Which motion design course is best for you? Here's an in-depth guide to animation courses at School of Motion.
School of Motion now offers more online motion graphics courses than ever before! Through our custom motion design lessons, you can go from a total beginner to an animation professional in the world of motion design. But, not everyone is at the same skill level and you may have asked yourself, "What School of Motion animation course should I take?" If you've already taken the 'Which course should I take?' Quiz and you still have questions, this guide was made for you.
So sit back, relax, and let's help you figure out which online animation course is right for you!
What Makes School of Motion Unique?
Are you tired of the traditional, outdated, and overly expensive education system that's available today? We definitely are!
At School of Motion our courses challenge the industry standard by helping to create a sustainable industry that allows artists to make money and demolish ever-growing student debt. We are passionate about our goal to equip artists with a top-tier motion design education experience that you'll never be able to get at a brick-and-mortar school.
How, you say? Well this short video explains what makes us unique from other education platforms.
School of Motion has a unique advantage over traditional education systems because we are able to recruit the best talent in the industry. This helps us to create courses that are tailored for today's ever-changing artistic needs. You'll be learning from the world's best motion designers, 3D artists, and designers. Our instructors have worked for the biggest clients on the planet, and they are ready to share their knowledge and insights with you.
Our lessons are delivered on a one-of-a-kind student platform, that we built from the ground up to maximize what you learn in an experience unparalleled in motion design education.
As professional motion designers we went all-in to include thorough lessons, feedback from professional motion designers, and a custom critique portal to assist you as you take your motion design skills to new heights.
School of Motion courses also include access to private social groups that will allow you to chat with fellow artists from around the world as you navigate the course. Once you complete the course you'll have access to our super-secret alumni page with over 4000+ practicing motion designers. Our alumni are eager to give you advice, share work, and have fun.
Overview: School of Motion Animation Courses
Motion design relies on many disciplines. These include sound design, video editing, animation, graphic design, and much more. So, just to be clear, After Effects Kickstart, Animation Bootcamp, and Advanced Motion Methods are focused on the Animation aspects of Motion Design. If you're curious about learning how to design, or you want to dive into the amazing world of 3D, check out our courses page!
As you work your way through these animation courses and beyond, we want you to know it's okay to rely on a designer. This is totally fine, and frankly it's totally normal. As you build up your career you'll be exposed to better and better art, and you'll start to learn more about designing your own assets for animation. This is a skill that takes time and has its own set of rules and theories.
Our animation courses are specifically designed to help you learn the most essential animation concepts related to storytelling through movement, and help you wrap your head around After Effects, the most important 2D animation application on the planet.
If you want to make the most out of the animation track at School of Motion, you should take After Effects Kickstart, then Animation Bootcamp, and finally Advanced Motion Methods. However, depending on your current skills, you may want to skip over one or even two classes. The rest of this article will share information that you will need to figure out which class is best for your skill level and goals.
Note: You don't have to take animation classes back-to-back. For example, if you are feeling up for a 3D challenge after taking Animation Bootcamp, check out Cinema 4D Basecamp.
After Effects Kickstart
This is our beginner level course! After Effects Kickstart builds solid fundamentals for you as you begin your motion design career.
Who should take After Effects Kickstart?
The Absolute Beginner
You're our favorite student, someone who is a blank canvas for learning! After Effects Kickstart is the best place to start learning After Effects. This course was built to help you start from the very beginning. Honestly, we wish AEK was around when we started. Let us help you save time and frustration as you kick-start your motion design career.
AE Users That are Still Confused
There are so many bad tutorials out there that it can be frustrating to figure out which one you need to watch. After watching numerous videos you might find yourself even more confused than before. This is truly a heart breaking place to be. After Effects Kickstart is for the confused After Effects user that can't seem to get a solid grip on what's going on.
Video Editors Who Want to Learn After Effects
After Effects can be a very frustrating application if you are a video editor by trade. Even a "simple" task can be difficult, leading you to give up, buy a template, or worse, animate in Premiere (gasp). Eventually, you just end up building your animations in Premiere Pro. We'll help you grow your basic animation skills so you can take the frustration out of your workflow!
