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Behind the Scenes of an Animated Motion Graphics Video Project

Motion graphics are cool

Animated motion graphics can be a great way to engage and communicate, especially for subjects that are challenging to show in other ways. In this post I wanted to briefly outline the process so you can get a better sense of what’s involved.

First, lets start out with the end product, here’s a recent anti-bullying video we created for my daughter’s elementary school:

What’d you think? Cool?

So, now that you’ve seen the end result, let’s look at the process.

It starts with the big idea, the goals, the key messaging and especially the audience. In many cases, "feature creep" can leave you with too many goals, sometimes even conflicting. A Swiss army knife does many things, but none well.

The next step is to write the script, condensing ideas to keep them short and punchy enough for video. The trick is to work in ideas for how you’ll express ideas visually, sometimes it’s better to show an idea than say it.

behind the scenes of an animated motion graphics script

Once you have a solid script, then you can start design. For this project, I looked at a bunch of different styles to find one that would look engaging but also be easier to create and animate quickly. Here’s the one key image that I found on Shutter Stockthat guided design:

Once style is decided, all images can be designed in accordance with script and style. These are sometimes called storyboards, but in fact, these are the final assets to be animated. To evaluate how it will all come together, I find it helpful to print them up and put them on a wall in a timeline:

Now it becomes real!

If your project calls for voice over and music (probably both) those need to be recorded/sourced. Make sure you get royalty-free music! Look for production music sites like Killer Tracks or The Music Bed.

Once all assets have been created, it’s time to animate. We use Adobe After Effects. This is the point where everything comes together. This is where it comes to life. But it ain’t easy, look at this madness:

It's alive!

Once animation is done, sound effects and an audio mix are the final steps. It’s always a real eye-opener to see it finally real!

The final product can take days, weeks or months, it’s all about what goes into it. I hope that helps gives you a little bit more insight into what goes into an animated motion graphics video. Good luck!

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