December 10, 2023
Introduction 154985130

Stepping into the vibrant world of motion design can be both thrilling and overwhelming. With a vast expanse of techniques and tools at your fingertips, you may find yourself wrestling with where to begin or how to improve.

It’s not uncommon for artists, whether budding or experienced, to hit roadblocks; after all, transforming static images into captivating motion narratives is no small feat.

Did you know that successful motion graphics merge artistry with the power of storytelling? This combination ensures your animation not only looks good but resonates deeply with its audience.

Our blog aims directly at those aspiring to elevate their skills in motion design. We’re here to guide you through setting clear goals, selecting the right tools for the job, and refining your practices—everything an artist needs to know to create attention-grabbing animations.

Get ready – inspiration awaits!

Key Takeaways

  • Start with a clear goal and use simple techniques in motion design. Learn the basics like film language and animation principles.
  • Choose tools that suit your project, such as Adobe After Effects for special effects or Blender for 3D graphics.
  • Keep learning new things and ask others what they think of your work to get better at making motion graphics.
  • Make sure every part of your animation helps tell the story. Pay close attention to small details because they can make a big difference.
  • Don’t forget about sound. Good sound can make your motion designs even more powerful.

Setting Goals for Motion Design

Setting Goals For Motion Design 154985526

Starting with clear objectives, a motion designer can tackle projects with direction and purpose. Goals guide the creative process, helping to craft animations that connect with your audience and communicate your message effectively.

Set specific targets for each project: Is it to explain a tough concept? To make people laugh? Or maybe to sell a product? Your goals shape everything from the style of animation to the pacing and tone.

Think hard about what you want each piece of work to do. It could be grabbing attention on social media or teaching viewers something new. Knowing this helps you decide what action you want folks to take after watching your animation.

With these aims in mind, you set yourself up for creating engaging motion graphics that hit the mark every time.

Learning the Basics

Learning The Basics 154985727

Study film language and storytelling techniques, understand the principles of animation, and familiarise yourself with motion graphics tools and software. These foundational skills will set a strong base for your motion design journey.

Study film language and storytelling techniques

Learn how movies tell their stories. Good motion design often uses the same tricks as films to get a message across. Things like where the camera is, how it moves, and the way scenes are put together can make your animations more powerful.

Think about what makes you feel excited, scared, or happy when you watch a movie. Use those ideas in your work.

Understanding storytelling is key for making your animations connect with people. A story-driven approach helps turn simple graphics into something special that sticks in someone’s mind.

You become better at this by watching lots of films and thinking about why they work well (or don’t). Apply that knowledge to your projects, and watch them come alive!

Understand the principles of animation

The principles of animation are like a secret recipe. They turn simple drawings into things that seem alive and full of energy. Each one of these important rules, like timing, pacing, and how characters move, makes your work pop! Imagine making a ball bounce across the screen; without the right squash and stretch, it just wouldn’t look real.

Using these 12 magic steps can help grab people’s attention and tell great stories with your animations. Think about how Disney films capture hearts; they use these same principles to create moments that stick with us forever.

So before you jump into using fancy tools or adding cool effects, get cosy with these basics. They’re your best friends for bringing any idea to life in motion design. Now let’s talk about picking the tools that will help you create those eye-catching moves!

Familiarise yourself with motion graphics tools and software

Getting to know the tools for creating motion graphics is like learning to play an instrument. You can’t make music without knowing how your instrument works! Start by exploring software like Adobe After Effects, which many motion graphics artists use.

It’s a powerful tool that lets you animate, composite, and create 2D and 3D objects.

Spend some time each day playing with these programs. You’ll find that the more you use them, the better your animations will get. While it might take days or months to master the basic functions, every moment spent experimenting enhances your craft.

And always keep an eye out for tutorials – they are a great way to learn new tricks and improve your skills in animation and design.

Choosing the Right Tools

When it comes to motion design, having the right tools can make all the difference. From industry standards like Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D to newer options like Houdini and Blender, choosing the right software can significantly impact the quality of your motion graphics.

To find out more about how these tools can elevate your work, keep reading!

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a tool that lets you make cool motion graphics and special effects for videos and web stuff. It has lots of digital tools to change and control how things move, so you can animate almost anything you want.

Knowing how to track movement is a must-have skill here.

