Research Map 003: Sander Van Dijk on Animalators

In follow up from Sander Van Dijk’s After Effects Features Wish List, I listened to an interview with him on the Animalators Podcast. As a series, Animalators is proving very useful as its actually very valuable to hear insights from motion designers about topics relevant to the industry.


At the beginning of the podcast, they listed off a brief overview of Sander’s career. His contribution to Blend Vancouver was mentioned in passing but I wanted to note it down since it is a conference which serves as an annual hotbed of ideas for the motion design industry, and I believe it also feeds the growing DIY culture.

Sander’s creative career started when he studied architecture, he comments that he thinks it is closely related to motion design as he has used carpentry and lego time and again both in front and behind the camera.

Moving now into the body of the podcast, Sander explains that he decided to leave his job at Buck due to a mismatch of values. He was doing a lot of advertising jobs and eventually he realised that many of the largest brands sell us things that aren’t particularly good for us. Think fast food, fizzy drinks etc. Sander left to freelance so he could regain control of his practice. The freedom to pick and choose to projects he works on helps him to define himself as a designer.

To change the world we need to change ourselves.

Still, there are a lot of for-profit companies doing good work, Buck and Giant Ant included. As a freelancer, the best way to stay aligned morally is to choose and reach out to companies who are changing their business model to a more sustainable one. Work with people who share your vision and your work will shine if it is what you believe in.

You only need to looks at gifs and emojis to see that visual communication is becoming more central to our lives. As it becomes more important, so too do the tools we use to create them. This is one of the driving motives behind Sander’s work to improve After Effects with his own contributions to the DIY culture that surrounds motion graphics. At the moment motion graphics is used for advertising first and foremost. However, there is potential as we progress through the digital age, to make it do more and achieve more. He wants to progress the tools we use, to make it easier to create visuals and nurture visual communication to its full potential.

Once people can imagine a better world they can start building it, and share that vision with other people.

Sander believes in the power of motion design to show and share a vision. I think that he created this wish list for the same reason: to help people imagine and share in his vision of a better After Effects.

In this interview they also touch upon another article in motionographer about trends and how they can come about from one piece of work. Sander comments that:

Original work originates from you asking what style fits best to this project.

He says that exploring the changing landscape of mediums (VR, 360 video) also helps foster ideas for original work. I’m going to look further into this article at a later date, as I think it will help the point i’m planning to cover in my dissertation about how rubberhose has affected the appearance of character designs across the motion design board.


Author: Pip Williamson

Pip // Animator & Motion Designer

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