The Elements Of Modern Motion Graphics by aihaozhe2


Creating motion graphics is often the synergy of many different applications and skill
sets. In addition to a good sense of design, an artist involved in modern motion
graphics needs to have knowledge of four major areas: bitmap graphics, vector
graphics, 3D graphics and compositing software.

Bitmap graphics, also referred to as pixel-based graphics, is probably the most
common form and the most familiar to the laymen. In bitmap graphics, the images are
composed of different colored dots (known as pixels) that together form an image.
Bitmap images are typically photographs or real world images. Resolution of the
image is dependent on how many pixels comprise the image. The more pixels in an
image, the higher the resolution. As a result, the file size increases. Although there are
several applications on the market that one can use to create and treat bitmap images,
by far the most popular is Photoshop. Knowledge of Photoshop is integral to modern
motion graphics.

The other form of graphics is vector, also known as resolution independent graphics.
Vector graphics are lines, curves and shapes that the computer interprets through
mathematical equations. Vector-based images are usually illustrations, logo designs or
other comparatively simplistic compositions with potential complexities. Whereas
bitmap graphics are composed of pixels and can become distorted if scaled too large,
vector graphics have unlimited resolution. Because the information used to compose
the graphics is all mathematics, the image can be the size of a building without losing
resolution. Several vector graphics packages exist, the most common being Adobe

With the leaps in computing power in recent years, 3d graphics have become a more
accessible and practical tool for motion graphics artists. The world of 3D graphics is
immense and comprises many different disciplines from architectural rendering to
major motion picture special effects; however, these applications can be used to solve
design problems that only they can solve. Both bitmap and vector graphics are
inherently flat, but a motion graphics artist can use a 3D software package to take
these flat graphics into the third dimension. Many 3D programs, such as Maya,
Lightwave or 3D Studio Max, are up to the task, Maxon's Cinema 4D's use of layers
and hierarchies will be familiar to users of Adobe's programs. This program is simply
more intuitive than its bigger and more complex rivals, making it a superior package
for the motion graphics artist.

Last and probably most importantly is compositing. This is where all your flat
graphics will come to life! Compositing software creates motion through the use of
key frames and the program interpolates the in-betweens. A skilled motion graphics
artist will use bitmap, vector and 3D graphics together to create attractive and
effective animations. The most common consumer level compositing program is
Adobe After Effects. In addition to their familiarity with the Adobe software, After
Effects users also benefit from the ease of integration it offers with the bitmap and
vector graphics of Photoshop and Illustrator, respectively.

A good motion graphics artist tries to accomplish one central idea: communicating
effectively while retaining the viewer's attention. Today's audiences have a shorter
attention span than ever, as well as a more refined and ever more savvy recognition of
a good graphics treatment. A video that presents itself with lackluster or uninspired
visual treatments is doomed to appear "behind the times" and lose credibility as a
result. Knowledge of the four facets of motion graphics is indispensable and serves as
the cornerstone of effective modern two-dimensional animation.

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