4 Insights into the Future of Motion Design

Image of Lindsey Wilhelm
Lindsey Wilhelm
After Effects

The amount of content the average person consumes in a day is massive and continuously increasing - with no intention of slowing down. We're constantly scrolling, stopping only for eye-catching or easily digestible content. And with more and more mobile videos being watched on mute, it's increasingly difficult to capture a viewers’ attention. So how can a brand break through the noise of the overstimulated consumer? By using motion design, of course!

Motion design isn’t just an element of the gifs and videos that come across your social feed. When done well, motion design can turn mundane information into compelling, visually exciting content that grabs, and hopefully holds, the viewers’ attention. It's widely used in long-form video, commercials and films - all to bring an idea or concept to life and spark the viewer's interest. With the technology landscape in a constant, full sprint towards innovation, the industry and its creative talent are facing a bright future.


Investing in the Future

After Effects World (formerly Adobe Video World) is a conference designed for animators, motion designers, VFX artists and filmmakers of all skill levels. Organized in cooperation with Adobe and attended by some of the industry’s most brilliant minds, this event stands out as an industry heavy hitter. To a Digital Art Director like myself, it was paradise. Imagine three full days of ground-breaking sessions presented by Adobe-certified instructors and After Effects engineers - it’s a Digital Art Director’s paradise! More importantly, imagine learning first hand from the developers of After Effects as they discuss the process that went into creating After Effects, as well as what they’re working on for the future.

Although I can’t speak for everything that is to come, I can tell you that in the modern-day, the average tech-savvy consumer can download an app to their phone and create professional-looking design and video in just a couple of clicks -- the overarching themes surrounding what’s to come will meet our new demands with extraordinary innovation and mind-blowing efficiency. The Adobe After Effects engineers are ready and excited for the future where the possibilities are endless and ever more sophisticated.


4 insights into the Future of Motion Design



1. Artificial Intelligence (aka Machine/Deep Learning)

Making #10 on the 2018 list of most innovative companies in the AI industry, Adobe continues to explore the machine/deep learning space through Adobe Sensei. Though the current technology Adobe’s engineers have in store for us is still a ways away, we were given an explanation of the research and development behind the coming capabilities.

Here’s what the future of AI looks like for Adobe: anything that can be automated or automatically generated to speed up production is being considered and worked on. As the public becomes more sophisticated with technology, the demands for quality and efficiency are skyrocketing and Adobe Sensei will be a part of that solution. Hint, hint… the Roto Brush of today will only need a couple of clicks and about 10 seconds to generate what currently takes hours of meticulous tweaking - and that’s WITH better motion estimation and lighting changes!


2. Motion Capture/Live Output

As one of the newer applications added to the Adobe CC family, Adobe Character Animator was modestly introduced a few years ago as a simplified and more organized way to animate characters. The new tool proved to be faster and more fluid than the formerly-used Puppet Tool. Adobe expanded the capabilities of the tool to motion capture your head and facial movements using just your webcam and microphone. With new updates and an added live stream feature, the latest version of Adobe Character Animator gives users the ability to make full-blown animations at a speed never seen before! This might just change the way 2D character animation is done forever.

During a live demonstration of the Character Animator tool in action, Adobe software engineer Daniel Ramirez took a segment he created for "The Simpsons" where nothing aside from the design was created ahead of time. With only a webcam setup in front of Homer Simpson’s voice actor, Daniel was able to record and animate a scene in real-time for television. How’s that for speed and efficiency?

Of course, Adobe Character Animator also integrates into Adobe After Effects where you can composite and polish off your final animations. Which brings me to my next point…


3. Integration

Applications having the ability to integrate or collaborate is not a strikingly new concept. However, the number of integration capabilities made possible every year in After Effects (and Adobe Creative Cloud in general) is rapidly increasing. It’s apparent that you no longer need an all-encompassing software application to succeed as a motion designer in today’s workforce!

Moving forward, we will continue to see more applications and plugins with integration capabilities added to the After Effects arsenal. From the motion designer’s perspective, pairings such as the Adobe Sensei and Character Animator integration described above will simplify daily responsibilities and allow for new forms of creativity in their roles. From Adobe’s perspective, endless integration opportunities will give After Effects and many other applications the potential to expand their reach into the infinity of future technologies.


4. Need for Artist Efficiency

The demand for visual advancement is increasing, but there is also a demand for artists to become more familiar with the methods and tools to keep up with the speed of technology. Out of the 36 brilliant educational sessions to choose from at After Effects World, almost all of them had a central theme of introducing a new capability or concept and demonstrating tips and tricks on how to maximize artist efficiency. Third-party plugins, new tools (such as Master Properties), integrated software, scripting and the use of current tools in unconventional ways were all demonstrated as solutions to increase artist productivity.

Wondering what I mean when I say “using current tools in unconventional ways”?  As an example, artists can use tools such as the After Effects Text Animator to do more than simply animate text. Many experts such as Emmy award-winning motion designer Kyle Hamrick have successfully used it to also design and animate objects and subjects. In his educational session, Kyle identified that the unconventional use of tools allows an artist to combine creativity, technology and efficiency, serving as a fantastic reminder that the solution to a technical problem might just come from “thinking outside of the text box”!

When it comes to motion design and technological advancements, the future's looking brighter than ever! Adobe engineers are hard at work seeking solutions for new, innovative ways to improve the scope of their platforms’ capabilities. As they do so, they’re keeping in mind essential industry trends such as AI/machine learning, the capabilities of current tools and integrations aiming to improve artists efficiency and creativity. Keep your eyes peeled for continued news and updates surrounding the future of motion design - You won’t be disappointed with what’s to come!

Interested in pursuing the next step in your motion design and visual effects career? We’re constantly seeking talented artists like you to join our growing talent database. Check out the full list of our open opportunities on our job board. If you’re interested in incorporating motion graphics into your content strategy and need talent to add to your team request a quote!

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