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dmxlighter

Future MG Designer - I need Advice!

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Hi all, Future Mo designer here.

 

 

I’m looking to peruse a career in Motion Design but I’d really like some input from people working as fulltime motion designers.

 

 

First a little about me,

 

I starting using AutoCAD at the age of 10, and was proficient with Photoshop and Premier by high school. I do some freelance set & lighting design in the Tampa Bay area, and have a good bit experience in the realm of live entertainment production. I’ve been playing with AE for about 2 years and found that I really enjoy creating digital content - So much so that I’m seriously considering it as a career.

 

 

So my questions are….

 

 

Where should I go to get a degree? (I live in Tampa Florida, and would like to stay in state for scholarship reasons. The only local school I’m aware of is Full Sail)

 

 

Is the university I choose really important?

 

 

How much can I really expect to make as a motion designer? (considering what my degree will cost)

 

 

How easy or hard is it to come by work?

 

 

Is there any hope of doing this in Tampa or even Florida, or do I pretty much have to move to LA?

 

 

Should I first seek a degree in graphic design?

 

 

Are there enough jobs to support new motion designers?

 

 

Does anyone know a local motion designer here in Tampa I could talk with?

 

 

 

Hope this isn’t too many questions; I’d appreciate any advice you all have to offer.

 

 

 

 

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There have been a few posts like this, it usually boils down to 'focus on learning design, software comes and goes'. Who knows what motion gfx will be in 5 years time? The fundamentals of good design will last you a lifetime though.

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I've heard of a place called the Screen Engine in Tampa. They do motion graphics. I think there is a decent amount of stuff going on in Orlando. You should check out this topic: http://mograph.net/board/index.php?showtopic=24207

 

There's a debate among motion designers. School or No school? You should check the Mograph for more information about this issue...but, it basically boils down to how you learn. If you don't go to school you could possibly get a job somewhere and gain lots of valuable experience that way...There is definitely benefits from school. Look at schools with good Art Departments. What about Florida State? Don't they have an awesome Film School?

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As Firemind and Trione have alluded to it's difficult to advise someone one way or another on the formal education thing.

There are people who will just not learn the formal design basics on their own or can't learn that way and for those people a formal education is probably quite valuable. There are those who are more naturally bent towards learning on their own and who will be able to pickup everything they need from internship experiences and self-educating.

Similarly, it's difficult to say exactly what ones earning potential is. Creative fields have never been easy to nail down numerically since there is so much variety in career path and market. Generally speaking you're not going to be making lawyer or day-trader money, particularly in smaller markets. Definitely take this into account when considering your educational goals. If you're going to need to go deep into debt to pay for the education then, given your initial earning potential, it may make more sense to spend some time hunting down internships, apprenticeships, etc. and seeing if you can forgo the expensive degree program. If you discover you can't then drop the dough and get the degree. You may also find in this process that the field isn't for you or that you're more interested in something else before you get locked into a non-transferable degree program. That would be a bummer.

 

I can't really speak to the availability of work in your market but, in general, if you're a good designer there will be demand for your skills somewhere. Sometimes it might not be the glamorous NYC studio but good designers and animators can find work.

Are there enough jobs to support new motion designers? Probably. It depends on how narrowly one defines a motion designer. There are other threads on mograph that have alluded to this fact, but a lot of "motion designers" are "new" in the sense that a good number of people shift to a more directorial or managerial role as they get older and room opens up for fresh faces to take over the day to day animation and design work.

 

At the end of the day the broader your design knowledge the more employable you'll find yourself. Someone who just knows how to operate after effects and photoshop is easily disposable. Someone who has good fundamental design and critical thinking skills can transfer those skills to whatever technique or tool is needed for the project. This second person is much more valuable.

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Thanks for your input, It really helps.

 

I guess I’m a little nervous about taking the step and committing to this without really knowing where or what I might end up doing. But it sounds like that’s just part of being a motion designer, you’re a designer who specializes in motion but can do any kind of design. I suppose I need to get connected with the local design community and see what work or internships I can find.

 

Thanks again!

 

 

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To give you some FL perspective, I'm up in Jacksonville and though while there isn't work like there is in NY/LA, you can still irk out a living, especially if you're good. The internet makes the world small so depending on what you want out this you can do fine in a smaller market.

 

FSU does indeed have a great film school, maybe double major in that and design, you'll get both halves of the equation.

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Solid advice here, and I'll echo the idea that schooling is for people who want a guided education. You have to work your ass off and push yourself regardless of the route you take, but with schooling you're paying for the structure, the feedback, the guidance, and access to stuff you probably wouldn't know to appreciate on your own. Give it a shot in the work world for a while and figure out what kind of work you want to do. That will greatly inform your decision about school later on.

 

Additionally, if you do decide to go the school route, don't go to a trade school (last time I checked, Full Sail was a trade school). Trade schools will teach you tools and techniques, which can be helpful, but as has been said here, a tool-user is easily replaceable. A thinker is more valuable. If you can, go to a real art school, not just a school with an art program. It's pretty debateable I suppose, but reputable dedicated art schools attract better teachers of the arts and more artistically-inclined students. At the student level, you'll learn more about art from a culture of artists than you will from a culture of business, pre-med, and psych students.

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Additionally, if you do decide to go the school route, don't go to a trade school (last time I checked, Full Sail was a trade school). Trade schools will teach you tools and techniques, which can be helpful, but as has been said here, a tool-user is easily replaceable. A thinker is more valuable. If you can, go to a real art school, not just a school with an art program. It's pretty debateable I suppose, but reputable dedicated art schools attract better teachers of the arts and more artistically-inclined students. At the student level, you'll learn more about art from a culture of artists than you will from a culture of business, pre-med, and psych students.

 

This is a good point. Ringling is an excellent art school in FL over in Sarasota, which isn't too far from Tampa I believe.

 

http://www.ringling.edu/

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I'd really like to thank you all for your continued advice!

 

I was taking a shot in the dark posting this here on Mograph, but I’m honestly surprised at the quality and quantity of advice you all have offered. I think I have a solid idea of how I need to approach this upcoming year concerning my career, and wanted to thank you all for the role you've played in helping me make some decisions. Who knows, I might be working with some of you in the coming years.

 

Thanks all, and thanks Mograph for hosting one of the most helpful forums I've ever used - two thumbs up!

 

 

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I don't think the school matters, only your portfolio.

But once Hired I feel like a solid education can help you move forward.

In my opinion a bachelors degree is useful because: You get a broad education of global politics, english, people, diversity, critical thinking, and so on....

If you just want to make a kick ass portfolio, you can do it through the internet with classes like fxphd, and tutorials.

Formal educatation, in my opinion, is about much more then creating a good portfolio.

 

reminds me of a quote from somewhere, Technicians and what not are a dime a dozen, someone that can work well with others, communicate, and lead is priceless

 

My portfolio sucked after my bachelors degree, My teachers were learning as we were, along side of us. The most important thing I learned is that education is an ongoing process.

 

How much will you make as a mograph artist? depending on where you live anywhere from 24,000 -100,000 (rough guess)

 

But then you have to ask yourself are you really going to be a mograph artist your whole life(absolutely nothing wrong with that), or can you/ do you want to move into art direction, producer, project management..

 

Do you have what it takes to take those skills and start your own business...Do you want to.

 

If money is most important to you, I wouldn't pursue mograph as a career. It seems alot of people do this because they love it. Not that you can't make good money.

 

mograph is craft like any other, To make alot of money takes alot more then being a great artist.

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