Motion graphics are all the rage these days. Simple animations used to tell or enhance a story, you see them pop up everywhere, from web advertisements to movie credit sequences to video game menus. They can range from sophisticated swirls of 3d imagery to simple 2d abstractions – but they’re always there to communicate an idea.
Below, we’ve listed ten of the coolest or most interesting motion graphics we’ve found.
Antibody’s STUXnet Project
A brief, terrifying video about an infamous computer virus, this video does a great job of using 3d animation to guide the viewer’s eye and reinforce the narrative we get through voiceover. This is an example of the “explainer video” format that is often conflated with motion graphics.
This is another explainer video, and another great example of the more abstract kind of motion graphics, where it’s not so much telling a story on its own, but using imagery to supplement or reinforce the information we get through the voiceover – as well as keeping the viewer engaged with pretty colours and things that zoom.
This is a great example of using motion graphics to tell a brief animated story – or series of three – that communicates and advocates for a specific brand – in this case, Nike – without looking like it’s an advertisement.
Lincoln Car Commercial
This motion graphic is also an advertisement – but it separates itself from the car-commercial pack by being visually distinct, adopting a stark colour palette (that subconsciously reminds us of the Lincoln brand being advertised.) If you’re going to suffer through a cynical appeal to your identity designed to encourage you to consume, it may as well be pretty to look at.
The GF Club
This is a novel use of the motion graphics form, showing how a budding teenage relationship began through the medium of Google Chat. It’s shown entirely through imagery and sound effects – and because the animation is so minimal, even the tiniest detail – like the hesitation of a mouse cursor before clicking – is part of the narrative. It’s a sophisticated use of a simple form.
I Love Camping
Talking of simple, this ad for camping in Greece takes that aspect of motion graphics animation to heart. The monochrome background keeps us focused on the most important part of the video – the objects. This video uses a common motion graphics technique of transformation. Instead of a bunch of objects on the screen, we get to focus on one at a time – but we’re still entertained seeing them transform. This is the kind of motion graphic that doesn’t even need sound to be effective – though it surely helps. The transformations and clean, sparse graphic design all make this video a winner.
This is another example of simple, elegant design work in a motion graphic. We’re taken on a journey through some of the creator’s favorite movies, using a number of recognizable character designs mapped onto a simple aesthetic framework. The setting is almost as sparse as the previous video, but the score is lively and recalls the music from the films being referenced. It’s a clever way to promote audience engagement too – we all like being clever enough to say “I understood that reference!”.
This video is something special – an animated short, inspired by video games and science fiction, and making extensive use of motion graphics techniques. It carries a dark and sombre mood, and despite the somewhat simplistic animation techniques you find in motion graphics work, this video is injected with a ton of heart. Where it really shines through is the pop up “heads up display” graphics, which really crystallize the video game influence.
History of Poverty
This motion graphic is also telling a narrative – but for a very different purpose. This video purports to educate, as well as entertain. The art design is simple but effectively communicates a range of different times and places as the question of poverty, across human history, is addressed. Settings and characters change, but they flow easily into one another – one of the big advantages of the motion graphics form – we’re never taken out of the narrative.
Let’s Talk About Soil
This video is also part education, and part cautionary tale. It’s using a combination of 3d and 2d animation to convey some pretty startling environmental information. The simplistic style is almost reminiscent of certain isometric video games – and the gloomy colour palette helps to reinforce the serious environmental consequences of soil erosion. Even simple choices like that can really help get a message across in a motion graphics video. Every choice matters.