Course Review: Real Time Motion Graphics (Blender)

When you do a web search for “motion graphics tools”, you quickly encounter the usual suspects, such as Adobe After Effects for 2D motion graphics, and Maxon Cinema 4D for 3D motion graphics.

But Blender is a very capable and free alternative to pricey motion graphics tools like Cinema 4D. The experienced Flemish motion graphics creator Midge Sinnaeve, also known by the alias ‘Mantissa’, has developed a comprehensive video course, showing that Blender is a 3D motion graphics force to be reckoned with.

Midge Sinnaeve is a well-known ‘Blenderhead’, specialized in motion graphics design, a craft often characterized by fluidly animated geometric and abstract shapes, popular for purposes like video titling, film intros and other applications. Be sure to pay a visit to Midge’s portfolio site for an impression of his work.

The Real Time Motion Course package is divided into clearly categorized video folders:

  1. Intro
  2. Modeling
  3. Animation
  4. Shading
  5. Rendering
  6. Projects
  7. Files

Real Time Motion Graphics Course

Take your Blender motion graphics skills to the next level

The course is narrated in the English language, and is aimed at users who have got some basic Blender knowledge. If you’re completely new to Blender, it is advised to follow one or more tutorials targeted at Blender beginners before moving on to the Real Time Motion Course.

What’s also very nice is the relatively low-end hardware requirement for this course. In fact, Midge creates everything using a laptop that isn’t boosted to the max. This makes the course accessible to a wide range of Blender users.

We will now briefly discuss content from each of the video folders.

Intro

The Intro folder contains a pleasant walkthrough of Midge’s workflow from scratch, starting Blender and customizing the default Blender workspace for more convenience.

Customizing the UI to maximize space for Blender’s modifiers and the Outliner
Useful tips to optimize Blender’s Preferences for motion graphics creation

Modeling

The Modeling folder contains 11 videos that are focused on modeling techniques for motion graphics, but a lot of the lessons are useful for other purposes too, such as modeling in general, not only for animation.

For example, Midge shows how you can flexibly shift an object by using one or more Displace modifiers set to one or more axes. This adjusts the object independent of its pivot point, so the effect of subsequent modifiers will change accordingly, which is very useful for a Mirror modifier, among other uses.

Using the Displace modifier to procedurally move an object

It gets more and more interesting as more and more non-destructive modeling techniques with modifiers are unfolded. For example, one of the videos explains how to model a completely procedural rope with modifiers, step by step.

Modeling a fully procedural rope with modifiers

Also very interesting are multiple videos explaining several methods of combining vertex weight modifiers for advanced procedural modeling and animation.

Combining Vertex Weight modifiers

As the videos progress, the modifier-based modeling examples get intriguingly complex without becoming difficult to understand.

Building advanced structures with modifiers

Let’s move on to the next chapter…

Animation

Following the lessons in procedural, non-destructive modeling, the animation chapter seamlessly follows this up with a range of procedural animation examples, making use of interactive methods such as changing values using drivers, so one changing value drives another.

Among the animation video subjects is the creation of ongoing motion without keyframes by adding a driver with the #frame expression, and tuning the result with some very simple math.

Also covered is the use of animation modifiers to tune keyframe animation and control them outside the animated range.

Using the Noise animation modifier to easily create varied wavy motion

Other techniques that are explained are using path constraints to animate organic 3D shapes in Cinema 4D Mograph style.

Creating Cinema 4D style mograph animation using constraints

And what about procedurally animating a stylized wave shape using a Lattice modifier and some other modifier magic…

Animating a stylized wave using Lattice

Shading

The videos in the Shading section take you on an interesting tour into Blender’s materials and texture goldmine. A number of texture techniques and nodes are clearly explained along with example use cases. Here’s an example of using the Map Range node to procedurally establish a stylized organic texture:

Establishing procedural textures with a stylized look

Among several other covered material and texturing subjects are automatically coloring separate elements using texture nodes:

Coloring separate elements using nodes

Also quite fascinating is the video covering the use of particle systems to achieve intriguing abstract effects:

Using particle systems for cool abstract effects

And what about using the Shader To RGB node to establish a cool toon shading effect:

Using the Shader to RGB node for cool toon shading

Lots of interesting things to learn there as well.

Rendering

By already covering some rendering effects in the last couple of videos from the Shading section, the course seamlessly transitions from materials and textures to real-time rendering with Eevee.

This part of the course is not only very useful for real-time motion graphics, but also for getting to know the most important Eevee rendering features and options in general, even if your main occupation is not motion graphics creation.

For example, Midge carefully introduces the concept and practical use of indirect / bounced light rendering using Light Probes in Eevee.

Indirect Eevee lighting using a probe

Also very interesting is the part about achieving properly bounced real-time reflections in Eevee using Reflection Probes:

Proper reflections using Reflection Probes

And of course the course wouldn’t be complete without a nice lesson about real-time volumetric effects in Eevee.

Volumetric effects in Eevee

Projects

The Projects folder contains videos where all the previously shared knowledge is used to create actual projects, to practice what has been taught.

This is the most impressive and intricate part of the entire course. The Project videos are longer, but definitely not boring. Several mesmerizing motion effects are skilfully combined into animated eye candy, while everything is explained step by step.

One of the projects is a VJ tunnel loop. The end result is gorgeous:

VJ tunnel loop project

Or how about a nice ‘n’ shiny abstract cube landscape with smoothly waving motion, all in real-time? You can make this after viewing the Real Time Motion Graphics course.

Abstract cubes

A total of nine projects are included, filled with useful information.

Final impressions

The Real Time Motion Graphics course videos are very informative, and each video has a convenient length: not too short and not too lengthy, so you can easily follow what’s being taught and not lose your concentration.

The videos also feature a voice that’s pleasant to listen to, and a fine narration speed. Watching the videos feels as if an experienced Blender tutor is sitting next to you, explaining cool techniques in a relaxing way while you take a sip of your tea.

The Blender files of the many course videos are included, so you don’t have to recreate everything you’ve viewed, but instead you’re able to analyze the Blend files.

Last but not least, what I also liked about the many lessons is that you’re not only told how things work, but it’s also frequently elucidated why it works that way, so you really get to understand the principles, next to learning how to use them.

The Real Time Motion Graphics course is well worth your time, you won’t regret it if you’re interested in motion graphics creation.

You can get it here on Blender Market.

Happy Blending!

Metin Seven
metinseven.nl

Real Time Motion Graphics Course

Take your Blender motion graphics skills to the next level

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, we will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.

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