Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

2011 in motion graphics projects

Posted in Online Video by Adam Westbrook on December 19, 2011

Although I write lots about how to make online video, I rarely show you any of my own stuff. That’s partly because I don’t want this blog to be a shameless showreel, but this week I thought I’d collect some of the films I’ve made this year.

On Thursday I’ll put up my best video work of the year, but today I’ll start with motion graphics.

[NOTE: If you’re receiving this post via email, click on the link to read the post online to view the videos]

Back in 2010 I bought Final Cut Studio when I upgraded my video production kit. The package comes with other products, like Apple Compressor, and something I’d never heard of before – Apple Motion. It’s Apple’s equivalent to Adobe After Effects, and allows you to create motion graphic animations.

Throughout 2010 I taught myself how to create animations from scratch – an investment in time which has really paid off in 2011. I have completed several commissions for whole range of clients, and even had to turn some down for a lack of time. Here are some of the motion graphic-only pieces, although almost all of my video this year feature a motion element somewhere.


January 2011 – an animation to launch the myNewsBiz student enterprise journalism competition. The two winners are now working on launching their new products. This one has a strong palette and was my first real experiment with 3D and moving cameras.

AV referendum

April 2011 – I created this explainer about the AV referendum back in May to experiment with the idea of making complex issues more simple. It was a bit more complex than any I had done before, and I had to break it down into four ‘chapters’ to put it together. This has led to the creation of a new website & business, launching in early 2012.


September 2011 A commission for StuConnect, a new startup aiming to help students collaborate across different UK universities. Videos like this for startups need to be short & sweet.

VInspired: Food Poverty

November 2011 – A recent commission for V Inspired a UK organisation helping young people become leaders. I’ve written about the creation of this piece in more detail in this blog post and Storify.

Hopefully, the takeaway is that you can teach yourself a new skill and quite quickly convert it into paid work. The great thing about programs like these is that they’re relatively cheap – and learning them can be completely free if you use the right sources.

I invested about £40 in a book about how to do motion graphics, and then about two hours a night for a couple of months – and I’ve easily recouped that now.


5 Responses

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  1. Adam said, on December 19, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Your projects are very good and you clearly have an eye for the work.; your lucky. My full time job is to produce motion graphics, and I see the same mistakes been made by lots of people. Learning motion graphics without spending some time learning to design, could be compared to trying to learn to be a journalist without having studied english.

    People aspire to work in motion graphics but forget they need to spend a lot of time learning about the graphics component of the work, they need to learn how to curn and pick colours. I know because I fell into this pit fall when I started out (i work looked awful back then)

    So a 40 pound book on motion graphics will serve people well. But a wise investment would also be a book about basic typography, shot composition and the rules of animation; thats the hard stuff the rests just buttons.

    • Adam Westbrook said, on December 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks for your comment Adam and I completely agree with you on the design front. I didn’t mention in the post but yes I read lots on design and it is, arguably, more important than the technical stuff itself. I’m also the first to admit my stuff falls short in lots of places, but I’m learning more with practice! 🙂

  2. Katy | Austin (@katysaustin) said, on December 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for a great blog post, I’m quite inspired. What is the name of the book you studied please?
    Also, what camera do you use, and could you recommend a (cheap!) first camera for video journalists? thank you!

    • Adam Westbrook said, on December 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Katy, it was Apple’s official pro training book which is here

      On cameras, I get asked this a lot and it’s not a simple answer – I’m going to put a post together next month 🙂

  3. Malcolm Davidson said, on December 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Great work Adam – I need one! Get in touch!

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