What Are Motion Graphics and Why Do You Need One?

You want your customers – and potential customers – to stay engaged with your content and give their undivided attention. But thanks to the days of instant everything, this is getting MUCH harder to do. That’s why most companies are starting to introduce eye-catching motion graphics into their content marketing strategy.

It’s said 65% of people learn visually – which is great since 90% of information transmits to our brains that way. Video content that incorporates motion graphics animation is a perfect way to capture the attention of viewers. Motion graphics are versatile in terms of style application and you can use these types of video for anything from explainer videos to product demos.

Today we’ll explore a bit about motion graphics and how to best utilize this style to take your videos to the next level.

Styles of Motion Graphics: Animated Videos

A man in flannel works on a desktop computer while creating a motion graphics video

There are so many variations of animation styles available for different types of motion graphics:

  • 2D animation: This type of animation is the one you’re probably most familiar with. According to Learn.org, the definition of 2D animation is: “2D, or two-dimensional animation is a combination of artistic technique and media design that creates the illusion of movement in a two-dimensional environment. By sequencing individual drawings together over time, characters, backgrounds, objects, and effects look as if they are moving. This is commonly done for animated movies and television, but it is also seen in video games, websites, mobile apps, and advertisements”.

    Read Levitate’s article on 2D animation here.
  • 3D animation: The fundamentals of this animation technique are to place objects and characters in a 3D space and manipulate them to give the illusion of motion.

    Read more about this video style here.

Here is a video example we created that showcases 3-D animation:

  • Motion Capture: Motion capture is used in films such as Planet of the Apes, Avatar, and Lord of the Rings. This involves dressing actors in suits that track their movements in order to recreate them with computer graphics.

See our behind-the-scenes video of our production on Linden Labs/ Second Life here:

  • Kinetic Typography: A typography animation is simply the animation of text – like in the opening credits or title sequence of a movie. A primary example would be the opening scroll in Star Wars. However, this type of animation can also be used to create explainer videos.

As for Motion Graphics…

While the world of 2D and 3D animation has traditionally focused on long-form character-driven feature/short films, the introduction of online video and social media created a growing need for short-form video content... a way that businesses could use to advertise and promote themselves.

That’s where motion graphics came in.

Featuring moving fonts, overlays, and other graphic elements, motion graphic design was the solution businesses were seeking to adapt to the digital world. Rather than conforming to those cinematic narratives produced by big movie studios, motion graphics created a space for moving advertisements. A dream for those in video marketing!

As explainer videos began to dominate the space of motion graphics, the demand for character animation began to grow. To fill this need, and accommodate the tight timelines and economical budgets of startups and small businesses, motion graphic artists began employing simplified character animation for their videos. Thus, we’ve reached the world of motion graphics as we know it today!

Check out an example here:

What Are the Benefits?

Motion graphics can be an animated explainer most frequently used to simplify complex ideas. Think of a time when you gave a presentation. It might have happened last week or 20 years ago in high school. There is a good chance you used some sort of visual aid to explain a complicated concept. Some concepts are hard to explain even with a visual aid. Moving images can help explain complex ideas. Motion graphics work to clarify things in a short and sweet manner.

This motion graphics example is for Egnyte as part of its Data Security program:

The main difference between this and more illustration-based animations is the use of basic graphics, motions, and transitions. By using this approach, you can break down the complex concepts associated with data security in a much simpler way, visually matching the voiceover's narrative script.

Here is another example of how we’ve used motion graphics to produce an explainer video to break down a sophisticated idea.

This illustrates Cribl’s points visually and gives the viewer a much greater understanding of how the concept works. Although you may not understand the complexities of data and security, you can instantly visualize what this software does, right?

That’s why video can be a powerful tool when it comes to conveying a difficult idea. Some of the best motion graphics allow you to easily visualize and process concepts. Isn’t that better than reading through walls of text and looking at static images?

Is a Script Necessary?

Depends on the situation. If you’re creating a motion graphics logo, infographic, or Instagram post, you may not need a script.

That said if you use motion graphics to enhance a compelling story, that compelling story typically has a strong script. So, it depends on what you want your video to accomplish. Much like live-action videos, effective motion graphic promotional videos should include:

  • An introduction
  • A problem
  • Solutions that don’t work
  • Why your solution is their answer
  • A Call To Action (CTA)

To increase conversions, motion graphic explainer videos should capture your brand identity and have a script that addresses your offer in a meaningful way.

Motion Graphics Versus Live Action: What Are the Advantages?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. The answer is determined by the complexity of the product or service. It’s natural for people to prefer to work with those they know, like, and trust. Therefore, you can use live-action videos to add a human element to your video and create an emotional connection. But when it comes to data, statistics, analysis, configuration, and data – live-action videos don’t always cut it.

As we’ve mentioned before, visuals help capture your viewer’s attention and absorb information better than just talking about it. One big benefit of using graphics over filming is you have the ability to visualize things that aren't possible in live-action. It opens up the possibilities of what you can show because it doesn't operate under the same limitations that live-action video production does.

The more visuals you use, the stronger and faster your reaction will be. Emotions contribute to user engagement, which in turn leads to information retention. That’s why we recommend using motion graphics in order to reinforce this type of information and enhance memory retention.

Of course, you could always combine the two by overlaying stats and numbers on the live footage (see example below). Such an approach would definitely produce a more entertaining and easy-to-follow video.

How Do You Create Motion Graphics?

Regardless of the type or style of the video, the overall production process remains the same, although there are some considerations to keep in mind when creating motion graphics:

  • Shape and movement to convey ideas.
  • For the piece to keep viewers engaged, transitions and sequences should be interesting and catch the eye.
  • Scenes should flow smoothly, without interruptions.

Using Adobe After Effects

After Effects is a high-quality industry standard when it comes to animation and motion graphics. Since motion graphics are in themselves an art form, many users import designs directly into After Effects because it is integrated with Illustrator and Photoshop. However! It IS possible to add motion graphics without after effects.

Free motion graphic templates are available to download for Adobe Premiere Pro which you can use directly (you can find tutorials on how to use motion graphics templates online). A number of them offer customizable design elements, as well as visual effects for use in projects ranging from text titles to logo animation.

If you’re interested in using animated graphics, we can help! Our team of experts is ready to help you create an engaging motion graphic video. Get in touch with us today!