Motion graphics are pieces of digital footage or animation which create the illusion of motion or rotation, and are usually combined with audio for use in multimedia projects. 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 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. 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.



The history of motion graphics is closely related to the history of Computer Graphics as the new developments of computer generated graphics led to a 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.

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.
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.



Motion graphics continue to evolve as an art form with the incorporation of sweeping camera paths and 3D elements.
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, cel animation or a combination of both.
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. Computers are capable of calculating and randomizing changes in imagery to create the illusion of motion and transformation. . 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, it provides unique effect to the videos.

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