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Weatherwitch

Most essential motion graphics techniques

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Hey everone, I've finally come out of lurkdom to ask for a bit of help with my Bachelor project. I am doing an exploration of the most essential Motion Graphics techniques used in the industry. I'm going to look at/analyze examples and then create short animations utilizing the explored techniques (Keying, Roto, Text Animation, etc).

 

So, question: What are, in your opinion, the five to ten most essential Motion Graphics techniques?

 

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Hey everone, I've finally come out of lurkdom to ask for a bit of help with my Bachelor project. I am doing an exploration of the most essential Motion Graphics techniques used in the industry. I'm going to look at/analyze examples and then create short animations utilizing the explored techniques (Keying, Roto, Text Animation, etc).

 

So, question: What are, in your opinion, the five to ten most essential Motion Graphics techniques?

 

 

Patience.

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I think perhaps you'll find it difficult to get the kinds of answers you're looking for here. Not because nobody wants to help you out or wants to be snarky, but because it's pretty hard to nail down a motion designer's toolbox to a set of "essential techniques." Ultimately what's more important is not technical knowledge but creativity. There have been a lot of fantastic projects that perhaps could have used more honed "techniques" but were stellar because of the creativity and design.

 

That said, accepting criticism and notes well is a pretty important technique.

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So, question: What are, in your opinion, the five to ten most essential Motion Graphics techniques?

 

You might have the wrong end of the stick here. I'm only predicting what your tutor will say, but imagine you have a bunch of fine artists in a room, and ask them what the key techniques of their craft is. You wouldn't expect 'brush washing', 'pencil sharpening' and 'how to put up an easel' to be their answers (don't panic, I'm not calling motion graphics the same as fine art...). Knowing how to key out footage, or spin a bit of text on screen is just the same, it's just something you get on with while working. You could probably find five nice examples of roto'd motion graphic work, but what does that tell you about anything? It's far more interesting (and challenging) to come up with five pieces that really show the skills you're going to need - and you'll learn a lot more than how to roto.

 

So, my five:

Composition

Colour

Pace

Rhythm

Style

 

Go get 'em ;-) I'll give you a head start, the colour work here makes my fingers go numb: cargo.nathanielhowe.com

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You might have the wrong end of the stick here. I'm only predicting what your tutor will say, but imagine you have a bunch of fine artists in a room, and ask them what the key techniques of their craft is. You wouldn't expect 'brush washing', 'pencil sharpening' and 'how to put up an easel' to be their answers (don't panic, I'm not calling motion graphics the same as fine art...). Knowing how to key out footage, or spin a bit of text on screen is just the same, it's just something you get on with while working. You could probably find five nice examples of roto'd motion graphic work, but what does that tell you about anything? It's far more interesting (and challenging) to come up with five pieces that really show the skills you're going to need - and you'll learn a lot more than how to roto.

 

So, my five:

Composition

Colour

Pace

Rhythm

Style

 

Go get 'em ;-) I'll give you a head start, the colour work here makes my fingers go numb: cargo.nathanielhowe.com

 

I'd second the reaction from your tudor / thesis advisor. This sounds like a topic for a written paper on motion graphics rather than a thesis project. are you focusing on the business of motion graphics or the art of motion graphics? you'll find that you will get different answers for both. Personally I can't think of any 5 techniques that particularly stand out more than others especially when most of the time every project is vastly different from the next. I'd say that probably the most important ability is to be versatile.

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On a serious note, I won't state 5 or 10 things because that means there are only 5 or 10 things that are relevant to graphic design in general. It's not.

 

Every day we wake up, we have to analyze our surroundings. Absorb what's around us. Read books, specifically things that are not only about graphic design. Enjoy different art forms...such as fine art, architecture, drawings, paintings, music, analog typography (yes, I'm putting letterpress in a different category) etc.

 

Here's a good one, grab it.

 

Motion designers get too fixated on techniques, from what I've been reading around these forums. When you have a lot of information from all areas under your belt, the "techniques" will come to you naturally without even you knowing about it. There is a reason why good studios have excellent creative directors. They're multi-disciplined.

Edited by hyp3

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When you have a lot of information from all areas under your belt, the "techniques" will come to you naturally without even you knowing about it.

Not sure I agree with that.

Technique comes from doing.

 

-m

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Not sure I agree with that.

Technique comes from doing.

