A motion designer is a graphic designer, specialized in motion graphics. He / she can produce videos with animated content, or Flash animations, or both.
There are two kinds of graphic designers, the ones who are creative and the ones who are just skilled technicians. I am of the first kind, I know the software because it is necessary in order to be able to bring my ideas to life, go all the way from the ideas to the finished product by myself, therefore a mix of art director and graphic designer in just one person. To me, the software I use, whether it is Photoshop, Illustrator, or After Effects, is just a tool, just as a painter needs to know how to use a paintbrush in order to be able to paint something. This kind of graphic designers are creative, but are not artists, because they are specialized in visual communication, they work for companies, they don’t work on personal projects (unless it is for a show-reel / portfolio aimed towards companies) so I would say they – we – would better qualify as artisans. Even though that kind of distinction doesn’t really exist in the English language.
A motion designer is not a video editor. Even though there is a part of video editing involved for all of the motion designers such as me whose final products are videos. Video editing is a specialty by itself, not because the tools are difficult to use, they are technically very simple, but because it requires a very good understanding of rhythm. Whereas the core of motion design is not at all rhythm but images.
A motion designer can be a special effects specialist, therefore trying to make his / her work look as realistic as possible. Or he / she can be specialized in creative content, trying to find the most beautiful and impactful way of transmitting a message. I’m the second kind.
To do motion design, would you say, but what is the use of that, then?
There can be many fields of use. One would be broad such as TV branding: the global look of a TV channel, which makes it stick out from other channels, you often find that kind of motion design in the interludes which are announcing advertisements. It can be the opening credits of a TV show, which generally has its own graphic style. It can also be used in advertisement. That’s not my area of expertise, not by choice, simply because I didn’t find clients in that area. For now I’ve only made one advertisement for the TV, and “TV branding” I have done but for Youtube channels.
Another field would be DVD / Blu-ray interfaces. Once upon a time this was a very creative area, as DVDs were considered as a luxury, but the interfaces have since then become lighter, therefore losing most of their motion design, enabling the user to go from one menu to another without the beautiful and creative animated transitions that used to characterize that media. Not just because of the status change but also because people wanted immediate access to the different options, in order to watch the movie they had bought as quickly as possible. Even the Blu-ray is kind of a luxury product for now, it therefore followed that trend. That is not my area of expertise either.
Another field, which is my area of expertise this time, is the use inside of a company for its internal communication, for example corporate movies, videos for conventions, such as product reveals. Why? Simply because for companies which have the money for that, motion graphics are much nicer to watch, much sexier, much more beautiful and dynamic, and eventually much more fun (a good way to pass a message, or to give the feeling of a very friendly company to the employees) than the traditional tool used in that area: Powerpoint animations.
For end user goods making companies, a video made for a convention can also be used to show distributors a new product / product range. It is therefore very similar to TV advertisement. In the medical sector, such videos can be used in a booth within a congress.