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Motions: Don’t just go through ’em

In April of this year, the Society of News Design posted an article that described motion graphics as “new weapons of visual journalism.” I would have to agree. At the beginning of the semester, we described infographics as filling the void when text and pictures can’t fully explain a concept or story. Sometimes a similar void exists when a static graphic can’t explain it either.

SND writer Terence Oliver defines motion graphics as:

“the utilization of digital storytelling techniques, such as video footage, animation, information graphics, photography, 3D, typography, sound and voice-over narratives in some mix to convey news stories in dynamic multimedia. This approach to communication is highly valuable because it allows journalists to guide and engage the viewer by using a combination of individual methods in a combined way to tell cohesive, powerful narrative.”

Thus, I agree with identifying motion graphics as a “new weapon.” Designers are able to evoke emotion and a deeper reaction with the combination of motion, audio and information. They are becoming more like movie producers than graphic designers.

Most of these motion graphics are produced using Adobe After Effects. It seems to be the one piece of Creative Suite that has the steepest learning curve. Unlike Photoshop and Illustrator, you can’t really open it up and run with it. The framing, transitions and pacing with these graphics are extremely time intensive. Hours and hours of design work translate into seconds of the final product.

The video I want to share comes from the New York Times (because they do everything so damn well). They actually showcase some of their motion graphics on a page that outlines their workflow. Here’s the vid:


I think one of the most important points that is raised has come up in our discussion of general static graphics.Is a motion graphic needed? What purpose will it serve that a standard graphic cannot? This editorial process should never be ignored.

This graphic style is something I hope to add my box of tools very soon. I just gotta stop going through the motions of traditional design.



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