When surfing YouTube, late at night in your pyjamas whilst avoiding doing the dishes, it usually doesn’t take long to come across a motion graphic video. This form of animated media has increased in popularity in recent years, partly because they have become slightly cheaper and easier to produce and partly because the thirst for information in short, simplified and easy to digest formats has increased as people’s attention span has decreased.
Television ads and news broadcasts have used animated bar graphs and charts to help viewers better visualise and understand the content, which is one form of motion graphics, but there is another kind of motion graphic that is gaining ground (and keeping attention spans) that is slightly more artistic.
These animations often convey a message or promote a product or cause by providing facts and accurate data in a simplified format. Stylised animations and tasteful typography assist with making the information more visually appealing and have a greater chance of holding somebodies’ attention and increases viewer engagement.
Motion graphics can take many forms, but the format that has become popular with companies, both large and small, is the “flat graphic” style animations. These animations often feature simple colours and shapes with subtle animations that can morph one object into another. They are often created from vector images (which can be scaled with no loss in quality) as these can be manipulated and provide better control when animating.
The process usually starts with a script and storyboard. Planning is key, as every stage of the animation has to be thought out to avoid situations where the timing is off and the animation no longer “flows” causing viewers to become disinterested. There is nothing worse than having to remove stuff that has taken hours to develop because of poor planning. However, whilst planning goes a long way to make the process of building animations smoother, the script and animation has to be flexible enough to allow for adjustments in timing due to animations taking shorter or longer than expected.
Once the planning script and storyboard has been finalised, the graphic assets are then created in a vector format and designed to follow the storyboard. For example an opening book animation has to have a “closed” version and an “open” version of the asset as a minimum. The animator can then take those assets and apply the animations to show the transition between the two states and link them all together in time to music, voiceover or both.
Video content is more popular than ever and a two-minute video fares favourably in comparison to a wall of text to read, especially when the video provides a greater understanding of the product, service or cause than the entire website combined. We have mentioned in the past how to create engaging YouTube videos and how to use video in your business so I won’t bang on about the importance of thinking about video in your marketing strategy, but instead I will give you a few quick words on why motion graphics can work for you.
Motion graphics work well as an alternative to live action videos. In situations where a live action video is not desirable or feasible, motion graphics can demonstrate your product, service or cause with very few limitations. Actions can be slightly exaggerated in the animations to emphasise points or curated to demonstrate something in a way live actors couldn’t do (or is cost prohibitive). Stimulating motion graphics can easily create a buzz and the shareability of video can allow content to go viral if executed well.
Motion graphics are not the only answer to a problem, they require good supporting material such as readable copy, strong positioning and information at hand for those that seek more information than the video can provide to be effective. If included as part of a wider marketing strategy, they can be a powerful and effective tool in promoting your business.
Here’s an example of how Intergage is using motion graphics…
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