Want to put your design ideas into motion? From multidimensional motion graphics to stop motion and claymation, here’s what’s trending in motion graphics for 2023.
Motion graphics have cemented their role in the world of digital content creation. They seamlessly weave their magic from subtle web animations to captivating promotional videos, showcasing unmatched versatility and constant innovation. With a direct connection to the ever-evolving realms of technology and design, it’s no wonder that the world of motion graphics is a hotbed of perpetual transformation.
We’ve curated the ultimate guide to this year’s most exciting motion design trends – as well as invaluable tips, and ready-to-use templates – to help you discover what’s making waves in the vibrant realm of motion graphics.
1. Multidimensional Motion Graphics
First up, we’re pressing play on mixed media in motion graphics. So far this year, we’ve seen more 2D objects placed in 3D or live-action environments and real-life products popping up in animated scenes. It’s a technique that allows designers to introduce fantastic elements to everyday activities or display household items against bizarre backgrounds.
Collage animation forms part of this trend – with photographs and illustrations used in the same video – adding authenticity through an imperfect, organic, and handcrafted look. Similarly, traditional cel animation – which involves handcrafting each frame to create a sequence of images – is also back, evoking a sense of simplicity and nostalgia.
“In 2023, many motion designers are mixing media and integrating 2D animation with live action or 3D environments,” says Carmen Angelillo, Creative Director and Co-Founder at Niceshit. “This trend was big a couple of years back, but now we see a blend between real products and animated elements.”
This Apple commercial incorporates a mixed-media approach packed with colorful and quirky detail. It’s a multidimensional multimedia journey that instantly captures the audience’s attention.
Use this Urban Ripped Paper Opener to add collage creativity to your next video project. Available via Envato Elements, the mixed media After Effects template is packed with dynamically animated paper scraps and brush strokes for a graffiti-meets-grunge feel.
2. Levitating Objects
While the objects might be up in the air, this anti-gravity motion graphics trend is not. Often featuring elements that appear to be held up by an unseen force, this trend is about breaking free from constraints and achieving a sense of freedom. The sky is the limit!
In this science-defying scene from Apple, a garbage truck takes off, and a marching band appears as if it’s suspended in mid-air. This weightless world represents the noise-canceling feature of the latest AirPods Pro and suggests that the product offers an elevated escape from the sounds of the city.
Floating features also have a place in a corporate setting – for example, in explainer videos or this website presentation toolkit, which swaps static slides for smooth animation. Showcasing a site’s structure and spotlighting specific design elements, animated templates provide the viewer with an immersive, interactive experience.
Floating product photography is another weightless trend that adds a touch of magic to any photo shoot. Check out our roundup of the top floating product mockups on Elements.
With the massive advances in computer-generated animation, we’ve seen an increasing amount of ultra-realistic motion graphics based on live-action scenes. There seem to be very few things that modern design can’t make lifelike, which is excellent for product design and promotional videos.
You only have to look at this compilation of simulations from Singapore-based Kasra Design to see how realistic lighting, dynamic materials, and tactile textures combine to create visuals that the viewer feels they could reach out and touch.
Dig into the detail with these twisting and turning ropes and stripes from Envato Elements that revolve and wind around one another in a highly realistic way.
4. 3D Motion Graphics
3D motion graphics have played a starring role on screens around the world throughout 2023. The 3D design trend is everywhere, from marketing and social media to design and typography, adding depth, drama, and dynamism to any project.
“Regarding 3D motion graphics, I can see that a lot of the trends are being determined by the emerging tools and software,” says Carmen. “We’re now able to create incredible results in far less time than even a few years ago.”
This example from social media disruptor DeSo features the geometric shapes and squiggly lines that defined 80s design – also known as Memphis Style – with gradient overlays that add a modern twist. Meanwhile, this 3D motion graphic from Korean designer Cozy is full of colorful chaos. Real-life objects merge and mingle with 3D animations as they bump, bounce, and burst around their surroundings. Similarly, a sense of texture infuses these reflective 3D Glass animations, which morph from solid to liquid in a continuous loop.
Make your viewer feel like they’re walking through a real-life room with this 3D rendering of a modern apartment, one of many video backgrounds available via Envato Elements. It’s ideal if you’re looking for interior inspiration and stylish surroundings.
Wherever you are on your 3D design journey, Envato Tuts+ can help. Whether you want to make text effects and textures or simply bring everyday objects to life, our 3D tutorial roundup has all the necessary resources.
5. Claymation & Stop Motion
An animation style that’s as old as time, stop motion has recently had a motion graphics makeover. Made by taking continuous photos of natural objects – or clay models, in the case of claymation – the return of stop motion is part of a broader retro design trend incorporating traditional art forms to nurture a sense of nostalgia. Because motion graphics offer a quicker and cheaper alternative to standard stop motion and claymation approaches while achieving almost identical results, this trend is taking off.
“Claymation is set to take off in 2023,” says Alex Safavinia, Creative Director at Kasra Design. “Claymation is a type of animation that looks very similar to stop motion but is made using 3D software. Since this technique potentially costs less and can be completed sooner than a real stop motion, the interest to use it for commercials (where appropriate) will grow.”
See the trend in action in commercials, explainer videos, and even feature-length films, like Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and the stop-motion studio ShadowMachine.
Embrace the frame-by-frame effect in your work with this scrunched-up paper ball – a stop motion-inspired motion graphic from Envato Elements, perfect for video transitions. On the other hand, this After Effects template is a one-stop resource for stop motion statements, whether you want words spelled out in buttons, coins, gemstones, or fruit.
6. Advanced Animation
Ready to level up your animations? This next trend looks at advanced animation techniques, like procedural animation, which relies on mathematics to generate energy automatically in real-time. The scalability and flexibility of procedural animation make it easy to create eye-catching visuals that can adapt to different contexts and scenarios, speeding up the animation process.
“In recent years, there has been a growing interest towards data-driven and procedural animations,” says Arianna Cristiano, Art Director at IlloTv. “These involve algorithms and rules to generate motion rather than relying on keyframes. This trend reflects a more conscious and experimental approach to using algorithms and automation to improve digital products’ efficiency, flexibility, and interactivity and explore their immense creative potential.
With procedural animation, the focus shifts to the concepts: more direct design inputs and abstraction call for more profound visual languages and metaphors. This makes it well-suited for creating interactive animations triggered by user input or environmental variables. The energy can be easily modified on the fly to reflect changes in the input data. The pros of procedural animation are countless: it can save time and effort in the animation process, allowing for more rapid prototyping and iteration. Its scalability and flexibility make it easily adaptable to different contexts and scenarios.”
For example, this swirling offering from 3D artist Thomas Latvys uses the physics simulation tools in Blender to create attention-grabbing animation. Motion designers can also use procedural animation to create interactive animations triggered by user input or environmental variables.
Isometric animation is another advanced animation technique – often referred to as 2.5D animation – that involves building 3D structures on a 2D surface. Take Slack’s 90-second video summary of its State of Work report. The video features a series of stills and animated loops as wooden balls make their way through a maze-like structure of obstacles, perfectly illustrating each concept as the voiceover introduces it.
Add a conveyor-belt-inspired quirkiness to your work with this Isometric Phone Display. It’s an easy-to-use template for product identities, promo videos, and corporate presentations.
7. Maximalist Outlines
Maximalist outlines are a simple design element that can create elaborate scenes and highly detailed compositions, exuding vibrant energy.
“In the last few years, we’ve witnessed a comeback in using maximalist outlines,” says Adrianna. “Maximalist outlines create a rich, layered effect that adds depth to the illustrations. These bold designs manage to reach new peaks of surrealism through their complexity, pushing the boundaries of this style and creating a dynamic, eye-catching effect that commands attention. A design element so simple yet powerful can create rich, dynamic, and visually stunning effects that are sure to make an impact.”
