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  • Difficulty Level:

    workshop-level-i I


Class Format:
Length: 8 Weeks
Lectures: Pre-Recorded Lectures each week
Assignment: Deadlines each week
Feedback: Individually recorded
Live Q&As: Once a week

*For classes with less than 6 students feedback may be provided during the live Q&A session.



Motion Graphics - Fundamental principles is the perfect course for those taking a fresh leap into the world of motion graphics, those wanting to sharpen up their already existing skills and everyone in between.

Covering the fundamental principles that go into making exceptional motion graphics - concept, design, animation, 3D design, rendering and compositing, this course has been created with professional output in mind. The key to creating outstanding work is nailing these three key areas - 1) Concept 2) Design 3) Execution.

This course  will cover the core processes involved in conceptualising and executing a motion graphics sequence - using tried and tested, industry standard methods.

Hello everyone, my name is Nik Hill, Motion designer and Director based in London. I’d like to start by Welcoming you to CGSociety - Fundamental Motion Graphics techniques. Thank you ever so much for choosing to follow along with this course. I hope together we can create some great work and learn lots of tecnhiques. My aim with the course was to give an overview of and in-depth analysis of the skills required to create compelling motion graphics. I’ve been practicing in the industry for several years now and worked on films including Gaurdians of The Galaxy, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ghost in the Shell and some others that have yet to be released. But for me it’s not all about the big names, I’m a strong advocate for creating great work and compelling narratives as well as a strong believer in enjoying the process of creating, the outcome is just a byproduct of this process. Things looking cool is a given.


Week 1 - Introduction to motion graphics


In this first week, we’ll explore and optimise our C4D and After Effects workspaces. Go through the ideation process and outline some basic theory around design, 3D design and animation.


  1. Introduction to Software used in course
    1. Cinema4D
    2. After Effects
    3. Illustrator
    4. Photoshop
    5. XParticles
    6. Octane
  2. Introduction to basic motion graphic principles

                    i. Another word for idea - a concept defines the overall creative direction of a piece of work as well as other key areas of exploration, ie. Narrative. This is usually established first to give                        a strong focus and direction to the piece.

                                  1. A concept can be articulated in its simplest form, as a sentence or statement with some visual reference. And in its most complex a full set of keyframes and an animatic.

                       b. Design

  1. Establishing a concept/direction
  2. Consolidating your idea

Week 2 - 3D Design and art direction part 1 - Modelling hero content


Now that we’ve got our workspaces set up and a grasp on some basic fundamental principles, it’s time to get designing. In any motion graphics project, one of the first things you’ll want to do is create a set of strong visual targets - styleframes. For me, I almost always start generating hero content in C4D, this provides endless opportunities to play with geometry, camera angles and compositions. In this session we’ll dive into different ways 3D model content within your scene, including subdivision surface modelling.


  1. Introduction to subdivision surface modelling
  2. Using C4D deformers to aid the modelling process
  3. Points , edges, polygons - Let’s talk about Topology
  4. Camera selection for the right shot feel

Week 3 - 3D Design and art direction part 2 - 3D look dev


Once we’ve modelled our main assets and setup up a rough composition for the scene, we’ll continue to set up shaders, lighting and render settings. For your render to really pop, you need all four (geometry, shading, lighting, rendering)of these components to work in harmony. Without bevels, your model won’t look believable. If you’re trying to create realism, reference physically accurate materials/behaviour/settings. These are the principles we’ll cover in this week's session.


  1. Introduction to texturing principles in C4D/Octane (theory applicable to any render engine)
  2. Texture mapping and setting up shaders
  3. Introduction to lighting and mood
  4. Setting up renderpasses

Week 4 - 2D Design and art direction


Now that we’ve modelled, textured, lit and rendered our scene, it’s time to take those render passes into after effects and give them some compositing love. We’ll also build up a library of vector assets in Adobe Illustrator and use them to populate or scenes with some 2D graphics. Throughout this process we will solidify our concept/narrative by finessing our designs and lay a solid foundation for when we transition into the production phase and begin animating our scene.


  1. Introduction to compositing in After Effects
  2. Art direction and crafting the mood
  3. Creating a vector asset library in Adobe Illustrator
  4. Combining elements to create styleframes in photoshop

Week 5 - 3D animation


With our visual targets set, it's time to jump back into C4D and animate our scene. In this session we’ll go deep into C4D’s animation timeline and cover techniques from tweaking your f-curves to baking animation to render over a network. We’ll also explore how to use C4D’s deformers and mograph modules to bring your models to life.


  1. Creating animatics for timing
  2. Rigging your setups for animation
  3. Animation using falloff
  4. Animation using vertex maps
  5. Camera animation
  6. Tweaking those curves for dynamic animation

Week 6 - Rendering


Rendering is a hot topic right now filled with much debate. GPU vs CPU rendering? Which machine should I buy? - Mac vs PC. This week Nik will share his thoughts and experiences on GPU vs CPU rendering as well as the hardware he’s built to optimise his workflow. We’ll also go through rendering our scene using a popular GPU renderer - Octane, and will also take a brief look into rendering the same scene with C4D’s standard render and Arnold render, exploring the benefits each render engine has to offer.


  1. Let’s talk hardware
  2. Rendering sequence in octane
  3. GPU vs CPU
  4. Rendering passes in Standard Render

Week 7 - 2D animation


This week, we’ll take our vector graphics that we designed in week 4, pull them into After Effects to and get animating them. This session will include rebuilding assets as shape layers for optimal file size and efficiency. Also creating transitional elements to populate our sequence. We’ll go deeper into the After Effects timeline and explore keyframe interpolation and f-curves.


  1. Preparing and exporting vector assets into animation (illustrator - After effects)
  2. Converting assets to shape layers/animating shape layers
  3. keyframing and Animation curves
  4. Using 3D camera data with 2D animation

Week 8 - Compositing sequence


In this final week we’ll bring it all together. We’ll take our renders from C4D and our animated vector graphics and pull everything into a fully formed motion graphics sequence inside of After Effects. Adding little flourishes throughout, from speed ramps to trimming frames off of our edit and adding a final grade. This is the final chance to take your sequence to the next level and get it ready for sound design.


  1. Compiling pre-comps/renders into motion squence
  2. Final grade
  3. Edit
  4. Render from After Effects
  5. Compress for web



  1. Software

    • Cinema4D
    • Adobe CC
    • XParticles
    • Octane (optional)


Ideally participants would have a basic understanding of Cinema4D’s interface and Adobe’s Creative Cloud



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