Motion Graphics

Motion graphics are graphics that use video footage and/or animation technology to create the appearance of motion. For use in multimedia projects, the graphics are usually combined with audio to create custom videos. Motion graphics are usually displayed by using electronic media technology, but in more primitive times, and today in basic settings, can be demonstrated by using manual manipulation to create the “motion”. One example of the primitive or manual technology is the thaumatrope, which is simply a string onto which two images have been affixed, back to back so that when the string is twisted between the fingers, the images flip over rapidly to create the illusion that they have joined to become one image.

Another early “motion machine” was the phenakistoscope, which was in basic terms a horizontal spinning disc with vertical walls attached to a handle. Around the center of the disc a succession of pictures was drawn to give the appearance of animation; at regular intervals around the circumference of the walls slits were cut. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The phenakistoscope and its form of motion graphics were only popular for about two years due to the changing of technology.

The zoetrope worked on the same principles as the phenakistoscope, but the pictures were drawn on a strip which could be placed around the bottom 1/3 of a cylinder, with the slits now cut in the upper section of the drum. The cylinder was mounted on a spindle so that it could be spun by hand, and viewers looking through the slits would see the picture strip appear to form a moving image. The image produced appears smoother as the cylinder is spun faster. Again, the motion graphics created the illusion that the graphic is moving when it is, in fact, a series of still drawings.

Moving even further into modern motion graphics “technology” is the flip book. A flip book is a book with a series of pictures that vary gradually from one page to the next, so that when the pages are flipped rapidly, the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion or some other change. These are often drawn in the corners of books to supplement the story, or as additional entertainment. Regularly drawn as children’s books, they can be also incorporate photographs and be aimed more toward an adult audience.

Each of these examples of motion graphics operates on the principle ( or theory) of persistence of vision. Creating an illusion that continuous motion is being seen rather than a series of discontinuous images being exchanged in succession, persistence of vision incorporates the thought that an image is retained on the surface of the retina for 1/25 of a second after being removed from view. This allows for “bleed over” or blurring of images, creating the continuous motion appearance.

Utilizing the most modern technology, Illustrate IT can create professionally designed motion graphics for use in a variety of settings.

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