I was sooo close to spending $2,000 on the wrong thing. The day I was planning on buying tickets to After Effects World in Seattle, I saw a ReTweet from Mograph Mentor. It simply said, "There are 4 days left to apply!" I looked into it. And the trajectory of my motion design career was changed forever.
12 weeks of MoGraph Mentor was cheaper than airplane tickets and the entrance fee to After Effects World and sounded like it would be many times more valuable. Given that I was still in the beginning stages of motion design, it was a no brainer for me.
The best part about MoGraph Mentor is having more than 24 total hours of face time with your mentor, a working professional, who wants to see you succeed.
You’ve got someone who you look up to rooting for you and pushing you to be the best you can be. That sounds like a commercial for the U.S. Army, but it’s true.
Project 1: Design for a theme
The first project focused on design principles. When I heard that the first project was just design (no animation), my first thought was "I'm already pretty good at design. I want to make things move!" But I was pleasantly surprised with how much I got out of it.
What I learned from this project was the value of going through a thorough pre-production process. Actually, that was a running theme for me in this class. For the past few years, I have been really bad about sketching and doing rough drafts for my designs.
Click the image above to toggle through the gallery.
Project 2: Frame by frame
The point of the second project was to focus on ball movement and squash and stretch.
I decided to take this project literally. I drew every frame of the ball in Flash and exported PNGs. The background was drawn in Photoshop. I put it all together and did compositing in After Effects.
Project 3: Visual Essay
The final project is to animate a 30-45 second visual essay.
My animation, when I finish, is going to be about my French Bulldog named Mr. Willoughby. He basically thinks he runs the place, so I thought it would be pretty wonderful to morph the world around him to match his royal highnesses attitude ;)
Below is my animatic (animated storyboard) of the whole animation.
I decided to try a couple of things I have never tried before. Character animation and fully handdrawn animation in Photoshop.
I quickly found out that drawing four-legged character animation in Photoshop is really, really difficult.
I almost quit every time I sat down to work on it. The struggle is real. I have so much more appreciation for traditional animators. It's pretty insane.
Although I didn't finish the animation by the end of Class 1, I am going to finish it at some point. You can see the first 17 seconds of "Our Little Prince" below.
Thoughts on MoGraph Mentor
Value of MoGraph Mentor
I felt like I got the full value after a few weeks. It was incredible getting to talk with Colin Hesterly and all of the other classmates every week.
I was looking to grow as a motion designer and growth happens when you apply yourself intentionally and consistently.
MoGraph Mentor gave me a safe place to experiment with new styles and get great and honest feedback from my mentor and class mates. Michael Jones has said multiple times that you get out what you put in. This program isn’t a magic bullet, but it is exactly what I needed.
Advice for anyone thinking of joining MoGraph Mentor
- Take full advantage of the time you have with your mentor. Come with specific questions about their motion pieces.
- Schedule times to work on your projects. A lot of time. The more you put in to your work, the more meaningful the feedback will be.
- Write about the projects. What were your expectations, hurdles, and breakthroughs? I am currently writing about my three projects, and I wish I started while I was working on them. Taking the time to do this will solidify the things you are learning. It just adds value to the whole experience.