March 5, 2019
"These things take time. And it's also the same with education - like we just build this course, Advanced Motion Methods. Having advanced motion skills is not something you're gonna pick up over the weekend - and that's actually why I really wanted to collaborate with School of Motion, first of all because I keep hearing from a lot of people that you guys are doing a really good job at teaching. 
Another reason is that there's this whole overtime process - it's this transformation that happens over a couple of weeks that you actually need to take time for and actually do specific exercises to be able to let all the new skills sink in and apply them to real work, because if you're just gonna kind of watch the videos - or you might just watch them as entertainment and, you know, you forget about them or something like that. It's like wait a second if I'm really going to pour all of my creative energy into making a course in communicating all of these skills that I have, that I've gained over 10 years working in the industry, I better make sure that this is gonna be done on a platform where people are going to be actually able to absorb those skills. And yeah, you need to make time for that sometimes. Yeah, things like this take time. It took me time - it took me really long to get all of these skills, and what I'm hoping by putting this course together is that it's only really gonna take a couple months, a couple weeks, for you to get these same skills. That's what I really think is so incredible about building a course like this, is that it's in engineered piece of learning that you can just observe for a couple of weeks or you can go through this transformation if you're willing to dedicate the time and put in the effort.
I recently took School of Motion's Advanced Motion Methods course and found it to be an 9 week streak of challenge, discomfort, "gap" recognition, and yet overall deep motivation and excitement to learn, understand, and drastically improve - all under the seriously intelligent instruction of Sander van Dijk.
What makes Sander and this course so unique is their infusion of “real life” consideration, in various ways. This real world focus ranges from translating functions of the natural world (from movement to sacred geometry) into animation and design, to observing a pro motion designer in an “over-the-shoulder” manner and contemplating the “why” behind his decision making as he demonstrates his craft, and finally, to considering how one can use their skills, or as Sander accurately refers to as super powers, in ways that align with their true values. This all comes intertwined with methodical and hard skill lessons, invaluable tips, experiential and insightful feedback, and a truly awesome opportunity to grow alongside a community of other brave learners.
Having watched, listened to, and worked through all of the material (certainly with much to revisit and polish, and a few real time videos to finish), I much more easily grasp and appreciate the “full circle” quality of this course. I feel this would be missing or have holes in it had I not practiced the exercises, listened to the podcasts, read the PDFs and watched the bonus material. The discomfort and any “head-tilting, mind-boggledness” that shows up at the beginning of the course practically gets “massaged” through consistently exercising complex, problem solving animation “muscles.” That’s not to say in the least, however, that the mental-bewilderment goes away or dissolves. It is practically reintroduced with every lesson and exercise.
A predominant theme of this course actually is being uncomfortable, but this also presents the opportunity to “re-perceive” this state as a positive indicator in such a way that signals, “Hey, there’s potential for you to grow here.”

“...if you've signed up for this class, congratulations. You're going to be very  uncomfortable throughout this class. We're going to challenge the heck out of you.”
“And really, that's why this class is structured the way it is so that we can make our  students uncomfortable. Anyone who's taken animation boot camp, I think I say three or  four times in that class that when you want to grow, you want to get better - comfort is  your enemy actually, and you need to embrace that pain. You actually need to seek out  and wrap your arms around that uncomfortable feeling because that means you're  getting better.”
- Joey Korenman, AMM Orientation Week Podcast

The feedback I originally received about this course were comments like it’s “FULL ON,” “you’re in for the ride of your lives,” and “it’s going to kick your ass so be ready.” So naturally, my excitement was complimented with the kind of nervousness that would say “I have no idea what I’m in for, but I’m ready and committed to give it my all.” Having the willingness to experience a worst case scenario of “failing” or falling flat on my face would allow me to maneuver through any dips, get back on my feet and improve much more quickly.
Everyone who signs up for this class is going to meet it at a slightly different level, depending on where they’re at when it comes to skill. That being said, it probably is quite obviously not an ideal class for someone with light, basic or beginning understanding of After Effects, although the skill level that would allow one to make sense of what is taught can certainly be worked towards and attained (personally, if this is you, After Effects Kickstart and/or Animation Bootcamp both played a huge role in getting me to this point).

