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Online Education for Motion Designers: The School of Motion Way
School of Motion designed our online education to be second-to-none. Years later, we stand by our model
Back in 2013, we saw a need. The world of motion design had become restricted, hidden behind a steep curve of complicated software, gatekeepers, and prohibitively expensive training. We didn't like that. In our minds, the world of motion design is meant to be open to all. So we did something about it.
We weren't the first online school, or the first school focused on motion design. In fact, we don't see ourselves as a school at all. We want to be a movement, a community of like-minded creatives seeking to learn and grow together. We brought the best minds in the industry to teach the basics...and some of the toughest courses out there.
Seven years later, we want to explore what makes School of Motion not just a great source for learning and community, but the hub for motion design.
Learn How to Get Hired
While we do offer a number of paid courses, we are always pushing out new, free content. From articles to tutorials to our bi-monthly podcast, we want to demystify the art of motion design and enable anyone to become a successful freelancer. That's why we talked to 15 world-class studios about what it takes to get hired.
Download How to Get Hired and discover the secrets of the universe! Or, you know, just get encouraged. Just don't leave it in the pile along with that book you were supposed to read for your 5th Grade English class.
Grab your free eBook today!Download Now
Why Learn Online with School of Motion?
Learn From Anywhere
Traditional brick-and-mortar schools have their advantages, but they are severely lacking when it comes to continuing education. From the overwhelming costs to the restrictive locations, it doesn't always make sense to enroll back at a university just to brush up on a new program.
Online learning has seen a huge boom in the past decade, and we believe that's only the start. We've been hard-wired to believe there is one method of learning, and that's a difficult hurdle to overcome. But seven years later, we are living proof that you don't need a huge endowment or a sprawling campus to offer career-changing courses.
Learn From the Professionals
At School of Motion, we believe the best teachers are the people who've been in the trenches. We bring in the best animators, designers, and illustrators in the industry to not just showcase their talents, but to share the hard-earned lessons they've had throughout their careers.
By using our online learning methods, we're able to capture incredible lessons from these artists, package them into digestible segments, and refresh them so the content never seems dated or lacking in value.
Learn on Your Schedule, and At Your Pace
It's no secret that people learn at different speeds. More importantly, people learn and retain material better when they are able to do it the way their brain likes. That's why we combine a variety of teaching styles, from written to auditory to tactile, so that everyone can find the path that works best for them.
Since our classes are online and our "lectures" are recorded, you can watch and rewatch until you feel confident you've absorbed the material. If you need a refresh halfway through the course, all of that content is still available for you. And while our courses are set to run at a certain pace, you are absolutely welcome to slow things down if you need the extra time on a particularly difficult subject.
Learn By Doing...With Guidance
The videos and other material we produce for our classes are amazing, but the real magic behind our format is the interactivity students get from their Teaching Assistants and fellow students.
As we said, School of Motion is a movement. We're a community. As such, you are never alone while working through our courses...or even after you've graduated.
During the course, our professional Teaching Assistants review and critique your work, offering personal guidance so you can succeed. Your fellow students are also there to encourage and support you on your journey.
How We Teach at School of Motion
We’ve made insanely high-quality training available to anyone in the world at a price point that is an order of magnitude lower than a traditional art school.
Most online schools make one of 2 mistakes: Trying desperately to replicate the IRL classroom experience online, or NOT trying to replicate it at all. The secret to making a great online class is, as with most things in life, a matter of finding the happy middle.
- In-person classrooms run at the speed of the slowest student. As an online school, we don’t have to do that, and can consequently cram much more into one lesson than a traditional teacher.
- In-person classrooms require the teacher to repeat the same lecture over and over, with varying quality of delivery. Online schools can craft the “perfect” lesson and run that lesson forever.
- In-person classrooms rely on multiple instructors teaching the same topics. We can find the best instructor and scale them through video and TA’s.
- Traditional classrooms assume everyone is following a very similar learning path, while online schools can be far more customizable.
The key to running a successful online classroom is to play to the advantages of being online. Asynchronous learning can be just as effective (if not more so) than old-school in-person lectures.
All of the “hard teaching” we do happens in video format. These tend to run between 45-75 minutes, depending on the complexity of the topic, and we try to break things up into chapters so you can pause, take a break, and come back when your brain is ready to soak up more knowledge bombs.
These videos also serve as a great way to introduce the students to their instructor. Since you're sitting down with the teacher in much the same way you have a Zoom call, it feels like they are talking just to you. Traditional lecture halls pack hundreds of students into an auditorium so they can hopefully glean something from a professor. With our method, you are the sole focus of attention.
Our podcasts with the courses are bonus content, meant to steep the student in the world of motion design and the industry as a whole. These include interviews, deep dives, and humorous musings from our instructors.
Our bi-monthly podcast series is focused on the industry and artists that make motion design such an incredible space. We want to share the triumphs—and challenges—of our community. More importantly, these podcasts allow us to elevate voices in the motion design world that are otherwise marginalized.
PDFs are meant to contain things that would be useful if printed out and stapled into a “course packet.” These include keyboard shortcuts, history lessons, lists of resources, etc…
Every one of our courses comes jam-packed with takeaways that will serve the student long after the course ends. You can never know enough hotkeys.
The exercises we ask students to do are designed to test the skills they just learned. In completing these exercises (or even just attempting them) they cement the knowledge into their brains.
We aim to make exercises feel as real-world as possible. We give them a backstory, making this feel like a role-playing game where the student plays the role of “professional artist.”
Our exercises are hard. We don't want to instill a false sense of confidence by cheating the student with an easy task. We want all alumni of SOM to have the real-world skills needed to succeed.
Every Wednesday during “content weeks” there is a module that acts as a weekly recap. This module is a video playlist that serves a few functions:
- It gives the instructor an opportunity to show the students examples of “good” homework assignments.
- The instructor can show common “gotchas” that pop up in the exercise, and how to address them.
- The instructor can add an extra tip or two that didn’t fit into the lesson.
- The TA’s get a chance to feature work from the current session.
One of the main purposes of these recaps is to give TA’s the opportunity to shine a light on hardworking students. Praise is always earned at School of Motion, but we serve it with a heavy hand.
The Journey is the Greater Experience
At a traditional school, the end goal is simple: finish your classes, pass a test, and get a piece of paper. Hurray! You did it!
...so now what?
At School of Motion, we don't see the finish line as the ultimate goal. Completing 100% of a course isn't the only metric for success. For most students, it’s not feasible. We understand that in the hierarchy of needs, an online education can often get pushed to the side when family, friends, and paying gigs come calling. The goal for our students is to work as hard as they can for 8-12 weeks and to improve a ton in the process. That’s it.
If you sign up for a course and don't finish, it's not the end of the world. As long you put in the effort and did even a few of the assignments, you will have invested energy in your skills and will emerge better than before. We know, we've seen it.
How to Determine if School of Motion is Right for You
We've set our courses up to build upon each other, but there's no specific order. We recommend you start with the basics, working your way up through the more difficult topics. But follow your passion. If you're ready to dive into the world of Cinema 4D, or start mastering expressions, don't let anyone stop you.
If you're not sure where to start, or what course you want to take next, we've even put together a quiz to point you in the right direction.
Finally, if you're just breaking into our wild world of motion design, we have a free course just for you: Path to MoGraph