How can a moron begin working with motion graphics?
October 18, 2007 6:02 PM   Subscribe

So I want to get into motion graphics. Where should one begin?

So Im a print designer. Have been for about a decade now.
Im really proficient in all the Adobe gear, and even have some web experience.
I'm looking to branch out into motion graphics work (as an artistic hobby more than a revenue generator) but have no idea where to begin, which software is standard etc.
I know this is something of a wide open question, and I apologize if it seems a bit vague but I'm looking for a good beginner's resource.

So let's pretend I'm as dumb as a post (not far of really) and see if we can't at least find me a good point to begin sucking from.
posted by Senor Cardgage to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
consider taking night classes at a dedicated liberal arts college. you probably will end up getting a primer by the same instructors that teach the 4-year degree programs.

here's an example from my alma mater: art center at night is a part of art center college of design.

if you're in a different part of the country or world, I am sure you will be able to find something similar.
posted by krautland at 6:27 PM on October 18, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks! I should have also mentioned that Im in Sacramento. So if anyone has any location-specific resources, that would be great too.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:31 PM on October 18, 2007

if you're already print educated, there isn't much traditional schooling is going to do for you. check out a few decent blogs and forums for beginners information: - good news blog - showcase - forum with a bit of history, lots of information if you search through it. - similar to motionographer.

feel free to email me at daniel (at) and i can give you more specific answers.
posted by still at 7:51 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite] FTW.

That?s where all the real motion graphics artists hang out, and make fun of pretty much every other motiongraphics artist in the world that doesn?t frequent thier forums. It can be a bit annoying and pretentious at first if you take it too seriously, but behind that pink door lies the most brilliant mogfx artists in the world.
posted by melorama at 8:06 PM on October 18, 2007

Simple answer...After Effects!
All the motion graphics people I work with use that as their primary tool.
Shake and Maya also come into play, but I would start with AE.
Mastery of After Effects along with a solid design game would qualify you to work in the on-air design department of most networks.
posted by BillBishop at 10:20 PM on October 18, 2007

Yes indeed, you need to know After Effects, no if's and's or buts.

To that end, here are some of the best informational resources you should feed your brain with:

Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects, by Chris and Trish Meyer. Just buy it...there's no need to research around to see if it's worth me, it's worth it. It's the closest thing to a Bible that the After Effects/Motion Graphics profession has (it really should have been mentioned in this AskMe thread)

After Effects Apprentice, also by Chris and Trish Meyer. This is their brand new book, that caters specifically to people such as yourself who want to get started doing serious motion graphics, and get up to speed with AE fairly quickly.

After Effects in Production, YET AGAIN by Chris and Trish Meyer. You can probably guess by now that the Meyers are the foremost gurus of AE knowledge. This book is wonderful, in that it's a "real world" book, that profiles, step by step, a lot of actual projects done by real motion design houses around the world. This one is less about what buttons to push (although there is plenty of technical geek stuff in it), and more about the "why's" of motion graphics.

• The Creative Cow After Effects video podcast. This is a great free video podcast by Aharon Rabinowitz, and it's a great way to learn AE by working on practical tasks. Aharon's scripted humor is a bit dorky at times, but at least he's earnest, and very good at presenting complex techniques in a way that doesn't require you to be a ubergeek to understand.

Toolfarm AE tutorials. A great bunch of guys and gals, great tutorials, and one of the best places to get great bargains on 3rd party AE plugins.

AE Freemart. The sister site to Toolfarm.

Ayato@web. English is obviously not this guy's first language, but his tutorials are jaw droppingly cool.

• I have to mention it again, but more specifically, the Mograph Reels and Portfolios forum is just a treasure trove of inspiration.

• And last, but certainly not least, the AE-List. The oldest surviving After Effects community is still the best. Every "star" of the motion graphics design, as well as motion graphics training world hangs out here. Basically, if you're not subscribed to AE-List, you're probably not serious about After Effects.

Hope that's enough stuff for you to chew on.
posted by melorama at 12:44 AM on October 19, 2007 [3 favorites]

It's probably too far away for it to benefit you, but FWIW, MGLA (Motion Graphics Los Angeles) is one of the largest and well known usergroups dedicated to mogfx in the country. Their usergroup meetings are always chock full of great demos and like AE-List are generally a Who's Who of the motion design scene.
posted by melorama at 12:51 AM on October 19, 2007

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