Anyone looking for a showcase of the world’s leading graphic design talent really needs to see Fotolia’s TEN Collection. 2013 was the collection’s second year and revealed more stunning and beautiful images than ever before.

We caught up with San Francisco Motion Artist and TEN Collection contributor Lydia Baillergeau to talk about her work, influences and music taste…

Fotolia: Can you tell us a bit about yourself – where you’re based, what you do, and maybe a little summary of your career?

Lydia Baillergeau: I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area and I currently work for an agency called LaunchSquad Video as the Design Lead. I enjoy the team collaboration I have around creative storytelling at work. We’re a small team but I love that I get to collaborate with others who have a totally different background than I do. Since we have a couple of filmmakers on our team—I’ve learned so much more than I could have alone about camera angles and editing. We push each other.

In the evenings I work on freelance projects to keep my skills sharp and to allow myself to keep the variety of projects I work on diverse. As of late, I’ve been working on the opening graphics for an online food series. It’s lots of fun as I have to turn out a new design every week.

I really built my motion design skills on the backbone of my first degree, a BFA in Graphic Design. While studying for my BFA I learned the importance of concept development and idea that form follows function. If you make something pink, know why you made the decision. Every design should be based on a solid concept and that concept should drive the look and feel. I carried this knowledge from the world of print design to motion design.

Fo: What was you initial impression when you were approached by Fotolia to be a TEN Collection contributor?

LB: I was SUPER excited and honored! The other participants are so awesome. It was a truly transformative and humbling experience to be invited to participate.

Fo: What inspired you to become a Motion Artist? Can you give us a bit of detail on how you got where you are today?

LB: After working as a print designer making everything from annual reports to gala invitations, I decided to pursue a second degree in motion design because I wanted to do dynamic storytelling.

Motion design lets you tell a story over 24 or 30 frames instead of working on one static composition. Also thinking about how things transition and flow was really intriguing to me.

Motion brings a whole other meaning to the principal of hierarchy in design. You really get to stage when your elements appear and guide the viewer from one scene to the next. This is a very powerful tool and I use it now to help paint visual stories for clients. I love motion and appreciate the fundamentals of design I learned from working in print.

I got to where I am today through sheer persistence and hard work. Two degrees; countless hours of working; not being afraid to kill a conceptual direction and start from scratch; asking tons of questions; seeking for constant feedback from more advanced peers; looking for mentorship; and knowing when to take a break.

Fo: What is it about motion art you love and what inspires you on a daily basis?

Lydia Baillergeau

Lydia in her native San Francisco

LB: The power it has to capture and engage audiences. It’s moving art. Moving design. The toolbox motion designers have is huge…you can breathe life into your designs and create a story with a few frames.

What inspires me everyday? It might sound clichéd… but life. Everything around me! Even an irritating experience on the way to work can inspire an idea later. I think the best art and design evokes an emotional response…and to create art like that you need to think about your own emotional experiences. Of course, music, nature, and friends inspire me too.

Fo: What advice would you give to those looking to begin a career in motion design or to move into it?

LB: Learn your design fundamentals first! Anyone can pick up the software skills. There are tons of tutorials, user-groups and support for building those technical skills. Try to start by learning the fundamentals of good design (typography, color theory, hierarchy etc.) The technical software skills are important too, but if what you’ve created is a poor design, no matter how beautifully it’s moving it’s still a poor design.

Look through Vimeo and Motionographer and analyze the motion designs that are there. It’s really awesome if you can download them and click through frame by frame. This will give you an in-depth sense for how something transitions and/or is created. Also get some art and design history. It’s important to understand the past to design for the future.

Fo: Can you give us a little bit of background on your piece for the TEN Collection?

LB: I wanted to create a small animation paying homage to the creative process and finding inspiration. It’s something I search for everyday. Creativity and being inspired is really a magical thing to me so I attempted to depict this feeling through use of bright colors, twinkling stars, glowing lights and ethereal imagery.

A while ago, the creative team in my office came up with a concept for a toast to the creative process. We spent hours brainstorming how it felt to be searching for the right idea and then our copy writer, Leah Shesky, took the pen to the paper to craft a beautiful toast. I decided it would be fun to create a little animation for a portion of it.

Fo: Whose work do you admire as a Motion Artist?

LB: I am inspired by a large handful of artists. To name a few: Kyle Cooper, Karin Fong, Mara Smalley, Danny Yount, and Ash Thorp.

Fo: Do you listen to music when you work? If so, what’s on your playlist?

LB: Absolutely! It helps keep the creative juices following. I actually really like to listen to Annie Mac’s Musical Hot Water Bottle on the BBC. She features music from artists like: James Blake, Disclosure, Banks, Sam Smith, SBTRKT. Then of course there’s my Spotify playlists which include everything from Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, to Aluna George and Major Lazer.

Fo: What has been the hardest creative brief you’ve worked with to date? How did you overcome those challenges?

LB: I’m frequently under NDA’s so I can’t get too specific, but I create motion pieces for lots of tech companies, and quiet often it’s a tremendous challenge to distil their stories down to digestible, beautiful pieces. I have to really approach every project and client with fresh eyes and open ears. I start by really trying to understand the goals and objectives of the client and the service they provide. This really helps me handcraft and tailor my designs.

Fo: If you hadn’t become a Motion Artist, what would you have been?

LB: Actually, as random as this may sound—maybe a doctor! I find the human body fascinating. It houses, the brain, the amazing machine that functions seamlessly everyday and lets us create.

Fo: Wow! Thank you very much for your time today, Lydia!

Lydia also let us share three short videos that reveal some of her working methods, and a toast to the Creative Process common to artists everywhere!

Discover more of Lydia’s life and work on her website, www.byairjo.com, and on Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, and Behance.

Hopefully, Lydia’s words and her work in Season 2 of the TEN Collection will inspire you as much as they did us…and just maybe TEN Season 3 will be showcasing your work in 2014…