Want to learn motion design but don’t know where to start? In this sponsored post by School of Motion, we’re busting the most common myths about online learning, and how their online animation curriculum will help you get the ball rolling. Artwork by Zak Tietjen ■
Although people have traditionally preferred learning art and design at brick-and-mortar schools that earned them an expensive degree, modern times have seen a shift in that trend.
The knowledge we offer via School of Motion has seen an uptick in interest from both students with a thirst to learn, as well as bigwigs in the industry. We welcome you to a warm, enthusiastic community that strives to push technical capabilities to the level of bringing absolutely any imagined effect to life. Are your VFX (visual effects) or animation teams raring to take their skills a notch higher? Or are you an independent freelancer looking to create mind-blowing animations with ease? School of Motion has got you covered.
But first, let’s brush away some of those common myths we hear about online learning.
Myth 1: Online videos are boring
Well, “boring” or “interesting” is one way to look at it, but we like to consider it from the perspective of building knowledge—an experience that hones your fundamental design skills. When you have a whacky, complex animation in mind and you aren’t sure how to start creating it, we bring you the expertise of veterans like Sander Van Dijk, Nol Honig, Morgan Williams, Sarah Beth Morgan, and many others who guide you through the creative process, helping you bring your imagination to life!
Having access to some of the best talent in the world and being able to pause or rewind mid-tutorial, is a luxury that every learner needs when working with complex tools like Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, or Illustrator. Besides, our content (video’s, podcast’s, PDF’s) is crafted with production-quality 4K cameras, lighting, sound, and a thought-process that’s distilled from years of practical experience that flows perfectly in the direction of your learning process.
We teach you using real-world challenges, where you can learn movements that support the message of the video, handle the complexity of multiple elements, meld in patterns from the natural world, learn simple tricks for difficult animations and even learn the basics of how to code complex animations that would be impossible to create with keyframes. Do try out our free tutorials.
Myth 2: Online learning is easy
Well, the easy stuff is already available online for free. We take you way beyond just watching videos and answering little quizzes. But before diving into it all, the first challenge to tackle is technology. You need to have the right computer hardware, software, and a good internet connection. It also helps to be mentally prepared to manage any distractions at home and plan out your remote conversations ahead of time. Some advanced courses may require more than 20 hours of intense hard work and practice-assignments each week. So make sure you allocate enough time for the course. You may be (re)learning the fundamentals of rigging and matchmoving, or perhaps sprucing-up your After Effects knowledge with secrets of how the pros tackle complex problems.
Learning how to sift through and structure the design process in your mind before you start animating comes only with practice. With all that knowledge filling up your mind so quickly and the pressure to bring out the best in you, we understand it gets exhausting, so you will have “breather” weeks to relax and catch-up. However, even with soft-deadlines and flexibility in schedule, you need to have the discipline, the curiosity to ask questions, the willingness to learn, and the grit to push yourself beyond your comfort zone to make use of the knowledge coming your way. As Morpheus would say: “I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it”.
Myth 3: I won’t get the feedback I need to improve
On the contrary, our courses are designed right from the foundation to ensure you receive not just critical feedback, but to also help find your way around the complex world of making a career of your own — kind of like getting feedback from an Olympic coach with an eye for detail.
You aren’t just a face to the instructors at School of Motion. We take care in getting to know you, what your talents are, what your unique style is, and help you make the most of your weekly homework assignments. You’ll feel like we are seated right next to you. Whether it’s a nuance of secondary animation, shadows, color, overlays, masking, or the tiniest wiggle during easing and morphing, our instructors and Teaching Assistants will proactively notice these pixel-level details that will take your designs and animations from the level of a casual, “cool, that’s nice”, to a world-class, “whoa! This is freakin’ amazing!”. School of Motion students get to learn of features and techniques they never even thought were possible.
We know what it feels like to want to show-off your work a bit and invite constructive comments and creative ideas on how your skills could be improved. So, we have all the tools and processes in place to help you collaborate, share ideas, browse through project files of impressive assignments, and even get support and encouragement from your School of Motion peers who bring motion design experience from all over the world!
Myth 4: Employers do not prefer online programs
Finding employable candidates has been a pet peeve for employers all across the globe. Sure, a college degree from a conventional art school is good to have, but employers have started to notice the edge in work quality and the positive vibe our courses and alumni bring to the table. We’ve been blessed to have companies such as Disney, Google, Netflix, Giant Ant, Fox, HBO, and Facebook welcome our students into their fold. And why wouldn’t they?
When artists can understand a brief and get up to speed right from day one (because they’ve got a solid grasp of basic principles and know their way around the secret little tools and functions of complex software), the value multiplier that such artists bring to employers is of immense value. Top that with the fact that they’ve already spent time with our award-winning instructors who have nurtured them with the skills that studios, ad agencies, and high-profile brands need. Employers can even reach out to alumni with job/gig offers via our website.
We’ve also noticed a trend where employers have begun sponsoring candidates to expand their range of capabilities. This has helped them create more engaging content using stop-motion or advanced VFX, to narrate better stories about their brand or to establish consumer memory. Our tools augment this process by helping employers view the progress of such candidates.
Myth 5: I may miss out on meaningful in-person connections
Although there is a little something that’s special about being physically present with someone, a study on friendships that develop in online communities showed that students develop a strong sense of culture, identity, and trust with their online peers, leading to sharing more knowledge, which in turn leads to stronger friendships.
We’ve observed this ourselves in our exclusive Facebook School of Motion community. The way in which members express ideas and emotion via art and the admiration of work shared with instructors and peers has created friendships that could last a lifetime! We’ve also noticed a very positive culture of humility, helpfulness, and a drive that inspires a sense of belonging to a shared cause of building knowledge.
When you are part of School of Motion’s amazing community, you are connected with the best of the best in the world of motion design. It’s just a matter of time until your brilliance bubbles up to the top and automatically creates a network with like-minded people. The opening up of opportunities isn’t far from there. Whether you’re extroverted or introverted, the online mode of communication works well in your favor. You can either take the time to think through a conversation while texting your peers, or express your enthusiasm via a video call. We’ve put in quite a bit of effort to ensure there are useful interactions during projects executed concurrently and ensuring methods of highlighting your work to help you get good visibility.
Every single one of you matters to us, and we are glad to welcome you into a worldwide community that strives to build a helpful, powerful network of phenomenally badass motion designers. If you’ve been dipping your toes in the water, wondering if online motion design courses are warm enough, we encourage you to take a leap of faith and plunge right in!