Motion Graphics or Animation: What’s the Difference?

 In Knowledge Center

Ever heard the term ‘motion graphics’ and wondered how that’s different from animation?

Let’s clear up the confusion!

Animation is the term for any technique that makes static images move. That technique can be hand-sketched 2D drawings like in a Disney classic film, stop-motion characters like in the claymation classic Wallace and Grommit films, or the 3D CGI, you experience in video games or blockbuster superhero movies.

Motion graphics fit under that animation umbrella, along with the other above-mentioned techniques.


What exactly are motion graphics?

Motion graphics take an image that’s static, usually a line of text or a graphic element like a logo and give it movement. Motion graphics can make the bars of a graph rise and fall. They can make a logo shimmer or flip. They can take a section of a floor plan and pop it out with colour.  

And motion graphics do a great job of explaining difficult or tricky concepts to audiences like in this video:


What’s the difference between the two?

While these categories do overlap (remember stop motion is a form of animation), traditionally, animation focuses more on character creation and storytelling techniques with the goal to crafting a narrative. 

While storytelling isn’t totally absent from motion graphics video, it’s not the main purpose. The goal with motion graphics is to present information in a visually interesting way, like in this video:

In terms of cost, motion graphics are also generally less expensive than animation. Hand-drawn frames, painstaking stop motion techniques and photorealistic CGI generally take larger budgets to accomplish. 


Which one is best for my project?

Start with: what’s the goal for my project? Do I need to present data or products in a visually interesting way? Or do I need to connect emotionally with our viewers through some kind of storytelling?  It’s not always an obvious choice – we can help you figure out the best plan.

Would you like to read more about how to choose the best style for your video? You can also check out: “Animation vs. Live Action: Which is Better for your Promo Video?”