Story-ish time

I’m going to back track a bit... only to provide a sense of where I was at.
It was around July of last year (2018) that I navigated over to Sander's website, I believe after listening to his guest episode on the Animalator's podcast, wondering if he had added or created any sort of new course material. I knew he had already put together an awesome sounding freelance course, and while I was greatly curious and interested in learning about his ways and experience with freelancing, I had wanted to first make sure I had the skill level to much more confidently know how to handle potential complex projects.
I thought it would be great if Sander, with his level of expertise, put together a course that taught the "hard skills" of After Effects used by high level animators. Lucky for me, he had a specific link that lead to a typeform to request a course.
Here's what I sent:

"Hey Sander!
I’d really love if there were a course that taught more hard skills in After Effects, more so for an intermediate skilled learner of this software. This would include efficient work flow (I’ve noticed so many pro motion designers have project files that are loaded, and I’m wondering how that’s all navigated, how does one make or understand where to put what?), technical information in the sense of aspect ratios and file sending, design decisions.
I learn best when I can follow along, and if there is a really “long,” professional project we could watch you work through from beginning to end (even 2 would be awesome, if not more *~*!).
I’d love to actually get into freelancing, but want the confidence in my skillset which I know is ever improving either way.
Thanks for taking these suggestions!
All the best!

To be honest, I’m not sure I had much expectation that this would happen, but what a most exciting surprise to eventually find out it was (not that my email had anything to do with it - Sander and School of Motion were already on top of it at this point)!
I first saw the course pointed out in the [legendary] School of Motion Alumni facebook group.
Fast forward to November right before the official course launch of Advanced Motion Methods and I found an email response from Sander.
Here's what he replied:

''Hi Kenza,
Thanks for submitting your request. I'm happy to tell you that I created a course that teaches more of the hard skills in After Effects!
Its called: Advanced Motion Methods, you can find it here. It's an intermediate/advanced course and you'll need to know some AE basics to get started.
In the over 10 hours of tutorial lessons, I walk you through my entire workflow form organizing projects to how I approach complex style frames and much more.
I'll be creating a couple projects from scratch and show how I approached specific parts of existing projects as well. At the end of the class, I make a 15-second animation from style frames made by Sarah Beth and will take you through all the steps from start to finish. You can even watch me work in real time as a bonus video so you could (if you have the time: 5 videos/days x 6 hours each) There are exercises that you can do to apply the techniques you learn and a teaching assistant that can help you with questions and also a community of students doing the same exercises as you.
You also mentioned you want to get into freelancing but like you already suggest. I think its good to get a solid skillset before you jump into that. I also created a course on how I approach the business side of my work called the Ultimate Freelance Guide.
I hope that can help you with where you are at. Let me know if you have any questions,

Too. Awesome.
Advanced Motion Methods would be the 5th course I've taken through SOM's platform, and I've found that every time they just continue to over-the-top deliver (which explains my constant return to learn through their platform).
Registering for the course required some speedy action, as on the morning AMM officially launched, it was filled within 4 MINUTES. That pretty much fully represents the degree of excitement Sander brings to the tablet. … ;)
My anticipation was high for the course start. I prepared by speed watching all of Animation Bootcamp, getting enough rest to fuel me through the duration, and saying bye to the majority of my free time. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to commit to giving my all.
About a week before it began, I visited my course dashboard and noticed that my Teaching Assistant was already assigned. Admittedly, I may have gasped. I had watched my TA's reel so many times by that point and already greatly admired his work. Need I say more than there's a racoon out there? The other TA's on board are just as awesome - Greg Stewart (who also recently launched a studio with JR Canest called Ordinary Folk), Chris Biewer, Frank Suarez, and Ryan Woolfolk. While they weren't “working" with me directly, reading their feedback to their assigned students was incredibly helpful.
The Sunday before the start, I had been checking my email all day in case it had started. One thing to note about School of Motion courses is their release times. Due to different timezones, the release of a lesson on Monday for some may happen on Sunday for others. But alas, at 5am the next morning, the orientation kick off email had landed. I was up early and began navigating the welcome and orientation videos.

It Begins

The first week starts out with strong momentum. Sander is introduced in the first podcast, and we're given an overview of his background and his trajectory into motion design. His perspectives in regards to observation, as it applies to the examination of the real world as well as a best approach to learning and applying to one's own work, are also highlighted. Sander shares that he had also studied carpentry with the potential of becoming an architect. This makes his visual and thought processes (revealed in later lessons) easier to connect with why he approaches motion design in the way he does, at least to the extent of information shared.