Designers that Want to Learn After Effects
Design may come naturally to you. Perhaps you live and breathe it. But, have you been interested in taking your career up a notch. Learn how to breathe life into your designs by adding motion.
Maybe you're on a design team and you work with motion designers. What are their deliverables? What is this strange language they're speaking?
As a designer you have a leg up on most motion designers! Those at the top of the animation pyramid have typically been designers first. They made pretty images and then learned how to bring them to life. Maybe you could be the next big motion designer!
After Effects Kickstart: Common Pain Points
Do any of these questions apply to you?
- Are lower thirds frustrating?
- Do you find yourself using Premiere Pro to build animations?
- Does After Effects seem too difficult to learn?
- Are you curious about why all the buttons are different?
- Are you confused by bad After Effects tutorials on YouTube?
- Are you a template user?
- Do you feel slow following tutorials?
- Are shape layers super confusing?
If you replied yes to any of the questions above, After Effects Kickstart might be for you.
What to Expect in After Effects Kickstart
Your experience will vary depending on your skill level, but here is a general look at the level of difficulty you can expect in After Effects Kickstart.
Intense After Effects Education
We're not going to put it lightly, our courses can be tough. After Effects Kickstart is a jam-packed learning experience. We dive deep into the 'why' behind what you're doing, and we don't just show you what button to push. Expect our courses to be more challenging than other online learning websites.
A Unique Course Format
We've built a learning platform from the ground up, uniquely tailored to the visual arts. In addition, your teaching assistant and fellow students give you a one-of-a-kind experience meant to help sharpen your skills.
An Encouraging MoGraph Community
Even though there is a lot to learn that doesn't mean it has to be "hard". We want to make sure you make it through. That's why we don't just throw lessons at you like robots. We're humans, and we understand that it's important to lean on your TAs and community for encouragement! We're all here to help each other and learn.
Animate Professional Storyboards
All of the storyboards created for AEK have been designed by professional designers. These illustrations have been tailored to provide clear direction for your assignments. This workflow will simulate real-world artist collaborations.
You won't believe how good you'll get.
We hit the ground running! By the end of After Effects Kickstart you'll look back and think you've time traveled. Your animations are going to be at a totally new level and your knowledge of working in After Effects will be clearer than ever.
Time Commitment: After Effects Kickstart
We don't just want to throw random numbers and lofty expectations at you. According to our student surveys, you can expect to spend an average of 15-20 hours a week working on After Effects Kickstart. This can vary from person to person, as well as how many revisions you'd like to make. You will have 8 total weeks to take the course, this includes orientation, catch up weeks, and extended critique. Altogether you will likely spend 120 - 160 hours working on After Effects Kickstart.
After Effects Kickstart Homework Examples
Students in After Effects Kickstart go from having no knowledge in After Effects, to being able to create simple explainer videos like the one you see above. Making a 30 second explainer video is no easy feat, and it takes time and patience to create. If you don't think that you could recreate the Nostril Cork explainer exercise above, then After Effects Kickstart is the course for you!
One of the most used features in After Effects is parenting! In After Effects Kickstart we teach our students how to effectively use parenting to pick up and set down objects in The Wow Factory Exercise (above). If you're unfamiliar with parenting in After Effects, as shown in the video, you may want to consider taking After Effects Kickstart.
What Are You 'Qualified' to Do Upon Completing After Effects Kickstart?
You now 'know' After Effects.
We've gone over the interface thoroughly and you can now navigate After Effects confidently! We've taught you how to lay out images and animate them to tell a basic story. You can start adding animations to video projects and those cool corporate event videos!
Become an Intern or Junior Motion Designer at an Agency
You're now ready to jump into working in After Effects at an entry level position! This could be full-time at an agency, or an internship at a studio. Don't wait to get into a full-time position to continue working on your motion design skills. Create personal projects, work on your social media presence, and write out case-studies that show you working at your craft. These are great ways to start to get noticed, and make it easier for studios to see you and know what you're doing.
After Effects Kickstart: Next Steps
You know the tool, now lets get into animation principles!
Knowing After Effects is just step one on this journey. Now you can make shapes move, but can you make it move exactly the way you want? Check out Animation Bootcamp to dig deeper into animation principles. You'll learn how to transfer ideas in your head and make them come to life. You'll go beyond the software and into motion design theory.
You can move things, but is the design captivating?
Now that you can make illustrations move, do they look good? Design Bootcamp could be the next step as you grow your career. This course is designed to be PRACTICAL. Each lesson covers basic design principles in the context of real-world motion design jobs. You’ll learn the fundamentals of design and you’ll also see how those fundamentals get used in real projects.
After Effects Kickstart: Summary
After Effects Kickstart is for the true After Effects beginner. You could be brand new to Motion Design, a video editor looking to add some AE skills to your tool box, or you are someone who is self taught but don't feel confident in the software. After Effects Kickstart will take you from the first keyframe to having all of the foundational knowledge that you will need to advance to the next level.
You'll learn about animating type, working with both Photoshop and Illustrator artwork in After Effects, basic parenting, shape layers in After Effects, using different effects, basic animation principles, and different keyframe types. By the end you will be able to animate a short advertisement-style explainer video with artwork that we've provided. If you're ready to jump in, head on over to the After Effects Kickstart page and see when you can get started!
Animation Bootcamp is our intermediate level animation course! Animation Bootcamp teaches the principles of animation that push you to learn beyond After Effect's interface. After all, there's much more to being a motion designer than simply being good at After Effects.
Who should take Animation Bootcamp?
Animation Bootcamp is for those who may have been in the industry for a few years, but don't have a solid grip on Motion Design. Perhaps you don't really understand how to make something "look good." Looking back, you notice your work could have been better, but you're not sure exactly how. If you don't have a solid grasp on navigating After Effects then you may want to think twice about this course.
After Effects Users Looking for Professional Animation Techniques
Are you unhappy with your current animations? Maybe something is off but you really know don't know what went wrong, or exactly how you should fix it. Admitting that your work isn't that good yet is fine, and it means you're open for growth. Animation Bootcamp might be a great course for you.
Artists with Rigid Animations
There is a lot that can be done to breathe life into your animation. This is where our training comes into the picture. We'll guide you step by step through animation principles and teach you how they can be applied to your motion design. Your animations will look buttery-smooth and tell convincing stories through movement.
The Inexperienced Motion Designer
Do you know how to use the graph editor? Are you confused why you should use eases on your movements? Do you find yourself hoping your animation project can be finished in time, but that pesky shape layer is giving you problems? This is definitely the course you should consider!
The Plugin Fanatic
Every new plugin promises to change your workflow and make you a better artist, but in reality plugins and tools can be distractions for you as you learn essential motion design concepts. Maybe you haven't figured out what makes a good bounce (giving a sense of weight to the bounce is tricky) and so you use a plugin. Boom! With a click of a button you have a bounce!
But, wait. What if you want it to bounce off of another object? How do you make it hang a little longer just before reacting to another force? Don't be limited by your plug-ins, let us help you out.
Animation Bootcamp: Common Pain Points
Do any of these questions apply to you?
- Do you have trouble bringing life to your animations?
- Is the graph editor confusing?
- Is parenting a nightmare? (After Effects parenting that is...)
- Do you struggle to critique animations?
- Do you have a weak motion design vocabulary?
- Do your animations have too much going on?
- Is it difficult for you to think outside the box?
- Can you seamlessly transition between scenes?
- Do you have trouble getting the ideas out of your head and onto the screen?
- Are you relying on plugins to animate?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, Animation Bootcamp might be for you.
What to Expect in Animation Bootcamp
Let's take an honest assessment of how hard Animation Bootcamp really is. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to reach out to our support team!
Lots of Real-World Projects
Animation Bootcamp projects are pushing past "how to use After Effects," and ask you to use principles that may not come naturally. Our lessons are dense, and there is a lot of homework. This course may demand roughly 20 hours of your time each week.
A Heavy Focus on Animation Principles
Animation Bootcamp asks you to not rely on plug-ins, which means you have to know how to animate by hand. You'll need to rely on the principles we teach to make it through your homework. You'll use these new techniques in every MoGraph project you create.
Develop a Realistic MoGraph Mindset
Great Motion Designers have realistic expectations about what it takes to create effective MoGraph projects. In Animation Bootcamp you'll learn that there's no such thing as a MoGraph shortcut.
Animation Bootcamp: Time Commitment
Expect to spend about 15-20 hours a week working to complete your homework for Animation Bootcamp. This can vary form person to person, as well as how many revisions you'd like to make. One question we get asked very often is, "Can I take Animation Bootcamp while having a full-time job?" There are a lot of students that have gone through Animation Bootcamp while holding full-time positions. It may be a challenge, and you'll need to set aside time, but you can do it!
Animation Bootcamp is 12 weeks long including orientation, catch-up weeks, and extended critique. If you want to get the most out of your course you will spend 180-240 total hours on Animation Bootcamp.
Animation Bootcamp: Homework
It's a little tricky to get the movements you want inside of After Effects, but in Animation Bootcamp, Joey will teach you how to get those ideas out of your head. In the Dog Fight lesson, we go over the importance of the Speed Graph, and dig deep into getting momentum correct, and much more.
After extensive time spent inside of the speed and value graph, we dig even deeper into what it means to bring your animations to life. We start implementing overshoot, anticipation, and how you can go about implementing all the skills taught in prior lessons.
In After Effects Kickstart your final assignment is a 30 second animated explainer video. We take it up a notch with Animation Bootcamp by assigning you the task of creating a full 1-minute animation.
It'll take all the skills taught in the lessons, a little bit of elbow grease, and plenty of coffee to get through this piece. If you feel like you could easily knock out all of the projects listed above, then Advanced Motion Methods may be just the course for you.
What Are You 'Qualified' to do Upon Completing After Animation Bootcamp?
After completing this course your ability to animate will have grown significantly. Here are some examples of what you can do with your new skillset!
Get Booked at Studios
If you've got a grasp of what we teach and have applied yourself, you can start looking at studios for a junior motion designer position, or at an agency for motion design roles. Save the work you've completed for our courses. People want to see what you can do!
Animate Other Designs
Start collaborating with designers. Ask if you can add motion to their illustrations and start practicing what you can do with work that's given to you. You may not have design chops just yet, but you can definitely be handed artwork and make something that looks good. A bonus to animating work designed by others is you'll start building up a portfolio.
Case Study: Animation Bootcamp with 2-3 Years of Practice
Beyond Animation Bootcamp there is a whole world of possibility for growth. So, what does it look like if you apply yourself? Take a look at this work created by School of Motion Alumni Zak Tietjen. Zak Tietjen took the skills he learned in Animation Bootcamp and applied them to his MoGraph career. Over the course of only a few years, he has developed one of the coolest personal brands in motion design.
Animation Bootcamp is a Gateway
After you complete Animation Bootcamp you will unlock a new level of animation that few ever obtain. Working hard through principles, and finishing full-blown animated videos will teach you how to dig deep. Animation Bootcamp is just a gateway to a world of storytelling possibilities. You've unlocked a new artistic eye that helps you view the world from a new lens. Where you go next is up to you!
Animation Bootcamp: Summary
Animation Bootcamp is for artists who are confident in their After Effects skills. They could be fresh out of After Effects Kickstart or someone looking to further their career by bringing their animations to the next level.
Animation Bootcamp benefits people who have a limited knowledge of the Principles of Animation, and how to apply them to their work in After Effects using the Graph Editor. By the end of this course you'll know how to use both the speed and value graph to add a whole new level of control and finesse to your animations.
Advanced Motion Methods
Advanced Motion Methods is our most challenging After Effects course. We teamed up with Sander Van Dijk to teach expert-level skills that have taken him years of trial and error to discover. This is not your typical After Effects course. The complexity of what is taught here will need to be reviewed over and over, even by well established motion designers.
Who should take Advanced Motion Methods?
If you're an experienced motion designer seeking out a real challenge, look no further. Do you want to be able to pull off amazing transitions, technical wizardry, and gorgeous movement? Maybe you're looking to get in at a top motion design studio, but you need a mentor that's been there to show you the way. Well, this is probably the course for you.
You know the principles, you can tell someone why an animation is good, but you can't figure out how someone got After Effects to do that cool move. There are complex animations that take research and development to make them come together, and unless you have a guide, these advanced concepts may stay foreign to you forever.
Serious Motion Designers
Are you passionate about animation? Maybe relatives are calling you obsessive? Are you in love with the small details or theories behind composition? Have you ever used mathematical geometry and algebra to solve your problems? Advanced Motion Methods will approach all of these concepts, and more, in an unparalleled motion design education experience.
Fearless MoGraph Fanatics
If you live for challenges and you're not going to back down from anything this might be the course for you. Seriously! This course is a beast and should only be taken by those who are up to the challenge.
Experienced Studio Professionals
If you've been working at a studio for a few years, but you're realizing you need more polish before you can start leading a team, Advanced Motion Methods can help. It's time to help your studio by getting out of your comfort zone and digging deeper than ever before.
What to Expect in Advanced Motion Methods
Our Most Difficult Course
High-Level MoGraph Concepts
We'll be digging deep into concepts that you may not have considered applying to your motion design before, like math and geometry. You'll learn techniques for good project planning, creating advanced transitions from scene to scene, and breaking down complex animations. There are no punches pulled.
We're teaching hard concepts you may not get right away, and you'll find yourself reviewing them over and over again. Advanced Motion Methods is the MoGraph equivalent of rocket science.
Taught by the smartest animator in the world.
Sander Van Dijk is a heavy-weight in the motion design world. The precision he brings to motion design is unparalleled, and you'll quickly come to see why.
Advanced Motion Methods: Time Commitment
Expect to spend more than 20 hours a week when you're looking to complete your lessons and assignments. There will also be tons of content and extra little goodies to dig through. This may sound like a lot, but if you're a serious motion designer you'll understand the investment you're making.
The course is 9 weeks long including orientation week, catch-up weeks, and extended critique. In total you will spend over 180 hours learning and working in Advanced Motion Methods.
Examples of Advanced Motion Methods Work
Jacob Richardson's final project for Advanced Motion Methods is a great example for what you'll be able to do after this course. Time to get jealous...
Kenza Kadmiry Lays Out a Road-Map
What Are You 'Qualified' to do After Advanced Motion Methods?
After completing the hardest motion graphics class online you may be asking yourself, "What can I do with these new super powers?"
You will be equipped to work at almost any studio.
If you've come to understand, and can execute on the homework assignments, then the world of motion design is completely open to you. Apply to studios, look to lead at agencies, or run solo as a freelancer. You are now equipped to bring illustrations to life with intentionality, by breaking animations down to the core.
You will likely be booked.
As a freelancer, you're looking to get better and better all the time. Showing confidently that you can do the work your client needs is essential. Advanced Motion Methods teaches you how to conceptualize, communicate, and execute. When you finish Advanced Motion Methods, start polishing your reel, your website, and start reaching out to clients.
Advanced Motion Methods: Summary
Advanced Motion Methods is for people who are established animators and are looking for an extra level of polish. They know the graph editor, and they have strong After Effects chops, but they want more. These people are looking for more theory based training, where they'll be learning techniques to refine their work. They'll get an inside look into how Sander Van Dijk creates his animations, learning every step of his process. They'll learn about structuring an animation, choosing and implementing different transitions, and breaking down complex problems. Along with many other tips and tricks to speed up their workflow.
Ready to Learn Some Animation?
We hope that you feel better equipped to make a clear decision on which animation course you should start out with! Assessing your skill-set is a very hard thing to do. There are so many variables that can affect your ability to learn. If you're still confused, make sure to contact our support team at [email protected]. They would be happy to help you find the right course for you!