For over a century animation has been telling us captivating stories. Whether it is kids on a Saturday morning, or adults having a laugh after work, motion graphics appeal to just about everyone.
Although animated movies don’t project real-life actors on the big screen, the video producers working tirelessly behind the screen are no less than heroes.
However, they don’t get acknowledged as the people on-screen do. So, today we thought we’d talk about the animators that work like silent soldiers behind the screens and give them the much-needed acknowledgment.
As a little bonus, we will be sharing advice by each one of the animators for people interested in starting their careers in the animation area.
1. Dan Stevers
The first video producer on our list is Dan Stevers who initially delved into video making through his local church as a volunteer. According to him, working at the church gave him the ground-level view which is essential to be a good video maker.
After more churches started gravitating towards him for videos, Dan started a website to distribute the work he was doing. When he first started, he would be allotted about a week or two to finish up a video. Fast forward to today, he put up a video he had been working on for two years.
According to Dan, to be able to make first-class videos, it is important to be consistent at your craft. Yes, it is very easy to get sidetracked, but if you take a break from making videos, you are likely to lose your progress.
So, practice is your best bet towards retaining all that you learned and as you get better you will see in hindsight how far you have come.
Additionally, Dan also suggests going on walks to get the best ideas for videos because such activities are fruitful when it comes to creativity.
2. Markus Magnus
Markus Magnus is from Malmo Sweden with promising skills in animation and a really interesting background.
Magnus initially used to work as a chef in Norway. Getting tired of that, when he was 22, he decided to move back to Sweden and give something different a shot. He bought a video camera when he got back and started filming nature.
Being interested in the outdoors, Markus considered recording animals and his surroundings an interesting hobby. A while later, he started filming sketches with his friends which had a tinge of humor involved.
Realizing his interest in filmmaking, he enrolled in media school where one of his initial assignments revolved around animation and he was instantly drawn towards it.
To dive into a project, Markus begins with setting the idea straight. Once he has that sorted, he gets on Illustrator and plays around with it. While he doesn’t admit to having an exact formula for his animations, he does leave room for trial and error.
Markus took off some time to get married and move to another country. When he came back, he started conducting tutorials to provide value to his patrons. He calls it his Patreon Campaign.
According to him, this campaign gives him the much-needed chance to work on the kind of animations he enjoys. Once he has done that, he creates a how-to tutorial and gets into depths of the motion graphic design.
Additionally, Markus also hosts the Animation SmashDown challenge which further empowers his viewers to make practical use of their skills.
While giving an interview to Motiongrapher, he went on and gave out the following tips for people contemplating starting a career in animation:
“Keep it laser focused to what people are there for. If you’re doing tutorials then post only tutorials, don’t go all I’m-14-years-old-let-me-tell-you-about-my-life-blog-posting. I did that in the beginning and while it was popular with my inner core, most people seemed to zone out and find it a tad tedious.”
“Set up realistic goals and realise them. Don’t promise that you’ll create a full-length animation or something crazy like that after hitting 500USD. If you can’t actualise your promises, people will drop out.”
“Talk to your patrons. If they ask something in the comments then answer them. Interaction is key to a good relationship.”
“Promote, promote, promote. Be shameless, if you plan on making some sort of living out of it, you need to treat your Patreon as your personal brand & a brand without marketing isn’t going anywhere.”
3. David Stanfield
David Stanfield is based in Charleston, South Carolina and has worked with prestigious clients such as Google, Airbnb, Patagonia, Reddit, The Atlantic, Zendesk, Vox, and many others.
David’s work has been mentioned at Animalators podcast, the School of Motion podcast, and he has had the honor to mentor at the Mograph Mentor online school for motion graphics.
He got featured in various big-name articles by Wired U.S., Wired Germany, Killscreen, Vormplatform, etc. after he ran the international motion design collaboration called 9 Squares.
His first job out of school was to design a newspaper layout. David admits to learning skills during that job which really helped him down the line such as InDesign and Photoshop.
Even though David had hands-on experience of Photoshop and Illustrator, the journey to After Effects wasn’t that smooth considering the plethora of tools that come with the software. Although he was intimidated at first, practice made him perfect and now it feels like home to him.
David juggles his work with 4 children and the advice he has to give to people that are on a tight schedule but have a knack for animation is to be in control of your time. Additionally, freelancing and being his own boss eases off the pressure for David.
4. James Curran
James Curran is the video producer of SlimJim Studios and his work has been quite influential in the animation world with his unparalleled style in entertaining illustrations. James also creates GIFs quite commonly, which has led to his growing fame over social media.
While most of James’s work revolves around GIFs, he’s completely equipped with the skills to create long-form animations such as the unofficial title sequence for The Adventures Of TinTin that he crafted back in 2012.
The animation was created so intelligently that it went on to receive nominations in the Vimeo Awards 2012 and the SXSW Excellence in Title Design Awards 2012.
James gives out the following advice to people starting their career in animation,
“I’d advise people to experiment with as many different techniques as possible. Being multi-disciplined is very useful when trying to find work, particularly today. Also, by experimenting with different techniques you’ll naturally find out what you’re best at and what you most enjoy, and that’s when you’ll create your best work.”
Animation is a powerful sub-set of video. From scarce resources to unleashing creativity, storytellers and marketers use it for various reasons. So, if you want to do just the same, you can take advise from the above four animators into account.