Freelance motion graphics may not be the first profession that comes to mind when you think about high-paying jobs. But, with a national average of around $70 thousand dollars per year, it merits serious consideration. But is there really a chance you can get one of these fancy-schmancy freelance motion graphics jobs? Isn’t that for incredibly dedicated independents who toil for years before they get good jobs? Fortunately, things have changed for the better; starting your own business is easier and more straightforward than ever!
You’re going to have a ton of questions, of course. If you’re one of those graphic designers or animators who’s toiling away at an agency or company, heads up! While it’s hard to deny that having job benefits and a set paycheck every month is very cushy, maybe the 9/5 life just isn’t for you. An Upwork study indicates that a whopping 57 million Americans currently freelance. With the current economic and social climate, I estimate that number will only fluctuate upwards.
For most people, it’s not just about job stability anymore. It’s about being able to pick and choose how, when, and where they will work. There’s a remote work revolution going on, and it’s been a long time coming. But, with it also comes a much-needed desire for greater independence and freedom. Full-time freelancing is, more than ever, a viable career path.
Let’s go bit by bit. First, I’m going to help you define what you can expect if you dabble in freelance motion graphics. Then, I’m going to tell you about some great places to find freelance motion graphics jobs. Going at it alone can be daunting, so there’s no need to jump into the deep end unassisted.
Let’s take a look.
But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
What’s Freelance Motion Graphics?
Motion graphics is a type of animation where text plays a major role; you could consider it a type of animated graphic design. It’s used as an effective way to convey a message. By virtue of being animated, and together with a good copy, motion graphics can be a visually-arresting experience. The freelance part means that, if you choose to go down this path, you’ll be self-employed, and working on a per-job, per-gig basis.
The combination of text and motion is also a great way to facilitate information retention. Not everyone has the time or inclination to read a lengthy article about a new subject. But everyone can watch a 2-4 minute video (the ideal length). It’s estimated that 60% of viewers watch short videos until the end. This powerful twofer of memory retention and engagement makes motion graphics a persuasive marketing tool.
Graphical flourishes don’t just make content more engaging, but more persuasive. The high visual impact of motion graphics is a potent sales aid. It can be combined with other video styles (like “how-to” or explainer vids) to up their impact. The combination of several styles of animation can also lead to memorable, shareable videos that increase brand recall and awareness.
In short, freelance motion graphics can make a bog-standard piece of video and make it pop through animated flair.
What Does a Freelance Motion Graphics Designer Do?
A freelance motion graphics designer can work on a variety of tasks, depending on the nature of the project. While there is a huge variety of ways to approach freelance motion graphics, here are some of the most common.
1. Logos and Websites
Current-day branding is all about catching your customers’ eye. Just adding motion to a corporate, group, or brand logo can make it instantly interesting and memorable. Many companies are opting for this idea on their websites or mobile apps, for instance.
2. Titles and Credit Sequences
Movie credits are not what they used to be. Just think about the title sequences from the Marvel Extended Universe: they generally feature diverse, attractive, kinetic sequences. That’s all made by a talented team of motion graphics experts. Movies, video games, TV shows, have all made exciting, engaging credits sequences the visual standard. It used to be that the screen faded to black, and the credits would roll in unassuming white lettering. Nowadays, at least the initial parts of the sequence bookend the content in a way that mirrors the visual aesthetic of the film.
Some of these sequences can be extremely creative and complex. They can typically take many months to craft.
3. Kinetic Typography
This is another attention-grabber. Kinetic typography is, simply, text in motion. It’s widely used for lyrics videos and social media content. For example, just see how this typography can serve to revitalize a tune that you’ve probably heard a million times. (And don’t get me wrong, it will forever be a banger.)
Kinetic typography can be a marvelous way to create a totally engaging visual experience for viewers. It can make even the most snore-inducing content engaging, and bring novelty into known quantities.
4. 2-D Vector-Based and 3-D Animation
Plenty of freelance motion graphics designers can animate characters, objects, text, or various shapes in 2-D and 3-D. That’s extremely useful when you want to liven up your content and pack it with some extra punch
What Is Expected of a Freelance Motion Graphics Designer?
