The difference between motion graphics and animation explained with examples

Learn about the differences between motion graphics and animation, illustrated with examples. Understand how these visual techniques differ in style, purpose, and execution, and how they are applied in various creative projects and industries.

The difference between motion graphics and animation explained with examples
motion graphics and animation - KrishaStudio

It’s hard to differentiate between the terms ‘motion graphics’ and ‘animation’ for the people who do not work in the animation industry. However, the motion graphics and animation significantly differ from one another.

When movement is added to static images, it is known as motion graphics. On the other hand, animation is a series of moving images that narrate a story. There are several other distinguishable features which we will address in this article.

What is motion graphics?

What is motion graphics - KrishaStudio

The animated graphics, which are created using motion design, are used to deliver any message to the viewers. A video containing motion graphics may or may not be entertaining.

This type of video is generally used to advertise, promote, or sell products or services. Motion graphics are also used to explain ideas. A few examples of motion graphics are –

  • Animated page titles
  • Dynamic logos
  • UI animation
  • GIFs
  • Explainer, music, graphic design videos
  • Animated icons
  • Online video transitions

What is animation?

What is animation - KrishaStudio

Animation is an umbrella term that covers the entire field of moving imagery, such as cartoons, typography, or motion graphics. Therefore, the animation may not exclusively mean ‘motion graphics’. However, motion graphics is one of the five styles of animation.

Stop Motion Graphics

In this style of animation, the frame-by-frame movement of figures or objects creates an illusion of movement.

Motion graphics

This subset of animation can turn a static image into a dynamic image for better visual impact on 

the audience.

Traditional Animation & 2D Animation

The 2D graphics are sequenced rapidly in this style of animation. This creates an illusion of lifelike movement. In traditional 2D animation, hand-drawn images are used for every frame of animation. These days, electronic tools are used to develop 2D images for animation.

3D Animation

In this style of animation, the graphics are modeled and then animated in a 3D environment.

What do they have in common?

  • Motion graphics and animation are the art forms in which static objects or characters become animated.
  • Both art forms use the same type of software, such as Maya, to have the desired result.
  • The 12 principles (set of visual rules) of animation are followed by the artists when developing motion graphics as well as animation. Artists must follow these rules when turning static objects into dynamic objects in a natural way.

Motion Graphics vs. Animation

1. Statistics vs. Narratives
Statistics vs. Narratives - KrishaStudio

Animation tends to be more captivating than motion graphics. Motion graphics are used to ensure that the delivery of instructions, selling points, or statistics has the maximum impact on viewers. On the other hand, a video with animated characters is used to narrate a story.

2. Simple vs. Complex
Simple vs. Complex - KrishaStudio

There is a need for fewer resources (compared to creating 3D or 2D animation) when creating effective motion graphics. For example, a pop-up title can be quickly created with little to no difficulty if you have the right software solution.

However, creating an engaging animated video does not just depend upon using the right type of software solution. It’s essential to be trained for this task alongside having ample resources. It takes months to create one video. Therefore, creating motion graphics is simpler than creating animation.

3. Reasonably Priced vs. Expensive
Reasonably Priced vs. Expensive - KrishaStudio

It is less expensive to create motion graphics in comparison to creating animation since creating motion graphics is simpler than creating animation. It also takes up less time.

4. 2D vs. 3D
 2D vs. 3D - KrishaStudio

The difference in dimensions is another distinguishing feature between motion graphics and animation. The animated videos may be made of 2D or 3D graphics. However, the animated page titles, GIFs, or dynamic logos (a few examples of graphic motions) are made of 2D graphics.

The purpose of using motion graphics is to deliver a message that is comprehensible alongside being enjoyable and 2D graphics are better for logos, GIFs, page titles, or UI animation due to this reason.

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5. Specialization
Specialization - KrishaStudio
  • In motion graphics, approximately 84% of the specialists have 4-7 tasks to perform within their roles.
  • In animation, approximately 78% of the specialists have 3-4 tasks to perform within their roles.
  • 6. Tools
  • The designing process of animation is different from the designing process of motion graphics.
  • In motion graphics, After Effects is used in 100% of cases and Cinema 4D is used in 54% of cases, and 90% of the animated characters are created in After Effects.
  • In animation, After Effects is used 78% of the time and Flash/animate is used 57% of the time. The Programs, such as Harmony, TVPaint, 3DS Max, or Maya, are used by more than 30% of the studios and Blender is used by more than 17% of the studios.
  • 7. Audience
  • Motion graphics and animation are used to attract the audience in different scenarios.
  • The animation is used to narrate the stories. Thus, the focus of audiences remains on the graphic elements.
  • When motion design is used, the focus of the audience stays on a topic of discussion instead of the graphic elements.
8. Re usability
 Reusability - KrishaStudio

The advertisements, graphic logos, explainer videos, and Infographics developed using Motion Graphics can be reused multiple times. It costs less to make amendments to the designs made of motion graphics when compared to making alterations to the animated videos.

9. Narrative Purpose
Narrative Purpose - KrishaStudio

The animated videos are used for storytelling which is not the main purpose of creating videos with motion graphics. These videos are created to capture audiences’ attention.

10. Illustrations VS Real-Life Footage

The shapes, texts, and images are used in motion graphics to properly illustrate the topic of a video. In animated videos, lifelike characters or footage are used to narrate a story or events.


Animation is suitable for projects that require lifelike animated characters as well as backgrounds. Motion graphics are suitable for projects that benefit from the use of simple animated shapes, texts, or images.


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