• Insights
    • 03.21.2016

    Video Vernacular
    Motion Graphics vs Animation

Garus Booth

In the last few years, motion graphics have become an important tool to promote and advertise products and services that may not be conducive to live action alone. While they showcase concepts in a compelling and easy way for the viewer to understand, some people don’t know the difference between motion graphics and classic animation. Even professionals can struggle to explain and differentiate between the two, so if you’re feeling a bit confused, you’re not alone!

That said, it’s important for marketers to be able to visually differentiate between the two to better understand the services they’re purchasing (and of course, impress your friends).


So, what do we mean when we say “Motion Graphics” versus “Animation”?

In this entry we are focused on motion graphics and classic animation, and the distinctions between the way each are built. They do however share the same starting point: a frame.

A frame is the still image that’s part of a series of other still images in sequence that create the illusion of movement. Commonly, there are 24-30 frames per second.


An animation is put together “frame-by-frame”, meaning there are often 24-30 unique frames created for each second of animation.


Motion graphics utilize something called a keyframe. Each keyframe contains information that tells the object how to change over time: where to move, how fast to move, what size to scale to, how far to rotate, etc. By putting two keyframes on a timeline with different settings, the animation in the frame will move from one keyframe to another,changing according to the parameters set in each keyframe. This eliminates the need for each frame to have a unique drawing. This approach allows us to create extremely complex animations by combining multiple keyframes.


We’ll talk about how motion graphics have evolved into being a fantastic tool used by forward-thinking companies to express concepts and promote their brand in the second post in this series Video Vernacular  – Motion Graphics.


  • Orby

    Is a GIF Motion Graphics?

    • Emma Corby

      Hi Orby,

      That’s a great question! Gifs can contain motion graphics, but they are not qualified as motion graphics. Gifs are just short, often low resolution loopable frames. They can sometimes be frames from live-action, or animation, or motion graphics. We used gifs in this post as an example of the visual look you can achieve with motion graphics. I hope that made things a bit more clear?
      Thanks for reaching out!

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