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How learning about motion made me a better artist

Posted by Natalie Spindle on Dec 6, 2017 08:55 AM

On any given day, Brunet-García’s designers can be found engrossed in their computer screens or brainstorming brilliant ideas. The entire team strives to learn new skills that keep the agency’s work innovative. Art Director Bianca Borghi recently enrolled in a motion design course to learn more about animation. I asked her to discuss her motivation behind pursuing the course and the progress she made.

All designs and assets were provided by School of Motion. Animations by Bianca Borghi.

What made you interested in pursuing digital animation? 

Before I took this course, motion design was always a mystery to me. I had a hard time trying to envision how it was even possible to make something that’s designed as a static image move so fluidly the way many great animators do. That curiosity is what motivated me to try and understand movement, both the technical and visual aspects of it.

What program did you enroll in and why did you select it?

I enrolled in the School of Motion’s Animation Bootcamp. The course was a six-week, intensive online course, and we were given two lectures/tutorials per week with an accompanying animation assignment to complete in Adobe After Effects. Our finished animations were uploaded to their database for a teaching assistant to review and offer critiques. Additionally, we were encouraged to post our work on the Animation Bootcamp Facebook group and receive feedback and encouragement from other students.

What have you learned so far from a technical perspective?

You never realize how little you know about movement until you try to replicate it from a drawing. Fully grasping the nature of movement and observing how things react to gravity based on weight, material, and surface texture are extremely important in animation. Even though most people know very little about physics or motion from a technical perspective, we have the ability to notice when something looks really wrong in a poorly done animation. For example, if a bowling ball starts floating up in the air we immediately think, “Wait … what?” (although this could look cool if it’s done right). By having an understanding of how to replicate motion in animation software, I can take the physics of it all and defy it completely to create something that looks really interesting, like water pouring up, or a man walking on walls. Anything is possible in animation.

This animation by Bianca Borghi was created under a National Science Foundation (NSF) contract.  It is not intended to state or imply NSF endorsement or recommend Brunet-García products or services. 

What have you learned about yourself and your design work from the course?

I tend to be very unorganized and even more impatient when I try to work quickly. I’ve grown used to throwing some vectors and layers together, wiping my hands clean and calling it a day. This does not bode well in motion design, and that was a hard pill to swallow. Patience and organization are essential in this medium; your workflow is much more vulnerable to an accidental click that could screw everything up, and Command+Z won’t be there to save you by the time you realize your mistake. 

How do you hope to apply your new skills?

One of the biggest things I’ve taken away from this course is that animation is tedious and time-consuming. It requires a lot of commitment and pre-planning, and this realization kicked my whole design process into shape—across the board, not just in animation. It forced me to be more intentional in the concepting stages and be more mindful when organizing my files. I’ve already noticed more ease when working on a day-to-day project.

Animation is hard. It’s a challenging, tedious, mental-frying process, and there were many times that I cursed at my computer screen and contemplated why I ever thought it would be a good idea to enroll in a course. The uphill was really high, but it’s extremely rewarding to see a project come to life when it’s done. From an artistic perspective, being able to observe and understand motion more clearly has allowed me to see things in life a little bit differently and apply the visuals I see to my work. Having the ability to animate opens a lot of doors for me in what I am able to contribute to Brunet-García as well as in my own personal creative expression.

Though the course was hard as hell, the personal and professional growth I retained from it made it well worth my while.