What Do Motion Graphics Designers Do?

Motion Graphics Designers create the 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, and 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.

Video Editors take raw footage shot by a Videographer and put the best shots together to tell a particular story. Motion Graphics Designers add special effects to these videos to capture the attention of the audience and enhance the message.

Careers in Motion Graphics

People with motion graphics skills work in the film and television industry, but they can really work for anyone that needs to add animation to videos. Motion Graphics Designers work in advertising, video games, large businesses, small businesses, non-profits, and more. 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.

An impressive portfolio of work is the key to getting a job as a Motion Graphics Designer. While it is possible to build a portfolio without going to college, many people who work in the field get bachelor degrees in computer animation and art. These degrees require classes in drawing, painting, and sculpture, as well as computer animation and video production. You can also find training programs that offer in-person or online classes covering aspects of motion graphics. Some people start out as Video Editors and then specialize later in their careers. It is also possible to work into jobs as art director, producer, or director.

Soft Skills for Motion Graphics Designers

People who create motion graphics for videos and films need creative and people-oriented skills in order to be successful. These types of skills are referred to as soft skills and they include innate abilities and personality traits.

  • Artistic skills - Artistic ability is a must In order to work as a Motion Graphics Designer. The ability to make sketches for storyboards and mockups, and to translate a client’s ideas into art.
  • Storytelling ability - Motion Graphics Designers often work as a part of a team, so they may not be responsible for the story, but they need to have a sense of how to use animated text to convey emotion as well as a message.
  • An eye for detail - Paying attention to details is important for continuity and consistency in the project.
  • The ability to work with others - When part of a team, it is important to be able to get along with the other members and work together to produce a great video.
  • Organization - It is important to maintain an organized workflow in order to manage a project and get it done on time.
  • Dedication - Motion Graphics Designers must meet deadlines, so it is important to be able to focus on that.

Hard Skills for Motion Graphics Designers

Hard skills are acquired through training, practice, and experience. To be successful, Motion Graphics Designers need an array of abilities such as the following:

  • Software knowledge - Motion Graphics Designers need to know how to use different software tools in order to add effects to videos. There are products like Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro and others that allow animators to create animated text and graphics, composite images, add sound, and render the files into a final form.
  • Design knowledge - An understanding of the basic principles of typography, as well as color theory, textures, light effects.and graphic design, especially if you will be working with motion graphics.
  • Project design and planning - Motion Graphics Designers need to create prototypes and plans for the final design.
  • Time management - It is important to develop a sense for how long different sections of the project will take to accomplish, and to keep to the schedule.
  • Writing and editing - A larger team will have writers and editors, but Motion Graphics Designers might need to create and revise scripts for smaller projects.

Software Programs for Motion Graphics

Although most Motion Graphics Designers do have a college degree, it is possible to build a career in motion graphics without one. If you are planning to switch careers and want to create animations, you will need to learn to use the software. There are many tutorials out there to get you started for the different types of software, so if you are a “dig in and figure it out” type of person, you have a lot to choose from, but that may not be your best course of action.

Animation and special effects software is complicated and difficult to learn. There are many different options for animation and special effects software, including the following:

After Effects

After Effects is a video compositing and animation program from Adobe. After Effects allows an Editor to insert animations and special effects into videos during post production. Create titles, move objects, correct color, or use an extensive library of special effects.

Cinema 4D

With Cinema 4D an Editor can create, insert, and manipulate 3D graphics in a video. It also includes some lighting, texturing, and special effects capabilities. Cinema 4D is included in the Adobe Creative Cloud through an agreement with Maxon.


Animate is another Adobe product that creates mostly 2D animation. It can be used for characters but also to animate elements and drawings.

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya is the animation software used by Disney Studios for major animated films like “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Avatar.”


Houdini’s benefits are nodes and a procedural workflow. The nodes are pieces of stored action that can be used over and over to create effects like ruffled feathers or blowing grass. The procedural workflow is used to create smooth and dynamic effects.


Blender is a powerful animation program that does pretty much what all of the others do with one big difference. It is a free, open-source program.

Learning Motion Graphics Design

It is easy to learn motion graphics and start a new career by taking courses. 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 After Effects, Animate 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 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 motion graphics in much more depth than tutorials can. Another plus of training is that you will leave class with a professional-quality portfolio of sample videos that you can show to prospective employers.


It’s easy to learn motion graphics design and start a new career. Check out Noble Desktop’s motion graphics courses. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online motion graphics courses and attend from anywhere. Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me to find other courses in motion graphics in your area.