Christian Prieto shares how he landed his dream job as a Motion Designer at Blizzard Entertainment.
What’s your dream job? Working at Buck? Blizzard? Disney? Our guest today is no stranger to pursuing his dreams. Christian Prieto is a Los Angeles based Motion Designer who went from working in the financial world to a new gig as a Motion Designer at Blizzard Entertainment. How cool is that?!
Here’s Christian’s latest demo reel:
As a School of Motion Alumni, and all-around great guy, we thought it’d be fun to ask Christian how he landed this sweet gig and if he has any advice for those looking to land their own dream jobs.
Christian Prieto Interview
Talk to us about your background. How did you get started with Motion Design?
I actually worked in the financial industry when I lived back in my hometown of Tampa, FL. I decided that it wasn't the career for me, and after much soul searching I moved out to San Francisco to pursue a BFA in the Web Design / New Media program at the Academy of Art University.
Within that program, there was only ONE motion design course that taught Adobe Flash and After Effects during one semester. After taking that class, I was immediately hooked and decided that motion graphics was definitely the career path I wanted to pursue. I then transferred to Otis College of Art in Los Angeles to study in their Digital Media department.
After my time there, I had some incredible internships that helped me get started in the MoGraph field. I then got hired at various agencies as a "digital designer", primarily making graphics for social media and websites.
My background in Motion Graphics always seemed to give me the upper hand, since I was able to design and animate. Since then I've wiggled my way through the industry, getting blessed with some great opportunities working at some notable companies and agencies.
What resources were particularly helpful for you as you learned Motion Designer?
When starting out, I was relying on the usual suspects for MoGraph knowledge, which included Video Copilot, Greyscale Gorilla, and occasionally Abduzeedo for various tutorials. Of course, School of Motion was the more recent resource that has been the strongest resource yet.
What MoGraph jobs have you had? How has your career progressed?
I didn't obtain the official title of "Motion Graphics artist" until recently, it feels like. The previous roles I've had before were typically a "digital designer", where I was creating various graphics for social media or print, but I also had some motion graphics capabilities that I would use sparingly.
However, over the past couple years I've been hired as a Motion Graphics artist at places such as TBWA\Chiat\Day, NFL, Speedo, Skechers and most recently Blizzard Entertainment.
My career has completely progressed in the focus of work I do now. Before I would occasionally dabble in motion graphics, but it wasn't my main job. Now, Motion Graphics IS my main focus. I used to create websites, social media GIFs, anything digital really. Now, I'm strictly motion design.
What MoGraph/Artistic advice has helped you the most in your career?
It's really tough to pin point ONE bit of advice that was the game changer for me...
I think I've picked up a TON of helpful tips from the community I've met through SoM and various Slack channels. They've helped answer my questions along the way, so it was a HUGE help to have that insight from my peers and know how to handle certain situations.
HOWEVER, if there's one bit of "advice" I've learned recently, it was through Ash Thorpe's "Collective Podcast". He mentions that people in this field eventually find their "bliss", and I feel like I've been getting much closer to that more recently.
We all want to make awesome and beautiful work, we all want to work for the coolest companies out there. But at the end of the day, it's all about being TRULY happy.
Finding that balance is CRUCIAL. It's all about being able to do work that your proud of, challenging yourself everyday, surrounding yourself with people that inspire you, and having the ability to spend QUALITY time with the people you love. All of these are critical ingredients to achieve that bliss.
How did you land a job at Blizzard?
I actually had interviewed with the company twice for the same role over the course of a year or so. The first round of interviews took quite a while to complete, but I wasn't selected. However, the following year they had another motion graphics position open up and I applied.
There were several rounds of interviews, followed by a pretty rigorous design test. I was asked to create a graphics package for any of their games. This included a title card, lower third and end card. They wanted to see style frames and any process work, such as sketches, animation tests, etc. After submitting my design test, I was awarded the job.
What will your new job role be?
The new job role will be a motion graphics artist with the internal video team at Blizzard. This will be creating graphics and animations for any and all of the various properties owned by Blizzard.
How has School of Motion impacted you and your career?
School of Motion was a gigantic influence in my most recent achievements in the Mograph field. Previously, I had only dabbled in Mograph. But ever since I took my first SoM course (Animation Bootcamp) it feels like everything was put into overdrive. My focus is crystal clear.
Animation Bootcamp was such a valuable resource. It was like a beacon for all the most effective information in our field.
The Alumni group has also been an invaluable resource. I've made some GREAT friends through SoM, people I would almost consider family. Getting to meet some of these people in person through Meetups or conferences has been unbelievably awesome. There is a huge sense of camaraderie, and everyone genuinely wants to help each other out. That has been nothing that I've ever seen anywhere, and it's great.
What is your favorite MoGraph project that You've Personally Worked on?
I would probably say the most rewarding MoGraph project I've done so far was the splash screen animation for the National Geographic app. This was probably one of my first freelance projects where I did the entire gamut of the process, which included estimating the project cost, creating mood boards, style frames and final animations. It was a very rewarding process, and incredibly awesome to do all this from home.
What tutorial should every Motion Designer watch?
There are PLENTY of tutorials out there that can teach you how to make some awesome stuff. However, the one resource I would HIGHLY recommend is Carey Smith's "Style and Strategy" video. This isn't a tutorial that teaches you how to push certain buttons to create something cool.
It digs deep and teaches you WHY you should be doing something, and also covers some very relatable topics (such as deadlines and design process that every designer should be familiar with). I would describe this to be all the principles and theories from art school and the working industry, bundled up into one informative and HILARIOUS delivery method. It should be mandatory to watch this.
SoM Note: Here’s the tutorial from Carey Smith. We actually interviewed Carey recently and talked about this tutorial and his work as a MoGraph artist.
What is your favorite inspiration resource?
MOVIES and 90's Nickelodeon shows. I grew up during the golden era of Nickelodeon, and it's crazy to see all the design styles making an epic comeback. Movies are always such a great resource to see good (or bad) storytelling and character development.
Where can people see more of your stuff?
You can view some of my work on my website http://christianprieto.com/, but I will definitely be putting more effort into my social media channels in the near future (such as Vimeo, Behance, Instagram and Dribbble).