Having worked in motion design (motion graphics) for the past 8 years it’s been amazing to see how quickly things are changing. Our industry isn’t alone in this, as technology is re-shaping the world at an amazing rate.
The future of every industry is up in the air, as we wait for each new innovation in computer science and tech.
I believe that visual artists (throw motion designers into this group) have as bright a future in our world as anyone.
However, this doesn’t mean things aren’t going to change.
Here are 4 predictions about the future of the motion design industry.
1. The bottom end of the market is going to be eaten up by automation
This is where we have something in common with our peers from other parts of the economy. Technology is removing the need for certain types of human functions.
Making bad video content will become increasingly easy with web apps and template services.
This means all those 1-3K dollar projects, that beginners can learn while on the job, might become more scarce.
Of course, clients using preset scripting and automated libraries to make video content has its limit.
And this is where motion designers of all levels should take note. As we go forward, quality projects that require deep problem solving and artistic sensibilities will be the projects available. The jobs that automated video services can’t complete.
The jobs with true unique qualities will still be there.
The bottom end (think super cheap, corporate explainer videos that work off the same 10-12 visual metaphors) will eat itself through the myriad of automation that’s coming.
Every motion designer should work hard right now to:
- Get their quality up
- Establish themselves as more than an After Effects user
- Build a network that yields higher end projects
- Get away from the bottom of the market
2. More motion design jobs will be in UI work
UI = User Interface
This is a trend that isn’t terribly hard to predict, since the ball is already rolling down the hill on this one.
As programmers and UI designers are being asked to incorporate the principles of animation into their user experiences, motion designers will be valuable assets to these teams.
Animating within the context of an application or website brings new challenges to the table.
Motion Designers would be smart to start thinking about some of these opportunities now and attempting to make connections into that world.
3. The big Art Schools will continue to struggle with enrollment
This has been something I’ve slowly learned about over the last year or so.
The large Art School’s are struggling to gain enrollment in motion design.
Motion Design is a niche that is unusually well resourced on the internet.
Similar to web development, it’s a computer based job, with an industry full of people sharing their knowledge.
This is a bad recipe for traditional institutions who are asking somewhere in the ball park of 100K for a degree.
Smaller (and more affordable) educational options have come to market as a result. Hyper Island is a program I’m very impressed with. Of course, and I’m biased here, MoGraph Mentor is doing some exciting things in the space as well.
I personally hope, that we see these larger institutions evolve to meet the challenges of this new reality, and if market forces have anything to say about it, they probably will.
4. The boutique video agency will be king
Small, decentralized teams of artists and producers should be very excited about the future.
The traditional challenge for these smaller firms was access to large clients.
This problem is disappearing by the second.
As the freelance pool grows, motion designers would be smart to form into small teams and work as a boutique outfit.
The great thing about small agencies is that they can retain top talent and work from a distinct artistic sensibility. This is hugely attractive to clients and the artists working in these smaller shops.
Motion Designers are not special snowflakes who are immune to a changing world.
There is going to have to be strategy and vision on the part of visual artists to keep finding the places where they are valued the most.
Our future is bright but far from certain.
Those who invest in their minds and focus on timeless disciplines, will be best positioned to meet whatever this future looks like.