Motion graphics

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Motion graphics are graphics that use video and/or animation technology to create the illusion of motion or a transforming appearance. These motion graphics 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 (e.g thaumatrope, phenakistoscope, stroboscope, zoetrope, praxinoscope, flip book) as well. The term is useful for distinguishing still graphics from graphics with a transforming appearance over time without over-specifying the form.


[edit] Motion graphics versus film

Motion Graphics include animations, movies, etc. The term "motion graphics" has the potential for less ambiguity than the use of the term "film" to describe moving pictures in the 21st century. "Film" is also used to describe photographic film (the 20th century medium of choice for recording motion), the process of recording footage, and the industry it most serves. However, digital video recording and digital projection to display motion graphics have the potential to make photographic film obsolete. The term "capture" is often used instead of "film" as a verb to describe the process of recording footage, perhaps due to the term's compatibility with digital video and motion capture technology. "The motion picture industry" is the formal term for what used to be called the "film industry".

[edit] Scope of the term

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 information space (computer memory) by automatically tweening, a process of rendering the changes of an image at a specified or calculated time. Adobe Flash uses computer animation tweening as well as frame-by-frame animation and video.

[edit] History of the term

Since there is no universally accepted definition of motion graphics, the official beginning of the art form is heavily disputed. There have been presentations that could be classified as motion graphics as early as the 1800s. Perhaps one of the first uses of the term "Motion Graphics" was by animator John Whitney, who in 1960 founded a company called Motion Graphics Inc.

Among those in the motion graphics profession, most agree that Saul Bass is the most significant pioneer in animated graphic design, and that his work marks the true beginning of what is now commonly referred to as motion graphics. His work included title sequences for popular films such as The Man With The Golden Arm (1955), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), and Advise & Consent (1962). His designs were simple, but effectively communicated the mood of the film.

[edit] Computer generated motion graphics

The term motion graphics originated with video editing in computing, perhaps to keep pace with newer technology. Before computers were widely available, motion graphics were costly and time consuming, limiting their use to only high budget film and TV projects. 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.

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. Maxon's CINEMA 4D is known for its ease of use, plugins such as MoGraph and integration with Adobe After Effects. Despite their relative complexity, Autodesk's Maya and 3D Studio Max are also widely used for the animation and design of motion graphics. Maya — traditionally used for high-end special effects and character animation — has the advantage of including an extremely robust feature set and wide-ranging user base. 3D Studio Max has many of the advanced features of Maya and uses a node-based particle system generator similar to Cinema 4D's Thinking Particles plugin. There are also some other packages in Open Source panorama, which are gaining more features and adepts in order to use in a motion graphics workflow. Blender and its node-editor is becoming more and more powerful.

Many motion graphics animators learn several 3D graphics packages for use according to each programs' strengths. Although many trends in motion graphics tend to be based on a specific software's capabilities, the software is only a tool the designer uses while bringing the vision to life.

Lending 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, cell animation or a combination of both.

[edit] See also

[edit] Motion graphics artists

[edit] External links

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