Join Jim Heid for an in-depth discussion in this video Motion graphics and 3D animation, part of Creative Pro Careers: Staying Ahead.
- Now let's talk about a field that has close ties to many of the fields we've explored so far. Motion graphics or motion design brings together concepts from graphic design and animation, often with some photography and music added for good measure. The end result is communication, delivering a specific message to the viewer, anything from buy this product to support this cause. Regardless of the message, you'll be addressing your audience using combinations of moving typography, animated images, video, illustrations, and 3D animations.
Because of the huge variety in visual styles, motion graphics artists have to be versed in a wide range of skills. First and foremost are foundational graphic design skills: color, composition, layout, and typography. Our courses on these subjects will give you the foundation that you'll build on as you explore motion design. Having a solid knowledge of photography concepts will make it easier to effectively use images in your motion designs. It's important to understand concepts like leading lines, negative space, and the whole notion of guiding someone's eye to what matters.
Our photography foundations course on composition will help you to learn that visual vocabulary. Creating animation is a complex process. That's partly because the software can be complex, but it's also because you're often trying to mimic the way things move in the real world. For example, the way objects bounce or snap back when something hits them. Controlling the way that objects move and interact with each other is a really important tool in your communications toolbox, just as color and typography are important communications tools for graphic design.
Our animation foundations course will help you see the link between how objects or characters move and the physical or emotional ideas that are evoked by that movement. And then there's the software. In the motion graphics world, the most important tool is Adobe After Effects. Our library includes a rich assortment of courses on After Effects. Start with the Essential Training series. It'll show you how to import elements, animate layers, build type from scratch, and use effects to stylize your designs.
After Effects has close ties with other Adobe Creative Suite programs, especially Photoshop and Illustrator. For example, you can bring layered Photoshop and Illustrator documents into After Effects and then animate those layers independently. This is a common workflow in the After Effects world. Because these programs work so closely together, you should have a good familiarity with them, particularly in how they enable you to put different elements on their own layers. Once you're comfortable with design basics and with animating in After Effects, you might want to explore the third dimension.
Adding 3D animation to your projects can give you the ability to create and express yourself in entirely new ways, like creating detailed and reflective logo animations or visualizing products that haven't yet been created. For motion graphics, the most important 3D software is Cinema 4D from Maxon. Cinema 4D is used for a variety of jobs, everything from product design and visualization to visual effects. Our Cinema 4D Essential Training series addresses many of these areas separately.
Start with the Basics course to learn the interface and the basics. Then check out the Motion Graphics course to learn how to incorporate Cinema 4D into a motion graphics workflow. Now, 3D and animation are used in a wide range of creative roles: animated entertainment, visual effects for tv and film, and visualizing new products and even buildings. In these worlds, software like Maya from Autodesk is used to create and animate characters, and to create renderings of products and architecture.
For creating extremely detailed 3D characters, animators use digital sculpting tools like ZBrush from Pixologic. And to build entire worlds for everything from video games to architectural simulations, artists use game engine software such as Unity and Unreal Engine. Although most animated films are created in 3D these days, 2D animation remains a strong and entertaining medium. And the general concepts behind 2D drawing and animation also apply to the 3D world.
So if character animating becomes an important part of your creative role, it's important to learn basic animation skills, such as walk cycles. And as you design an animated piece, it's smart to outline your story ideas in storyboard format. That's the best way to refine your ideas and share them with others before you actually start animating. Finally, if you end up doing a great deal of 2D animation work, you might want to investigate dedicated 2D animation tools like Toon Boom Studio, where you can put together an entire animated film.
Becoming a creative professional in motion graphics, 3D animation and visualization, or 2D animation is a commitment to lifelong development of your artistic and technical skills. Whether you're just starting your career, looking to upgrade your current skills, or move into an entirely new field, our instructors can help you learn just what you need.
- Identifying essential creative professional skills
- Reviewing different creative tools
- Learning about the field of graphic design
- Working in the photography and video fields
- Working with audio and music
- Reviewing motion graphics and 3D animation
- Working in UX and web design