Trying to transform a client’s demands into motion graphics on screen is a nerve-wracking experience. Many designers end up staring into white space for what seems like forever. User experience. Visuals. Text. Transitions. Font choices. Audio design. Pacing. Narrative. Composition. Storyboarding. Good design involves all of these elements blended seamlessly, but trying to take on everything at once feels chaotic and overwhelming. So focus on a single element at a time. Watch tutorials and practice as you watch. Look at each technique and tool in your library. Create as many assets and animations as possible. The time you spend developing your fundamentals will never betray you.
It’s hard to take the first step with an empty canvas, but it’s infinitely easier to load up a template and realize what needs to be changed to get the result you want. Templates reduce procrastination and put you in the driver’s seat immediately. So start with pre-made templates that are closest to your client’s needs. Then treat the template as a sandbox where you are free to try multiple things and experiment. Pump out several iterations. Your goal should be to have as many iteration cycles as possible. This is by far the most practical way to light a fire under yourself to grow.
As a designer, your goal is to take simple animations and attach meaning to them with the help of story-driven emotional messaging. All successful brands value the emotions of their target audiences. Even a simple explainer video that relies on dry facts and statistics needs to engage audiences with the help of storytelling. Make use of different sensory stimuli and relatable characters to deliver an emotional statement. Your goal is to use motion to create emotion.
If you fail to hook your audiences within the first 10 seconds, they will click away. In today’s attention economy, you are competing with thousands of other brands in catching and maintaining the attention of your audiences. So make use of proper timing to hook your audiences. Make use of multiple hooks in the first few seconds so that at least one will catch something. Keep your hooks simple and adjust the tempo of your animation to the audience you are trying to reach. Great hooks take advantage of visual symbolism and visual metaphors.
It is incredibly tempting to keep your work to yourself. The fear of hearing the words, “It’s terrible,” or “It’s not good enough,” is more than enough for most people to never publish. This is a massive mistake. Whether it’s from your clients or the internet at large, you want to publish your work because feedback is essential to growth. You will never know what needs to be improved if you don’t publish and share. So never identify with your work. You are not your work. Don’t take any feedback or criticism personally. Ask for feedback as often as you can. At the end of the day, the more feedback you receive, the better you will get, and the closer you inch towards mastery.
In motion designing, as is the case with most skills, people have a tendency to repeat whatever they’ve done in the past. When animating designs, it’s tempting to compose illustrations in the exact same way that you’ve done hundreds of times before. This keeps you in a zone of comfort and prevents the growth necessary for mastering motion graphics. Don’t do this! Take someone else’s design and re-animate it in your own way. Take a look at a storyboard you’ve completed and try to execute it differently. Watch videos of other people’s animations frame-by-frame to understand their thought processes and think of how it could be done better.