Animation, Motion Graphics, and Visual Effects

I felt a video post-production primer is in order and I started by asking for definitions and comparisons for animation, motion graphics, and visual effects on Quora.com. Herewith a curated and expanded upon compilation:

Animation is the technique of photographing or filming successive drawings, positions of puppets, or models to create an illusion of movement when the photographed images are shown as a sequence. Whereas video takes continuous motion and breaks it up into discrete frames, animation starts with independent pictures and puts them together to form the illusion of continuous motion.Here a link to a great video by Bloop Animation that explains the five different forms of animation with video examples:

  • Traditional Animation (cell animation, frame by frame drawings)
  • 2D Animation (vector animation: sequence of mathematical statements that place lines and shapes in a given space)
  • 3D Animation (computer animation)
  • Motion Graphics (data driven animation of numbers, layers, etc. often in tandem with VFX))
  • Stop Motion Animation (Whiteboard, Claymation, cut-outs, etc.)

Motion Graphics are a digital technique that combines video images, pictures, words, typography, illustration, and logos, which are animated to tell, or enhance a story. Motion graphics are often used to explain complex concepts and data points layered over explainer- or educational- videos. Other examples are movie opening sequences, or high-tech scenes with AR (augmented reality) elements.

Visual effects (VFX) combine existing footage with computer-generated imagery to create scenes that can’t be shot in real life. VFX for instance are used in movies that deal with natural catastrophies, explosions, and fictional characters (dinosaurs, transformers, nice, straight and sane men, etc.). A very common, and not so spectacular use of VFX can be logo removal, or insertion, or creating a background on a green screen.

One of my favorite “show and tell” videos that explains the difference between motion graphics and visual effects is this by Agency Post: here the video cued to the good part. Enjoy!

I created folders on my Dropmark.com account for perusal and further inspiration. I look for examples that are either inspirational, good examples, or relatable for small businesses and bloggers:

The tool is a means to an end and the focus is on the artist and his or her art: Thought of You.

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