Digital Juice has been a leading video resource for independent filmmakers and major television networks alike for over a decade. In collaboration with leading motion graphics designers, they have built an extensive collection of templates across multiple genres and styles.
We spoke with Viv Beason, president of Digital Juice, and Rod Harlan, director of business development of Digital Juice, to learn more about the intricacies of building a motion graphics template library.
Can you tell us about how Digital Juice began and how it’s grown over the years?
Viv: Digital Juice was founded a few decades ago, back when a video producer/creator had to be more engineer than artist. Time base correctors, genlocks, and A/B roll controllers were terms used more often than blend modes and color pallets. Those who are engineering inclined are often not known for being the most creative sort, so Digital Juice was born to provide high quality, templated graphics for this community.
Today the barrier to entry is a lot lower in terms of technical knowledge required and dollars needed. It’s not hyperbole to say that for the price of an iPhone and an entry level laptop, you can consider yourself a film/video producer. I’ve noticed that the producer of the digital age happens to be a lot more creative than in the past, or at least he understands the need for creativity over simply being able to lay something to tape. So I’d say that keeping up with today’s producer requires way more polish and pizazz than it did when we first launched.
Why do you think motion graphic templates are so important for today’s video creators?
Viv: Simply put, it almost always comes down to the commodity of time. A lot of producers fall into two camps: jack-of-all-trades, or the specialist. Either way, time is always in short supply. For the well-rounded producer, he may have the desire to create every element from scratch, but shooting, editing, and writing will always take priority over learning a tool like Adobe After Effects, even though it would likely be a very rewarding experience. For the specialist, they’re always pressed for time and therefore always looking for a leg-up. This can come in the form of a piece of a composition, if not an entire template.
What’s the process behind creating a motion graphics template?
Viv: The first and most important part of the process is studying what’s out there and being used most often. Our artists are diverse, so they tend to gravitate toward a certain style, motion, cadence, or graphic rhythm, if you will. Once we identify a particular look or theme, we usually have our still graphics team mock-up one frame to see if the idea translates into a decent template. If that experiment proves successful, we’ll have our Motion Graphics team take it from there. They’ll either start from scratch, but hopefully be able to utilize pieces and parts from the Photoshop graphic already created. From there, there are multiple rounds of quality control checks before finding its way online for download.
Have you seen any trends in motion graphics, or foresee any coming in 2018 and beyond?
Rod Harlan: Different niches have different trends. You look in one niche and its retro graphics, type, and colors. You look somewhere else and it’s all about kinetic typography as the main design trend. In a third niche you’ll see live-action video elements with animated graphics. Overall, I’d say there has definitely been a trend towards simplification the last couple of years. A flat, simpler design aesthetic with simple silhouetted graphics or icons, as opposed to the multilayered, multitextured animated designs you would have seen more prevalently a few years back. I think that the simple design trend will continue to run its course even while mixing 2D and 3D elements, which is another design trend. It’s definitely not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of business. My best advice for template creators is to have a well-rounded portfolio to maximize your exposure and sales.
Viv: Motion graphics are like anything else. Trends come and go. So what makes a successful template in a world where “simple and clean” rules the airwaves, a heavily layered composite/heavy look could easily find its way back on screen with the release of the next blockbuster movie. The key is to be able to keep your eyes open and always be alert for changing trends. Right now, clean and simple is hot, which can be challenging in its own right. Sometimes it’s easier for our artists to create heavily elemented templates than to design a really unique template that showcases fewer elements.
Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out in motion graphics, and eventually want to create templates for sale?
Viv: I have three. First, master your creative tools. There’s nothing more frustrating or time-consuming than seeing something in your mind’s eye, but not being able to have that manifest itself in the real world through your use of tools like After Effects. So, master your tools to the greatest degree possible.
Secondly, always be aware of your surroundings. Soak up what you see on the large and small screens.
And lastly, seek out the company of those whose work you admire. This could mean following your favorite YouTuber or participating on your favorite forum board. We live in a highly interactive world today. There’s no excuse to go it alone.
Dennis Radeke is the Content Development Manager for video at Adobe Stock. He oversees Adobe's acquisition strategy for motion content, developing key partnerships and relationships. He is a 10-year veteran of Adobe, with extensive experience working with broadcasters, large media and entertainment companies as well as sports federations.