Difference Between Motion Graphics and Animation Explained with Examples

The terms “Motion Graphics” and “Animation” are often used interchangeably. However, they don’t always exist exclusive of each other. Often, animation also requires being coupled with motion graphics to give a finish to the product.

Generally, most people won’t care about the differentiation between the two.

However, if you are a part of the creative industry or are interested in creating a motion graphics or animation video for your business, its important to understand the difference.

Let’s dig deeper into the differences between animation and motion graphics and study the two in detail with examples.


Difference #1:

A motion graphics video typically includes on-screen text combined with shapes and sometimes images.


Whereas, an animated video generally includes animated characters.


Read more: Tips for Character Designing


Difference #2:

Another major difference is the presence of a narrative or a story.

An animated video is most suitable when you’re looking to tell a story. A major visual component of storytelling is the utilization of characters that viewers often find relatable.

Explainer videos are a good example of animated videos.

Animated explainer video example:


In a motion graphics video, the main purpose is to create visually stimulating animations that are geared to grab attention.

Although storytelling isn’t necessarily absent from a motion graphics video, generally it’s not the core purpose.



Difference #3:

While animated videos comprise of moving illustrations, motion graphics are often added on top of real-life footage.

The following are some of the examples of such motion graphics elements.

  • Moving backgrounds
  • Lower thirds/ Title cards
  • Animated icons
  • Animated elements such as doodles
  • Logo animations

In the below example, the title screens, along with elements that appear on top of the filmed footage are referred to as motion graphics.


Motion graphic lower thirds:


Motion graphic titles:


Difference #4:

Another huge difference is the variations in dimensions in motion graphics and animation.

Animation in general could involve both 2D and 3D animation.


3D animated video


However, motion graphics are typically associated with animations that are mostly 2D. In certain instances, however, 3D animation is added sparsely to enhance visual interest.

In the below example, 3D animation can be seen in the rotation of the phone at 0:07 as well as in the background animation of the lines moving outwards at 0:13, while most of the other elements are animated in the 2D space.


If you are looking into producing animated content for your business, you must have wondered what is the difference between animation and motion graphics.

To choose the better option of the two for yourself, you need to be more attentive to the needs you have from the final product.

For example, if you are looking to exhibit some sort of data in a visually interesting way, you may need a motion graphics designer.

However, if you mean to connect to your audience and push the story of how your product is a moving entity on some level, you may need to go for an animator instead.

Here is a little more insight into how to pick a video style for a new video.

Schedule a free consultation call with our video strategist



Posted by Fatima Najeeb

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