You can also use it with other Adobe apps like Photoshop and Premiere Pro. That means you can draw something in Photoshop, then add movement to it in After Effects, making your work even cooler.

The newest version of the software comes with new tricks for artists to play with, helping make animations top-notch.

Let’s talk about picking other good tools for creating awesome motions next!

Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is like a magic wand for motion designers. It helps you set up your scenes and choose just the right camera angles. You can add life to objects by wrapping them in different textures and materials.

Paul Babb from Maxon made sure that this tool is top-notch for creating cool 3D designs.

Using Cinema 4D, artists have made amazing GIFs and shared their tricks with the world. For example, Andy Needham showed off his fun GIFs at NAB 2018 using this software. Plus, there’s a list of ten Cinema 4D experts you should follow to learn more about it.

They’ll show you how to pick the best lens views for your work so every render looks perfect. Now let’s talk about another great tool: Houdini.


Houdini is like a magic kit for motion designers who want to create big-screen level special effects. It lets you build complex visual effects (VFX) such as swirling water, realistic fire and exploding stuff.

This powerful software has geometry tools, modes and hotkeys made just for artists.

Not many motion graphic creators use Houdini every day because it’s a bit harder than After Effects or Cinema 4D. But those who do make the most of its procedural capabilities to make their animations stand out.

You can learn tips to use Houdini more effectively and even speed up how fast your projects render, making your work look amazing without long waits.


Switching from considering Houdini to looking at Blender, it’s worth noting that Blender is an open-source software designed for 3D graphics and animation. This means it offers a range of free-to-use tools crucial for creating captivating motion design projects.

With a strong set of modeling tools, Blender becomes an ideal platform for artists venturing into the realm of 3D animation. Notably, Blender stands out as the only free 3D modeling software equipped with a fully-featured toolbox comparable to commercial counterparts like Maya and Cinema 4D.

Furthermore, aspiring motion designers can take advantage of Blender’s array of tutorials and courses dedicated to honing their skills in motion design.


Now, let’s explore Autodesk Maya. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, there are handy tips and tutorials available for beginners to ease into this 3D software used by artists.

Mastering Maya involves understanding its interface, rigging, textures, and other essential elements necessary for 3D character animation and modeling. With soft selection settings and shortcuts, artists can manipulate their design tools efficiently in Maya.

This software also provides the flexibility to turn off or increase soft selection, giving artists greater control over their creative process.

Adobe Animate

Moving from Maya to Adobe Animate allows you to explore a different set of tools. Adobe Animate offers drawing tools for creating and modifying lines and shapes in artwork. You can convert animations to symbols in Adobe Animate by clicking Modify > Convert to Symbol.

The software also introduces a Rotation tool, which enables temporary rotation of the Stage view for drawing and painting at a specific angle. Moreover, it provides basic tools for animation projects and offers classes on graphic design that give an overview of creating stunning and complex graphics.

Embracing the functionality of Adobe Animate means gaining expertise in motion graphics design while also learning crucial skills necessary for becoming a successful motion graphics designer.

Toon Boom Harmony 22

Toon Boom Harmony 22 is a comprehensive 2D animation software that supports various creative animation projects. It offers the Reference view, allowing users to import and display bitmap images for inspiration, enhancing the creative process.

Harmony 22 Advanced provides features for adding elements to each drawing, catering to diverse artistic needs. Tutorial artists produce step-by-step videos teaching users how to utilise Harmony Premium and other essential animation skills effectively.

Users can find related searches for downloading Harmony 22, its price, tutorials, and cracks.

Aspiring motion designers would benefit from exploring Toon Boom Harmony 22’s capabilities as part of their journey towards mastering motion design techniques. The software’s extensive features offer ample opportunities for artists looking to enhance their animation skills further.


Procreate is a powerful digital illustration app that offers intuitive features and 200 brushes for creating fashion illustrations or digital art. Comparable to Photoshop, it’s popular among artists and designers due to its low cost, premium quality, and customisable tools.

The app can also be used alongside Photoshop, enhancing workflow with its expandable features and attractive interface.

The app’s versatility caters to a wide range of users, from beginners to professionals in the creative industry. With Procreate, fashion designers can access tips and tutorials specific to their field while taking advantage of the app’s user-friendly design.

