Facets of Motion Graphics

November 14, 2023

Whenever you're watching a video, TV show or film, you're most likely seeing motion graphics in action. Whether it's a news anchor's name appearing on the bottom of your screen, the screen on a character's mobile phone, snow falling from the sky, or any special effect added to video in post-production, it all falls under the "motion graphics" umbrella.

One of the most exciting things about working on motion graphics are all of the constantly evolving plugins for Adobe’s After Effects. If I need to add pixie dust or have a title wisp away like it's sand, I’ll use Trapcode’s Particular to do it quickly and efficiently. If I need to create a dramatic 3D logo animation, I can utilize VideoCopilot’s Element 3D. If I need to use motion tracking on a billboard to apply another design, I default to BorisFX’s Mocha Pro. All this frees up my time to focus on the big creative picture.

One of the biggest perks when I'm working with clients on-site, developing videos at network upfronts, is that I'm around other professionals who are just as passionate about motion graphics as I am, and we can talk shop and swap tricks of the trade. I've been doing this for decades, yet I always walk away from these situations with even more ideas and new ways to use the tools. (btw: I love using After Effects expressions. However, even though I use them all the time, I still find myself googling the basics like “AE bounce expression”. All in all, they will simplify your workflow and return amazing results. If you haven’t embraced the magic of expressions, you definitely need to give them a spin.)

Whenever I'm creating motion graphics, my focus is storytelling. I'm telling a visual story and all the toolsets I use, and imaginative flourishes I add are in service of that story. A company whose work I find inspirational in that regard is Imaginary Forces. Their work is striking and full of life -- you've seen this if you've seen the title sequences for Se7en, Mission: Impossible, Mad Men or Stranger Things.