2019 Film & Motion Graphics Trends – Ninjawards

One of the core ninja principles is to always question the status quo.

Each year, Cubicle Ninjas’ reviews the industry’s creative highs and lows to publish a curated list of notable efforts in each specialty. Think of it as a highlights reel of the years’ best and brightest, along with some cautionary tales.

The Ninjawards provides a platform for inspiration, constructive criticism, and ultimately, recognition of bright new areas of design or technology. We hope our thinking unlocks new perspectives about the future of your creative in Film & Motion Graphics!

Want to download all of the 2019 Ninjawards? Click here!

Short-form / Micro Video

While it may seem difficult to make an impact in 30 seconds or less, we would argue that when paired with great writing, storytelling, and visuals, short-form video and animation can have, in may instances, higher impact than their longer counterparts. With attention spans at an all time low, it’s important to captivate your audience as quickly and effectively as possible to ensure they stay engaged with your media. Short-form or micro video also allows brands to take greater risks, at a lower cost, leading to less risky ROI. A format that is better for users and brands? Sign us up.

Liquid Motion

2018 was the year we saw the return to traditional hand-drawn animation within motion graphics. One implementation of this style is using liquid-like flowing shapes to transition from one scene to another, giving the illusion of one continuous scene. Usually paired with bright colors and paint-like splashes, this playful aesthetic captures the viewer’s imagination and provides a style that can’t be mimicked by a purely digital animation process.

15 FPS Animation

While it may seem strange at first to go with a lower framerate when creating your video or motion graphics, it’s definitely worth experimenting. As the inverse to 60fps animation, giving your animation a more lifelike quality, animating or converting video to 15fps can give your media a crafted, stop-motion feel. The result is playful and impactful, while harkening back to the animation of yesteryear.

Vertical Ads

Seeing as how users spend a majority of their screen-time with their phones held vertically, and how much time we all now spend on our phones, it makes sense that vertical videos would slowly take hold. While we will always dislike those shakey YouTube videos made by grandma, adopting a vertical format for your professional mobile videos and animations is a smart move. That being said, proceed deliberately, as vertical videos only look their best on smartphone displays and deliver an underwhelming experience on websites and video hosting platforms. If you want to create once and deploy everywhere then you’re better off sticking to the traditional landscape format for videos, since these can be viewed in both portrait and landscape phone orientation with minimal sacrifice in quality. But if willing to apply a dash of extra effort, then this frontier is worth exploring.

Branded GIFs

Much like 15-frame per second videos, GIFs are affectionally low-fi. Since the dawn of the internet they’ve entertained, but with the birth of GIF platforms like GIPHY their business power has been unlocked. With most mobile platforms and social apps integrating these GIF engines, and consumers excited to share interesting GIFs that fit their mood, you have a recipe for success. This is a nice way to stay top of mind while repurposing your existing work, at very little extra cost.

Video is King

We’re betting you noticed a subtle change in your social media feeds. Seemingly overnight, static image and written content has taken a backseat to Video across all platforms. Videos are a flexible, holistic solution to engaging with your audience and generating excitement around your brand. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what does that mean for 10-second video?

Kinetic Typography is Dated

At the dawn of motion graphics and After Effects, Kinetic Typography was the bread and butter of the community. Music videos, opening credits, and commercials alike all adopted this (at the time) playful and unique way to communicate your message. These days, with the progress of animation and 3D graphics, flat typography can leave a lot to be desired if left by its lonesome. Consider incorporating additional visual elements to really spice up the viewer’s experience if kinetic typography is a must.

Not Embracing Video

Sure, you’ve got an established brand, had successful print and web campaigns, and are on an upward trajectory, but are you exploring every avenue to connect with your audience? These days, 96% of consumers find video reviews helpful when making a purchase decision. Not only that, but video increases the amount of time spent on a page dramatically, keeping your viewer engaged and building a relationship one animation at a time.

Requiring Audio

As mobile becomes the preferred social media experience, more and more consumers routinely scroll through videos without playing sound. Really! Recent studies show 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound and including captions in your videos can increase their view time by 12 percent. To make the most of your video campaigns, don’t rely on audio to make your message clear. Ya hear?

The Merger of 2D and 3D

We’re starting to see 2D animators blending their craft with the use of 3D elements. Clever use of shaders and scale and create seamless transitions between 2D and 3D objects, giving your media an extra dimension while still remaining focused and easy to follow. Cinema 4D integration within After Effects has made 3D not only more accessible, but allowed for a more streamlined workflow between the two programs.

Everything Live

It seems every major social media platform has integrated live video within the past year. Researchers say that 34% of marketers have used Facebook Live. Apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, and Twitter also give users the ability to broadcast live whenever they’d like, sharing their experience with the world and boosting engagement with their viewers astronomically.

Digital Surrealism

Putting form at the forefront of the medium, animators are creating surreal pieces that would truly melt clocks. Often structured in a still-life format, these amalgamations of shape, color, and form suspend disbelief and create a feast for the eyes and objects, both mundane and otherworldly, are brought to life through animation.

Launch is the Beginning

Cubicle Ninjas is celebrating our tenth birthday this year. With thousands of design and development projects under our belt from some of the world’s greatest brands, we’ve noticed a clear trend: successful teams see the world differently. Project launch isn’t a finish line, it’s just the beginning. Companies that think this way see exponentially greater and more frequent success in every project they touch. As part of our mission to stop bad design, we wrote a book about this revelation. To learn how to implement long-term design thinking in your organization, download our 100% free eBook, “Launch is the Beginning”.

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