Starting Simple

Keep your concept and design clean and focused, start with simple techniques, and build upon them to create stunning motion designs. Click here to discover more tips for taking your motion design skills to the next level!

Keep your concept and design clean and focused

Ensure your motion design concept and layout are free of clutter and unnecessary elements. Aim for a clean, easy-to-navigate structure that effectively communicates your message without overwhelming your audience.

Embrace the challenge of simplifying ideas to keep them focused and to the point. Remember, simple genius is the ultimate goal in motion design, requiring deliberate effort to refine concepts for maximum impact.

Start with simple techniques and build upon them

When starting with motion design, it’s important to keep your concept and design clean and focused. Here are some tips for starting with simple techniques and building upon them:

  1. Begin with basic shapes, colors, and movements.
  2. Experiment with simple keyframe animations to understand timing and pacing.
  3. Practice using one layer at a time to avoid overcomplication.
  4. Start by storyboarding your ideas before diving into the animation phase.
  5. Build your skills by iterating on your simple projects, gradually adding more complexity as you gain confidence.

Avoid overcomplicating your animations

Simplify your animations by focusing on a clear concept and storytelling. Pay attention to detail during the planning stage, avoiding the temptation to include unnecessary elements.

Quality animation design prioritises captivating storytelling over flashy visuals, enhancing the dynamism of your work without overwhelming it with complexity.

Keep animations short and focused, maintaining consistency in branding and sound design. This approach ensures that your message is effectively communicated without overwhelming the audience.

By adhering to these principles, you can create compelling animations that stand out without overcomplicating them.

Seeking Feedback and Constantly Learning

As a motion designer, seeking feedback from others and continuously learning new techniques is essential for growth. Sharing your work with fellow artists and listening to their feedback can help you improve your skills and stay updated on industry trends.

It’s also important to constantly seek out new resources and tutorials to expand your knowledge of motion design.

Share your work with others and listen to their feedback

Sharing your work with others and listening to their feedback are essential steps in improving your motion design skills. Receiving feedback, whether positive or negative, is crucial for growth in motion design.

By sharing your work with peers or mentors, you can gain valuable insights and new perspectives that can help you refine your animations. It also helps in the process of seeking feedback and constantly learning in motion design.

This collaborative approach can lead to significant improvements and enhance the quality of your work.

Constantly seeking feedback will not only help you improve as a motion designer but will also enable you to stay updated on new techniques and industry trends. Actively engaging with others allows for constructive criticism, which can propel your animation to the next level through continuous learning.

Sharing work fosters a culture of improvement where every comment matters, promoting healthy competition among artists striving for excellence in their craft.

Continuously learn and stay updated on new techniques and software

To excel in motion design, it’s crucial to keep learning and stay updated on the latest techniques and software. Staying informed about design trends and innovations is vital for graphic designers to remain ahead of new technologies.

Through continuous learning, designers can improve their skills, start side projects, and embrace new design abilities. This proactive approach allows them to adapt to industry changes and enhance their expertise in motion graphics.

Additionally, seeking feedback from peers and professionals while staying up-to-date with evolving techniques is essential for growth in the field of motion design.

Moreover, continuously learning about new techniques not only fosters professional development but also helps designers create better animations by incorporating fresh ideas and approaches.

Applying Best Practices for Motion Design

When creating motion design, it’s important to apply best practices such as having a clear concept and strong storytelling, keeping animations short and to the point, paying attention to detail, using consistent branding, and not shying away from sound design.

Continuously improving your skills will help you create better animations.

Have a clear concept and strong storytelling

To create compelling motion designs, it’s crucial to start with a clear concept and strong storytelling. This involves establishing a clear message or idea that you want to communicate through your animation.

By understanding the principles of storytelling, such as character development and narrative structure, you can craft engaging visuals that resonate with your audience. Additionally, incorporating elements of emotion and relatability into your designs can help evoke a response from viewers, making your animations more impactful and memorable.

It’s essential to keep in mind that motion design is not just about creating visually appealing graphics but also about conveying a meaningful story or message. Therefore, ensuring that every element within your design serves a purpose in advancing the narrative will result in more effective communication through your animations.

Keep animations short and to the point

After establishing a clear concept and strong storytelling for your motion design, the next important aspect is to keep your animations short and to the point. Short animations are more effective in capturing viewers’ attention and conveying messages without losing their interest.

