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Online Education for Motion Designers: The School of Motion Way

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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.

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Before you get started, why not take a virtual tour of our campus with the founder, Joey?

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.

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Why Learn Online with School of Motion?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Our TA's are seasoned professionals that can serve as guides while you complete the assignments. Because TAs have walked the same path, they not only have the technical knowledge to help, but also understand what is like to have been a student themselves.TA's love to share their knowledge, and they are an integral part of our constructive critiques students receive throughout their courses. Sometimes all you need is someone to get you "unstuck".  Not necessarily by telling you what to do, but reminding you that you have it within you to get it done.
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School of Motion Mission Statement

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.

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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.

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VIDEOS

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.

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AUDIO (PODCASTS)

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.

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PDFS

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.

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EXERCISES

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.

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WEEKLY RECAP

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

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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.

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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


EXPLORE ALL COURSES

Dive into real-time 3D with our Unreal Engine beginner's course by Jonathan Winbush. Master importing assets, world-building, animation, and cinematic sequences to create stunning 3D renders in no time! Perfect for motion designers ready to level up.

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Unlock the secrets of character design in this dynamic course! Explore shape language, anatomy rules, and motifs to craft animation-ready characters. Gain drawing tips, hacks, and Procreate mastery (or any drawing app). Ideal for artists seeking to elevate their craft.

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Elevate your freelance motion design career with our guide to client success. Master a repeatable method for finding, contacting, and landing clients. Learn to identify prospects, nurture leads, and develop a thriving freelance philosophy amidst chaos.

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Rev up your editing skills with After Effects! Learn to use it for everyday needs and craft dynamic templates (Mogrts) for smarter teamwork. You'll master creating animated graphics, removing unwanted elements, tracking graphics, and making customizable templates.

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Stand out with Demo Reel Dash! Learn to spotlight your best work and market your unique brand of magic. By the end, you'll have a brand new demo reel and a custom campaign to showcase yourself to an audience aligned with your career goals.

Explore this Course

Illuminate your 3D skills with Lights, Camera, Render! Dive deep into advanced Cinema 4D techniques with David Ariew. Master core cinematography skills, gain valuable assets, and learn tools and best practices to create stunning work that wows clients.

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Master After Effects at your own pace with Jake Bartlett's beginner course. Perfect for video editors, you'll learn to create stylish animated graphics, remove unwanted elements, and track graphics into shots. By the end, you'll be equipped for everyday AE needs and more.

Explore this Course

Revolutionize your Premiere workflow with customizable AE templates! Master creating dynamic Motion Graphics Templates (Mogrts) in After Effects to speed up your team's work. By the end, you'll craft easily-customizable templates for seamless use in Premiere Pro.

Explore this Course
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Not sure where to start?

If you’re a beginner, here are some great courses to help you get started:

After Effects Kickstart

Dive into the fundamentals of motion design with our most popular (and recently updated) After Effects course.

LEARN MORE

Photoshop + Illustrator Unleashed

Master the basics of Photoshop and Illustrator and gain invaluable insights in this introductory level course.

LEARN MORE

Design Kickstart

An introduction to the design principles behind all great work.

LEARN MORE

More Advanced?

If you’re a more advanced student looking to up your game, here are some great options:

Animation Bootcamp

Learn the art and principles of creating beautiful movements in Adobe After Effects.

LEARN MORE

Design Bootcamp

Learn to design for motion in this intermediate-level, project-based course.

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Cinema 4D Basecamp

Learn Cinema 4D from the ground up in this exciting introductory C4D course.

LEARN MORE

Now is the time to learn the skills you need to advance in your motion design career: