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Motion Design News You Might Have Missed in 2017

By School of Motion

Get caught up on everything that happened in 2017 with this Motion Design roundup.

Motion Graphic work can take a lot of time. So if you haven’t been able to take a break this year here’s some Motion Design news from 2017 that you need to know about.
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Motion Design News from 2017

Joey sat down with Ryan Summers to talk about the MoGraph industry in 2018. Needless to say both hosts had a lot to say about the state of MoGraph.

Awesome Projects

If we had to just pick a few...

CNN Colorscope

What is likely the coolest MoGraph series of 2017, CNN Colorscope gave various MoGraph artists and studios the creative freedom to express themselves while telling the story of a color. It’s like a color theory course for non-artists. Why did CNN commission this series? Who knows! All we know is the MoGraph work is insane.


It’s always amazing to see how many MoGraph studios and artists out their dedicate their time to fighting for nobel causes. Case and point, this piece from Newfangled in Boston. Using MoGraph they’re using their artistic skills to make the world a better place.

Blade Runner 2049

It seems like ever since the first Iron Man movie UII design has been all the rage. Just as you’d expect this year was full of incredible UI examples, but our favorite definitely comes from BladeRunner 2049. While there are a lot of MoGraph things to love in that movie, the dystopian retro-futuristic UIs created by Territory take the cake. Just look at this friggin’ demo. Swoon.

Back To Bits

Over the last couple of years Back to Bits has been creating retro-inspired GIF animations. This year B2B focused on re-creating video games from the 80s and 90s. Over 40 artists contributed to the project. The results are amazing.

The Power of Like

When we grow up we want to be like Andrew Vucko. Vucko is an incredible animator/director based in Toronto. While we would never say that someone is just born a Motion Designer Vucko makes it look easy. We even chatted with him this year about how he seemingly does everything in MoGraph. This short titles ‘The Power of Like’ is an instant MoGraph classic. The visual language is insane.

American Gods Intro

You know when you see a MoGraph project and it’s so good that you feel like giving up, this projects kinda like that. Patrick Clair directed this wicked intro title sequence for American Gods. The project pairs religious symbols with neon lights. Wowzers...

Motion Graphic News 2017

2017 was also a big year for MoGraph news. Not a ‘o my gosh their giving Cinema 4D away for free’ kind of year, but still a big a year. Here’s some things you might have missed:

Adobe CC 2018

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Adobe released their 2018 version of the Creative Cloud and it added quite a few new features to After Effects, Premiere, and the rest of the creative apps. Here’s a few things you should know about:
  • Adobe did a lot to improve performance. More and more is GPU accelerated.
  • Mask / Shape points are now accessible through Expressions / Scripts. This has opened the doors for a few new tools like Overlord to hit the market.
  • HTML5 Extensions are becoming more common, allowing much more powerful tools to be created for After Effects. (If you don’t know what HTML5 means you can read about it here.)
  • All of Kyle Webster’s brushes available in Photoshop for FREE now!
  • You can now open multiple projects in Premiere. Hooray! Also, what took so long?...

Is VR starting to catch on?

VR was kinda ahead of its time. If you’ve ever worked on a VR project than you know it can be a pain to work with, but the industry is starting to catch up with the demand. Notable VR news includes:
  • Cinema 4D released R19, Which includes a Spherical VR camera.
  • Adobe bought the Mettle Skybox tools and immediately put in inside of After Effects. You can edit VR in AE and edit VR in Premiere.

New Tools in 2017

There were a ton of really great new tools that hit the market this year. Our wallets can’t seem to catch up...
  • Overlord - Overlord completely changes the 2D workflow. With Overlord you can send Illustrator files directly to After Effects without exploding shape layers or any of that stuff. Just draw and send.
  • Ray Dynamic Texture - Apply moving textures to layers in After Effects with just a few clicks. We even made a tutorial on how to use this.
  • Stardust - Craaaaazy good particle system for AE. It is a 3D particle system that allows you to import 3D models with all the bells and whistles that you could want for 3D particle work.
  • KBar - KBar allows you to create a button for any task in After Effects. We even wrote an article about how to use it.
  • X-Particles 4 - XParticles is basically a full fledged particle / volumetrics / fluid tool now. Insane!
  • HDRI Link - Soooo useful for look dev in C4D. The team at GreyscaleGorilla is killin’ it.
  • Lottie - You’re seeing this tool everywhere… Lottie basically translates code from Bodymovin’ into iOS and Android code.
  • New Cintiqs - Wacom’s product line is getting better and better. They released the Cintiq Pro 16 & Cintiq Pro 13.

Real-time revolution coming soon?

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Real-time rendering has been around for awhile now, but it hasn’t been until recently that the difference between realtime and pre-rendered quality is beginning to blur. Lots of companies are beginning to move into real time work. We even visited Vectorform in Detroit to check out their real-time VR MoGraph work for our Path to MoGraph Series (coming in 2018).
IV studio in Nashville is even releasing their first video game. This is interesting because they have always been a Motion Design studio. Even the game Cuphead integrated Motion Graphics with real-time rendering. The two worlds are starting to merge more than ever before.

Data-Driven MoGraph

Lots of companies are now using tools like Templater and new AE features to offer their clients solutions for creating tons of data-driven MoGraph. Notably companies are triggering After Effects compositions with APIs. This means virtually anyone can edit and export a Motion Graphic project without even opening up After Effects.
Notable Examples:

Motion Awards - Round 1

Motionographer once again set the bar high by running an amazing Motion Awards. Round 2 is underway and you can enter online. If you win you’ll be a MoGraph legend forever.

Up and Coming Studios

Gunner - Speaking of the Motion Awards there were a few awesome studios making headway this year. One of our personal favs is Gunner. This team out of Detroit was asked to do the Motion Awards video for 2017. Needless to say the project they created is ridiculous.
Ranger & Fox - Started up by 2 Capacity alums, Ranger & Fox is putting out MoGraph work that is just bonkers.
Igor & Valentine - We’ve been seeing Igor & Valentine’s reel everywhere lately. This team is killin’ it.

Freelancing goes Mainstream

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Now, more than ever, the dream of being a freelance Motion Designer is attainable to those who would dare take the plunge. Sorry we’ve been watching a lot of LaLaLand…
Notably Joey released his very first book, the Freelance Manifesto. Motion Designers from around the industry have shared how much they love the information inside. If you’re serious about becoming a freelancer you need to read the Freelance Manifesto.
Sander van Dijk also released his Freelance Foundations course on his site. The course gets you access to advice from one of the best freelancers in our industry. It’s well worth the money. Other sites like The Future and GreyscaleGorilla continue to put out incredible resources for Motion Designers.

More Noteworthy Stuff

Here’s some other noteworthy news from around the industry:
  • Beeple. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Has hit 10 years of everyday projects. That’s a new piece of art every day for 10 years. Wow.
  • The Blend Conference was even more amazing the second time. The conference/party was one of the coolest things we’ve ever attended. You must go next year.
  • NAB was amazing. There’s tons of great networking opportunities and many good times to be had in Vegas. At what point does the conference get too big?
  • PC’s still gaining popularity in the MoGraph world because of their cost / performance advantages… but will that change in 2018 with the new iMac Pro and possible redesigned Mac Pro?
  • Motion Design is maturing and artists are starting to see how this can be a life-long career. So what does Motion Design look like for someone with a family. We talked about growing old in the Motion Design industry on Motionographer.

Cheers to Next Year!

Well that should get you caught up for now. 2018 looks like it is going to be a huge year for MoGraph. So cheers to MoGraph, let’s keep the momentum going.

Show Notes