Avoiding unnecessary length in your animations ensures that the audience remains engaged throughout, making it more likely for them to absorb the intended message.

When creating short animations, remember that concise visuals can effectively communicate complex ideas. By utilising strategic timing and precise visual elements, you can ensure that every frame serves a purpose in driving your narrative forward.

Pay attention to detail

To create impactful motion designs, it’s crucial to pay attention to detail. Small details like timing, transitions, and color choices can significantly impact the overall effectiveness of your animation.

Ensuring that every aspect of your design is cohesive and deliberate will elevate the quality of your work and help communicate your message more effectively. By focusing on details such as smooth transitions, precise timing, and consistent branding, you can enhance the overall impact and professionalism of your motion designs.

While creating animations, remember that even small elements like sound design or subtle graphic effects can make a big difference in how your audience perceives and engages with your work.

Use consistent branding

When it comes to motion design, maintaining consistent branding is crucial. This involves reflecting the brand in the animation and using consistent visual elements like colour, typography, and logo animation throughout.

By establishing and adhering to visual and motion guidelines that align with the brand’s identity, motion designers can ensure that their animations harmonise with the brand’s overall image.

Consistent branding in motion design helps build recognition and loyalty among audiences while reinforcing a strong brand presence. This practice not only enhances the professionalism of animations but also contributes to creating a cohesive and impactful visual identity for the brand across various platforms and mediums.

Don’t shy away from sound design

Sound design is a crucial element in motion design, often underestimated or overlooked. Integrating sound effectively can elevate the impact of your animations, enhancing the viewer’s experience and communication of your message.

Appropriate use of sound effects, music, and voiceovers can add depth, emotion, and narrative clarity to your motion designs. By syncing audio with visual elements, you create a more immersive and engaging experience for your audience.

Therefore, embracing sound design as an integral part of motion design not only enriches the quality of your work but also sets it apart from others in the field.

Integrating sound into motion design projects involves careful consideration to avoid common pitfalls such as neglecting synchronisation with visuals or using inappropriate sounds that may detract from the intended message.

Continuously improve your skills to create better animations

Continuous improvement is key to creating better animations in motion design. Revisiting the basics of design principles can help strengthen skills and make animated content more compelling.

Assessing your current level, identifying goals, and enhancing your work as a motion designer is important for measuring and improving your skills.

Always strive to enhance your animation techniques by seeking feedback from peers, staying updated on new techniques and software, and continuously learning. This commitment to improvement will not only elevate the quality of your work but also keep you at the forefront of emerging trends in motion design.


In conclusion, motion design requires a strong foundation in film language and animation principles. Choosing the right tools like Adobe After Effects or Blender is crucial for beginners.

Keeping designs cleanseeking feedback, and continuous learning are essential practices for improvement. With clear storytelling, attention to detail, and consistency in branding, artists can create engaging motion graphics.

By starting simple and constantly improving their skills, artists can excel in the dynamic field of motion design.


1. What are some key tips to make good motion design?

To make better motion graphics, use keyframes and the graph editor in AE to control your animations. Also, choose fonts that fit your audience’s needs and add particle effects or gradients for a polished look.

2. How can I improve my static designs in motion graphics?

Animate anything and everything carefully. Use scroll and wiggle to add life, but remember color correction is important too! Keep things simple; having many elements might be too much.

3. When starting in motion design, what should I focus on learning first?

Get started with storyboards and moodboards to plan your work. Learn the basics of design and animation like using key points effectively before moving onto more complex tasks.

4. Where can I find inspiration for my motion graphics?

Look at what’s hot on Behance or School of Motion for fresh ideas that you can iterate on as you brainstorm new projects.

5. Can you give me a pro tip for mastering advanced techniques quickly?

Practice makes perfect! Work on lots of different projects but don’t rush; it often takes years to master all skills needed by a creative director or mograph artist.

6. Is it okay to mix many graphic elements when designing motions?

Yes, but only if they help communicate your message clearly without cluttering the screen or making things hard to understand.

This article was written by Creative Island's founder Filipe Bastos. Beyond being the owner of the studio, Filipe has a background in philosophy and psychology, and loves reading and writing about anything related to human nature. He brings his unique perspective and insights to the work he does, including creating engaging and effective animated explainer videos for startups and small businesses.

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