Demystifying Video: An Introduction to Motion Graphics

Our “Demystifying Video” blog series continues with an introduction to motion graphics. Missed the other posts in the series? Catch up on Episode 1: Color Grading and Episode 2: Drone Cinematography. From the tools and processes we use to the terms we employ to talk about them, the nitty-gritty of producing video can be a little bit intimidating. In this series, we let you in on the lingo and help you understand what we do both behind the camera and behind the desk in the edit suite.

Hi! I’m Dolan, and I’m the motion graphics artist here at Liquid. I will be introducing you to motion graphics – presenting a broad overview of what it is and how it can be effectively utilized.

What is Motion Graphics?

Motion graphics is essentially graphic design in motion; more specifically it is the creative integration of graphic design elements (illustration, photography and typography) and time-based elements (sound, animation and video). Motion graphics is one of those terms that does not have a clear-cut definition agreed upon by everyone. It covers such a broad range of media and disciplines that it can’t be fully defined by one statement. The line between motion graphics and any of these individual art forms is blurry and difficult to differentiate at times, which is why it is so hard to define. 

Why use Motion Graphics?

The definition may be fuzzy, but the benefits are clear. One of the primary functions of graphic design is to visually communicate a message in a creative and interesting way. Motion graphics simply enhance and emphasize this message with an intensity and energy that can only be created through motion. Dwindling attention spans prevent most consumers from reading lengthy articles, but video content is a powerful way communicate an information-packed message, especially if it is presented in a visually captivating way. Motion graphics makes it possible to present large amounts of complex information in a package that is simple, easily consumable and engaging.

How Can Motion Graphics Be Applied?

I will take you through some of the most popular and effective uses of motion graphics and how they can be helpful for your next project.

1. Animated Infographic

This is a great way to breathe life into a static infographic and is probably the most widely used method of motion design. A well-designed infographic is an excellent way to communicate complex data on its own, but combining that with motion takes it to a whole new level that engages the viewer and makes it fun to consume. Take a look at how we transformed one of our own infographics through animation. If you have a lot of data driven content that you want to make more accessible to your audience, an animated infographic may be what you are looking for. 

2. 2D Character Animation

Another effective way to communicate a message is to do so through storytelling. Sometimes live action video isn't the most cost-effective or feasible way of telling your story due to a limited budget or simply because it can't be shot in real life. That's where motion graphics can come in through the use of character animation. This method is most commonly associated with explainer videos, where a company uses simple cartoon-like characters to explain a product or service in a clear and concise way. A great example of this style would be a recent animation we did for Olympus to help explain the benefits of their CO2 regulation unit.

Of course there are many different ways to use 2D character animation other than explainer videos. For example, we recently created a character animation that involved a dinosaur chase scene, which for obvious reasons we could not capture in real life, so 2D animation was the best and most affordable solution for that project.

3. Kinetic Typography

Kinetic typography literally means "moving text" and refers to the art of conveying an emotion or idea through the use of animated typography. This style of animation has been around for a while now, and for good reason. When well executed, it can be extremely powerful and attention grabbing. Kinetic typography grants you the freedom to be creative with the presentation of textual information and allows the typography to become an integral piece of the message being conveyed. These animations are almost always accompanied by audio, music, images and sometimes traditional video to help emphasize the message or idea. One of the most famous examples where kinetic typography is used effectively is the old Ford F-150 commercials.

It's important to note that motion graphics is a large and complex art form that is blended and interlaced with many different forms of digital media. These examples are just a small sampling of what motion graphics can accomplish, and the boundaries are constantly being pushed.

Along with that, it's crucial to understand that high quality thought-provoking content is the most important part of producing successful projects. Great design is meant to complement and enhance the content, not substitute for it. Sometimes motion graphics is not the right creative choice for a specific project. It all depends on the mood, idea or message you need to communicate with your audience, but you now have a basic understanding of motion design and can begin thinking about the potential.

The creative possibilities with this medium are extensive and there’s a good chance you can find a way to differentiate your next project from the norm with motion graphics.

Looking for more ideas to make your brand’s video content stand out? Join us at our next Lunch & Learn @ Liquid on Wednesday, November 16th – Leveraging Video in Your Marketing Efforts to learn how to use video to increase conversions, speed along the decision-making process, grow web traffic and ratchet up click-throughs. There’s no cost to attend, but registration is required by November 11th.