Tips and Guides to Effective Motion Graphics

5 Important Animation Principles for Motion Graphics” by Filips Baumanis from AE Teacher

Squash and stretch

The most important principle is “squash and stretch”, the purpose of which is to give a sense of weight and flexibility to objects. The most important aspect of this principle is the fact that an object’s volume does not change when squashed or stretched. If the length of a ball is stretched vertically, its width (in three dimensions, also its depth) needs to contract correspondingly horizontally.

Anticipation

Anticipation is used to prepare the audience for an action, and to make the action appear more realistic. For example a dancer jumping off the floor has to bend his knees first.

Follow through

This technique help render movement more realistic, and give the impression that object follow the laws of physics. “Follow through” means that separate parts of a body will continue moving after the character has stopped.

Slow in and slow out

The movement of the human body, and most other objects, needs time to accelerate and slow down. For this reason, animation looks more realistic if it has more frames near the beginning and end of an action, emphasizing the extreme poses, and fewer in the middle

Time

Timing refers to the number of frames for a given action, which translates to the speed of the animation. On a purely physical level, correct timing makes objects appear to abide to the laws of physics; for instance, an object’s weight decides how it reacts to an impetus, like a push.

 

 

50 Motion Graphic Tips” by Computer Arts

The motion graphics industry moves at a fast pace, with new developments in software and techniques all the time. So before you start work on a new project, check out the essential advice from our four experts.

The team from Liquid TV have produced TV title sequences for shows including Match of the DayMaestroMerlin, and Mutual Friends. Producer and director Christopher Kenworthy has worked on video, TV pilots, music videos and short films, and produced and directed over 300 visual FX shots.

Christian Darkin, an illustrator and animator who works on documentary films, also shares his advice, as does James Wignall a director, designer and animator who has worked on projects for MTV, VH1, Sony, Nike, and the BBC.

01. Eliminate the negatives
Liquid TV

Don’t be scared to ask the client what they don’t want – the solution to the project could be in that one answer.

02. Ctrl/Cmnd+U short cut
James Wignall

If you only learn one short cut ever, it should be Ctrl/Cmnd+U! Simply select any number of layers you like, hit Ctrl/Cmnd+U, and it shows all the keyframes you’ve made on the layer (s). Pretty handy if you’re getting bogged down with massive amounts of layers!

03. Be prepared
Liquid TV

Know the problems before you begin work.

04. Correct colour first
Chris Kenworthy

When using video footage, you’re probably going to give the images a strong look, but always do basic colour correction first: make the blacks black, the whites white and the greys grey. Make the colours match from cut to cut. Only then should you do the creative work.

05. Render separate passes
Christian Darkin

Most 3D packages now allow you to render separate frames for things like colour, shadow, highlights and even more exotic attributes like speed of movement. Rendering separate passes and then rebuilding your shot in a compositor might seem like a waste of time, but it allows you to adjust the shot far more finely and will often save you from having to re-render.

06. Be flexible
Liquid TV

Don’t be afraid to kill off an idea, no matter how great it looks or sounds. If it’s not fitting the brief, start again. Be proud but not arrogant.

07. Save often, auto save function
James Wignall

Every so often After Effects will remind you to save your work by crashing. Get into the habit of regularly pressing Ctrl/Cmnd+S, and soon it will become second nature. Alternatively you can tell After Effects to Auto Save (Preferences>Auto Save) – every 30 minutes is a good timescale.

08. Clear images
Chris Kenworthy

When it comes to video footage, the best effects are usually those that nobody notices as effects. Subtly shifting colours, darkening the blacks, or adding a slight wobble to the footage is far better than adding a lot of obvious filters and effects.

09. Try something new
Liquid TV

Move away from the subject matter: if your project is about football, go fishing.

10. Z-depth focus
Christian Darkin

A z-depth render pass is a greyscale image showing which parts of your 3D scene are closest to the camera. Combine this with a focus effect like After Effects‘ lens blur and you can produce a depth of field effect. Try doing this in your 3D package and you can look forward to quadrupling your render times.

11. Experiment
Liquid TV

Learn about new techniques rather than trends.

