Epic Motion Graphics Timeline

First off, what exactly is motion graphics? Motion Graphics is essentially a technique of combining graphics, words, sound and video. Motion graphics can be seen in a wide range of platforms including television, movies, commercials and presentations.

Motion graphics (believe it or not) stems back to the 1960s. John Whitney was one of the very earlier pioneers of the art form. In 1960 he founded Motion Graphics Incorporated, which used an analogue computer of his own invention to create motion picture, title sequences and commercials.

In 1961, he created a set of visual effects he had created using his device – he titled it ‘Catalog’. You can view it here:

image-1The Scanimate was one of most profound machines used to produce motion graphics back in the late 1960s to the early 1980s. The main advantage of this machine was it had the ability to create animations in real time, which is something that we are only starting to get now in the digital age. Animation could be created in a short amount of time using this, as well as its range of possible effects, and it was the superior machine to use.

This demo of work made by the Scanimate includes the music video for The Jacksons – Blame it on the Boogie!

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Using the Scanimate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHjkMThH0aE

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In the 90s, software started to take over. With the launch of After Effects in 1993, motion designers started to incorporate it into their workflow and abandon their analog equipment.

The first ever After Effects looked like this:

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Cinema 4D is a package known and loved by motion designers today. Back in 1991 it was first released by Christian and Philip Losch and called Fast Ray.

You can see some of the stunning work produced in it here:



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In the early/mid 2000s, Cinema 4D started to get recognised by motion designers, due to its friendly interface and its elegant features such as mograph. It gave you the ability to animate multiple elements at once and use a vast amount of effects to use for manipulation. At the time, no other 3d package was offering this.

With technology growing rapidly, motion graphics is becoming a more available tool for everyone and there are plenty of different avenues that motion graphics is expanding in, such as motion capture, VR/360 Videos, 3D scanning and GPU Rendering.

Here’s a selection of projects that cover some new processes that are coming in today – they are a lot more advanced and pretty epic, if I say so myself!

2016 AICP Sponsor Reel – Dir Cut by Method Studio: https://vimeo.com/169599296

image 7.pngVERSUS by ManvsMachine: http://mvsm.com/project/versus

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Seed by Aixsponza: https://vimeo.com/134957666

image 9.pngOtherworldly by MELT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc8qEnRXdJE (please watch in a browser that supports YouTube 360)


Due to the many technical advances motion graphics has had, it’s pretty much used everywhere and has become a wide outlet for creativity – in some cases it’s so good you wonder if it’s real!

Liam Pitchford

Image credits: Screenshots from YouTube and Method Studios: https://vimeo.com/methoddesign

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