Make your design come alive with an animated mockup

How are those high-end ads with animated mockups actually made?

Have you ever wondered how big companies make those mockup animations where a camera zooms in and out, and the phone rotates, typically at the end of an ad?

Here’s how they are created: the company hires a 3D animation freelancer, who will then model a phone in Cinema 4D or Blender, put your design inside, and then design some cool animations.

Wait, how much was that?

You’re probably thinking, “okay, that sounds expensive.” Let’s be honest: it’s not cheap: According to the book The Freelance Manifesto (here’s a free article quoting the book), new freelancers charge $350 per day, and experienced ones go well beyond the $2,000 mark for every day they spend in front of their motion designer monitors.

Even $350 per day is beyond most budgets, especially if you’re a new grad putting together a portfolio. So what can you do?

The do-it-yourself route

Luckily, there are many people on Youtube ready to teach you how to do it, like in this tutorial from Dansky. You can also go all the way and teach yourself Blender, a powerful and accessible 3D animation app for both Mac and Windows. If you want to get started, here’s a great (and often hilarious) tutorial series from Blender Guru. It’s a great skill to get!

3D for the rest of us

While 3D certainly is a fun and valuable skill, most of us don’t have the time, money, or patience for that learning curve. But the good news is that easier 3D modeling and animation are starting to appear. One of them is Rotato, but if you want to go just a step deeper and get your hands dirty with making 3D models, take a look at Spline.

Whichever route you take, have fun! 3D is a fun place to hang out.