12. Colour coding layers
James Wignall

I find it extremely handy to colour-code layers. To do this click on your layer(s), and then click on the small coloured square next to the layer number. A menu with lots of colour options should appear, so just select your favourite colour. You can also select groups of layers with the same colour group – nifty!

13. Plan the edit
Liquid TV

When working with an animation, don’t underestimate the edit. Map the path of the story from start to finish.

14. Smoke
Christian Darkin

Another thing that wrecks render times in 3D is smoke and fire. Having lots of transparent particles calculated in 3D takes hours. However, a compositor can do a convincing 2D version virtually in real time. Just create a low opacity smudge in Photoshop, then use that as a particle in your compositor’s particle system. Create lots of almost completely transparent particles and allow them to spin and grow and you’ll end up with a convincing smoke effect.

15. Subtle effects
Chris Kenworthy

It’s better to use a few subtle techniques to create an effect, rather than one basic filter. Rather than just applying a Glow filter, you could use two layers of identical footage, make the top layer blur, and reduce its opacity. This is more unique than an out-of-the-box Glow filter.

16. Soften up
Liquid TV

If in comp you find the 3D renders to be a bit harsh or crisp, half-mix it with a softened version.

17. Naming structures are important
James Wignall

Name things logically, otherwise it’s like finding a needle in a haystack as the project gets bigger! This applies to both folder structures, and within your After Effects projects. I normally set things up by having folders for Comp, Footage, Audio, IllustratorPhotoshop, and Output / Renders.

18. Try vignettes
Liquid TV

Vignetting each scene with blurs, plus slightly darkening the affected areas, creates a smoothness that’s easy on the eye, and helps integrate the various shots into the sequence.

19. Make it flow
Chris Kenworthy

Whether it’s a basic title sequence or a more complex project, there should always be a sense of flow. Don’t just put in a shot or effect for the sake of it; guide the viewer’s attention to the next piece of information.

20. Glows
Christian Darkin

3D renders tend to come out very sharp-edged and clean-looking. Adding a bit of grain is obvious, but why not try a subtle glow effect on the brightest parts of the shot. It gives a slight glare to the scene and slightly softens edges.

21. Balancing act
Liquid TV

Our look is a result of careful balancing between the light and ambient occlusion passes as each scene progresses, making sure the whites don’t go over in order to preserve hints of texture that bring life to the sequence.

22. Adding notes to layers
James Wignall

Click on a layer and press the * button on the number pad to add little annotations to layers. Once you’ve pressed the * button, double-click on the arrow and a menu window will appear. Type your description in the comments box and it will appear on the layer. You can also add chapters, URLs and frame targets.

23. Visual interest
Chris Kenworthy

Don’t leave the viewer with a blank screen. Always have something there, even if it’s completely blurred out, or difficult to see. A blank screen invites the viewer to shift attention away from the screen, and the trance you’re trying to create is broken.

24. Add atmosphere
Liquid TV

Be generous with fog and atmosphere passes – these blend all the layers together nicely.

25. 3D puppets
Christian Darkin

3D characters are ideal candidates for After Effects‘ Puppet tool. Animate the small movements like facial expressions and hand gestures in 3D, then render out as a series of tiffs with a transparent background. You can then very quickly add big movements using the Puppet tool and even tie them to mouse movement for very natural motion.

26. Use your power
Liquid TV

When rendering large scenes on a PC, make sure the 3GB switch has been activated.

27. Storyboarding
James Wignall

I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted and you don’t need me telling you the importance of storyboarding your project. It’s good because it allows you to see the project as a whole and how it all comes together. You can also scan in the images and make an animatic to work out timings for shots.

28. Don’t bombard
Chris Kenworthy

When motion graphics packages first made it easy for us to do speed ramps, flash frames and multiple layer, most projects used all these effects. Things have calmed down now. Decide on an overall style that reflects the meaning of your project, and use the software to create it.

29. Work to scale
Liquid TV

When planning an animation, make sure it is modelled with the animation in mind. If you have 20,000 bricks to scale up, you want to set the pivot point on brick one before you copy it 19,000 times.

