:: By Joe Martin, Telegraphics, Inc. ::
The benefits of an Art School offer many opportunities for a number of different career paths for young professionals. Today, they are top designers at places like 37 Signals, creative leads for companies like Digital Kitchen, or 3-D artists for developers and publishers such as Blizzard Entertainment. And, as an Internet professional, you likely know of countless others. However, the competition for those kinds of jobs is so great that many talented designers are forced to use their degrees elsewhere, earning paychecks but possibly wasting their talents.
Animators…in Web Design?
There is one group that has, in the past, been faced with a very slim “make-it or break-it” job market situation. Unless you’re in a major metropolitan area such as Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, the opportunities for an animator to put his or her skills to use is slim to none. That stronghold has changed with the release of Google Web Designer.
Becoming a Web Animator
Unfortunately, it’s not going to be as easy, or as quick as you’d hoped to become a Web animator. With that, it’s time to formulate a plan.
First things first, animators need to jump-start their success into Google Web Designer by simply downloading (at www.google.com/webdesigner) and getting started today.
Second, create a couple tests. Now, here’s the part that a lot of people have trouble with, and what separates those who want to succeed, from those who complain about not being able to. In order to survive in any industry, you need the courage and the “strength” to know you can figure it out.
Google created this software with the intent of it being used by someone such as yourself, so chances are, you can figure it out. In fact, here is a hint to get you started: the “copy” command is under the “edit” menu.
So now you’ve figured it out, and you created a couple tests. Post those up to your portfolio site, your Tumblr page, Word Press blog, etc. Anywhere you can showcase the items you created.
Changing the Industry
This. Is. New. Companies aren’t even aware they need your services yet, but they will. You know what top clients want—they want the newest gadgets. They want the stuff you haven’t seen on websites before, and this is that gateway.
As with any technological field, material is constantly changing. The “flat-design” trend you’re seeing today is going to be replaced by something else in a few years. It takes the industry some time to catch up, but if creative directors take a proactive (instead of the usual reactive) approach, animators can be at the forefront of this new technology.
You are already starting to see the surge of animation in Web. Flash may be on life-support, but it’s not dead. A designer does not understand animation the way an animator does; nor would they be able to create the complex 3-D animations without a solid understanding of z-space, timing, or the physics involved in basic animations. The problem, grouping is being seen under tasks for graphic, Web, and designers.
This industry is on the brink of change as it always will be. Web design companies will be looking two years from now as this being the next big trend.
What Google Web Designer means to the Web
Animated elements through HTML—It just sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Google just gave animators the ability to create complex 3-D animations and export them in an HTML5 environment. This means modern browsers, tablets, and mobile devices will be able to show 3-D animations—on screen, quickly loaded, and displayed through HTML (see Google-provided image below).
There are already rumors regarding the ineffectiveness of sliders (http://www.avisualidentity.com/the-death-of-the-home-page-image-slider/), and it makes sense. As this trend continues to spiral downward, design companies are going to look for the next attention grabber. You all learned the same thing back in high school speech class, an attention getter, that’s what you need—colors and shapes moving within a viewing plane, and that’s your goal to accomplish.
As companies begin to realize this, there’s going to be a shift in the services they’re looking for. A developer who started coding a custom jQuery slider with some images and text will soon change to a full-screen based animation that tells a story or displays a message in an animated environment.
This is your Time
With Google Web Designer on the rise, it’s time for animators to take this next step. You have the skills and the ability to create motion on a page, and complex 3-D animations—the instructions are there, Google gives it to you, no excuses. Prove to others what you can do, this is your time to be in the spotlight—now go take action!
Joe Martin graduated with a bachelor’s in Interactive Media Design from the Art Institute. He is the owner of Telegraphics Inc., a Web design company located in the suburbs of Chicago. With more than 12 years of experience in the world of websites and design, Martin was successful in creating projects for McDonald’s, IBM, DeVry and many more.