Yellowcat, a production, and VFX company in London shares their take:
- Work with art and creative departments to establish project vision and objectives
- Assist in designing and creating storyboards
- Prepare design plan, concept and layout for motion graphic project
- Design initial graphics and animations using computer software
- Assist in selecting audio, video, colours, animation, etc for graphic design
- Take graphic elements, add effects and create a moving motion graphics piece
- Edit raw video footage and add effects/elements to enhance motion graphics
- Deliver motion graphics in various media including web, mobile, etc
- Work with editors, producers and other designers to resolve technical and/or design issues
- Project budgets and timelines, and determine resources and materials needed to stay on budget and on deadline
- Ensure compliance with company guidelines, deadlines and design standards
Of course, depending on your project (and where you get your projects from), you may be expected to do any individual part of this list or most. Some projects will require you to liaise with others as part of a team, like copywriters and other designers, and others will have you almost entirely on your own. Some projects will just necessitate your involvement in video edits and basic effects, while others may have you working end-to-end.
Do You Need a Degree to Work in This Field?
Not necessarily. While some companies or clients may require you to have some form of certification, skill, tenacity, and great work fly really well on the internet. This doesn’t mean that having a bachelor’s degree will be useless, quite the contrary. But, freelance motion graphics will, like anything in the freelance world, be a “Show, don’t tell” profession.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get a license for slacking off. Quite the contrary, being a freelance motion graphics designer requires you to constantly think on your feet. You’ll need to always be up to date on the latest design trends, technologies, software, and work on keeping your game at its highest level. That’s what it takes if you want to make it in the freelance world. You’re expected to maintain a state of constant growth and evolution, and I’m sure that’s the way you like it too.
What’s The Pay Look Like?
The national average for a freelance motion graphics designer in the United States is around $70,000 per year, which is not bad at all. ZipRecruiter, a job search website, adds:
While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $122,500 and as low as $23,500, the majority of Freelance Motion Graphics Designer salaries currently range between $43,500 (25th percentile) to $95,000 (75th percentile) across the United States. The average pay range for a Freelance Motion Graphics Designer varies modestly (up to $51,500).
So, it seems freelance motion graphics are working out for quite a lot of people. No doubt you can make a career out of it if you’re so inclined.
Freelance Motion Graphics Jobs
Feel like this is for you? Then there are quite a few ways to board this train and start getting gigs quickly. Remember, though: as a freelancer, you’re going to have to be a relentless self-promoter. Especially at first, you’re going to be spending most of your time applying for new jobs. That’s why it’s also very important to have your portfolio — essentially your freelancer resume — on point. Behance is a very good way to do this.
Now, how to get gigs. Fortunately, the internet age has made that more accessible than ever. If you’re already confident enough to get going, then I recommend you try out freelancing sites like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and Freelancer. You can find gigs of all types there, but even if you have some experience, you’ll very likely have to work your way up at first. After all, it’s not just about your previous experience, but about whether you’re well established in freelance motion graphics. Most of the time, you’ll be trying to get new clients and making your best to receive great reviews.
Over time, you’ll systematically work your way up. start getting even better clients, and it’s off to the races. Needless to say, the more experience you have, and the more talented, the shorter the distance from point A to point B.
Once you’re nice and settled in, you can try out your hand at working with us!
The Bunny Studio Solution
If you’ve already got a groove going, then there’s no need to continue waiting around for things to happen. You can just apply for work with Bunny Studio. We’re always looking for freelance motion graphics experts, and we’ll set you up with plenty of great projects with fair pay. Of course, you’ll have to complete a pretty stringent test to get in (don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right first try!).
But, if you prove you’ve got the goods, then you’ll be happy you gave us a try. We take pride in our great treatment of both clients and freelancers. If you get in, you’ll be part of a great community that’ll strive to get quality results out the door every time, and it’s a great opportunity to improve your design chops.
If you think this is a good fit for you, I recommend you check us out today. You’ll be glad you took a step into a freer, more independent lifestyle.