Best of Behance: Ruslana Mirzaalieva

By Jenny Carless

Who: Ruslana Mirzaalieva

What: Motion graphics design

Behance member since: 2015

Moscow-based motion graphic designer Ruslana Mirzaalieva discovered motion design when she was 19 years old, just after she had graduated from an architectural college. Surfing the web one day, she came across Scream School, the Moscow school of computer graphics, and felt an instant personal connection to motion design.

“That same day, I spoke with my parents and decided to move to Moscow to study,” she says.

Today, with two years at Scream School under her belt, supplemented with frequent short courses to improve specific skills, she’s creating emotional, flowing designs focused on topics as diverse as art therapy and European football.

From a motion graphics project called Industry

Her style is an homage of sorts to traditional animators.

“I really love that style of sketching,” she says. “They paint so that even in a static picture you feel movement and emotions. This is what I try to do in my own work.”

Mirzaalieva likes to mix different techniques—such as 3D, cel animation, and animation created in Adobe After Effects.

“I’ve studied a little bit in many different places, so no single animation school has left a mark on my style,” she says. “For example, in Russia, designers rarely use frame-by-frame animation, whereas I use it a lot.”

Clips from a promo video Mirzaalieva created for Tanakan. 

Mirzaalieva usually works with a creative director and a producer, and she likes the teamwork.

“As a rule, I do the whole movie—creating images, illustrations, and animations—so it’s very important for me to collaborate with the producer, who helps me focus and do the best-quality work, on time,” she says. “Producers are a motion designer’s best friends.”


Mirzaalieva’s work for a video titled Art Therapy illustrates how psychological problems can affect a person’s quality of life and ability to be happy. Her unique animations for the project recently caught our attention. 

“Psychological problems interfere with full relationships—with others and with oneself,” Mirzaalieva says. “Art therapy, as it’s often called, is one of the ways to address such problems. It helps you hear your inner voice and find balance. It’s a useful and effective method in those cases when it’s difficult and painful to talk about a psychological problem directly.”

Mirzaalieva created this video for art therapist Dilya Gazizova and her art therapy center, YRT.

“Dilya gave us complete freedom, so it became almost a personal project,” Mirzaalieva says. “I'm very grateful to her.”

While she has no direct connection to the field of art therapy, Mirzaalieva does feel an affinity with it.

“To some extent, all my work is art therapy,” she says. “The emotions in my animations are my emotions.”

Selections from the animations created for Art Therapy

In her Art Therapy video, much attention is paid to the unconscious, which controls us and stores in itself many mysterious, sometimes scary, things, she explains.

At the beginning, lonely people are on their own icebergs. By the end, they find themselves together on one colorful island in the middle of the bright ocean.

“Thanks to art therapy, they solved internal problems and learned to get along with themselves and others,” Mirzaalieva explains.

Mirzaalieva used Adobe Photoshop to create the illustrations and frame-by-frame animation, After Effects for the rest of the animation, and a little bit of Adobe Illustrator for the inscriptions, in order to make animating them in After Effects move convenient.

Click on the image to watch the video (which is in Russian, though the language of the animations is universal). Note the 12-second animation that starts at 1:47—it was Mirzaalieva’s favorite—and the most difficult—part of the production. She explains, “It was important to create emotional tension with the help of a character; I wanted the movement to look natural, so the viewer sympathizes,” she says. “Another challenge was making movement in space. I reworked this fragment again and again until it created the right impression.”



Today, Mirzaalieva is working as an animator and character designer on a new, more complicated project and is enjoying the challenge. She’s also taking two short courses to hone new skills: digital painting, and rigging in After Effects.

“In the future, I’d like to work in a team of professionals from whom I can learn a lot,” she says. “I look forward to doing something more than I can do alone.”

February 6, 2018