Upskilling in animation by a Paddl Designer

Infinite Learning Sep 14, 2020


As a designer, you never really know enough. There is always something out there to up-skill on that will make you a better designer. Our recent rebrand was a learning experience in itself and as we apply our new visual guide across the Paddl universe, we're experiencing new and exciting challenges along the way.

Progress is a core theme in our new branding (and our company), striving for better, embracing the adventure, pushing forward on a path of infinite learning. Our web platform paddl.com uses gamification techniques to enrich the user experience of capturing everyday learning.

With these factors in mind, naturally movement and animation were hot topics during our rebrand project. We want to share and enhance the visual energy in every touch point as we motivate our community to never stop learning.

All of this was so exciting! For me, there was just one problem...

Type & Design

👋  My name is Rikki and I don’t know how to animate (as well as I need to).

Approaching animation has been the biggest (and slowest) learning curve. Specifically learning how to think like an animator. You have to learn how to make multiple objects move at once and in what order and how to layer them. In my head it kind of looks like this:

Catastrophic Coding Experience

📚 I took a course, read books, watched tutorials and a little more...


Knowing yourself can help you learn quicker. I for one really love learning in structure, and I’ve always loved school and completing coursework. This is why I decided to take a Foundational HTML, CSS, & Javascript course at SuperHi:

Learn HTML, CSS + Javascript on SuperHi’s Foundation online course
Our flexible online Foundation course is designed for beginner coders and those who know some code but want to develop confidence by building real sites from scratch.


(Also, hi? It’s beautifully branded. Look at it. Also, you have access to a Slack group full of students who are taking the same course.)

For animating & motion design, I will primarily be using Adobe After Effects to animate, which if any of you have ever opened, there are multiple panels EVERYWHERE. And then after you learn where everything is and how to do simple animations, you start to learn how to do more complex things like expressions.

To learn expressions, I’ve been reading a book called “After Effects The Power of Expression”, by Francois Lefebvre. Expressions are a piece of code based on the language Javascript, that you can enter into any animation property (like scale, opacity, position, etc.) to make your object you are animating move a certain way. The code can look a little something like this:

"x = thisComp.width/2;
y = thisComp.height/2;
Radius = 400;

[x+Math.cos(time)*radius.y+Math.sine(time)*radius;]"

Looking at that as a beginner is pretty intimidating. I don’t even know the extent of what that does yet, and that’s totally okay. Upskilling and learning something new takes time and dedication.

Learning bits of pieces of expressions has taken reading a book, watching tutorials, reading more information online, plugging things in and seeing what works and doesn’t, and even writing my own notes in my own words to study and look over later.

Catastrophic Coding Experience

The most crucial thing I’ve learned throughout this process: If you’re unable to understand something now, doesn’t mean you won’t eventually understand it later. Things like this take time to pick up.


🧠 Never stop learning!

As always, the work you’re putting into yourself is never finished. There are still many things I need to learn about typography, composition & layout, illustration, and now animation & code. Which is why it’s called Infinite Learning.

To keep track of my experiences and unlock future opportunities, I've added my course to my Paddl Profile.

Rikki Janae - Melbourne VIC, AU | Paddl
View Rikki Janae’s experience profile on Paddl, the world’s first skills and experience marketplace. Rikki has 9 activities, login to see them all.
Rikki Paddl Profile

If you're interested in checking out more work from Paddl Design, head over to our team Dribbble account.

Capturing your everyday learning is free and easy with a Paddl Profile, create your own today and get motivated to never stop learning.

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Rikki Janae

🇺🇸(Wichita, KS) -> 🇦🇺(Home) -> 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿(Currently) Junior Brand Creative at Paddl Co. I love all things branding & illustration. You can almost always find me drawing plants in the park.

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