Level Up - Creative Director

What’s it like?

A Creative Director is the leader of motion design projects: clients look to them to solve creative problems they can’t, while the art team expects them to establish the parameters for their work. A Creative Director answers the what, why, and how that a team uses as a “true north” to guide all of their decision-making.

A Creative Director may not be “on-the-box” during a project but they will have an intimate knowledge of the limits and needs of a production’s pipeline and workflow; they are the Producer’s trusted partner in developing schedules and budgets to deliver a successful (and profitable!) project.

Most of a Creative Director’s time is spent with clients, developing pitches, and collaborating with their Producer and Art Director to establish the look and feel of a project. A Creative Director is expected to be continually developing their voice and vision as an artist as they are often the most visible member of a motion design studio.

Good Example Projects

Approached directly by Apple to helm a personal film that demonstrates the most powerful Mac created to date, Erin brought an old sketchbook to life by combining analog tools like watercolor paint with 3D projections out of Cinema 4D.

Need To Know Skills

To start your career as a Creative Director you’ll need to be able to do the following.

  • Storyboards + Styleframes: A strong understanding of film language and storytelling techniques allows you to photo-bash quick look styleframes for pitching as well as generating imagery from scratch in various illustration styles for final assets to be used by the animation team in the production phase.
  • Cinematography: Combine your mastery of design principles with an understanding of how to position and place lights and camera in a 3D environment to create theme and tone in the service of storytelling

Additional Skills

In addition to the skills above, you may want to sharpen your skills in the following areas:

  • Production Workflow: Understanding how to budget, plan, schedule, and manage a project from bid to final render.
  • Advanced 3D Workflow: As a Creative Director with a strong focus on design, strengthening your understanding of 3D production workflows will help you understand the requirements and capabilities of your production team, allowing you to better understand how to take advantage of 3D tools in your pitch and design work.

What Course should I take?

Start Your Journey

  • Design Bootcamp: Push your use of Design Fundamentals through deliberate and demanding exercises patterned after real-world assignments built to push your Photoshop and Illustrator skills into storyboarding and styleframing.
  • Explainer Camp: Understand the process of taking a fully-realized piece from bid to final render and delivery to client as well as you understand tools like Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Cinema 4D Basecamp: If you don’t already have a solid foundation in 3D software this is where you’ll want to start to build one.

Grow Your Skills

  • Cinema 4D Ascent: Taking your animation and design skills further into the third dimension, C4D Ascent will give you the confidence and expertise to understand where and when to reach for Cinema 4D rather than your standard toolsets of Photoshop and After Effects. Combining this fundamental knowledge allows you to take a place in virtually any part of the production pipeline.

Level Up!

To advance to the next level in your career check out the article(s) below that take you through what you’ll need to know to advance.

Not sure where to go next? Check out our free Level Up! course for more information on where you can go in your Motion Design Career.

Not Ready Yet?

If you’re looking to explore what comes before this level in your career check out these options that you can build on to reach this level: