Making Money in Mograph Part 1

An intervie with Adam Plouff - Battleaxe

This is part one of a new mini-series we’re doing here at Motion Hatch called Making Money in MoGraph. We’ll be hearing from people who are making money as motion designers in a number of different and less than conventional ways. Today, I sit down to talk with one of the most well known After Effects tool designers in the industry.

Adam Plouff has created some of the most amazing After Effects tools, including RubberHose and Overlord. Before becoming an awesome tool creator, Adam worked in TV broadcast. It was there that he serendipitously fell into his current career. Since then he’s become one of the most prolific After Effects tool creators out there. He’s even been working with Google to make some of their tools.

Adam and I talk about what it’s like to sell tools in this industry. It’s difficult to make this a full-time job, but Adam has found ways to make it his. We also discuss how you can find the part of the motion design industry that’s best for you as a freelancer. We end by talking about how to strike a good work-life balance and creating work that still feeds your desire to create without getting bogged down in the business side of things.

Have you made money by creating and selling tools? Tell me about it in the comments!

In this episode

  • How Adam transitioned from working with broadcast television to becoming one of the leading animation tool developers in the industry
  • Why we need to appreciate all the aspects of the motion design business that may not be that obvious
  • Reflecting on the work you’ve done to pinpoint the part of the industry that you’d like to work in the most
  • Doing something different and unique so that you’ll get noticed (perhaps even by Google)
  • Dealing with struggles and successes that come with working in this industry and its impact on our mental health
  • Setting limits and guidelines in your business to make sure that the job doesn’t destroy your love of the craft


“There’s a definite downside of the quick sharing that we live in today. You don’t see all of the hard work and the years of practice that go into some stuff, and you don’t see how long it takes a team to come to a really cool solution. You just think everyone should be able to sit down and just generate content.” [8:25] 

“A lot of the confusion that can come from people who are in and around motion design is that they see just the cool parts of it. They see really pretty videos that go on the internet somewhere and it can be easy to miss the fact that there are so many other things that go into a good piece. Motion design is just a really small part of it.” [10:42] 

“I think it’s really easy as a freelancer to be reactive to what comes at you and to think that you only have the option to say yes or no to a project. But if you are treating your work like a business then you have a lot of opportunities.” [15:27] 

“As a commercial artist, developer, designer, whatever you do creatively for money, there are a lot of struggles and there are a lot of really good things in that if you take the time to curate your own life experience and find ways to enjoy what you do.” [38:35]

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Podcast music licensed by Big Waves

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