So maybe you watched Vimeo or Youtube and came across someone’s motion graphics video. Pretty attractive stuff, huh? But what is motion graphics?
- Term motion chart
- Smooth, vibrant animation style
- It’s not new
- Group of niche artists
- Preview on Vimeo
Term motion chart
Motion Graphics is a new term for a specific genre of animation that has been around for a long time. Motion graphics are the intersection between animation and graphic design. These are usually targeted snippets for the purpose of presenting information to the viewer through animated text or images. They often have a voiceover that tells what the text or images represent. Text videos are a good example of motion graphics, the graphics reflect what the singer is singing.
With the increased popularity and lower cost of computer animation, moving images began to differentiate themselves from conventional animation. Motion graphics also began to define a certain style – often bright and colorful with no outlines (the lack of outlines makes computer animation easier).
Smooth, vibrant animation style
They usually have a very smooth animated animation style. When working with stories, you want the audience to be visually engaged, so they’re not just listening to the narrator. To do this, moving graphic artists often create dramatic transitions and dynamic movements between text or images.
Motion graphics are often more commercial and customer-oriented. It’s rare to see someone make a movie-style independent film. The reason for this has to do with the combination of graphic design and animation. By combining the commercial and customer world of graphic design with animation, you have motion graphics.
It’s not new
Motion graphics aren’t new, but they’re much easier to do now. An old example of motion pictures comes from a VHS training tape called “Donald Duck in Math Land”. It may have done little to help kids learn math, but it featured moving pictures as early as 1959. The part where Donald plays billiards (or billiards as they call it) where they show a representation of a pool table and draw lines on it, that’s the same idea of motion graphics today.
They need to present some information and illustrate an idea for the viewer to do this with animation and movement.
Group of niche artists
Motion graphics artists try to present themselves as a more niche group of artists. Rather than defining “animator” more broadly, they prefer to present themselves with the specific label of “animation artist”, as some people would say “character animator”, rather than just as an animator. If you’re an animator, you can be a character animator, an abstract animator, a lot of things. But by saying you’re a graphic artist, you immediately let them know who you are and what you do.
It’s a bit of a shame that the more popular the term “moving graphics” gets, the more people change animations. Just because an animation is bright and colorful with no outlines doesn’t mean it’s moving images.
Preview on Vimeo
Take this Vimeo video for example – although there are bits of motion graphics in it, most of these clips are not motion graphics. They are simply stylized as liquid animation. There’s nothing wrong with misnaming an animation style for someone else, it’s just something to keep in mind when talking about your work. You wouldn’t want to be a character animator creating cool, smooth animations and applying for a motion graphics job, you’d be frustrated if you had to animate text all day instead of doing character work.
Also remember that you don’t have to fit into their popular style to be a motion graphic. It can even help you stand out from the graphic artists if your work looks different!