Career trends: top 5 tips to switch from graphic design to motion design

If you want to learn more about transitioning from graphic design to motion design, you came to the right place. From understanding the basics of motion design, or exploring the principles of animation, to learning about video effects, this blog will highlight the target skills you need to learn first.

motion design tips


What is Motion Design?

You might be asking yourself ‘what’s motion design?’ Motion design is an animation that usually has a text component. At its core, it’s animated graphic design. You already know the fundamentals of design, so how do you get started transitioning from static to motion graphics?

Well, as with graphic design, motion design begins with a message. You have to decide what story you want to tell the audience with your animation. Once that’s established, you get to do the fun part!

Create a mind map or a mood board to get some ideas for your project. Now that you know what direction you want, you can start putting your design into motion.

The type of movement in your piece will convey a message. So, you will want to think about how the movement fits in with what you are trying to say.


What Creative Skills Do You Need?

When it comes to motion design, you need to understand the principles of animation. Essentially, these are the elements of motion that create appeal. It’s what makes motion fun to watch!

You might not think watching a simple square shape move across a screen would be entertaining, but if it used the principles of animation, it would be.


The Principles of Animation

When it comes to motion graphics, here are the six most important elements:

  • Anticipation: Prepares the viewer for the main action of the scene. For instance, the way taking a breath prepares you to speak. When applied to an action you may have a square lean back slightly to show that it is about to propel itself forward.
  • Follow Through: Action that continues after the main movement has stopped. Not everything should stop at the exact same time; this creates more appeal in the movement.
  • Overlapping Action: Parts moving at different speeds. Adds diversity to the movement which is more engaging to watch.
  • Slow in and Slow Out: Acceleration at the beginning of an action and a gradual slow down at the end. Makes the motion more realistic.
  • Arc: Creating a motion path with an arc has more appeal than one with a straight line.
  • Timing: More frames will create slower action, and fewer frames will equal quick action.



Changing Your Mindset

Changing your mindset might be more simple than you think. So, don’t be too hard on yourself! You clearly already have a creative mind.

You just need to apply that creativity to thinking about motion. Don’t worry though, now that you know the principles of animation, you’re already on your way. Going forward, study real-world examples of movement. This will help you see motion more clearly.

You already have lots of transferable skills, like color theory, typography, layout, composition, and traditional art skills. Now you’re going to apply that creativity to thinking about motion!


What Technical Skills & Software Do You Need?

The good news is, as a graphic designer, you already have a lot of the tools you need to become a motion designer: Illustrator, Photoshop, and a tablet.

The main thing you will need to add to your toolbox is After Effects. After Effects is a powerful tool that you need to create motion graphics. With this tool, you can key your animation to make it fun to watch.


Things You Can Key In After Effects:

  • Anchor Point
  • Position
  • Scale
  • Rotation
  • Opacity

After Effects is way more powerful than that though. These are just the basics to get you started!


Top Resources to Get Started

Whether you want to make the switch to motion graphics or learn new skills to advance your graphic design career, the right resources can get you started. In the age of the internet, resources are everywhere, but with all that information it is hard to find the best resources. Here is a list of the best resources for motion design:



Now that you know what motion design is, go out there and learn After Effects! Once you have mastered After Effects, you can use the principles of animation to take your motion design to the next level.

Overall, the job market is becoming more competitive for graphic designers. So expanding your skills to include motion design will help you stand out. Hopefully, this blog has helped you take the first step towards a career in motion design!

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