morgrts and rigs

How to get started with motion systems

To meet rising content demands, motion designers need smart solutions

By Shea Lord |
January 28th, 2023
morgrts and rigs

How to get started with motion systems

To meet rising content demands, motion designers need smart solutions

By Shea Lord |
January 28th, 2023

Read time: 4 minutes

Motion systems are blowing up.

Clients need more content, more often, and produced more quickly. It’s gotta be on brand and work at a high level. And motion designers have the tools to support this effort.

Guidelines, toolkits, rigs, templates, mogrts, presets, tokens, etc.

Benefits for clients:

  • Rapid content creation
  • Dynamic data
  • Automated branding
  • Elevated production

Benefits for motion designers:

  • Speed up your workflow
  • Establish repeatable processes
  • Provide exponentially more value
  • (you can charge more money)

Motion systems are an extension of design systems. Systems are frameworks, or a set of principles and methods, by which a task is completed.

I’ve identified 4 categories of motion systems. Each one runs deep with possibilities.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

1. Motion Brand Guidelines

What is it:

Brand books define how teams use graphic assets: fonts, colors, logos and lockups, et cetera.

Now they’re getting a new chapter: Motion Guidelines. This documentation helps teams move assets in a way that supports the brand.


How to get started:

  • Identify the problems the above examples are solving for each company
  • Ask: What aspects of my client’s brand in motion can or should be codified?
  • Name and document situational brand animations
  • Name and document easing curves (try Flow)
  • Check out the easing panel from Material Design
  • Deeper: learn about Tokens (what | example | how)

Companies that create a high volume of video content, especially if it’s produced across several agency partners, will need comprehensive guidelines to ensure their brand is protected and always shines through—no matter who ends up on the editing box.

Likewise, companies who care about their digital products from a user or customer standpoint will want to solidify motion guidelines for a strengthened UX/UI across websites and apps.

2. Motion Rigs + Templates

What is it:

I’m talking about any modular tool or device created for a specific motion purpose. That includes but is not limited to AE templates, .mogrts, rigs, presets, and scripts.

When rigs and templates start automating or streamlining repeatable production processes for a client, they become a system.


  • Template marketplaces like Envato, Motion Array, and LottieFiles
  • Any time you save an animation preset, or automate actions with scripts
  • Prebuilt assets (2D or 3D) that can be re-branded and reused
  • .mogrts that get handed off to video editors

How to get started:

Think ahead, and stay organized.

  • Sometimes, templates are as simple as re-using previously built effect stacks or animation presets.
  • If you use one often enough, it might be worth putting a name and price tag on it.

You don’t need to know expressions to build .mogrts, AE templates, or save presets—BUT, all of the above will be exponentially more useful if you learn how to use a bit of code. You can build more flexible tools with responsive elements.

  • Option 1: The fastest, most effective way to learn is with a course that provides feedback. I recommend Expression Session at School of Motion.Yes, I’m biased. I’m currently a TA. That said, I’ve met students who start from ground zero, complete the course, and then move into technical design roles with big tech companies you know well.
  • Option 2: Self-educate online for free. Animoplex has a great free expressions 101 course.

3. Motion Toolkits

What is it:

When all your various assets, tools, and templates are collected into a single package, you have a toolkit.

With a thorough toolkit, you can on-board new editors and equip them with all the knowledge and tools of the brand fast. Particularly if you include a pre-recorded training video. You can delegate normally complicated processes to juniors just by handing off a dropbox link.


  • A collection of presets that are used for paid ad production
  • An organized .aep with collected files including assets and templates
  • A repository with all the assets, tools, and templates the editor will need (could be kept in Dropbox, Notion, or Drive)

How to get started:

  • Audit your work and identify repetitive processes
  • Collect and organize relevant comps, .aeps, assets, and other dependencies
  • Write documentation or record a training video walking through the toolkit and how to use it

4. Data-Driven Motion + GFX Packages

What is it:

Data-driven motion graphics uses a data source to populate graphics and information in the composition, sometimes also rendering automatically for rapid high-volume output.

The recurring automation aspect makes it a system.


  • Pull data from a client’s spreadsheet to localize paid ads with the proper city name and skyline b-roll.
  • Create features + benefits videos for a catalogue of products by automatically pulling in the front/side/back photos of each product and updating the copy.
  • Scrape a website for data (e.g. article headlines and corresponding banner image) and generate AE comps to rapidly produce video content for a blog.
  • Broadcast systems that need to update graphics with new information (think: sports graphics, news, weather, live events)

How to get started:

Pricing Motion Systems

When you’re building a system for content production, rather than just producing content, you’re delivering exponentially more value.

You’re supplying the fishing pole, rather than just one fish. So you can multiply your cost accordingly.