One of the questions I get asked a lot is “How do you get into motion design?” or “How do I get started?” or “How did YOU get started?” Motion design is definitely a large industry at this point – I mean think about it, there are LCD and LED screens everywhere, and they all need content, right? But it is still a relatively young industry. So, there’s a lot of confusion about how to get started. There are now education programs specifically geared toward motion graphics in many colleges. I know the Art Institutes offer motion graphics programs now (I attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for Digital Media Production, which was more focused on video and film). But, because it is a relatively young industry and those programs haven’t been around forever, I’ve noticed a lot of the artists that I know fell into the industry in different ways. For me, animation was always a hobby (I started in 3D with good old Lightwave). I know a lot of people started with traditional animation and found themselves intrigued by the creative latitude that they discovered in motion design. A lot of people that I look up to started out as graphic designers (incidentally, I think these people tend to make the best mograph artists as they have the foundation of understanding the principles behind great visual design). And there are plenty of people who are completely self-taught. But here’s the secret that the colleges don’t want you to know – in my experience, none of that shit matters. I hire freelance designers and animators all the time, and I don’t think I’ve ever asked if they went to college, or how they developed their skillset. Because to me, the only thing that matters is their output. Their art. Their portfolio. If the designer has the chops and is a hard worker that respects briefs and deadlines, I’ll hire him or her, whether they are self-taught or went to some fancy school. I think a lot of people think that it will be too hard to get into this industry because they went to school for communications, or psychology or some such thing. Nonsense. I think that having an education in a field outside of motion graphics or animation or design can be a real benefit. Broader horizons and all that jazz. I guess the point of this post is that you shouldn’t let a lack of a formal education in a related field stop you. If you have the motivation, you can learn this stuff yourself, and over the coming months I will be sharing plenty of resources that you can use to help yourself along your journey. There are also some really cool online programs that are wonderful for learning the craft, such as MographMentor.com and SchoolofMotion.com. You can learn all this stuff yourself by doing the research and putting in the hours, but the programs offered by those two online schools really are top notch and can give you a great head start. Anyway, that’s my spiel. No matter who you are or what your background is, you can learn this stuff just like I did with just a few resources and tools.
Until next time!