Motion Graphics: State of the Industry

We’ve been creating videos for digital distribution for a long time and we’ve noticed a keen shift in the market.

It used to be that live video was the only option, with little exception perhaps with post production compositing. But, as the photoshop generation has more and more access to video, as well as the rise of shareable video content, we saw a hybrid emergence of motion graphics. Stunning graphics, animated to create a story or explain a concept.

Now however, we see more and more a defining split.

Filmic Recorded Video Vs. Pure Animation

Video traditionally would be a specialist affair requiring years of experience (probably from a broadcasting background), a deep understanding of how cameras actually work and before HD, a video that recorded the necessities with creativity coming from the variety of shots and editing skill. It\’s still clear that purist cinematographers and video professionals go for a uniquely filmic look. The more professionally shot, the better the video becomes at reaching it’s usual objective, to build trust in an organisation. This is often fast-tracked with a strong depth of field look and more film-esque colour grading. The introduction of DSLR video cameras has made this more achievable by more people with less knowledge required.

The other camp has fortified it\’s position in motion graphics, completely rendered inside the computer. It used to be that animators came from cartoonists or compositors. Nowadays we see them from designers, who have had video open up to them. From static graphics that have been animated, we see more and more actual animation, characters, elements that don\’t make sense in a static format. These videos are more reminiscent of cartoons or firework displays than the moving posters of the past and perhaps only have limited business use despite their beautiful appearance. Although with more access to professional tools and large libraries of inspiration online, we could argue that motion graphics has become separated from it\’s artistic past towards a marketing by-product.

The execution of both these forms of course vary widely as with any skill and so in turn does the professionalism of the end product and how much it can possibly achieve it\’s goals. But, we are seeing a fundamental shift towards the middle ground.

Rise of the Filmic Animation

As video becomes more and more of a necessity for business, as much as a website, it becomes but ubiquitous. As our customers see videos from around the web, they want to see recorded and personalised pieces that reflect exactly what their business needs to say. Just like their favourite website or brands they associate themselves with. And there\’s no question that real film presents a more personal and applicable medium.

Large companies often set the tone for what a video should look like, they inspire us and we aspire to create content like they are able to, but with large budgets and huge outreach we forget that often these videos are \”lifestyle\” videos over just explainers. They sell a way of working, not a technical diagram of how to work and that is what appeals. You\’ll rarely see a large company explain how their product works with any vigour or substantial quality.

So we still have to explain business concepts, video need to tell complicated stories that can\’t just be explained in a simple voiceover or sequence of events. Business\’ nowadays have unique technical attributes that often build upon complicated systems. A video needs to appeal to everyone from beginners to experts and this is where motion graphics come back to save the day. Motion graphics are smart, trendy and can quickly explain complicated concepts.

The match is now between film and motion graphics used together in harmony. With both cheap DSLR\’s capable of filmic looks and photoshop being taught in schools, we will undoubtedly see videos made at the entry point where these two things intersect.

Motion graphics is dead, long live motion graphics.