5 Unexpected Industries which use Motion Design

Author
Zoe Weldon, Created
Date
02.07.20

Motion design is everywhere. Sometimes it punches you in the face and other times it’s so subtle you don’t even clock it…but it has enriched your experience on some level.

We’ve gathered some surprising examples of motion from unexpected places, whilst examining why these industries have turned to motion or indeed, are now totally reliant on it.

Buckle up…

1. VJ (Visual Jockey) Artists

Similar in essence to a DJ, a VJ artist mixes funky visuals with live music. This can be premixed or done live. We spoke to two artists to get a sense of what it’s like on either side of the mixing desk.

First up, we spoke to DJ Yoda who’s renowned multi-media sets have led him to work with the likes of Dr Dre, Banksy, Mark Ronson, BBC radio 4 and the BFI. He’s won ample awards and is classed as a hip-hop artist but is truly experimental in style, aided by his pre-designed visuals.

DJ Yoda explains that mixing imagery and music “sets me apart from other DJs”. He works with animators, directors, motion designers and graphic designers (basically the whole creative bag), to achieve his audio visual shows. The way that DJ Yoda works is by having something “specific in mind”, whether that’s an animated logo, video transitions or bespoke video versions of the tracks he plays. He then works with designers to create and implement his genius.

See it in action here:

We also spoke to Dee Dixon AKA Dede, a trans Audio Visual artist working in Manchester. In contrast to DJ Yoda’s work, she works live. This means rather than having a set fully formed before the night, she’s hired by DJs or promoters to go in and create a “vibe”. Her work revolves around “engaging with the present and working out the relationship between the music, the audience and how this should visually look in the space.”

Dede uses multiple effects manipulated through a mini controller, Resolume software and hell of a lot of instincts and creativity. She can switch effects, add gifs and with the mixer linked to her computer, permit the beat to sync and react to the visuals immediately.

Both artists agree that VJ-ing is in its infancy with an exciting future ahead of it. If you’re inspired to get involved, Dede suggests you “find a music set and just start practicing”. Easy as that.

See Dede’s live work here:

2. Theatre Projection

Theatre shows are increasingly turning to motion design and projection mapping. It’s no surprise given motion’s versatility and abilities to transform a space. An unassuming block of wood could be projected on and seemingly magically morphed into anything the mind can think of. Magic. It’s also used in increasingly popular immersive and VR theatre shows (check out an example here and here)

Our pal Dede also designs for theatre productions. She explains that the elements of liveness, which exist whilst working on nights, are still there. However, what’s so different about this particular type of motion design is that it’s all about collaboration. Dede explains, she works with lighting designers, directors, sound designers and many others in order to create the desired effect. She’s attended rehearsals and says “you are there, rather than communicating remotely about what you want changed, you are there making changes on the ground.” There’s a physical presence as a theatre motion designer that is exciting.

Dede Theatre Design Motion Design

3. Education

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”. – Aristotle

Things have changed somewhat since the time of Aristotle. With the use of motion design as a tool for learning, the roots can in fact be as sweet as the fruit.

The use of educational videos has increased exponentially. According to YouTube’s internal data, there are more learning-related videos on its platform than books in the Library of Congress (Global, 2017)! This proves video aids are an indispensable component of education, so it’s unsurprising people are turning to motion designers to make such content.

We spoke to freelancer Jonny Bursnell to find out why. Jonny worked on a film with TED-Ed called ‘How much of human history is on the bottom of the ocean?“, a story which explores the depths of the sea to discover lost societies and treasures.

Jonny explains the benefits of working with animators and motion designers on these videos are twofold. Firstly, companies are able to explore different ideas with smaller budgets. His film about underwater ruins would have required a massive budget and specialist equipment to actually film. As it happens, all he needed was his imagination and a good script! In short, great ideas needn’t be stifled by financial constraints when you’re dealing with motion.

Secondly, “children respond well to animation”, as do most people in education. It appeals to all learning styles. A key challenge is engaging students whilst also delivering difficult and sometimes tedious information. Using motion design, knowledge can be more easily shared and absorbed.

4. Journalism

Journalists working in TV or documentaries often use motion design. Chris Hemmings, a freelance journalist said it makes “research or new data palatable in a less intrusive way”. Essentially, motion design is used to make things less boring since “what’s interesting is the personal story NOT the data”.

Chris collabs with motion designers on the rolling news and in his documentaries for the BBC. He gives the designers a brief and a “badly drawn” storyboard. The job of the motion designer is to understand and interpret his concept and “make it look good”. Chris also notes the most successful infographics are the simplest.

Check out Chris’ work:

5. Marketing

We can’t talk about motion design jobs without mentioning marketing. Content marketing these days has to involve video, graphics and animation to shape campaigns which inform and excite.

We spoke to Created’s very own Head honcho of Marketing, Luke Chitty to find out how exactly motion design is used effectively.

Luke’s job is to “educate and inspire creatives to consider our courses above other courses.” This means he has to bring these courses to life. He’s a real life Dr Frankenstein, using a mix of online and offline activities (no offence Luke.)

Luke explains that using “motion design within our marketing assets helps us to cut through the noise and be seen” and it’s estimated that a video will get between 50-80% more engagement than a static image post on social media. To Luke, and any company, “that represents a very strong case for investing in motion design”.

Luke has worked as a marketing growth consultant for many different companies (show off) and has seen how motion has progressed from being “the skill accessed by only those who are at the forefront of tech” to “now being essential for all, if they want their marketing efforts to truly be effective”. Essentially it’s becoming the norm, but there’s a skills gap and a lack of accomplished motion designers available to hit the brief.

So there you have it. Some industries that you may never have considered, known, or suspected of using motion design.

If this has whet your appetite to up-skill in motion yourself, check out our Foundation and Professional courses on the subject.

Related Resources

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In episode 1 of our How I Got Here podcast series, we chat to 3D Motion Designer Michael Drayton about all things career and industry insights.