A quick history of motion graphics, from the 19th century to the present day

‘Motion graphics’ is one of those terms that most of us seem to instinctively understand, but which few of us can appear to accurately define. It’s precisely because of this that there has long been dispute as to when, exactly, motion graphics can be said to have ‘begun’. Nonetheless, there are certain key areas of consensus on the subject.

It is generally agreed, for instance, that motion graphics can be described as graphics that use technology to give the impression of motion, rotation or transformation, as part of the communication of storytelling messages through video and audio.

Such media as films, videos, animated text and web-based animation can therefore be said to come under the broad banner of ‘motion graphics’. But what else do you need to know about the history of this fascinating discipline when you come to request a motion graphics quote from a leading studio such as Mosaic Motion?

‘Motion graphics’, the term is not the same as motion graphics, the art

The term ‘motion graphics’ can be traced back to around 1960, when animator John Whitney co-founded a company called Motion Graphics, Inc. for the creation of motion picture and television title sequences. However, the aforementioned broad definition of motion graphics allows us to tell a story of the development of this art stretching as far back as the 19th century.

It was back then, after all, when flipbooks and other comparatively rudimentary devices were being used to create the illusion of movement through sequential drawings. It took until the start of cinematography, however, for animation to begin to hone itself as an art, with the early 20th century seeing pioneering work by such celebrated figures as Marcel Duchamp, Walter Ruttmann and Fernand Leger.

As the 20th century wore on, so more great names continued to emerge in the ascendant field of motion graphics, such as the greatly influential Saul Bass, whose film titling work and poster design was much-imitated, and Norman McLaren, who developed various groundbreaking techniques for the combination and synchronisation of animation with music.

Enter the computer age...

Today, of course, it is customary for studios like Mosaic Motion to create motion graphics on computers in quick and easy fashion, drawing upon the sophistication and flexibility of 21st-century software packages.

This marks simply the latest stage in the continued development of motion graphics, the first use of computers for the rendering of graphics having taken place as early as the late 1960s. Fast-forward another two decades, and television studios were now frequently calling upon expensive proprietary graphics systems.

Then came the mid-1990s, when the emergence of desktop computers running platforms like Photoshop accelerated the further progress of motion graphics into something that even relative ‘amateurs’ could create.

Nonetheless, with today’s 3D motion graphics packages having reached new heights of functionality, flexibility and refinement, when you wish to make the best use of them for your own brand, there’s only one decision to ultimately make: to get in touch with a trusted studio like Mosaic Motion for the most complete and competitive motion graphics quote.

Why not contact our professional and skilled team today to learn more about the full breadth of possibilities for how motion graphics could be used in 2018 for the benefit of your brand?