Level Up - Sr. Motion Designer

What’s it like?

As a Senior Motion Designer, you will find yourself as the backbone of a studio pipeline, the key component within a production that drives a project forward to the finish line. You will be capable of animation and design tasks throughout the lifetime of the production. Equally capable of contributing to the pitch and production phases, you may also find yourself leading or training several junior artists within a specialty or category of work during the course of a project.

In addition to your production skills, you may find yourself collaborating with the Art Director and/or Creative Director in meetings to address client challenges and making it to internal deadlines. Your production expertise makes you a valuable resource to the Producer as well, in both navigating project workflow as well as estimating the time needed to complete different phases of production.

Good Example Projects

Handel Eugene – Spider-man Homecoming Main-on-End Title Sequence

Utilizing his wide knowledge of both Cinema 4D as well as hand-drawn craftsmanship to create this charming and warm title sequence, Handel Eugene’s work is the perfect example of what can be asked of a Senior Motion Designer.

You can expect to take a shot from concept to final entirely on your own, encompassing shot composition, camera layout, a full understanding of 3D that includes unwrapping UVs and hand-painting textures to emulate water color, marker rendering, and plasticine, along with 2D cel animation.

A true tour de force of motion design!

Mike Humphrey – Oculus VR Demo

James Ramirez – James Harden web promo

Need To Know Skills

To start your career as a Senior 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 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:

  • Optimization & Organization: should understand how to evaluate a assignment and assess the best tools and techniques to approach the challenges within a given shot or sequence of shots. A Senior Motion Designer will often take an approved styleframe or animatic and work with the Art Director to define the best path to take to completion, and then completing a shot with this technique or approach as an example for the rest of the team to follow. 

What Course should I take?

Start Your Journey

  • Advanced Motion Methods: Having conquered the Curve Editor, you will learn how to work smarter rather than harder, while also learning how to conceptualize within After Effects by looking to sources outside of motion design for study and inspiration.

  • Illustration for Motion: Finding your own personal voice as an artist is one of the biggest steps you can take as you level up through your career. Being able to generate images of your own creation rather than following the lead of frames styled by another artist or relying on photobashing designs together from pre-existing reference imagery puts you in another category for clients and employers alike. 

Grow Your Skills

  • Expression Session: Why animate when you can have After Effects do it for you – mastering Expressions in After Effects opens up a world of flexibility and power that isn’t available to artists who rely on brute force solutions.

  • VFX for Motion: Adopting and augmenting skills from industries related to motion design gives you a perspective on workflows and approaches others lack within a team. Visual effects tools like Mocha along with advanced techniques like 3D tracking found within Cinema 4D bolster your team’s capabilities as well as allowing you to lead entire steps within a production as a Senior Motion Designer.

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: