Motion graphics


Motion graphics (sometimes mograph) are pieces of animation or digital footage which create the illusion of motion or rotation, and are usually combined with audio for use in multimedia projects. Motion graphics are usually displayed via electronic media technology, but may also be displayed via manual powered technology (e.g. thaumatrope, phenakistoscope, stroboscope, zoetrope, praxinoscope, flip book). The term distinguishes static graphics from those with a transforming appearance over time, without over-specifying the form.[1] While any form of experimental or abstract animation can be called motion graphics, the term typically more explicitly refers to the commercial application of animation and effects to video, film, TV, and interactive applications. Motion graphics are exceptional way to communicate with viewer, and it can add depth to the story. Also it can give us a message by music and effective copy together, they use it to create ads, television title sequence, explaining a concept, and share a product video that help to communicate their message.

Animation in and about motion graphics. In Spanish, with English subtitles

Scope of the termEdit

Motion graphics extend beyond the most commonly used methods of frame-by-frame footage and animation. Motion graphics can be distinguished from typical animation in that they are not strictly character driven or story based and often represent animated abstract shapes and forms such as logos or logo elements.

History of the termEdit

Motion graphic clip about alebrijes created by the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City. Note: Click the CC button for English subtitles.

Since there is no universally accepted definition of motion graphics, the official beginning of the art form is disputed. There have been presentations that could be classified as motion graphics as early as the 1800s. Michael Betancourt wrote the first in-depth historical survey of the field, arguing for its foundations in visual music and the historical abstract films of the 1920s by Walther Ruttmann, Hans Richter, Viking Eggeling and Oskar Fischinger.[2]

The history of motion graphics is closely related to the history of Computer Graphics as the new developments of computer-generated graphics led to wider use of motion design not based on optical film animation. The term motion graphics originated with digital video editing in computing, perhaps to keep pace with newer technology. Graphics for television were originally referred to as Broadcast Design.

Important character-timelinesEdit


Walter Ruttmann was a German cinematographer. He was also film director who worked mainly in experimental film. The films were experiments in new forms of film expression and featured shapes of different colors flowing back and forth and in and out of the lens. He started his film career in the early 1920’s, starting with abstract films Lichtspiel: Opus I (1921), the first publicly screened abstract film, and Opus II (1923.) The animations were painted with oil on glass plates so the wet paint could be wiped away and modified easily.[3]


John Whitney One of the first uses of the term "motion graphics", who in 1960 founded a company called Motion Graphics Inc.[4] One of his most famous works was the animated title sequence from Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Vertigo” in 1958, collaborating with Saul Bass, which featured swirling graphics growing from small to large.


Saul Bass is a major pioneer in the development of feature film title sequences. His work included title sequences for popular films such as The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), and Advise & Consent (1962). His designs were simple, but effectively communicated the mood of the film.[5]


Stan Brakhage one of the most important figures in 20th-century experimental film. He explored a variety of formats, creating a large, diverse body of work. his influence in the credits of the film Seven (1995), designed by Kyle Cooper, with the scratched emulsion, rapid cutaways, and bursts of light in his style.[3]

Computer-generated motion graphicsEdit

Computer- generated animations "are more controllable than other, more physically based processes, like constructing miniatures for effects shots, or hiring extras for crowd scenes, because it allows the creation for images that would not be feasible using any other technology."

Before computers were widely available, motion graphics were costly and time-consuming, limiting their use to high-budget filmmaking and television production. Computers began to be used as early as the late 1960s as super computers were capable of rendering crude graphics. John Whitney and Charles Csuri can be considered early pioneers of computer aided animation.[6][7]

In the late 1980s to mid-1990s, expensive proprietary graphics systems such as those from British-based Quantel were quite commonplace in many television stations. Quantel workstations such as the Hal, Henry, Harry, Mirage, and Paintbox were the broadcast graphics standard of the time. Many other real-time graphics systems were used such as Ampex ADO, Abekas and K-Scope for live Digital video effects. Early proprietary 3D computer systems were also developed specifically for broadcast design such as the Bosch FGS-4000 which was used in the music video for Dire Straits' Money for Nothing. The advent of more powerful desktop computers running Photoshop in the mid-90s drastically lowered the costs for producing digital graphics. With the reduced cost of producing motion graphics on a computer, the discipline has seen more widespread use. With the availability of desktop programs such as Adobe After Effects, Discreet Combustion, Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Motion, motion graphics have become increasingly accessible. Modern character generators (CG) from Aston Broadcast Systems and Chyron Corporation's incorporate motion graphics.

The term "motion graphics" was popularized by Trish and Chris Meyer's book about the use of Adobe After Effects, titled Creating Motion Graphics. This was the beginning of desktop applications which specialized in video production but were not editing or 3D programs. These new programs collected together special effects, compositing, and color correction toolsets, and primarily came between edit and 3D in the production process. This "in-between" notion of motion graphics and the resulting style of animation is why sometimes it is referred to as 2.5D.

Adobe After Effects can be used for all common video editing tasks necessary for producing broadcast quality, high-definition video. it is a generally used software applications for video editing on mac OS or Windows computers. Premiere Pro is used for editing videos, commercials and other film, television, and online video. It is a comprehensive video editing software application and is also available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud set of applications. Motion Graphics templates give Premiere Pro editors the power of After Effects motion graphics, packaged up as templates with easy to use controls designed to be customized in Premiere Pro.[8]

Motion graphics continue to evolve as an art form with the incorporation of sweeping camera paths and 3D elements. Maxon's CINEMA 4D, plugins such as MoGraph and Adobe After Effects. Despite their relative complexity, Autodesk's Maya and 3D Studio Max are widely used for the animation and design of motion graphics, as is Maya and 3D Studio which uses a node-based particle system generator similar to Cinema 4D's Thinking Particles plugin. There are also some other packages in Open Source panorama, which are gaining more features and adepts in order to use in a motion graphics workflow, while Blender integrates several of the functions of its commercial counterparts.

Many motion graphics animators learn several 3D graphics packages for use according to each program's strengths. Although many trends in motion graphics tend to be based on a specific software's capabilities, the software is only a tool the broadcast designer uses while bringing the vision to life.

Leaning heavily from techniques such as the collage or the pastiche, motion graphics has begun to integrate many traditional animation techniques as well, including stop-motion animation, frame by frame animation, or a combination of both.

Particle systemEdit

Particle system demonstration

One of the most popular motion graphics tools is a particle system: a motion graphics technology that is used for generating multiple animated elements. This type of animation is commonly referred to as procedural animation. A particle system is available as a plug-in, as a stand-alone application, or is included as an integrated part of a motion graphics package. Particles are points in 3-D or 2-D space that can be represented by a wide variety of station and animated objects such as a ball of light, a video clip, or a selection of text, to name a few. The particles are generated by a particle emitter and can be emitted in small numbers or in the thousands, depending on the project. Among other things, a particle emitter can be in the form of a single point, a line, a grid, a plane or an object such as a box or sphere, although it can also make use a custom object to serve an emitter, such as a logo, which for example, can be exploded, melted, or transformed into blowing sand. A popular particle system for motion graphics is Particular by Trapcode.

Other examples of individual particles include a blurred sphere that can be used in large numbers to create smoke or fog and a video clip of a person who can be duplicated to create a crowd scene. Particles can be emitted as a single item, although it is typically used in large numbers, such as when creating smoke or rain. They are controlled by directional forces, simulated wind, and gravity, objects designed to attract or repel them. Other controllable attributes can include such things as changes in color, size, or transparency. Depending on the system, one can also combine multiple simultaneous emitters, such as when simulating an explosion that combines fire, smoke, and flying debris. In an advanced 3-D system the particle can be used to control an animated articulated character, a recognizable example being the warriors in the battle sequences of the film Lord of the Rings.


Elements of a motion graphics project can be animated by various means, depending on the capabilities of the software. These elements may be in the form of art, text, photos, and video clips, to name a few. The most popular form of animation is keyframing, in which properties of an object can be specified at certain points in time by setting a series of keyframes so that the properties of the object can be automatically altered (or tweened) in the frames between keyframes. Another method involves a behavior system such as is found in Apple Motion that controls these changes by simulating natural forces without requiring the more rigid but precise keyframing method. Yet another method involves the use of formulas or scripts, such as the expressions function in Adobe After Effects or the creation of ActionScripts within Adobe Flash. Computers are capable of calculating and randomizing changes in imagery to create the illusion of motion and transformation. Computer animations can use less information space (computer memory) by automatically tweening, a process of rendering the key changes of an image at a specified or calculated time. These key poses or frames are commonly referred to as keyframes or low CP. Adobe Flash uses computer animation tweening as well as frame-by-frame animation and video.

Stop motion graphics is the oldest type of motion graphics which has given birth to cinemas,[9] it provides a unique effect to the videos.


Motion graphics can be seen in just about everything from commercials, television, movies, and more. There are skills that need to get followed in order to make motion graphic design advanced. Those are some of the skills that will help improve the work to the next level.[10]

Traditional artEdit

The easiest way of generate ideas in motion graphics is to sketch out the ideas and thoughts down. By creating a sketch it helps finding the mistake and easily fix it, other than just building it on computer right away. Drawing gives more open space for other thoughts and ideas that can be put down. Also, it does not take plenty of time to generate ideas.

An understanding of animationEdit

As a motion graphics designer you need to be able to bring 2D elements to life through movement. Animation is not just a motion in graphics but it's more of a few key frames. Additionally, animation has a strong authority in the fundamentals of how animation works and how the work that's being created shows appealing. However, if animations work is not done well than that could cause the design pieces to fall flat.


Typography is heavily utilized in motion design, and often times the driving force behind the motion graphic. For example, a motion design uses company, product or even services so viewers are able to view it. Moreover, its important to understand typography because it is well known, such as, what virtual features make up a typeface, what complements a design, and what is the easiest for audience to be able to read. Those are the right phases that can extend motion design to a higher level.

Color theoryEdit

All types of motion design are going to require colors. Additionally, it’s really important to understand what colors to use and how it is going to make a difference. Also, it’s important to think about how color will change mood and feelings. Moreover, the key is to understand how colors is going to add something new. Additionally, it need to ask questions on how will the color make a change motion graphics piece because not all color will express what can try to share if it’s not made clear. Knowing when to use color will help others understand the idea of the piece.

Creative thinkingEdit

Creativity is the ability to create something, and this gives motion designers the ability to bring a graphic element to life. Sometimes, it need to be working with very little information about a client and the idea may not be clear, creativity is needed to turn a simple idea into a motion design attractive enough to catch the attention of the audience. Creative thinking can grow with practice and time.

Notable filmmakers who have informed the motion graphics industryEdit


Early ground breaking motion design studios include:[11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

Motion design and digital compositing software packagesEdit

Since motion design is created using images and video sequences, a complementary tool is a 3d software package. Maya has new MASH module specially design for motion graphics with many nodes for complex but interactive animations and seamlessly exports camera objects to Adobe After Effects. Cinema 4D is widely used for its intuitive interface, layered export to Adobe After Effects, and the additional MoGraph module, but there are other software packages as well. Such packages can generate images or video sequences with an alpha channel, which stores all the transparency information.

Motion design applications include Adobe After Effects, Eyeon Fusion, Nuke, Autodesk Combustion, Apple Motion, Max/MSP, various VJ Programs, Smith Micro Software Anime Studio, Adobe Flash, Natron and Synfig Studio. 3D programs used in motion graphics include Maxon Cinema 4D, Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, NewTek Lightwave, e-on Vue Infinite and Blender. Motion graphics plug-ins include Video Copilot's Products, Red Giant Software and The Foundry Visionmongers.

Types of Motion GraphicsEdit

Motion graphics is basically an animation with a hint of design graphics. There are several types and they can be unique and have different perspectives and uses. Some of the types can broken into the following:

Emotive videosEdit

The essential point of these recordings is to evoke an enthusiastic reaction from the viewer. This could be a positive or negative insight, contingent upon the foundation of your story. In any case, after viewing your video, a watcher should be driven by that feeling to make a particular move.[18]

Explainer videosEdit

To explain an idea, explainer recordings converts ideas into a reasonable picture. This methodology is regularly the correct decision when your story is profoundly difficult to explain, specialized, or includes numerous means to finish or clarify.[18]

Promotional videosEdit

Driving conversions is a definitive goal for a special video. This sort of video or motion graphic is frequently more defined as a business piece than different genre. Any subtleties that help inspire a watcher to a buy choice should be situated before in these recordings.

UI AnimationsEdit

A very useful tool when presenting to developers. A whole motion graphic video can be produced with the specific UI products.[18]

Product MarketingEdit

This could fit under the explainer video area, however it needed to separate to show the collection of approaches to apply movement illustrations. Explainer centers around an idea and this spotlights on an item. An incredible method to describe short story about the item, yet in addition can tell you the best way to utilize your item. Movement of motion graphic can truly help, regardless of whether advanced or physical.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Betancourt, Michael (2012-01-06). "The Origins of Motion Graphics". Cinegraphic. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  2. ^ Cone, Justin (2013-02-12). "The History of Motion Graphics". Motionographer. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  3. ^ a b "The History of Motion Graphics". Google Books. December 11, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "The Computer Graphics Book Of Knowledge".
  5. ^ Betancourt, Michael (2011-08-28). "Saul Bass – Animating Modernist Design". Cinegraphic. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  6. ^ "ID 797 - History of Computer Graphics and Animation". Archived from the original on 2016-10-13.
  7. ^ Sito, Tom (2013). Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0262314312. OCLC 936201609.
  8. ^ "What is Premiere Pro". Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Motion Graphics Designer". 2020.
  11. ^ "CGI Family Tree Main Page". Archived from the original on 2013-05-03.
  12. ^ ""Music Video That Looks like Film" by Comer, Brooke Sheffield - American Cinematographer, Vol. 67, Issue 9, September 1986". Archived from the original on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  13. ^ ".: flights :".
  14. ^ "Robert Abel & Associates - UCLA Film & Television Archive".
  15. ^ "Sogitec — Histoire 3D Wiki".
  16. ^ Graser, Marc (2 April 2001). "Pittard Sullivan shuts doors".
  17. ^ Parent, Rick (2012). Computer Animation: Algorithms and Techniques (3rd ed.). San Francisco, California: Morgan Kaufmann. p. 25. ISBN 9780124159730. OCLC 809249105.
  18. ^ a b c d Ashby, Kyle (2016-10-28). "Types of Motion Graphics". Medium. Retrieved 2020-12-13.