Motion graphics are used to great effect in commercials, broadcast television, and even in movies. But one place that motion graphics can really shine is in the world of music videos.
Some music videos will incorporate a bit of motion graphics here and there, but others rely heavily on motion graphics to tell the story of the music and to draw the listener/viewer into a whole new world.
Let’s take a look at some awesome music videos that use motion graphics as a centerpiece.
Inspiring Music Videos Made with Motion Graphics
1. Ólafur Arnalds – Ljósið
Ólafur Arnalds is a pianist and composer who creates beautiful minimalist compositions. Every note in his pieces carries weight and significance.
So, this video for his composition Ljósið does a fantastic job of visualizing this. Part audio visualizer and part fantasia, this video is built on beautifully rendered particle effects that emit and dance to the music.
Each new bit has a subtlety and air about it, while the piece as a whole is a work of art.
2. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
Even though this video is 9 years old, it still holds up as one of the more innovative and interesting music videos created using motion graphics.
Blind, the studio behind the video made the perfect leap between the title “Crazy” and the idea of an animated Rorschach test when concepting the video.
The result is a great use of the “ink drop” technique that has become immensely popular over the years. But here, we aren’t just looking at drops of ink flow on the screen. The drops are mixed with stylized video of singer Cee-Lo Green to create a bit of performance art that is both beautiful to look at and slightly haunting.
3. Ta-ku – Diamond Mouth
The Diamond Mouth video by Ta-ku and directed by BRTHR (still not sure if that’s short for Brother or Breather) is the perfect example of a good/bad video. In other words, they use techniques that might seem like they’d make a bad video, but it’s so over the top that it’s actually good.
The frenetic energy of the trap song is perfectly captured in a collage of all kinds of random lines, strange cuts, and floating images. This video has everything, VHS effects, scribbled text, and random imagery, but it all comes together in a perfect soup of kitsch and craft.
4. Keys N Krates – Treat Me Right
And now for something completely different. It’s hard to come up with something original for a music video, but the creators of this music video didn’t seem to have an issue.
While the music is a bumping electronic track that would light up a dance floor, the visuals are a journey through the world of romance novel covers. It’s bizarre and hilarious, but also really engaging to watch.
The covers are animated and laid out in 3D space, giving them a new sense of life and relevance. We only wish the video was longer so we could see more of these classic covers animated out.
5. N.A.S.A. “Spacious Thoughts” (feat. Tom Waits & Kool Keith)
Fluorescent Hill has created a bunch of music videos utilizing motion graphics and animation including videos for The New Pornographers and The Heavy Blinkers, but this video for Spacious Thoughts by N.A.S.A featuring Tom Waits and Kool Keith might be one of their best.
There are touches of the Gnarls Barkley video here with ink drips used to great effect. But this video focuses more on graffiti culture, tying in the splatters with illustrations of urban landscapes, all while a bizarre paint drop character in cowboy boots weaves his way through. Oh, and the paint drop raps, so there’s that.
It’s perfectly executed and matches the song style perfectly. Plus…Tom Waits.
6. Dead Pirates – Wood
McBess is an artist an illustrator with a unique style. His black and white ink characters with long black eyes are instantly recognizable.
So, it made sense when he was working at the Mill in 2009 to create a music video around his illustration style. It makes even more sense since McBess is a member of Dead Pirates.
The resulting video is what appears to be part classic cartoon from the 40’s and part 3D exploration. The characters and environments, all black and white, feel vintage, but modern techniques make for a modern video.
It feels like a trailer for a really good animated film that we’d definitely want to watch all the way through.
The world of music videos is ever-evolving, and the beauty of the medium is that it’s a place for artists and directors to try new techniques and ideas. This is especially true with motion graphics. There are a lot of really great motion graphics based music videos out there and we just touched the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps, we’ll follow up with another round in the future!