What’s the Difference Between 3D Animation and Motion Graphics?

Animation is a fascinating process. It has amazed people for well over 100 years now. Animation has always butted up against all the revolutionary processes that have made the entertainment industry what it is. Even all the way back to the invention of animated films, people’s minds has been blown. Every time there is another leap forward in animation, it is a high-water mark for innovation, entertainment, and even our culture. The most recent innovations have had to do with computer animation that has taken animation from a 2D space to the 3D masterpieces we see now in our cinemas and at home on our flat screens. 

Big budget blockbusters that are full of 3D animation and complex 3D character design, certainly get our attention. While those “wow” moments still mostly happen in a movie theater or on our home theatre centers, there is something else happening on a smaller scale that affects us even more. 3D motion graphics have infiltrated our lives more than a Hollywood blockbuster ever could. Basically, motion graphics are animated graphics that appear on most social media videos and ads. They are quite different from the 3D animation we see on the big screen. Below is an overview of the difference between 3D animation and motion graphics.

3D Animation

3D animation is the art of bringing a digital scene to life on a screen using animation. Each scene is brought to life in a computer program using drawings and digital rendering techniques. It has basically the same process as old 2D animations done on paper. Instead of filming each piece of paper, the drawings are fed into a computer program where they are rendered into 3D character design that an animator then breathes life into. Add to those characters complex backgrounds and sound and you’ve got yourself an animated film. 

3D animation is often very complex and quite expensive to produce. That is why you mostly see it on the big screen. It also only really works properly on a digital flat screen. Hence why those big budget Hollywood blockbusters animated films and animated series look so good on your big digital TV at home.

3D Motion Graphics

Motion graphics are digital animations that are usually done on a much smaller scale. They are small animations that rely on text and other information to achieve the desired result. Most of the time, motion graphics are 2D but, increasingly, you will see 3D renderings as well. Traditionally, animation has been produced to entertain an audience. Motion graphics are designed to convey information and to educate an audience.  Both 3D and 2D motion graphics are essentially graphic design elements. You will see examples of them everywhere in media. News broadcasts and talk shows both use motion graphics to keep people’s attention. They are a crucial element in social media videos. By design, motion graphics are added to most videos you see online. Especially if they are any kind of marketing video. Since our attention spans have gotten so short, motion graphics are needed to keep our eyes on their products.

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