Five unexpected ways to use motion graphics in your videos

Creative Assets Home Motion Design 24/08/2023 5 min read

Motion graphics are a unique and creative approach to convey a message. Using motion graphics can provide powerful and engaging videos.

Motion graphics can enhance your videos in creative and unique ways, giving you a punchier and more effective way to tell your story. If you’re looking for some ideas as to how you can use motion graphics to exciting effect in your content, we’ve put together five suggestions. But first, let’s establish just what we mean by motion graphics.

What is motion graphics?

Motion graphics is a subset of animation. You might associate animation with Mickey Mouse cartoons or Wallace and Gromit stop-motion films, but it’s a very broad category that includes graphics in motion. It’s a way of taking static graphics, whether that’s text, shapes, or drawings, and bringing them to life. But where Toy Story and Chicken Run are stories told through animation, motion graphics don’t tend to be stand-alone stories. Rather, it’s a technique to enhance a narrative or break down a complicated explanation into something more accessible. 

A spinning logo on a website? That’s motion graphics.

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When the bars on a histogram grow, or the segments of a pie chart drop into place when discussing statistics? That’s motion graphics, too.

An area where you’ll find motion graphics used extensively is for TV show title sequences. One that springs to mind immediately is Marvel’s Jessica Jones opening sequence.

But what can you do with motion graphics that’s more unusual?

1. Interactive storytelling

In the 1980s, “Choose your own adventure books” were the thing to be reading. At the end of each chapter, you’d be presented with a choice and directed to different pages in the book in order to continue the story, depending on your decision. It meant that you and your best friend could read the same book and reach totally different conclusions. Now, you can do something similar with clickable videos. By inserting a card or adding an end screen with clickable links into your YouTube videos, which you bring to life with motion graphics, you can create an interactive story where the viewer is in control of the outcome.

Using motion graphics to animate flow charts or decision trees is great for users, too. First, it makes them interactive and, therefore, more engaging. But it also helps to differentiate the options from each other and thereby make decisions more meaningful.

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2. Augmented reality (AR) overlays

Another exciting use for motion graphics is to blend them with live-action footage in real-time, using AR. If you’ve ever watched a history or archaeology program and seen 3D renders of a dilapidated building or dig site magically emerge on the screen, this is taking that one step further. We’ll stick with the historical site situation to expand on it, but there are so many other situations when you could apply it, for example, imagining a garden or park redevelopment or covering someone’s journey to work or school.

As well as seeing a building being reconstructed before your eyes, you can use motion graphics to bring sites to life in many other ways. You could, for example, use it to create a re-enactment. Perhaps the castle you’re in is under siege, and the graphics give an idea of what that would have looked and felt like. Maybe it can demonstrate how the portcullis works or the water drawing mechanism. 

You can also use motion graphics to insert pop-up or expandable information panels. Not only does this give people access to more information, but it does it on their terms so that they can delve as deep as they wish to go and spend as much time on it as they want. But the animated nature of the graphics makes it more interactive and memorable, too.

3. 3D data visualisation

We use graphs and charts because they are an easy means to communicate data. Even simple statistics are better expressed visually than through text. With motion graphics, you can make what would otherwise be static charts and graphs more meaningful and accessible. It’s not just about making them look more attractive but about making data easier to understand and recall. You can, for example, show bars on histograms growing. Or you can extract one slice from a pie chart and focus on the information that pertains to it specifically before changing to a different slice. 

However, motion graphics can also be used to help communicate much more complex information with greater clarity. You can, for example, indicate the speed at which change takes place. One way of accomplishing this might be to alter how quickly or slowly the bars on a histogram grow. You can also use motion graphics to demonstrate how changes take place over time. For example, you can show how different trends rise and fall in popularity over given periods of time. You can use motion graphics to highlight significant features or patterns within your data. These might include outliers, clusters, or correlations. And they can be used to create narratives that guide people through data, showing step-by-step changes or by presenting comparisons.

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4. Personalised content

Dynamic rendering is a process that provides a server-side render of your content for search engines so that they can find it, and a client-side version of your site for your readers, viewers, or customers. This means that you can personalize content for individual users, making it unique for them.

When it comes to motion graphics in videos, this enables you to animate their names or any details that are especially relevant to them. This is great for making personalized marketing materials that can speak individually to a person and help to build your working relationship with them.

5. Enhanced subtitles and translation

Subtitles are such an important part of communication that you really need to pay attention to them as part of your videos. First and foremost, they are vital for anyone who lives with a hearing impairment to be able to access your content. Second, there are multiple situations where people will find it necessary to watch your content with the sound muted, which makes subtitles essential for their being able to understand it. Third, if you have a multinational company, subtitles can be useful for people whose first language isn’t the one used in your videos: they can double-check they did have the meaning correct or be certain they understood something spoken with an accent.

What if you can use motion graphics to make subtitles more dynamic and engaging? You could, for example, not just have different colored text depending on who is speaking but animate it differently, too. You can also synchronize the text in time with the voice and have it change size or fade away as people speak.

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That isn’t all that you can do to enhance subtitles and translations with motion graphics, however. You can also use icons to aid understanding or suggest a different meaning to a word that is complex or specialist. You can direct text toward objects to draw people’s attention to them. You can even include pop-up infographics to reinforce learning points or introduce more information. Pop-ups can also suggest what someone is thinking rather than saying, or you can use motion graphics as a dynamic means of showing text messages or other digital communication between people on screen. 

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Motion graphics on Motion Array

If you’re excited to include motion graphics in your content but are concerned that you don’t have the necessary skills to do it effectively and with confidence, Motion Array is here to help. You will find thousands of ready-to-use, customizable templates that you can download from Motion Array and integrate into content using Premiere Pro. These templates can be used to create animated title sequences, buttons, emojis, and so much more. Take a look for yourself to see how you can liven up your videos with ease.

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Motion graphics are a brilliant way to enhance your content and bring it to life. But remember that subtlety is key. If you overuse them, then you will detract from your primary content and need help to convey your message. Use motion graphics wisely, and you can elevate the production value and engagement factor of your videos.

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