How to Become a Motion Designer: An Extensive Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 23 January 2023

Published 8 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Motion designers, also known as motion graphic designers, are responsible for animating movement in films, cartoons and many other forms of entertainment media. Understanding the process of becoming a motion designer can help you decide whether to pursue this career. In this article, we share a detailed guide on how to become a motion designer and explore some of the skills and duties of these animation professionals.

How to become a motion designer

Below you can find a detailed step-by-step guide on how to become a motion designer:

1. Complete an undergraduate degree

Completing a bachelor's degree, such as a Bachelor of Design (Animation and Interactive Media), can give you the skills and knowledge to carry out the duties of a motion designer. Completing an undergraduate degree also potentially offers you a pathway to undertake a postgraduate degree or internship.

Bachelor degrees typically take three years to complete and include practical and theoretical studies. These studies may include a wide range of tasks that a motion designer may manage. Some of the units may cover aspects of motion design such as creating 2D animations, designing computer software, drawing illustrations and working with claymation.

2. Complete a postgraduate degree

Completing a postgraduate course is not always necessary when applying for the role of a motion graphics designer, though it may improve your chances of gaining employment. Postgraduate studies such as a Master's in Motion Graphics Design may provide you with advanced skills and knowledge which can help to broaden your job opportunities.

Master's degrees typically take two to three years to complete. Completing a master's degree can highlight your commitment and dedication to any potential employers who may be reviewing your job application. Typically, careers in motion design that have managerial responsibilities may require you to complete a master's degree relating to animation.

3. Acquire work experience

Completing a bachelor's degree may provide you with an opportunity to involve yourself in a media company by working as an intern. Internships are usually a good way to experience industries and job responsibilities.

Internships may take about two years to complete. Most of the work you can expect to do as an intern is practical and can provide you with skills specific to motion design. Once you complete your internship, you may have an opportunity to work full time. Employment can depend on your employer and your performance as an intern. You can search for internships in motion graphics design using online job boards.

4. Apply for a role in motion design

Once you complete your relevant training and gain some work experience, you may begin searching for careers as a motion graphics designer. There is a wide variety of sectors within the media industry that you might gain employment in, which can give you the opportunity to explore a variety of professional experiences as a motion designer. As a professional motion graphics designer, you can expect to work for motion capture businesses, advertisement agencies, film producers and computer software companies.

Before you apply for your career as a motion graphics designer, consider reviewing your job application to ensure it contains current and accurate information. Your resume can contain your relevant skills in motion design, like software knowledge, and any qualifications you've completed, such as internships. If you're applying for multiple motion design jobs, you may want to edit each of your job applications to fit the employer's requirements. This action can help you show an employer that you're the best candidate for an open position.

What does a motion designer do?

Motion graphics designers create movement animations with puppets, computer graphics, drawings and clay animation. They may also design animation software. This software can help other motion designers complete their work with efficiency. Their current project typically determines their responsibilities.

The usual responsibilities and tasks of motion graphic designers may include:

  • Using animation software

  • Designing 2D animations

  • Designing 3D characters

  • Creating computer-generated graphics

  • Drawing motion illustrations

  • Utilising motion design software

  • Compiling several animations to create a flowing motion

  • Designing specific animations for clients

  • Creating advertisements that use graphics motion

  • Implementing procedural animation

  • Advising graphic designers

  • Liaising with user interface designers

  • Improving motion graphic design

Related:

  • What Is a Graphic Designer? Definition and Requirements

  • How to Become an Animator (With Steps, Duties and Skills)

Useful skills for a motion designer to possess

Technical skills and several soft skills can benefit you while working as a motion graphics designer. You may develop hard skills during your training, such as the ability to operate design software effectively. Soft skills refer to your personality and particular habits. Below you can find some of the skills that may be helpful when carrying out the duties of a motion graphics designer:

Computer literacy

A large portion of work for motion designers includes the creation of computer animations. Having a general understanding of computer software and the programs used in designing motion graphics may help you operate these programs more efficiently. You can gain computer skills by completing educational workshops and using computers in your daily activities.

Attention to detail

If you're working as a motion graphics designer for large film producers, accuracy can be essential. By having good attention to detail, you may pick up small mistakes that can impact the quality of a movie, such as forgetting to animate background curtains in a scene. You can improve your attention to detail by practising maintaining your focus and exercising your brain with puzzles.

Creativity

Creativity can be one of the most important soft skills to have as a motion graphics designer. Depending on your specific role as a motion designer, you may have the task of interpreting a client's animation requests. Clients often describe the scene they want for their advertisement but may not provide illustrations. It's then up to you to bring the client's idea to life. You can improve your creativity by completing artistic workshops, reading books and acting on your curiosity.

Teamwork

If you're working as a motion graphics designer, you can expect to be a part of a creative team. Creative teams often involve several animation professionals, such as a character animator, image editor, clean-up artist and 2D animator. Being able to work as a team often requires effective communication, organisation and the consideration of team members. To improve your teamwork skills, you can work on your communication, organisation, empathy and time management.

Frequently asked questions

Below we answer some questions about working in the motion graphics design space:

How much do motion graphics designers get paid?

The average national salary of a motion graphics designer is $89,891 per year. Your salary as a motion designer can vary, depending on your qualifications, work experience and general skills in animation. Most managerial roles in motion design come with more responsibilities, and they often include a higher salary. For example, the average national salary of an art director is $116,921 per year.

Related: 12 Careers In Graphic Design (With Average Salaries and Primary Duties)

What are the differences between motion design and animation?

There can often be some confusion in the differences between motion design and animation. Motion design is a category that falls under animation. Animation refers to several creative tasks, such as character creation and visual clean-up. Motion graphics design mainly focuses on the movement of objects and the interaction between animated models.

A character walking through snow is a good example of the difference between motion design and animation. An illustrator may design the textures of the snow and character, but a motion designer creates the character's movement. Essentially, animation refers to the entire process of animating a scene, not just the movements of the animation.

Is motion graphics design a rewarding career?

If you're passionate about artwork and using your imagination, then a career as a motion graphics designer may be rewarding for you. Often, your level of enjoyment from a job can depend on your personality and skill set. Motion graphics design can also be a rewarding career for individuals who enjoy producing a final product. As a motion graphics designer, your work may be visible to hundreds and thousands of people, which can be motivating and rewarding.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.

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