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Motion graphics

Motion graphics

Difference between motion graphics and animation

This is such a difficult difference to define, since there’s a very fine, often invisible, line that divides both of them.

1. Motion graphics

Motion graphics are the crossroad between animation and graphic design. They are basically design elements, like shapes, typography, and composition in action.

Motion graphics come as a type of animation, it is a digital technique that combines pictures, words, sound, video, typography, illustration, logos and shape. They are then animated or moved to present information to the viewer.

2. Animation

Animation covers more ground. It’s safe to say that motion graphics is a subset of animation.

Animation has more of a general purpose and can serve many goals. While motion graphics, however diverse they can get, really serve the main purpose of conveying a message through the alteration and movement of specific visual design elements.

Animation, however, can be defined as the creation of moving objects, characters and scenes from scratch, using a variety of techniques, and we have covered many of them in this book so far.


In their early years, motion graphics were limited to high-budget productions, since they used to be an overly time-consuming process. Later, computer software like Adobe After Effects and Apple Motion made editing images a much easier and faster process.

Motion graphics are highly popular nowadays in commercials, news shows, sporting events and online videos.

Uses of motion graphics

Motion graphics are seen massively throughout this very media orientated world we live in making the list of available sources to see motion graphics massive. One place to see them is on some DVD interfaces. The DVD interface is where all the menus are displayed; these can range in many different styles yet they all follow the same concept of having all the menus applicable to the DVD. Within this interface all graphics held within the background have to be relevant (or within) the film.

Title and credit sequences; these are the beginning and end of the film or game. The opening credits are used to entice to the viewer into the upcoming adventures of the movie/game. These are the most important part of the movie in many cases as it is what is used to grab the viewer and give them a sneak preview of what is to come. The most memorable opening title sequence has to be James Bond with this intro, here’s how it's looked over the decades.

Animated captions are (in other words) typography, this means the style and color of a font and how it sits. Typography can be animated in so many different ways; like becoming objects, merging into other words and merging behind objects such as smoke. Here’s some examples.

Motion graphics are used a lot in TV idents and stings.

Animated captions also use motion graphics.


Chapter: 8