Abbie Bacilla discusses getting into animation, the importance of strong principles, and networking with other artists.
We love seeing School of Motion Alumni creating amazing art and working at super cool places. Abbie Bacilla is an in-house motion graphics animator at Frame.io who's been creating some amazingly fun content! On top of working in-house she takes on personal projects and is active in the art community.
We were mesmerized her art work as we compiled this article. There's a clever humor to her personal pieces, and the illustrative work is top notch. We hope you are as inspired as we were getting to know Abbie!
How did you become a Motion Designer?
From when I was little I've always been super artsy. My parents encouraged my artistic endeavors early on, but by the time college hit, I had to prove to them that I could do art full-time.
I enrolled at Spring Hill College with a bachelor's in graphic design, where I met established motion designer and incredible mentor Alec Lewis (shoutout!). He was teaching a class in After Effects my junior year in 2016. And it was all MoGraph, all the time from there.
It just clicked.
What types of projects are you drawn to?
I've always loved illustrating; I wanted to be a character designer for a hot minute in school.Every time I feel burnout doing professional work, I feel like I can always turn back to doodling silly characters to remind myself not to take life so seriously. My work is honestly all over the place.
I don't like marrying myself to a certain type of style, despite my portfolio being really 2D and character-driven. I continue to do a bit of character work for personal projects, but I've been trying to get my hands on more conceptual 3D stuff as well.
What I do for personal projects looks almost nothing like what I do for Frame.io, and I love that because I get to exercise my creative muscles in different, fresher directions. I like to think of myself as the George Miller type of creative: with the right team and vision, I'm down for working on either Happy Feet or Mad Max.
How did School of Motion’s courses impact your style?
So far, I've taken Animation Bootcamp and Cinema 4D Basecamp. Both have really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what quality, focused animation and design could bring to a commercial, a TV show, an explainer, whatever it is.
It also gave me the tools to see what specifically can be improved/pulled back on; every time I get a critique on my animation at work, it's so much easier to say "oh, it's because that speed curve is too sharp" or "this needs more dramatic secondary animation to draw the eye".
The networking aspect of School of Motion was also life-changing...
meeting other people who are also serious about their motion careers will never not be valuable. The best thing you can do for your motion graphics career is making motion designer friends!
Do you have any advice for current School of Motion students?
Get involved. Push yourself to put in that extra hour in the graph editor. Learn those hotkeys. Go on Vimeo and look at some tasty frames. Go on the SoM class Facebook group every day and make some friends.
Critique peoples' work as thoroughly as you can. But also don't beat yourself up if you can't keep up, sometimes things are just hard, and that's okay.