This 360-degree in-store animation gave customers a wacky welcome as they entered a San Francisco skincare store; the design was exploding with color and oversized objects. Meanwhile, this Coca-Cola advert animates a Cubist painting by French painter Aket for a bold, frame-busting sequence that sees artworks interact in an exhibition space.
This bold motion graphics trend is reaching new peaks of surrealism – but it has its stylistic roots in larger-than-large cartoon characters, like the dysfunctional cast of the animated sitcom Family Guy.
You can explore this trend using Nicartoon’s work, available on Envato Elements. From a sheep trying to get to sleep to someone stuck in a scorching desert, these dynamic scenes instantly draw in the viewer.
8. Animated Brand Identities
Brands increasingly leverage the power of animation and motion graphics to enhance their identity, amplify their voice, and add visual interest to their marketing campaigns.
“In the last few years, we’ve seen a growing trend of businesses incorporating animation and motion graphics into their branding strategies,” says Adrianna. “This trend is driven by the need to create more dynamic and engaging content for different devices and screen sizes that can resonate with the audience in a world where attention spans are shrinking and competition is fierce. Whether it’s a logo animation, a product showcase, or a social media campaign, animation and motion graphics can add an extra layer of visual interest and engagement to a brand’s marketing efforts – adding motion toolkits to its communication assets.”
Animated brand identities and logos can cut through crowded and competitive marketplaces and help brands build customer relationships. Take Pixar’s cute production logo featuring a hopping desk lamp that clearly conveys what the company is about or FedEx’s speedy, shape-shifting logo that moves from parcel to plane to demonstrate its express international delivery service. Then there’s Netflix’s instantly recognizable bright red ‘N,’ which symbolizes passion and energy before expanding to reveal a vertical spectrum of colors – which might just represent storylines.
Beyond logos, the rise of animated branding means motion is appearing increasingly in brand communication assets. Forget about linear storyboards; we’ve seen a lightly-animated and conceptual approach in the form of short loops – like these pen-wielding robot arms that represent the digital-to-analog letter-writing service offered by Handwritten.
Whether you’re a filmmaker, motion designer, videographer, or graphic designer, you need a logo that communicates your creativity – so check out this design-focused animation from Envato Elements. And keep an eye on emerging branding trends to ensure your visuals are always fresh, fun, and engaging.
9. AI in Motion Design
Motion graphics is one of the many areas where AI has a huge impact – shortening production timelines and supporting designers in discovering new and innovative working methods. For example, this awesome human-meets-machine video animation was created by inputting a text prompt into the AI modeling tool Disco Diffusion.
“There will be further development and exponential growth of AI, with a particular increase in their application in the audiovisual and motion graphics world,” says Karina Sacco, Designer, co-founder & CEO of Yum Yum Videos. “Thanks to AI, something that would usually take months of hard work could be done in weeks or even days. While it’s true that talk about AI started in 2022, I think this technology has all the potential to solidify its place as a more professional trend in 2023. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that AI will replace real people, as many fear, but rather that there will be new ways of working and improving production times in many different areas.”
AI editing tools can also simplify complex processes and save time spent on post-production. One such tool is the video editor Runway, which lets users remove people and objects from a video using inpainting. It makes it easy to mask moving objects to remove or replace backgrounds or set them on a transparent layer. You can also color grade your clips with a simple description, track the motion of an object automatically with just one click, and remove background noise with the clean audio tool.
The text-to-color grade tool is just one of many AI-generated tools that allow users to make videos by inputting words and phrases. For example, presentations are made possible with DeepBrain, where you select a hyper-realistic avatar and automatically generate a script. Or you could build an animation frame-by-frame using Deforum. This technology is rapidly developing, so keep up-to-date with new releases to ensure you benefit from all of AI’s advantages.
John an experienced IT specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and has worked in various positions, including software developer, system administrator, and network engineer. John’s expertise includes cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data analytics. He has completed numerous certifications in these areas and is highly knowledgeable in the latest technologies and trends.