It can be easy to forget about motion design when we're taking stock of the industry, but in reality, it's a huge part of our media intake. Everything from social media to television commercials features whimsical moving illustrations that captivates audiences, and animator Jay Jang is one of those creators making beautiful videos.
He shares where he finds motivation, why he swears by After Effects, the blogs that give him inspiration, and more below.
What inspired you to go into animation/motion design?
The most interesting part of design for me is that I can bring what I think and imagine to real life. I always loved to draw something when I was a kid. I started watching animations and reading comic books, and copied the characters and any objects from them to practice drawing. After that, I designed some characters to make my own comic books. The story was pretty childish and the forms were not clear, but those long-term drawings became the foundation to build my ability to create a storyboard, design the content, and bring it to life. Plus, I wanted to make them move, not just to stay static. Naturally, I was inclined to study design and animation, and finally chose motion graphics as a career in my last year at School of Visual Arts.
What was it about motion design that captivates you more so than still design?
The biggest part was its movement — not only how great motion design captures the eyes, but its transitions and how that works in between the scenes on the screen made it so attractive for me.
What are a few of your favorite tools?
I usually use Photoshop to make the finalized style frames. It’s easy to change the shape or colors directly and put the textures on it. And After Effects helps me preview the whole process putting all designs and matching with music on it.
What are some projects of your own that you are particularly proud of?
I would say it’s one of my projects at SVA, called “Stay." It’s about a dog that died and kept waiting for the family in front of the gates of heaven. I had a pet that passed away last year, and wanted to create an animation for him as a tribute. Personally, it was successful to tell the story and its emotion, and I’m satisfied with this project. And I still believe we will meet again.
You have the day off. What can we find you doing?
I'll be listening to music at home. I take my personal time to recharge and clear my mind.
Which blogs, websites, or apps to you check every day and why?
I check Vimeo and Motionographer. They both have tons of inspiration, ideas, styles, and friend’s preferences there. Sometimes I can see unexpected great pieces my friends made or liked.
What designers or brands speak to you?
Ariel Costa. He's just SO good. I love his approach to project, his style, design, and color choices. His pattern designs are so attractive and his process tutorial video was so helpful to understand how the shapes work as the connected organs. My favorites from him are "It's Not Dead" and "Sins." I swear I watched them over hundred times.
Tell us about your first big project. What did you wish you knew before you started, and what did you learn coming out the other side of it?
"Greed" was my first cel animation project. I needed to animate human body and filled each frames as I made the storyboards. But I found each human action, even a tiny movement, has many more steps that I originally thought to be truly finished. I pushed myself to make it natural and not static, and a lot of frames were re-drawn and added. That trained me understand the progress how the movements are completed.
What advice do you have for animators or motion designers that are new in their career but looking to grow?
There’s always something to make it better, so push yourself. Try whatever you think and learn from your friends. Don’t copy, but learn from their references.
Any final thoughts, comments, or words of wisdom you’d like to share with someone in the industry?
Do your work. It's not good to listen to too much advice.
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