30. Save processing power
Christian Darkin

3D and compositing both take a lot of time and processing power in rendering, but each is better at some things than others. Before you hit the render button, devote a little time to deciding what will render more efficiently in your compositor, and use render passes to give yourself all the options you can.

31. Previz your scene carefully
Liquid TV

There is always a desire to get into the detail early – don’t! Get the broad picture sorted and signed off first.

32. Parenting
James Wignall

If you are planning on animating characters, parenting becomes pretty essential. To parent one layer to another, click the drop-box menu in the layer’s ‘Parent’ column, or use the Pick Whip to select the layer you want to parent it to. The layer will now follow the Parent layer’s movements, but also allow you to move it independently too.

33. If in doubt, blur it out
Chris Kenworthy

Blurring might not seem like the most exciting thing to do to images and text, but it can have a strong effect. Switch blurring on and off at great speed, or add motion blur to animated text. This is possibly the best way to add an instant feeling of quality.

34. Vanishing point 3D sets
Christian Darkin

Photoshop‘s Vanishing Point tool allows you to create very simple 3D sets from photos. These can be imported straight into After Effects where you can add new elements. Vanishing point sets sometimes require a bit of adjustment in terms of camera position, but even with a few minutes’ work, the results can be more realistic than a full 3D scene.

35. Keep consistency
Liquid TV

Agree a naming system for scene files and renders with everyone you work with – both staff and freelancers.

36. Mask your blur
Chris Kenworthy

Blurring is never more powerful than when it’s combined with an animated mask. When you’re working on video footage, you can use a mask to blur out a background, to intensify the focus on the foreground. Or you can animate a mask over text, so that a sweep of blurring passes over the words.

37. Use layers
Liquid TV

Be prepared to break your scene up into layers to stop the model becoming too large. Put things in distance-from-camera order so they will composite without complex matte runs. There is a temptation to keep it all in one big file but loading times can reach 30 minutes, which is a big drag on productivity. The previz should allow for easy planning.

38. Puppet tool
James Wignall

The Puppet tool is a relatively new addition to After Effects‘ arsenal. Previously making character animation seem more natural and smooth was quite hard, involving lots of trickery with distortion filters. With the addition of the Puppet tool you can now add some bendy-ness, so the movement isn’t so rigid!

39. Use presets
Liquid TV

Maya provides a preset layer function for doing ambient occlusion: Ctrl/right-click on the layer and select Presets>Occlusion. The luminance depth is also useful for putting atmospheric perspective into the scene.

40. Video from a still
Christian Darkin

Turn a still into a moving image by cutting out the objects that are closest to the camera, and placing them on new layers within Photoshop. Use the Clone tool to fill in the background behind the objects and then import the .psd file into your compositor. You can now arrange the layers in 3D and create a realistic pan or zoom effect. Keep it slow and gentle, and add some blur to the background to produce a more realistic shot.

41. Keep it clear
Chris Kenworthy

Whether you want people to read text, or see a story being told with images, maintaining the clarity is more important than using flashy techniques. So never use an effect or movement for its own sake. Whatever else you do, make sure the viewer can read the text or follow the story.

42. Go for softness
Liquid TV

Sub-surface scattering shaders – which are generally used for skin – can help to produce a soft look, such as on the roses at the start of our ‘ITV England’ football sequence.

43. Use polygons
Liquid TV

To render paint effects in ambient occlusion, first convert to polygons. Keep the history so the poly version still moves in the wind.

44. Precomping character moves
James Wignall

Precomping (also known as “nesting”) is when you have a composition within a composition. It comes into play with character animation as you can keep everything simple and separate. You could have a composition for a walk cycle, wave, trip – anything really. In our main composition you can simply cut between the precomps to make up the sequence.

45. Mix paint effects
Liquid TV

Mix as many different types of paint effects that you can find for a realistic look. Grass, in particular, will look much better if you have some wind blowing, and combine some field grass and jungle grass.

46. Parallax scroll
Christian Darkin

If you have a wide panoramic shot, try adding a slant filter centred on the horizon, then animate the strength of the sheer. The bottom of the shot will then pan faster than the horizon, creating the impression of a tracking shot over a real landscape.

