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Choose your Path in Motion Design

July 1, 2020
Iaroslav Kononov
Iaroslav Kononov Founder of Motion Design School

Hello everyone! My name is Iaroslav and I’m a founder of Motion Design School. Many of you ask me, “Where do I to start in Motion Design?”

To puzzle it out for you, I’m going to describe my own path into motion design. I have been in motion design since I was 11. I have spent a long time trying to remember why I started doing motion design and when the starting point of this was. And, of course, everything comes from childhood.

I’ve singled out three key events that have influenced what I do now:

Event 1: Fighting stick figures


This video was the starting point of my path. I can’t be sure, but I guess I watched it at least 1,000 times:

Of course, I wanted to know how to do this.

But how to actually do this?

Event 2: Flipbooks

After a long wandering and research, I discovered flipbooks. For better or for worse, my parents read a lot, so each and every book at home was officially animated.

Event 3: Macromedia Flash MX 2004!

My brother installed this program for me, and this made me happy beyond measure. From then on, I could convert everything to digital and export it as a video. My impressions in 2004:

Yaaaay!

The software has quite an intuitive interface. It took me just 2 hours to get a grasp on the program. After that, I was lost for friends and family for a long while. I was creating fighting stick figures day and night. And it resulted into a whole series. Sadly, my PC broke down and all my works were gone.


So, these 3 events have led me to what I do now.


When all my works were gone, I realized that they might have actually cost money. So, I started searching how to make money from what I was doing. And then I came across the website videohive.net. After browsing through it for a while, I found out that there were other programs besides Flash.

That was the best day of my life, for I installed its majesty AE.

After Effects

After I’d worked in Flash, the interface and logic of After Effects seemed quite unusual to me. But, as programmers say, if you know at least one programming language, you’ll easily master others.

So, I mastered After Effects and started selling templates. In addition, I worked as a freelancer on elance.com and odesk.com, which later merged into upwork.com.

Well, I started earning money! I realized that passive income was a great option for me. So, I created another dozen or so of templates, and my passive income exceeded $2,000 per month.

I was improving with each work. I had to learn design, but as many, I was just doing it without knowing the rules. With practice, my designing skills have reached a good level, but I still have no idea what kerning and tracking are. I’m always guided by my intuition. So, even now I have things to learn in design and illustration.

However, a beautiful design alone wasn’t enough for templates. One of crucial aspects was automation. This is what templates are for, right?

To automate my templates, I needed to begin learning expressions. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it, to be honest.


I WAS THINKING:

Expressions? No way!
I’m an artist! I don’t need all those numbers and variables.


But there was another surprise awaiting for me. I didn’t only like it, but I started putting everything aside to play around with expressions days and nights.

Automation!!!

After that, I challenged myself to use only expressions instead of keyframes. As it turned out, in almost 50% of cases it’s better to use a code.

Do you remember the promo video for the Expression Trip course? All the animation in it was made without using a single keyframe – everything was created with the help of expressions.
And you know what? Making that video took way less time than it would if we did things doing that manually, haha.

As an experiment, Ihor and I are going to livestream a challenge from our studio. We’ll take an animation, and I’ll work on it using expressions, while Ihor will do it manually. Like this post and we’ll stream it next week.


This video was created without a single keyframe: only expressions, only hardcore.

Surely, by automating routine tasks with the help of expressions, you can animate 10 times faster. My verdict is that you should definitely start learning expressions! It will bring you to a totally new level. You will definitely face situations when you need them in the future, and you’ll be ready for that.

After I mastered expressions, I really felt like a guru, and I thought it was time for me to share my knowledge.

This is how Motion Design School was founded. Here’s the first promo video for the Motion Beast course:

This is our very first course. At that time, we taught offline, and we were in the endless process of perfecting the material we teach. In total, 6 groups have completed that course. Here you can see all of the lucky students:

It was almost at the same time when the YaroFlasher studio was founded. The studio and school together formed a really powerful tandem. We put all knowledge acquired from commercial projects into the courses.

There were lots of interesting projects, and we had to learn 3D to complete 50% of them. Actually, it wasn’t as scary as it seemed at first. After a while, we launched the Cinema 4D Journey course that compiled all the knowledge we had got working on the projects.

Well, it appears to be a quite interesting chain of events.

When it comes to growing within a profession, everyone has their own chain of events leading them to a certain milestonet. Reaching this milestone means realizing that you’re equipped with all the main skills you need. That is, you have a certain base to build the rest on. I’m still afraid of 3D animation, and when I master it, when I get confidence in this sphere as well, I’ll consider myself a professional with certainty. And I will be able to materialize on my PC screen any picture I have in my headshape.

Let’s track my path from the beginning:

For the sake of experiment, let’s take a look at the promo video for one of our future courses:

To make a video like that, you need to walk the following path:

Everything looks logical and clear. It took me 15 years to realize it, though. It’s only now that I understand what exactly I need to know to create such things.

So, specially for you, we’ve assembled different learning paths:

Motion Hero

This set of skills will allow you to grow as a freelancer and an independent artist. Find yourself among motion designers and become a part of the community. Promote yourself on social media and make money from real projects, not to mention selling templates on videohive.net.

Approximate duration: 3-6 months

Frame-by-Frame Magician:

Frame-by-frame animation isn’t that scary. That’s the very basis, and the 12 principles of animation are like the Animation Bible. If you know where it all came from and the rules of the animation universe, you’ll be able to handle anything.

Approximate duration: 3-6 months

3D King:


This is a really quick way to level up your skills from 0 to intermediate. It will give you the needed kick in the pants and make you understand how much you like 3D and that you’re ready to move on.

Approximate duration: 3-6 months

Ultimate Knight:


Well! Once you’ve completed it, you’ll be able to consider yourself a real professional. You’ll be in a position to cope with any task and you’ll be readily hired by the industry.

Approximate duration: 6-12 months

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