Level Up - Freelance Motion Designer

What’s it like?

A Freelance Motion Designer is adaptable with a wide generalist knowledge of animation and design that allows them to be booked within various studios production teams on a job-by-job basis.

Along with animation and design skills, freelance motion designers frequently sport a specialty that acts as a calling card which serves as a means of positioning them in the crowded field of freelancers. Skills like compositing, an understanding of particle effects within After Effects and Cinema 4D, or an emphasis on camerawork and composition for the creation of pre-vis and animatics all help create an identity for in-demand freelancers.

Need To Know Skills

To start your career as a Freelance Motion Designer you’ll need to be able to do one of the following.

  • Animation: must have full command of Graph Editor, Timing, and Spacing – in both 2D and 3D applications, typically in After Effects and Cinema 4D
  • Design: must be able to contribute to the pitch process with styleframes based on Creative Director and Art Director’s lead, as well as create production ready assets for the rest of the team to work with.

Additional Skills

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

  • Specialized Animation Skills: In addition to fitting into a position within a production team, a freelancer may want to build upon their animation prowess with a specialization that extends beyond the expectations of a generalist – type animation, character rigging and animation, or a focus on hand-drawn animation or 3D particle work; all of these can become calling cards that find your inbox flooded with requests for bookings

Start Your Journey

  • Animation Bootcamp: Combine your mastery of Timing & Spacing through the use of the Curve Editor and Shape Layers with the knowledge of WHAT you should be animating, stepping beyond fundamentals of animation and into advanced concepts like eye trace, animating for appeal, and workflow tips that have you animating smarter rather than harder.
  • 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: Take a project from start to finish in this intense career development course. You’ll learn how to bid, budget, create delivery timelines, and deal with clients all while juggling the creative needs of a Mograph job.

Grow Your Skills

  • Character Animation Bootcamp: As a Middleweight Motion Designer, adding a specialty skillset allows you to take a leadership role in a portion of projects that don’t fall into the basic motion design pipeline. Character animation allows you to further refine your animation skills, building on your understanding of motion and delving into performance and breathing life into designs.
  • Cinema 4D Basecamp: understand the intricacies of how to work in 3D, ie. user interface, navigation, lights, shaders, and camera – as well as how to use the curve editor and how to export for use within After Effects.

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: