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Behind the Keyframes: Lead & Learn with Greg Stewart

By Ryan Plummer
After Effects

Greg Stewart takes us behind the keyframes to chat about three fantastic motion design projects.

As a School of Motion Alumni, Greg Stewart has worked on projects big and small, showcasing his thoughtful visual communication skills in everything he creates.
Greg recently leaped into full-time freelancing and what a rollercoaster it has been. In this new video format I sat down with Greg to chat about three different animation projects.
All of these projects offered their own unique challenges, from managing a team of motion designers to animating a solo project with complete freedom to being mentored by giants in the industry. If you're ready to get a taste of what the freelance lifestyle is like from one of the kindest people in the industry this commentary is for you. Enjoy!
Motion Design Commentary and Project Walk-Through

Download the Free Project File

Want to take a behind the scenes look at one of these projects? Greg was kind enough to pitch in this free After Effects project file for you to download and play with. Just click the download button below. Note: This project file is for After Effects Version 14.0 and 16.0.

Download a free project file from Greg Stewart

Download the File

Who is Greg Stewart?

Greg Stewart is a Motion Designer based out of Minnesota, but born Canadian. He's taken several School of Motion courses including Animation Bootcamp, Design Bootcamp, Explainer Camp, and is currently in the Advanced Motion Methods Beta. Greg has worked alongside some very well known animation geniuses, such as JR. Canest, and spent time working at Giant Ant. In short, Greg is legit.
Here's his demo reel:

What Videos Are Discussed in the Commentary?

1. CROSS19 - Directing A Team of Animators

Heading up creating a team to complete this motion project is no easy task. In this section Greg talks about his role as a project lead. We chat about how he handled setting up his team with the direction they need, and hiring last minute freelancers to complete deadlines.
Greg pulled in other School of Motion alumni to help build out these motion graphics. In the video Greg talks about how having a common language helped move the projects forward in a smooth manner.
CROSS19 Animation

2. Helpshift - Running Solo with a Lot of Freedom

Having creative freedom is a dream for most motion designers. For this project created for Helpshift, Greg had an artistic license to do almost anything he wanted, and the work that came from it was a delight to watch.
There can be a lot of road blocks that you can run into when the client hands off responsibility. In this section we chat about how he navigated meetings, feedback, and how simple techniques used while building his projects saved him a ton of time.
HelpShift Explainer Video for VeracityColab

3. GOD - Working with the Big Guns & Being Mentored

What is it like to work under a master? One of the most exciting parts of this commentary is the discussion about working with JR. Canest and Victor Silva. Together this dream team tackled a project commissioned by The Bible Project called "GOD".
Still images from GOD by The Bible Project
The result is a stunning use of simplicity and complex technical animations that leave you asking "how did they do that?" Luckily we got some insight on how they pulled off a few of those moves.
GOD, an explainer video for The Bible Project

Want to learn more?

Don't stop now, Greg has been an open book when it comes to his motion design workflow. You can check out his interview on minimalistic animation. There you'll find sketches, book references, and sneak peaks into other motion projects.
If you want to see more work he's done you can check out his super awesome website!
If you're interested in learning how to speak the language of a motion designer then check out our Animation Bootcamp. There you'll learn the principles of animation, how to wield the dynamic power of After Effects, and get connected to a support network of other motion designers on the same journey. That's all for now, happy animating!