5 ways to hone your motion graphics skills

There are constantly new and unique developments in the fast-moving CG industry. With software updates arriving all the time and fresh techniques to hone, it’s important to stay on top of your game.

As head of motion graphics at Escape Studios, and an independent director and motion designer, I have more than 15 years of experience working on advertising, films, TV, video games and multimedia.

Here, I've pulled together some top tips to offer advice on how to really hone your motion graphic skills, and take them to the next level.

01. Don't be afraid to make mistakes

The creative process is all about trial and error. It’s important to brainstorm your ideas and sketch them out on paper to really work through each element. 

Breaking things down and perfecting your skills will enable you to really see what might need changing, ultimately speeding up the process. It will also help you save time working on it in later with the software.

02. It's not just about one set of skills

This may be obvious but it’s really important: throughout your motion graphic work you will need to have a strong knowledge of graphic design and as much knowledge of filmmaking as you can get. Arming yourself with this knowledge will ensure you are ready for any challenge that may come through.

03. Become an expert in typography

Blay created the title sequence templates for the final Hobbit film – in 15 different languages

Blay created the title sequence templates for the final Hobbit film – in 15 different languages

A motion graphics artist should have a strong understanding of typography and typography terms. Type is widely used as a form across motion graphics, and in some cases it may be that this is all that’s used to convey the product to the audience. So it’s important to understand what the audience will engage with, ensuring that the graphic stays with them. Thankfully, there are plenty of typography tutorials to help you get started.

04. Experiment with 3D

As well as 2D, it is now more important than ever that artists really build their knowledge in 3D and learn how this can be used in the design process. With the industry constantly changing, it's key to offer a wide range of options and ensure you can constantly deliver new and exciting work.

05. Inspiration is everywhere

Remember to focus time on exploring new trends and techniques to draw inspiration from; know the industry and understand what game and film studios are delivering. Digest other media, books, films and TV to draw on trends in order to ensure your work stays at the top of the game.

This article was originally published in 3D World magazine issue 216. Buy it here.

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JM Blay
Creative director and director

JM Blay is a creative director and director, founder of the creative studio and production company Blay Studio. With over 20 years of experience working in the creative industry, he has worked for films, television, and advertising; as well as for music videos, digital products, and video games. During his career he has collaborated with studios like The Mill, MPC, Prologue Films, Perception, Nexus, ETC, Momoco, Spov, or Territory and for agencies like Red Bee, Huge, Imagination, or Critical Mass.