47. Coffee break test
Chris Kenworthy

When all your work is done, take a break of at least 10 minutes – but preferably an hour – and then watch it afresh. You may notice mistakes, or find there are dull moments. When you’ve been working on something for hours, or days, always run this check before signing off on a job.

48. The finished look
James Wignall

Some useful trade secretes here: once you’ve finished all the legwork of animating your project, there are a few small things you can do to help seal the deal. Try adding some Adjustment Layers for a bit of Noise (Filter>Noise & Grain), a Vignette and, if adventurous, a bit of colour correction.

49. Building work
Liquid TV

If you need lots of buildings in the background to have the same look, render one building front-on with ambient occlusion, and then use it as a texture map on simple rectangles.

50. Use hdri
Christian Darkin

Render your 3D in high bit depth if you can. Creating images with a higher dynamic range means you can brighten or darken them or alter their colours to a much greater extent in your compositor. The files might be bigger, but disk space is cheap and you’ll end up deleting them anyway once you’ve got your final shot.

 

 

References

Computer Arts. (2008) 50 Motion Graphics Tips, [Online] Available from http://www.computerarts.co.uk/features/50-motion-graphics-tips. [Accessed: 16 May 2013]

Filips, B.(2011) 5 Important Animations Principles for Motion Graphics, [Online] Available from http://aeteacher.com/5-important-animation-principles-for-motion-graphics.html. [Accessed: 16 May 2013]

How To Produce Motion Graphics by Visual.ly

I found an interesting articles about the process of making a motion graphics. It clearly show the process and detail on producing it, making readers or motion graphic designer much clearer on doing it. Below is the articles from Visual.ly. This is the link of that articles.

 

Over the past few years, animators have carved out a new niche for themselves promoting brands and causes, and explaining products, services, or complex subject matters. The wave of videos they’ve collectively produced and uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, and the landing pages of startups everywhere fall under the heading “Motion Graphics.”

Considering that video is one of the most effective ways to quickly convey information, motion graphics are now high on the list of priorities for organizations wishing to woo customers or charm investors and donors.

Creating a motion graphic may cost as little as $5,000 when working with one or two independent artists, or up to $50,000 when working with a full-service production house. Currently, Adobe’s After Effects is the most common tool for creating motion graphics, but as web technology advances, we might start to see more in-browser animation using HTML5.

If you’re considering commissioning motion graphics or learning how to create them yourself, but aren’t sure where to start, here’s an overview of the production process.

Initial Concept

What is the video about? Identify the single idea you want viewers to come away with, and lay out the supporting points. What’s the structure of the story? You may pose a problem and then demonstrate how your product or service is the best solution to that problem.

Read more about structuring your initial concept in this article by visualization instructor Liz Burow.

Visual Style

Select a visual style to use in the animation. Will the artwork be cartoonish or realistic? Flat or three-dimensional? What color palette will you use? Will there be visual representations of lead characters (known as “heroes”) in the story, or does it consist only of text and artwork? What will those characters look like? Will your target audience identify with the style? What visual metaphors will you use to communicate the key concepts in your message?

To establish visual style when working with animators, find examples of videos that you like and send them as reference, or allow the creators to come up with an aesthetic from scratch based on their interpretation of your brand and objectives.

Script Writing

Start with a rough outline of the narrative of your story, which will later be translated into visual objects and movements, voiceover, sound effects, and music. First, lay out the main points you want to make, then start writing, word-for-word, what you want the narrator and characters to say (whether it’s voiced over or only text on the screen).

Keep in mind that time is very limited in videos: the shorter, the better. If you can get your message across in 30 seconds, that’s fantastic. Sixty seconds is acceptable; 90 seconds is typically the maximum recommended time. Reading the script at a moderate pace will provide a rough estimate of how long the video will be.

Story Template by Nancy Duarte

For example, Nancy Duarteuses a simple structure to create the drama that keeps viewers interested: repeatedly showing the state of the world now (“what is”) in contrast with your vision of a better way to do whatever it is that you do (“what could be”).

