Is motion design (motion graphics) the same as animation? It means that the motion designer’s job is to make animations like Tom and Jerry. If motion design and animation is not the same, and the work of a motion designer and an animator is different, what is the task of each one? What are the similarities and differences between their works?

When you enter a website and see a logo that is moving or when you see a person running in a sports app, you are seeing a motion design that was designed and created by a motion designer. Well, then, our popular cartoons like Tom and Jerry or Baymax are also motion designs. Because they are animated designs and images that were combined with sound, lighting, and special effects.

But it is not. Animations are made by animators, and motion designs are made by motion designers, and motion design is not the same as animation.

Read this content to get to know the differences and similarities between these two fields and the different jobs and skills of animators and motion designers.

Comparing the job of an animator with the job of a motion designer

First of all, the difference between motion design and animation should be clear. It should be said that dealing with the differences between animation and motion design is a long and detailed discussion. Because the main topic of this article is not to deal with the differences between motion design and animation, in the following, the differences are told very briefly.

  • Animation: The process of designing and making a series of designs and static images that are placed one after the other and displayed in order, as if they show a scene from an event or story or life itself, is called animation. Animation has a long history and various types. One of its types is motion graphics. Animations are usually designed and characterized, have a storyline, and narrate something. Mickey Mouse and Tom and Jerry are the best examples of animation.
  • Motion Design or Motion Graphics: Motion graphics are created when static designs (graphics), objects, shapes, and letters are moved to become animated. In motion design, there is usually no mention of characterization and storytelling. It is not supposed to tell a 2-hour story and take the viewer with him to see what will happen in the end. The goal is just to make something animated so that it catches the viewer’s/user’s attention and keeps it in mind. The best example of motion design is animated logos on websites or applications and animated user interfaces (for example, an animated icon or a button that shakes).

Different tasks of motion designer and animator

Designing and making animation is more difficult, complicated, and time-consuming than motion design. Animation production projects are usually larger and more expensive than motion design projects. So, motion designers and animator work on very different projects. Projects in which each one has very different tasks.

2D or 3D animation projects are usually for film and series companies, computer games, or advertising films of big and famous companies and brands. The most important task of the animator in these projects is to create the character and story that the client wants, that is, to design the character or characters and the environment (scene) using animation techniques and software such as Moho or Maya.

But the most important job of a motion designer is to animate designs, letters, words, phrases, or visual elements using software such as Adobe After Effect and Adobe Premier Pro or add visual effects to graphics and images. These projects usually include designing and making promotional motion design videos and introducing products and services for broadcasting on TV and online media, making motion videos for social networks, or titling movies and series.

Of course, in an advertising project, a motion designer (usually a motion design team) may be asked to create a few-minute animation to introduce a product/brand/service/organization. In these projects, the story is usually specified by the employer, and the space and characters are also specified.

Because a motion designer is a graphic designer who has the skills to create graphic designs, he may work on projects that require only graphic design (such as illustrations for books, magazine covers, or advertising brochures) and not motion graphics.

Motion designer skills

The skills that motion designers usually have are:

1. Mastering the necessary software to make a motion graphic video

The first and most important skill a motion designer needs is to master After Effects software to create 2D motion graphics and Blender to create 3D motion graphics.

2. Graphic Design

Usually, the designer cannot use ready-made designs and samples in all projects. So, it happens that he has to plan for the project himself.

3. Typography

As mentioned, sometimes a motion design project is just animating and adding visual effects to letters, words, and phrases. In other projects, there is usually text animation. For this reason, the motion designer must master typography (the art and technique that helps designers to make letters, words, and phrases beautiful, legible, and attractive).

4. Video Editing

The motion designer must be proficient in video editing. Because the motion design video may need to be corrected and edited. For example, the German was not displayed at the right time or the employer requested an edit.

5. Sound design

Of course, not all motion graphics need sound processing and sound design, or sound design may be entrusted to an expert. But in most advertising motion videos, sound processing is needed. The most important effect that makes motion graphics effective and attractive is its sound and music.

6. Getting to know the principles and techniques of animation

It is not bad if the motion designer is familiar with the principles and techniques of animation and animating designs and images. This familiarity is considered an advantage for the motion designer and is not required.

Animator skills

1. Complete mastery of drawing, painting, and animation techniques

The animator draws (creates) the characters and the atmosphere. He must be completely familiar with the principles of composition. Today animations are indeed designed and created with software, but drawing and painting on paper is still an important part of work. Also, in some animation styles and techniques (such as classic animation or cut-out animation), most of the designs and works are done on paper.

2. Mastery of 2D and 3D animation design software

Autodesk Maya, Blender, and Adobe After Effects are considered the most famous and popular software for creating animation. Maya is the most powerful and expensive, and major film and series studios use this software to produce animation.

3. Mastery in adding visual effects

Animation is a short or long film and not just animating a logo. For this reason, every animation project needs visual effects (like adding smoke or fog to the space and environment).

Soft skills

Both animators and motion designers need soft skills (creativity, problem-solving, time management, and communication skills). Because both are usually members of the same team and must complete the project by cooperating with other members.


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