“I think really good artists are really good at observing the world. And everything that we try to do with animation, or design, in a way, is trying to replicate the real world. If you're able to observe the real world really well, and you understand what kind of patterns lay behind how specific things are done, also with purpose because there's nothing in nature that doesn't have a purpose.” “...So, that's something that really inspires me because I do understand that like, yeah, we live in this world, we're a part of this world. If we know how its put together, then we can extract how it's built, and how it's efficient, and what purpose it has. We can ... Because we're a little creators ourselves.”
- Sander van Dijk, AMM Orientation Week Podcast

Sander wastes no time starting students out with some incredibly useful tips that assist with rendering, organization and workflow.

As an almost forehadowing of the rest of the course, and not uncommon for SOM courses, the first orientation assignment throws us right into the deep end, yet with the intention of giving us a head start as we're provided the first three of five very complex, beautiful styleframes designed by Laura Alejo.
With no further content, students are given the full week to complete the exercise.
This pretty much felt like attempting to complete an animation with a nagging sense mentally playing in the background saying, "there's a way more efficient way to work with this," and yet ultimately having to embrace "I don't know what I don't know." The contrast between this point and the point I was at when we revisited these frames in the next few weeks was obvious. Doing as much as I could at this stage also ended up really helping out when we were provided the final two frames to finish the piece.
Additionally, Sander dispenses some eye widening tips when it comes to using the graph editor and getting movements in that "sweet spot." This was easily some of the most helpful bonus content. I've attempted to find videos before this course on advanced techniques when it comes to the graph editor, but to no avail, so I highly appreciated this section as I was able to apply it throughout the rest of the course.

Sander Lays It Out

After a challenging first exercise, the intensity and perplexity of concepts is cranked up in the first lesson of week 2. (Side note - by week 2 the lessons are released almost a day sooner than orientation week, at least in my session they were. I received a message from a peer letting me know the next lesson had dropped and to be prepared because my brain was going to hurt.)
The first quality that immediately stood out in this first lesson was the unique visual introduction of Sander's content. All throughout the course he has filmed and edited all of his material, which gives it a rather "show-like" feeling. He is usually in a different setting with each video - providing insight into the moving lifestyle of a travelling freelancer.
In the nearly 2 hour long first lesson, Sander lays down a very solid foundation for reference when it comes to the best way to structure an animation and thus communicate information in a much more absorbable way. This foundation consists of 5 Animation Methods. I'll let you find out what they are directly, but learning and applying them to my work has allowed for a serious upgrade. In general, many motion designers move things simply just to make them move, but under the consideration of these 5 methods, pieces will have a purposeful, "why-driven” approach with an exponentially greater cohesive result. In other words, elements work together harmoniously. Sander highlights examples of each method through various animation pieces.
In addition to these methods, this lesson contains somewhat intimidating (at least initially) mathematical, geometric, phi-ratio concepts that are demonstrated in application to two animations. This is where some may get pale in the face. In general, it’s best to watch this lesson at least 2-3 times (although really...that could be said for all of them). I was really curious to understand these concepts more (there are further resources under both the ‘Resource tab’ as well as a downloadable PDF if you want to get a better grasp) and what cases I could best apply them in, but Sander later advises not to get hung up on ratios, to follow your gut and feel for when to use them.
The remainder of the lesson takes us into the instructor’s mind as he puts together an animatic with a design by Isabella Conticello. After virtual observation, we get to select one of three concepts between symmetry, asymmetry and harmony, all based on quotes by Isabella, and from there, choose one of two of her designs we like best. With the minimal amount of animation put in to create an animatic, we were to aim to communicate a strong demonstration of the chosen concept.
There was complete freedom over the creative, which isn’t always the easiest thing when laying out where to start. Although Sander presents somewhat more of an “ideating” stage in later lessons when it comes to movement and transitions, he jumps straight into After Effects for the animatic stage in this lesson. I attributed this to the fact that he's done this so many times, but found it could be helpful to potentially bridge the gap between his level of mastery with the students perhaps by providing some initial concepting ideas. That does, however, show up later.
These animatic stages are also given full attention in both of the podcasts for the week. John, Ian and Nick from Gunner are guests on the second podcast and share some of their brilliant ways when first approaching a project, be it personal or for a client, and why they spend so much time in planning stages. I highly recommend listening to the podcasts with the released material if possible, as they very much compliment each other and will support your approach throughout the rest of the course.
And finally, the Sequence. Every Wednesday, feedback on selected student’s work is presented by the high-level TAs. Work that is submitted in time has a chance to be focused on. These episodes are definitely gems, both between what the TAs share and the feedback that Sander gives. It was definitely a goal of mine to get everything in on time and get recorded feedback on at least one of my projects. I did eventually think it wasn’t going to happen and let it go, but by the end, some of my work was selected. That was cool. Note - TAs are always giving feedback in the homework locker anyway which is equally as helpful.
To finish off the week we were to continue with and finish our Isabella Conticello project. Again, this was not an easy task, and I’m intending on revisiting this piece to polish it up some more. At this point, Sander shares the stages of animation that allow him to work most efficiently. Doing so keeps him from getting caught up in the details too early, which makes the process of updating easier if a client wants to change something.


