Motion graphics are digital footage or animation technology to 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 be displayed via manual powered technology.
Motion graphics extend beyond the most commonly used methods of frame-by-frame footage and animation. Computers are capable of calculating and randomizing changes in imagery to create the illusion of motion and transformation. Computer animations can use less 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.
The term motion graphics originated with video editing in computing, perhaps to keep pace with newer technology. It was popularized by Trish and Chris Meyer’s book about the use of Adobe After Effects, titled Creating Motion Graphics. Before computers were widely available, motion graphics were costly and time-consuming, limiting their use to high-budget filmmaking and television production. 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, and Apple Motion, motion graphics have become increasingly accessible.
Since motion design is created using images and video sequences, software packages are extensively used.
It is the flagship program for motion graphics. It allows users to animate, alter and composite media in 2D and 3D space. 2D designs created in a program like Illustrator can be brought in, animated and manipulated to create a motion graphics piece. Not only can you work with 2D elements if After Effects, but you can also work with 3D elements as well. Objects and scenes from popular 3D applications can be used directly as footage inside of After Effects.
At its core, Photoshop is a photo editing software, but its capabilities go far beyond that. This software is used among nearly every 2D or 3D computer graphics pipeline and motion designers are no exception. With Photoshop you can do things like resize images that are too big, cut out images from photographs that can be used in your motion graphics work as well as create great designs with advanced tools and filters. Like After Effects, Photoshop is developed by Adobe and is part of the Creative Cloud.
While Photoshop excels at pixel-based imagery, Illustrator is an advanced vector-based software from Adobe’s Creative Cloud. Illustrator includes a wide range of design tools that can be essential to your motion graphics work. It has very powerful and sophisticated vector drawing tools, as well as advanced type tools that are great for creating graphics for your motion designs.
As the Internet becomes oversaturated with the current forms of content, brands have to push harder to be seen. Motion graphics, which play in to viewers’ love of video content, and the ease with which you can get a point across with text, animation and audio on your site are the keys to the future.
As content creators catch on to the popularity of these simple yet powerful messages, we’re sure to see more and more of them used for trailers, product videos and calls to action. As you plan your organization’s content marketing strategy, be sure to consider the benefits of motion graphics.