How’d You Get Here: Motion Design

Jacob is our motion designer. Our resident Welshman, he’s a fan of football, hiphop and curry sauce, and can always be found with a Jaffa Cake in hand. 

What do you do at Elastic?

I’m the Motion Designer here at Elastic. Animating, filming… if it moves or has the potential to move then I’ll render the hell out of it.

How long have you worked in motion design?

Technically a fair few years, but post-graduation I’m into my 4th year of pure industry shenanigans.

Do you work in the field you went to school for?

Kind of… I must admit after leaving 6th form I dropped out of two art colleges before making my way onto the Graphic Design course at Edinburgh Napier. And even then, I discovered Motion Design quite late on. It all involved various levels of colouring in, so I’d say the same field.

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What’s the strangest job you had before you got into design?

Sheep rustling. (Editor’s note: we’re pretty sure this is a joke)

How did you get into design?

At school I jumped into art, then after school I jumped out of art college. Soon after I jumped up to Edinburgh and landed myself on a design course. Creating things is like having an itch you have to scratch. From paint, sculpture to print and then motion, it’s all the same type of thing.

How has your position evolved throughout your career?

At first I was pure After Effects and animation-orientated, creating visuals for power plants, construction and all that jazz. But then I found myself as a TV studio cameraman and on-screen motion guy. Now I’m more of a motion designer, with camera work to accompany it.

What were the biggest challenges when you started your career?

Not being terrified of deadlines.

What’s your favourite thing about your current position?

I get to bring ideas to life. Sometimes they’re my own ideas, sometimes others are trusting (or foolish) enough to hand me over theirs to animate.

What’s your least favourite thing about working in motion design?

Render times. If I could own my own render farm, with wee graphics cards running around free in the cool breeze, then my life would be complete.

What makes a good motion designer?

Someone who isn’t afraid to jump in. Learn on the job, don’t hesitate to ask how something is done and motivate yourself.

What’s an unexpected skill that has helped you in your career?

Photoshopping my co-worker’s faces onto 80s band posters.

What tips do you have for someone trying to get into motion design?

If you follow a motion graphic tutorial, implement it somewhere completely different to what you’ve seen. Don’t follow trends, always try new things. Storyboard absolutely everything you can before you go wasting time on screen. Get out there and film, animate, create. You can’t wait for something to come to you.

What’s something you would tell someone on their first day as a motion designer?

Draw! Chances are you’re in a whirlwind of uncertainty, and unless you’re thrown into the deep end by 10am, just draw some ideas. Storyboard, plan, organise.

Thanks for that, Jacob! Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this ongoing series: Marketing, Copywriting, Motion Graphics & Design. As always, if you’re in the market for motion graphics for your brand, contact us today!


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