Week 3 is extraordinarily valuable, and surely... challenging as heck. The two exercises given feature designs by Illo for a piece, and designs by Gareth O’ Brien and Lucas Brooking for a futuristic Blend 3015 piece. All of the frames are very fun to work with, although unsuspectingly challenging and complex in their own specific ways.
In the first transitions lesson, Sander gets into the range of transitions that can be used when moving from one styleframe to the next, moving up the scale of difficulty from hard cuts to morphing transitions. He covers choosing a transition, what makes a good transition, and why it's important to be clear on the purpose and intent of a transition. To clarify these points, Sander uses examples from his work with IKEA, Blend Fest, and Some very useful tips are also shared when it comes to working with shape layers. Sander works on the first few frames from Illo for the remainder of the lesson, and leaves the rest of the frames up to the student to animate. So yes, you can technically say you’ve worked on a piece with the Sander van Dijk himself.
Sander’s second lesson on transitions focuses on the more difficult of the range, and their flow is exemplified through the same Blend Fest piece highlighted in Lesson 3. Using what he shares, we were to animate the styleframes for the Blend 3015 exercise. While I really wanted to get this one done, I only made it through the first three styleframes, even with what felt like a lot of time (considering I worked on it through the following focus week). At this point, I was seeing where I was still jumping the gun on more detailed animation at early stages, yet simultaneously grasping the importance of starting with the most important basic movements, and building from there.
In the Sequence for this week, one of the strong and stand out points (among many) Sander makes is keeping the design language of style frames without deviating. That became more clear to me as I worked through certain projects that had areas of them pointed out by my TA. It can be tempting to stray, but it’s vitally important to maintain the integrity of the design and be consistent. If this doesn’t make full sense, it will throughout the course.
The podcasts for this week feature some more valuable insight. The first has on guests Ilenia and Luca from Illo who share on their backgrounds, their take on aesthetic, and the importance of design, animation, and transitions that have the purpose of focusing on quality and concepts.
“Never Enough Time” is the second podcast of the week which I also found invaluable. I didn’t get myself to listen to this one when it was released, but I wish I had. There are so many solid tips and experiences shared when it comes to managing time and clients. This was easily one of my favorite podcasts and I highly recommend you have a listen when it’s released.
Bonus content: Expressions 101 - This video was most likely very appreciated by the majority, if not everyone, in the course up to this point, depending on everyone’s level of expressions knowledge. While the video is only intended as a primer, Nol Honig and Zack Lovatt break down the foundations of expressions and expression controls. Throughout the course, Sander doesn't shy away from much use and explanation of expressions. For many with light experience with them, this was expressed as challenging to grasp. I had to follow certain explanations a bit more slowly, but with some repetition and practice using them, understanding Sander’s specific examples can be done (but that’s coming from someone with only some familiarity with them). Sander’s consistent use of expressions, though, also created a “stretch” that had me wanting to learn and comprehend them to a much greater degree, so it acted as a strong motivating factor to learn more about them in that regard. I picked up a book suggested by a course mate called "After Effects Expressions" by Marcus Geduld that I read lightly throughout the course., Designs by Illo
Breathe... Focus... Catch up

