is needed in a motion graphics design role.
Different Motion Graphics Design Career Paths
The field of motion graphics design is broad and has several different career paths for these creative professionals to take. It is important to note that some roles will require additional training or educational certification before being able to fully immerse in the position. Be sure to research any specialized positions carefully to ensure you take courses that teach the required skills. Some of the most common career paths for motion graphics designers include:
- Video Editor
- Concept Artist
- Art Director
- Video Manager
- Creative Director
- Video Producer
Average Salary of a Motion Graphics Designer
The salary for a motion graphics designer can vary depending on location, level of experience in the field, type of employment, and any specific niche or area of interest. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average salary for animators to fall around $77,000 per year, though this can change for those who work in different areas of the field. The average salary for a graphic designer is $53,380, with the job outlook anticipated to increase 3% through 2030. Looking at these figures, it’s clear that creative professionals like those in motion graphics design have lucrative career opportunities with the proper training and portfolio of experience.
It’s important to note that these reported salaries are for motion graphic designers that seek traditional employment roles. Professionals who work as motion graphic design freelancers may have more control over their income and how much compensation they receive per hour or project. Freelancers are able to determine how much work they have at one time and their overall availability for new clients. There are pros and cons to each type of employment, which is why it’s important that anyone looking to work as a creative professional take the time to research each role before committing.
Software and Continued Education
With technology advancing rapidly each year and consumers demanding more realistic animated content, motion graphics designers need to stay up to date with software updates and common practices in the industry. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take motion graphics classes once or twice per year to refresh your skill set. These courses can be extremely helpful for those who have worked in the field for some time, as well as those who may be new to the design field and industry practices.
Another great option for those looking to master new design skills is a live online motion graphics bootcamp. These in-depth courses can teach industry-standard software like Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Cinema 4D by completing real hands-on projects with expert instructors. It is also a great opportunity for those who currently work in the field to brush up on key motion graphics principles like rhythm, balance, and timing. If you are ready to learn more about the options available to you, try searching for graphic design classes in your area to get started.