 

-m

 

 

I should rephrase what I said...what I meant was that you can create new mograph "techniques" instead of recycling what's out there once you have a lot of information under your belt. You "mosh" your knowledge and create new techniques. All through trial and error.

 

Maybe the op meant technical techniques?

 

 

Hope that makes sense.

 

If it doesn't, I blame friday.

Edited by hyp3

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Well, following a youtube video of a monkey is a losing proposition, but here's my 2 cents to OP.

 

You are getting some strange/general/aloof answers on this thread because most designers aren't crazy about having our work reduced to simple software button mashing re-hashes. Research and problem solving are intangible, difficult to digest in a 5-second-project challenge, and can't be tutorial-ified. They are essential to the field and most professional work. We assume you can key and roto. Those are the minimum barriers of entry. Maybe I'd call them basic techniques, instead of essential. But-what are you doing with the keying and rotoscoping?

 

Are you making anything anybody wants to look at?

 

I've been asking that question a lot, lately, I think, because I am surrounded by a lot of students and other professionals breaking into the field and they all seem to assume that the computer techniques are the hard parts.

 

They're not.

 

the_monkey says that technique comes from doing. I'd add that technique comes from doing and thinking.

 

Do it a lot, think it a lot.

 

This isn't directed to anyone in a remotely condescending, authoritative, or jaded tone - my main mistakes have been assuming that computer software held all the answers, thinking that if I could just learn enough After Effects then my work would be something interesting, or my clients would improve, or the status of my projects would elevate. Then, when being a motion designer seemed impossible without knowing 3D animation, I learned as much of the software as I could. And that's great. We all should be parched for knowledge, learning thinking particles or designing a typeface or tinkering with a compressor on our audio levels or scribbling with the new brushes in cs5 or whatever, should be the equivalent of ice cold beer to thirsty geeks.

 

However, as I work on more and more projects, I wish I had spent more time polishing the art of it all. And while I think the basic building blocks of fine art technics are probably similar to the basic building blocks of commercial computer art production, every artist I've respected and had the few minutes to gab with - they radiate the amount of time they have put in, along with the amount of patience they have, along with the thoughtfulness of execution. This includes art directors, fine artists, graphic designers, even the self-destructive tattooed street art types (especially them).

 

Everyone - newbies and veterans alike can ask themselves- "What is the task at hand? What problems are unique to this challenge? What solutions (aesthetic or technical) are part of that challenge? What kind of work do I want to make?"

 

And - "Am I making anything anybody wants to look at?"

 

To me, that defines essential.

 

c

Edited by Colin@movecraft

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Much like the OP, I am ending a long period of lurkdom with this here post. It seems to me a lot of replies here (not all) are a little abstract. I understand the apprehension when it comes to picking a small handful of techniques to represent such a complex and diverse craft. However, I do think it's an interesting question the weatherwitch has. I have been working in motion professionally for a little under a year, and have been an avid AE user for years prior to that. I am going to provide the techniques I find most essential. I think this would be a great thread if artists of all abilities could pick a top five. The answers would surely be quite diverse, or not, but it would be interesting to see. I am working from this definition:

 

 

a practical method or art applied to some particular task <LI>proficiency: skillfulness in the command of fundamentals deriving from practice and familiarity; "practice greatly improves proficiency"

 

1. Camera control. I believe command over the camera is a mark of a great artist. A print designer, for example, has to consider composition and layout once. With a 3d camera, you have to consider composition and layout on an almost frame-by-frame basis, all while keeping the movement as fluid as possible (or not, if/when properly motivated.)

 

2. Compositing. Most animations are built from many elements. Some combination of video, photos, vector art, text, textures, lights, etc. A convincing or at least aesthetically consistent animation requires adequate compositing skills.

 

3. Rotoscoping. The quality of a rotoscope can be the difference between a solid piece and a distracting mess.

 

4. Typography. Understanding the motivations for and appropriate times for different fonts, weights, leading, kerning, layouts, etc. is essential to communicating a message with an animation.

 

5. Managing workflow. Understanding how different applications work with each other. When to use Illustrator instead of built in AE tools, optimal export settings for the different NLE's, a solid understanding of Photoshop. All absolutely essential.

 

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To talk about technical stuff like you want, i'd suggest you to take a look at the classic 12 principles of animation here.

 

But again just following those principles make no animation good, like learning how to roto or key make no one a designer, but i think people already made this point very clear.

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