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Adobe MAX 2008: Monday – The Fundamentals of Motion Graphics

November 19th, 2008 Posted in MAX 2008

The session featured Justin Cone of Motionographer.com and he talked about what Motion Graphics are, how they are evolving in the industry and being adopted by advertising and branding. The session started with an introduction about what Motion Graphics are and how they are very hard to define. They are made up of three main areas:

  • Visual Effects
  • Animation
  • Graphic design

Justin feels that if the 20th century was the century of graphic design, the 21st century is the century of motion graphics. Everything around us is moving. Go to an airport and you will see LCD screens with motion everywhere. In Dubi, they are building the Podium building which has a 33 story LCD screen. Look at Time square, it is all motion… There is a reason for this, if the ad stands still, it is lost in the motion, it can not stand out. Adoption of motion in thw world is due to the fact that the eye tracks movement, and having static advertising does not attract the eye.

Motion Graphics in projects often attempted to be bolted on at the end of a cycle instead of instead of starting as the core of the project. Adobe is now considering motion as the heart of their new marketing strategy because motion is playing such an important part in attracting attention. Motion Graphics can help create and define a brand.

Examples And Points To Focus On


  • Girl Effect – Man vs. Magnet: Contrast can be very important. Black white orange, yet powerful. The text itself is moving but without the motion the impact is lost. The pacing of the text breaks the old standard of showing text by moving changing it quickly, yet we don’t lose the message due to the contrast and pacing.
  • Sundance – Write Light: shows content by using light to create motion. The contrast between light and dark… it can be text or in this case people. It can be synthetic or live action. In this case the video uses live action as graphics.
  • Peter Saville – Optical Illusions: Simple animation with dark and light yet creates a powerful motion. The key to this is the dimension of time and how the fourth dimension changes content


  • Simon Robsin – Taking Liberties: The example uses text and layout to make points of the audio narration.
  • Telavisa – Des Madrugadus: The ability to set tone and pacing can be achieved using type, fonts and color.


  • Flicker Mood: Rhythm and repetition can strengthen a statement.
  • Shake Out: The video was essentially a powerpoint video (bullet points) yet used motion graphics to hit home the points.
  • Cost Of War – Good Magazine: The video is based around numbers and how much the Iraq war is costing us. Elements of the video are used over and over to tie in each point and repeat the message. Both of these examples could be boring presentations, driving home points yet the message is stronger by leveraging motion.

Continuity / Discontinuity

  • Rob Chu – The Ronin: The piece uses sound and editing to blend the imagery together and make a statement.
  • Freelances Union – Life Long Friendship Society: All done with still images in place of live action, yet the statement still works to the humor and proper stitching/editing.

2.5D – Flat Images in 3D space & 3D

  • Rob Chu – Black Day: The idea of taking still images that are familiar and then sliced into layers and the placed on a z order depth then animated creates a rich sense of motion and spatial experience.
  • Shilo – Burma Emergency: Using matte painting mixed with true 3D which creates a huge sense of depth without having to create a huge complex 3D space.

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