Oh yes, a week to focus on catching up. This week felt very well placed with the pace of the course. I used the week to focus on the Blend 3015 exercise, but still could have planned my time and deadlines better. (Note again, that time management podcast would have come in handy.)
Some of the most exciting bonus content is shared this week. But I could be biased. JR Canest, who also just recently announced the opening of his studio Ordinary Folk, makes an appearance. He gives us a behind the scenes look at how he animated the intro for the Sequence, with frames designed by Yuki Yamada. Jorge shares his process as well as some truly creative solutions when it comes to executing specific movements, and even animating a piece that initially has no music track.
Jorge also has a motion design class on learnsquared that can be found here.
The podcast this week covers the topic of “choosing a technique,” between brute force animating or deciding to build a rig. This is more very useful listening as Sander explains the questions he asks before building a rig, how rigs can assist or compensate for the limits of software, and how tools help his animation, but not execute the animation for him. 
TA Greg Stewart also left students some pointers regarding rigs. This may be more relevant if you're actually taking the course or work with rigs in general:
"I have also had a couple students mention in their notes for project uploads that they lost a lot of time trying to rig something, or weren't able to quite get a rig to work the way they wanted and as a result didn't get a chance to finish the rest of the assignment. This is definitely a place I've been before, and I thought I'd share a couple questions I ask myself every time I'm trying to figure out if I should rig something or not:
1) What specific problem is this rig going to solve for me, or in what specific way is this rig potentially going to make this project more efficient?
2) Will this help me edit something the client might ask for a lot of changes to, that I need to be able to change easily and quickly?
3) Do I need to be able to quickly and easily make a lot of different versions of this?
4) Will I be able to use this rig in multiple shots/parts of this project?
5) Is it going to be quicker to just animate this by hand, or are there simpler ways to get what I need without creating a rig? In other words, is this ABSOLUTELY necessary?
6) Is there something (a new skill or expression) I can learn from attempting to create this rig that will be useful on other projects?
I don't mean to be long-winded or discourage anyone from trying to rig stuff, but I've lost a TON of time on projects trying to rig things just for the sake of rigging them, when it would have been much faster to just animate it without a rig. Or I've come up with complex expressions to help me change/edit things that I really didn't need to be able to edit anyways.
Rigs + expression set-ups are so incredibly useful, but I think they're most useful when you have a specific problem you're trying to solve with them or there's a very clear need! Sometimes "it would be so cool if I could....." isn't enough to justify spending the time to rig something :)
Keep killin' it y'all!"

"It’s Complex, Not Complicated"

The 5th week’s focus was one I had been looking forward to the most. As I had mentioned in my email to Sander, I was really wanting to understand how many high end animators were navigating such large project files. Sander gives some specific tips on how to approach complex styleframes. He uses a project he worked on for GoPro to illustrate certain examples of breaking up styleframes into smaller and more approachable “chunks.” Some additional and general tricks to use when dealing with grids is also shared in detail. The latter portion of this lesson is dedicated to tips for the next exercise in which we revisit Laura Alejo’s styleframes from Orientation week.
Lesson 6 is referred to as eye candy and is just.... pretty much squeal-worthy, for different reasons.
Reason #1: I’ve heard it mentioned often that if you want to grow, you must surround yourself with people who are better than you. We get to do that in this lesson by virtually joining Sander for a visit to Gunner studio in Detroit.

“Tutorials are great if you want to learn a very specific thing or if you're looking to solve a very specific problem, but creating good animation and learning how to create a big project from start to finish requires a little bit more than that, and sometimes you have to go to great extents to find the right environment to get better at your skills.”
- Sander van Dijk, AMM Lesson 6

We get a short tour of Gunner’s office with some pretty hilarious additions - one obvious, but the other not so much. The hint is to keep an eye on those camera moves ;). Also spotted a Billy Chitkin! (Billy is a TA for C4D Basecamp and also just completed some awesome work with Ash Thorp.)
Reason #2: Sander and Ian go behind the scenes and into the files to breakdown the process of the AMM intro. This was something I definitely wasn't expecting them to share, so it really was a treat.
Reason #3: The cameo of Boots - a dog at Gunner ;P
Reason #4: Infinite shapes! I was so excited that Sander was going to demonstrate how to create an infinite shape. What? SO awesome.

