MOTION DESIGN | A live online course with motion design veteran | ELVTR
12 AUG 2021 - 23 SEP 2021
11 AM PST / 2 PM EST

Join Adobe "Creative to Watch" and 5-time Vega winner Tom Crate on a practicum in motion design craft and career.

This live course unpacks the elements of motion design to help you create meaning in your projects and in your work.



Learn and practice how to build a project from the ground up — brief, treatment, and execution. Then, go behind the scenes with Tom to understand the industry and find what you love.


You'll learn in live classes and workshops, with personal feedback from an industry leader to help you refine your craft. Get a direct connection to a leading motion designer as you start your career or continue it.

Step beyond the technical. Get rooted in the mental frameworks, creative principles, and presentation skills to craft and sell impactful stories.
Develop a personal motion design project. Get support, guidance, and accountability from an award-winning motion director as you put concepts into action in a meaningful piece of work.

Take control of your career. Learn proven approaches to project planning and execution that will empower you to make authentic choices, create more opportunities, and level up in work and in life.

  • Sought-after designer, 3D animator, and director involved in nearly every aspect of film and animation
  • 20-year career in motion design straddling 3 continents, including 8 years at acclaimed Dutch studio Frame
  • Passionate creative behind projects for brands including Nike, Adidas, Jaguar, Porsche, Microsoft, Mobile1, Huawei, Apple, and Nascar
  • Winner of Creative Circle Award (2017), Muse Award (2017), and 5 Vega Awards (2016), and named an Adobe "Creative to Watch" (2018)
  • Teacher, coach, speaker, and sporadic blog writer helping creatives love their work and themselves
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Motion Design Reel 2018
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Microsoft SharePoint
Product Film
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Nike LunarEpic Flyknit
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Nike LunarEpic Flyknit
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Toyota Pricedrop
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View Tom's full portfolio
THU (8/12), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Designing Your Career

Whatever it is you enjoy doing, there are clients out there who are looking for your work. This class is about laying the real foundation of a satisfying motion design career: intentionality in where you want to go.

  • Defining your strengths, weaknesses, and the talent myth
  • The significance of role models and the power of commitment
  • Directing your vision for personal success (and accepting that you'll never arrive)

Assignment #01: Answer the following questions, first for yourself and, secondly, for your personal motion design project: What do I want? What do I really want? What does success look like for me?

MON (8/16), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Welcome to the Motion Design Buffet

"Motion design" is a deceptively simple name for a field that is quite diverse. This class starts with a breakdown of the vast array of subjects with motion design. Then, Tom explains a number of mental models he finds useful when building and critiquing projects.

  • Mental models and the art of breaking things down
  • Finding your creative voice and critiquing your own work
  • The only motion design rule: Establish a framework for everything

Assignment #02: Make an animation in any format, limiting yourself to 2 hours or less. Next class, you'll share your animation with the group, along with a brief assessment of what you wanted to achieve and how successful you were.

THU (8/19), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Art Direction: Building Your Visual Vocabulary

What works in motion design and why? Today, you'll take a deep dive into analysing design, motion, and your own personal taste.

  • Where ideas come from and how to develop your taste
  • Why "stealing like an artist" isn't stealing at all
  • Curating content, ideas, and visuals

Assignment #03: Get familiar with the content platforms reviewed in class, or find your own sources of inspiration. Identify a platform for curating them (eg. Pinterest board, Savee, a physical scrapbook/sketchbook). Then, create a moodboard and a concept for a hypothetical project you would like to make.

MON (8/23), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Unpacking Motion Design: Design

This class is about breaking down the aspects of design and separating it from animation. You'll learn the principles for establishing perspective and emotion that underlie every great piece of design, animation aside.

  • Core design principles
  • Using lighting to give meaning and emotion
  • Elements of composition

Assignment #04: Create 1 styleframe for a short animation on a chosen theme.

THU (8/26), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Workshop #1: Presentation and Critique

Here's a design myth that needs to be busted right now: great design speaks for itself. In today's workshop, you'll learn about how to talk about your work with clients, and then practice doing it.

  • Introducing your work to clients
  • Critiquing work with objectivity, not emotion
  • Student presentations and feedback

Assignment #05: Based on the tips and comments given in class, create a 3-minute presentation of your styleframe.

MON (8/30), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Unpacking Motion Design: Motion

Behind every great piece of motion design are guiding principles that can be replicated, regardless of story or style. Today, Tom will walk you through what those are and how you can use them to create unique, interesting, and valuable narratives.

  • Core animation principles
  • Defining and achieving flow
  • Expressing emotion through motion
  • Achieving your vision through editing

Assignment #06: Create a 5-second animation based on your styleframe from Lesson 4, using the medium / software of your choice.

THU (9/2), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Unpacking Motion Design: Applying the Principles

How do all the principles we've learned so far work together? Today, we'll look at some examples of motion design with a critical eye and bring it all back to the most important question: why?

  • Putting theory into practice
  • Breaking down the essential elements of successful motion design
  • How to clarify your decision making

Assignment #07: Take a second pass at your animation (Assignment #06). What will you change?

THU (9/9), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Workshop #2: Blocking and Editing

Today, things are getting technical. Tom will walk through the process of blocking shots and editing together an animatic in a live demo, using Adobe Premiere and C4D.

Assignment #08: Edit the 5-second animation you did in Assignment #07, using the tools demonstrated in class.

MON (9/13), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Planning a Project

Concepts rarely appear in lightning bolts of inspiration. In this class, Tom will go deep into my process for answering a brief and using that to build a concept and treatment from the ground up.

  • Answering a brief creatively and methodically
  • Building a concept and treatment from the ground up
  • Real-life brief and treatment walkthrough

Assignment #09: For this assignment, you will create a storyboard or script for a hypothetical project. You can choose to build on the project you've been developing so far or to create a new concept.

THU (9/16), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Real-World Project Breakdown

Tom will go through a larger scale commercial project in depth, giving practical examples of treatments and how they get realized.

  • Walk through a real-world project in depth
  • Go behind-the-scenes of a commercial project
  • Bridging the gap between concept and execution

Assignment #10: Continue working with the project you've developed in Assignment #09 to create a simple animatic not longer than 20 seconds.

MON (9/20), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Unpacking Motion Design: The Industry

The biggest problems you'll face as a motion designer have to do with the business side. Tom will share insights into creating a successful and well-balanced career on your own terms, right down to how much to charge.

  • You are always a director
  • How to turbocharge your career: Networking and marketing yourself
  • Leading with authenticity in your showreel and career
  • Roles and responsibilities in motion design

Assignment #11: Identify your dream client and create a concept you could pitch to them.

THU (9/23), 11 AM PST/2 PM EST
Pitch Your Ideas with Confidence

What's your concept, and why did you make the decisions you did? These are questions you'll have to answer for every client and in this class, you'll practice doing just that. To close, you will review as a class the big ideas covered over the last 6 weeks, and discuss how you personally will put this knowledge into practice to reach your goals.

  • Student project pitches
  • Course review: What have you learned?
  • Deciding your next steps

Assignment #12: Complete your project treatment and submit it for feedback.

Student Projects
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by Phillip Zhang
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Course Review