Animation and Motion Graphics: What’s the difference?

Animation and motion graphics are two mediums that get confused all the time. While it’s not the end of the world if you can’t quite tell them apart, it’s still a good thing to know what makes the two mediums different from each other. So let’s dive right in and find out what the difference between animation and motion graphics is.

What is animation?

Animation in video terms is essentially the broad term for all sorts of graphics where objects are manipulated or animated to show motion and depth of the scene. 

This includes everything from 3D photorealistic animation, where the animated object is embedded within a real scene, like the Planet of the Apes movies or the Jurassic Park series… 

Or 3D stylised animation where the entire piece is animated, like the latest Disney films…

Or the classic 2D animation that started it animation craze, like the original Mickey Mouse…

And finally there’s stop motion, and the best example of this type of animation is clay-mation, Wallace & Gromit. 

What is a motion graphic?

Keeping in mind what an animation is, motion graphics are a type of animation. Unlike the animation examples explained above, motion graphics rely on text and sound to tell the story instead of objects. Explainer videos, chalkboard animations, animated slideshows are all perfect examples of motion graphics. 

Motion graphics are used more for marketing and advertising purposes than anything else, as you can display data or information in a highly visually appealing way that catches a viewer’s eye. You can use motion graphics to explain the benefits of your product, break down a complex concept, create awareness of your brand, or to simply tell your story.

Other instances where motion graphics are used is in movie credits or TV show openers. Many of Netflix’s shows like Luke Cage or Daredevil use motion graphics in their openers. These types of motion graphics combine text with the setting of the story the viewer is about to watch, creating the mood for the story.

So the key thing to remember is animation is the umbrella term for creating movement of objects, and motion graphics is a type of animation. Motion graphics bring life to what some might consider mundane topics, making them a pretty cool type of animation. Keen to learn more? Check out our course on animation, and learn from the expert what tools, tips and tricks can get you ahead in your animation creation.

March 5, 2020

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