Level Up - Middleweight Motion Designer

What’s it like?

A middleweight motion designer is the engine that drives production within a motion design studio. While you can expect to have one-on-one direction from the Senior Motion Designer as well as the Art Director, you will find yourself with some autonomy on how to approach assignments creatively. You may also find yourself in brainstorm sessions and contributing ideas and inspiration to the larger team as production begins.

You should have a confidence in the quality of your animation and design work but may find yourself working on the speed of your delivery times – learning how to organize and optimize your work is one of your big challenges as a middleweight.

Good Example Projects

JC Tecklenburg – Sip by S’well

Working alongside designers, JC took assets and rigged and animated them within After Effects, combining pre-existing watercolor stock footage to mimic the flow of water in an artistic fashion that took style frames and design concepts to final delivery.

Nic Girard – Polar Animated Type Study: https://vimeo.com/317744822

Need To Know Skills

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

  • Animation: must have full command of Graph Editor, Timing, and Spacing – in both 2D and 3D applications, typically using 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 expand your skills and add a specialty in the following areas:

  • Character Animation: as a middleweight artist, your fundamentals in animation are strong – and you can further specialize into a category like Character Animation that sees you become a leading voice on a team when the project requires more than just Shape Layer animation.

  • Cinema 4D Fundamentals: expanding beyond the basics of Cinema 4D to understand topics like 3rd party renderers, texture mapping, and advanced uses of Mograph and Deformer tools puts you in a different category within your team – opening up a much bigger world of opportunity to contribute.

What Course should I take?

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.

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 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: