Last year was, to put it mildly, epic.
One year ago I wrote an article describing what we were planning in 2017. We had lofty goals! We had dreams! Did we achieve them
Before I talk about what we’re up to in 2018, I’d like to take a minute to reminisce about the action-packed year that just ended. We added new courses, new staff, new Teaching Assistants, and a whole lot more.
New courses, new content, new connections.
Last year we added two new courses, After Effects Kickstart and Explainer Camp. We released a friggin’ book, The Freelance Manifesto (which has a 5-star rating on Amazon). We hired the one and only Caleb Ward, who has gotten our content schedule into shape and helped us release, on average, 3 new articles / tutorials a week. We took a field trip to Michigan to visit Gunner, Vectorform, Lunar North and YeahHaus (more on that soon). Joey attended the second Blendfest, and taught classes as Post-Production-World at NAB. We ran the biggest MoGraph giveaway contest that I’ve ever seen.
And here’s a big one. We re-launched our entire site, which may not seem like much on the surface, but was probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done. You may be wondering why, in this modern age of SquareSpace and Wordpress it’s difficult to launch a website. Let me tell you.
School of Motion is now a platform.
If you’ve never taken one of our courses, you’ve only seen the surface of School of Motion. Our classes now run on a 100% custom platform which can deliver content in any manner and on any schedule we dictate. It can handle files uploads and critique directly on the site (much like Frame.io) and provides students one-click access to their Teaching Assistant. It allows single-sign-on for every feature we offer (and those we will offer this year) and gives us the ability to iterate and grow our app into whatever makes sense moving forward.
Our team keeps expanding.
Along with our shiny, new tech capabilities we’ve also upgraded our team. There are now five full-timers keeping the School of Motion train running, and our Teaching Assistant roster has climbed to 16 strong, featuring amazing artists from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Poland.
We’ll be adding new TA’s constantly as our enrollment grows and our course offerings increase.
Over. Three. Thousand. Alumni.
Yeah… that’s 3000. There are School of Motion alumni in more than 85 countries. We are starting to get email from our students who have gotten jobs in the industry with no training whatsoever aside from their School of Motion education. We’re making good on our mission to train people to be professional Motion Designers without the massive opportunity cost of traditional student debt.
So what’s next?
I thought you’d never ask! 2018 is going to be the year we build on the foundation set up in 2017. With the team and technology that we have now, we can do just about anything we set our minds to. We have the capability to pull off training unlike anything you’ve seen on the internet, which is why we’re unveiling… (drumroll, please)...
Cinema 4D Basecamp
The #1 request we get by far is this: Please make a Cinema 4D course as comprehensive and interactive as the rest of your courses. We’ve wanted to do this for the past couple of years, but we didn’t have the bandwidth or the right instructor to help us make this course a reality. Well, I’m happy to announce that we now have both.
In early 2018, we will release the ultimate Cinema 4D training course. Cinema 4D Basecamp will feature a 9-week curriculum to bring you from “I’ve never opened Cinema 4D” to “I’m ready to use Cinema 4D in my next project.” It will be interactive, with world-wide student groups and Teaching Assistants providing tech support and critique. It will be decked to the nines with content, and it will be taught by someone you’re already familiar with. Someone who is already helping to teach the world the amazingness that is Cinema 4D. Who am I talking about?
The man… the myth.... The legend… EJ Hassenfratz.
This course will be the foundation from which we can begin teaching you all aspects of the 3D world as it relates to Motion Design. This is just the beginning…
Multiple courses in development
In addition to Cinema 4D Basecamp, we’re working on a whole slew of other courses that will see release in 2018. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s going on behind-the-scenes.
This course will be a shorter precursor to Design Bootcamp, intended to get students a bit more comfortable with the basics of design before throwing them to the sharks in the difficult, amazing Design Bootcamp.
Advanced After Effects Techniques (title TBD)
Have you ever been handed a set of boards to animate and thought, “How the hell am I going to do this?” This class will take you through several examples and techniques, and will focus on problem-solving inside of After Effects.
Title Design Bootcamp
Title sequences are often the high water mark for Motion Designers. They can be conceptual, artistic, and frankly, very difficult to do well. We’re working on the ultimate apprenticeship for Motion Designers looking to test themselves on these incredible projects.
The Express Train (title TBD)
“I want to learn expressions,” said every After Effects artist ever. Well, okay, we’ll teach you. This course will bring you from zero to coder, and will give you the support you need to finally grasp the concepts and syntax needed to become a power-user of expressions in After Effects.
The Path to MoGraph
This short course will be the gateway drug for many a’ MoGrapher in 2018. This 10-day course shows you what it really means to be a Motion Designer today, and gives you a small taste of the studio life. The Path to MoGraph will feature the studios we shot during our field trip to Detroit, and… I should probably mention this… will be FREE.
Motion Design gigs made simpler.
One of the biggest initiatives we’re undertaking this year is the creation of an easier way for artists and companies to find each other. We’ll start by launching a jobs board in a few weeks, and that’s just the beginning.
Our jobs board will be unique even in its initial, MVP form. You’re probably thinking, “how much better can you possibly make a jobs board?” Well… actually a LOT better. We’ve been working on this for months, we’ve been doing research, and we’re ready to share a bit of the vision.
Market outreach and education.
We will be doing tons of outreach to companies all over the world to tell them about our students and our larger community of Motion Designers. It might not surprise you to know that most people who need to hire a Motion Designer don’t actually know much about Motion Design. We aim to fix that. This should not only help companies find and use our jobs board, but it should help raise overall awareness of the role Motion Designers play in today’s market.
Easy connections between artist and client.
Every person who has a free account on our site has a user profile that can be filled out. Up until now, we haven’t really made much noise about this because it wasn’t useful yet. Well… now it’s going to be really useful. Our jobs board will be set up for one-click application to jobs, both full-time and freelance.
This functionality will also save time for the job poster. It will allow them to pre-screen candidates in seconds by seeing a snapshot of every artist who has applied.
Solve the “Fog of Freelance” problem.
If you’ve ever had to hire a freelancer, you know that it can be a royal pain in the tuchus. How do you know that they’re reliable? How do you know that their available? How the heck do you even know who’s out there? We’ve been talking to lots of producers and studio owners, and this problem is universal. Hiring freelancers sometimes feels like a crapshoot. While we may not be able to make the process entirely frictionless, we’ve got some ideas and plans to help make it easier for companies to hire freelancers, and for freelancers to advertise their services. This feature won’t launch for a while, but it should be ready in 2018 and will hopefully make everyone's’ lives easier on both sides of the hiring equation.
Looking to the future
This year we’ll keep on making new tutorials, writing new articles, releasing new podcasts, and doing everything we can to be the best resource possible for the Motion Design community. We’ve got some long-term initiatives that we’ll start chipping away at such as:
Exploring the intersection of UI / UX and MoGraph.
With the growth of Lottie and Bodymovin’ last year, it’s clearer than ever that Motion Designers will be working on app prototyping more and more over the next few years. We want to start educating our audience about these tools and building classes and content to train artists on these emerging technologies.
Dig in to the real-time revolution.
After visiting Vectorform last year, we’re convinced that real-time rendering platforms will be a big deal in the future. When it comes to mediums like AR and VR, tools like Unreal and Unity will become indispensable to Motion Design studios. Artists will need to expand their toolset to include real-time tools like those (plus a little code, maybe) to keep up. We plan on making that transition a bit easier.
After Effects is just the beginning.
In-person is still an important thing.
We have a long-term goal at School of Motion to create a live event with a focus on training. Events like FITC and Blendfest have basically perfected the “get insanely inspired” conference, and we’d like to build the ultimate “brain-overload-learning” conference for our industry. It’ll be an epic undertaking to pull this off, but it’s something that’s on our future calendar.
Wanna be a part of this?
We’re always looking for new content contributors, instructors, teaching-assistants, and team members. Our goal is to build the best online school for Motion Designers in the Virgo Supercluster, and we need amazing people to help us make it happen! If you’re interested in climbing into this rocket ship with us, hit us up at [email protected].
Onwards and upwards.
Thanks a million for reading this gigantic update, and for being a part of our community. We never imagined we’d get this far, and we’ve got even bigger dreams to share with you in the future. This is your site, and we are here to make this site whatever you need it to be to help you in your career. Please, don’t hesitate to reach out with any feedback or suggestions, we are always listening.
Oh, and one more thing.
Gird your loins. It’s going to be a beautiful year.
Joey, Alaena, Caleb, Amy & Corey
The School of Motion Crew