When you go online to look for inspiration, it’s easy to get sucked into search spirals that lead to odd medical breakthroughs, conspiracy theories, or celebrity gossip. We’ve all experienced this randomness. But it’s hard to be a motion designer in a void, so what happens when a group of highly driven, creative, and patient people come together to motivate each other?
Now, many would take one look at me and think, “I bet that millennial hipster is really good at connecting with his peers online and probably worked at a coffee shop.” But would you believe that I am a Xennial (born between 1977 and 1983, we are totally different I swear) who was once a bit of a social media troglodyte? Sure, I posted plenty of dog, daughter, and travel photos while right under my nose, people were connecting and doing so much more.
It wasn’t until finishing an online course that I was granted access to my first Facebook motion design group. It was here that I learned how many folks were doing the same sort of work that I was, and how many other groups were out there to join. Once inside it’s easy to be jealous of those who have skills that you don’t, those who have more time to work on creative projects, or those who seemingly draw from an endless pit of creativity that inspires awe. Instead of falling into despair, my suggestion is to learn from them! Most people seem to love sharing how they create their animations, and some will even post project files or tutorials so you can begin to create your own magic.
Another helpful thing to do is post your own work. It’s good to hear feedback from people who aren’t stakeholders in your work. Just be careful not to post work that’s part of an NDA, or that you don’t have permission to post. Most importantly, offer your help to others. I have taken conversations from Facebook to the phone to help walk people through whatever questions they might have. It reinforces patience and problem-solving, and I find that it drives me to learn more, and thus offer more.
If you don’t like social media, look up conferences to attend. I go quite often. I get to make new friends, hang out with my heroes, learn some tips and tricks, and relate to the iconoclasts of our industry (who, by the way, all seem to have the same problems that we do). When it’s over, go home refreshed. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and show off your work. If you need help, reach out to the people you’ve met for advice. CGI Interactive held an event of their own called Life with Pixels. It was at this event that I first became aware of the company and the connections I made motivated me to apply, and now work here.
There are dozens of online communities out there, not just for motion design but for whatever you’re passionate about. The more energy you put into them, the more you get in return. Look for Facebook groups, Slack channels, blogs, and forums. Or search for meetups and conferences. When you’re stuck, reach out. There’s usually someone willing to help. There may even be somebody out there with the same problem that can be supported by the answers to your questions. Seek out other’s work for motivation and inspiration. Practice every day, and post your progress. Soon, you’ll find your skills will flourish. Not only will you master your practice, but you will help others grow as well.