The rest of the lesson is filled with some seriously fun demonstrations, including the rotating rings also in the AMM intro. I’m looking forward to getting to play with these ideas more when this course finishes.
By the end, Sander introduces the final two 3D styleframes to complete the exercise started in Orientation week and week 5’s beginning.
Note here, if you don’t know Cinema 4D at this point, you do not have to recreate these frames in that software. Just a heads up!
The bonus content contains some more invaluable and understatedly clever workflow solutions to speed up renders when previewing large, complex projects. This is yet another gem that would make the entire course worth it if you learned only this. John Hughes from Gunner also shares tools that he uses most often to speed up his workflow.
For podcasts, Joey and Sander have another insightful discussion on confidence and practices to gain it when it comes to animation challenges, working with clients and deadlines, practicing confidence over time - honestly, so many gold nuggets in this one. Rachel Yonda is also a guest and she shares her experience of working as a freelancer and having lengthier periods of time to complete a project to working for a late night show where certain graphics can sometimes have only an hour to turn around.

More Time

Again, this next focus/catch-up week felt very perfectly placed with the workload. Another favorite podcast is also available this week called “Leveling Up is Hard”. While what Joey shares could probably come in very beneficial earlier in the course, it was also appropriately timed considering the stretching of mind and emotions up to this point.

“That’s kind of the point of advanced motion methods - it forces you to practice facing that creative fear of having to accomplish something and execute something that may be at a higher level than you’ve ever executed before.”
- Joey Korenman, Week 6 AMM Podcast

Joey brings up some very helpful suggestions when it comes to dealing with stress or impostor syndrome, one of those being ‘mindfulness meditation.’ He shares that through observing your thoughts, you allow yourself the opportunity to recognize them for what they are - just thoughts. And from there you have the option of letting them affect you or allowing them to pass by. I found it an important share and reminder when it comes to mental health in the face of demanding projects (but also in all cases.)

"If you really are serious about leveling up as a motion designer, this is a skill you cannot afford to squander. You really do need to become comfortable being uncomfortable, and there's ways to do that. There is no way to eliminate discomfort, but discomfort can often be almost like a compass pointing us toward the things that are going to help us level up in our career and, frankly, in our lives. If you can develop some strategies, some coping mechanisms, and develop a little bit of armor to help you get through these difficult periods and these stressful anxiety filled moments you are going to go really, really far. And frankly, if you've made it this far into this class, if you've been doing the work, I can tell you you've got the goods. You're going to make it."
- Joey Korenman, Week 6 AMM Podcast

This is the week I was also able to finish up the project with designs by Laura Alejo, and it was given some very helpful feedback from my TA, Mathijs Luijten, on the Sequence. That was awesome.
Science Addicts Unite, Designs by Laura Alejo
The Sum of All Parts

The final week! Technically this is the final 3 weeks because of the following 2 weeks of extended critique. I am currently approaching the actual final week for this course and going to need to put in some serious time to complete the final project before everything wraps up! The gorgeous styleframes for this last exercise are designed by the incredible Sarah Beth Morgan and the brief is inspired by an “organization” called Seed & Stem with a message focused on plant tips. I remember when Sarah first shared a frame from this project, and I had hoped it meant she would be teaching a course. Little did I know at the time though...!
In the content for this week, Sander works on a project from start to finish and provides all of the real-time work videos capturing his entire process.
Sander begins with the script and boards/styleframes with which he brings into photoshop to take us through his process of laying out their order and ideating the movements of elements and transitions. He then creates a couple of versions of an animatic to show to the client, and can thus easily make changes if that is requested. A rough schedule of his time is also put together so that completing the project on time can be ensured (his freelance course goes further in depth on creating schedules for longer projects). The remainder of the video covers the creation of a rough draft, and some additional helpful tips.
In the final video, Sander finishes off the piece getting into animation and final details. He starts with a list of what needs to get done, and also teaches how to set up specific rigs, as well as adding shadows, grain and texture to elements.
It’s easily a gold mine of information.
The bonus video this week contains interesting plant inspiration as Sander’s friend, Summer, who also recorded the final voice over, shares about her plant collection. This inspired me to keep my eye out for inspiration while outside as well - a real-world research kind of approach.
Michelle Higa Fox, who runs Slanted Studios, is a guest on one of the podcasts of the week. She shares so much intriguing experience and perspective, including how things have shifted for her since becoming a parent and how she approaches balancing everything together.
In the final podcast, Sander and Joey talk about choices when it comes to working. This one easily became my favorite listen. It landed. It’s a deep conversation regarding the “super powers” motion designers hold with their skill, and touches on various ways of discerning who and what to use them for. It’s the perfect ending listen to go forward with, considering how much Sander has helped us just massively upgrade.