Then finish by painting a clear picture of the destination (think of it as a postcard from the future that you are inviting people to participate in).

It helps to understand that emotional appeal and convenience are significant factors in moving a viewer to action. Behavior often follows the path of least resistance, so you’ll want to make a call to action that ‘sas frictionless as possible to follow up on. All of the calculated, sensible reasons to take action won’t be effective without correspondingemotional impetus and clear directives.

Sample Storyboard Template

 

Storyboard

This is where you first start to create visuals and sounds that correspond to the script. Lay out all critical moments in the script, known as “style frames”. You may want to start with sticky notes that you can rearrange freely. At each critical step in the narrative, quickly sketch what is happening in the scene, and what actions any characters are taking. Write a short description of the scene and any narration, sounds, or on-screen text that occur at this moment.

Sound (voiceover, music & sound effects)

Some motion graphics may consist primarily of animated text, while a mood-setting song plays in the background. Others can have full-blown animated characters speaking with different voices, sound effects corresponding to their actions, and custom music. You may have to purchase a license to use copyrighted songs, or you may choose to have original music created for you.

Voiceover (or “VO”) involves a casting process similar to selecting actors for a TV show. If you’re working with a full-service producer, they’ll take a portion of your script and send it out to voice actors, who will then audition by recording their reading of your script. A single voice actor might return up to a half-dozen readings in different styles by changing the intonation, mood, and cadence in their voice. If you’re working independently, you will have to track down freelance voice talent online or through recommendations.

Animation

Now pieces start to come together. The animators will typically attempt to animate one or two style frames in the script using the established visual style. This is something of a rough draft and an opportunity for feedback before the bulk of the animation work happens, to minimize lengthy revisions later. Next, full animation will begin. The commissioner will see a full draft of the animation, including voiceover, and have a chance to make any minor changes. After the animation is finalized, final timing, voice over, music, and sound effects will be added and carefully placed to complete the project.

 

Reference

Paul, V. (2012) How to Produce Motion Graphics, [Online] Available from http://blog.visual.ly/how-to-produce-motion-graphics. [Accessed: 16 May 2013]

 

More Mo-Graphs

Column Five is a Design Company that create lot of stunning artworks including motion graphics. They did infographic design, data visualization design, presentation design, illustration and also motion graphics.

“Lily, Her Mom and No Kid Hungry” by Share Our Strength from campaign No Kid Hungry.

“Corruption Perceptions Index 2011” by Transparency International

Myxer Social Radio “Sizzle”

Video Copilot, the best tutorial blog for creating VFX and also most peoples might already know that. He created lot of opening effect, text glowing effect and others.

“Displacement Glass”

“Metropolitan: 3D City & Skyscraper Trailer”

Motion Graphic Design

Motion Graphic or Motion Design are, well, any kind of graphics that move–which means that the prehistory of the art form goes all the back to that of cinema itself. From John Palvus at The History of Motion Graphics Is Longer Than You Think[Video]. Motion Plus Design has also done a video that tell us What is Motion Design.

Graphic design is a plane graphic while with motion adding in, simple graphic forms can be animated and even help a plane photography to tell the story itself. Using illustrations, video or even 3D graphic make the video much more interesting.  Motion graphic can also been use to educate audience in an interesting way by animating the information, graph, statistic, etc. This method is known as infographic. Here is some example of infographic by E-business Media TV call The Important of Online Video.

This designer, Dan Stevers (his youtube channel) has done lot of motion graphic videos. His works really impress me every time. His videos are more to personal, message telling, religion type. It uses graphic and words that being animated to tell a story along with suitable background music that helps to enhance the overall mood of that particular video.

Without the early pioneers of motion graphics such as Saul Bass, Naurice Binder, Pablo Ferro and others, we could possibility still be using a difficult way to have our graphic moving around or even worst. Motion graphic now involve in many ways in the industry such as title sequence, film credit, websites, logo, advertisements, public social announcement, personal stuff and others.

Example of Motion Graphic Design Video:
Nintendo History

 

Shop Vac [Motion Typography]

 

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