“You're not a motion designer, you're not someone who puts down keyframes like a machine, or a button pusher. You're a communication designer, you communicate ideas using visuals, using music, using rhythm. You're creating an experience for people that can inform them, that can teach people things, it can evoke emotions. You can just look at the world and ask yourself what you can do with that skill.”
- Sander, Final AMM Podcast


There are many aspects of this course that on their own would make the entire course worth taking. These include the countless shared tips, working with top level designers and their styleframes, receiving instruction, guidance and feedback from Sander, thorough feedback from industry-experienced Teaching Assistants, the community you’re learning with as you can be surrounded by others at a higher level of skill and also have access to shared work, behind-the-scenes processes from JR Canest, Gunner and Sander, creating high end portfolio pieces, it goes on.
Ultimately what’s received is an enormous upgrade in skill level through consistent challenge, as well as being given an entirely new way of thinking about concepts and movement. You’ll learn a foundational system of animation methods and stages that will fully influence how you work.
What it comes down to is, as with many things (if not everything), you get out what you put in. This course is simply intense and if you back away out of fear or discomfort, your results will reflect that. In other words, if you don’t take on the challenge, you won’t grow.
There were numerous “ups and downs” I experienced throughout this course. I definitely had a few cries. (Yup!) I even had periods of questioning my path as a motion designer, to be honest. But the willingness to “be in the fire,” if you will, that intense discomfort combined with strong desire to improve - these are stabilizing anchors in the stormy gusts of demanding work.
The course is unique in the way that nothing is “spoon fed.” We are taught methods and techniques, but it is up to us to figure out how to apply them. I undoubtedly have much to revisit, practice, absorb and thoroughly understand, but even having that option available is the excellent advantage of an online course.
Keep in mind that this was all entirely my experience. I can’t speak for how anyone else felt about or experienced the course. It was exactly what I was looking for, and exactly what I needed at the stage I was at. It feels awesome to now be able to feel confident enough to take on, work with and navigate large, and complex projects. I’m looking forward to continue practicing and applying all that I’ve learned here and couldn’t be more grateful to Sander, School of Motion, the TA’s, guests, and everyone who participated in making this course happen. Truly, deep thank yous to you all!!


If you’re going to take this course, or thinking about it, here are some tips!
From Sander: Make as much time available for yourself as possible so that you can really soak in the information and work on the exercises.
Get enough sleep before the course starts if possible so you can go in with a full charge and greater clarity. Depending on your schedule and dedication/commitment, be ready for potential late or early hours to review lessons and finish assignments for feedback.
Be aware of timezones and lesson releases - Monday for some is Sunday for others.
If you are a beginner with expressions, it will help and save you some stress by familiarizing yourself at least moderately. Here’s a free course, the book I mentioned earlier, and some further resources.
Suggestion: Listen to the podcasts and extra material alongside your lesson. They are complimentary and touch on the thoughts and feels you're most likely experiencing at that point in the course or will just be beneficial throughout the course in general.
Have at least an intermediate skill level in After Effects.
Positive self pep-talks will come in very handy when your mind may be saying otherwise. ("I've got this, I've sooooo got this.")
Cinema 4D is lightly used in this course, and is incorporated as an option in one of the assignments. It’s not necessary, but if you want to learn, Cinema 4D Basecamp is awesome.


As I mentioned, when I was initially going through this course, I couldn’t quite put my finger on something I felt was missing. It wasn’t until moving through all of the content that I understood the well-roundedness of it all. If I were to improve anything at all and had to find something, based on my personal experience, it would come from very nit-picky territory:
- Critiques - this sped up so much by the end that it’s probably not even worth mentioning, so I’ll just say, it felt great receiving such quick feedback.
- Speed times for podcasts - I think it could be helpful to add a feature to the podcast interface that could allow one to speed up when listening. This can especially help when listening multiple times.
- Expressions 101 video - A general thought that didn’t effect me, but could be helpful for students unfamiliar with expressions - it may help if this video was moved to the orientation week videos for some initial expression buffing.
- Potentially adding the sped up sections of the lesson 1 & 2 videos as real-time bonus content to easier follow along.

That’s it really!
Alright, I get to get back to that final project. I hope this was useful or helpful for you if you take the course or have been thinking about it! If you do, may the mograph force be with you, and I’ll see you in the alumni group!
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