As a beginner in Motion Graphic Design, I needed to become aware of the workflow, what software to use and how long the processes would take. Through my collection of artists and references using Pinterest and Instagram I became aware there is a current popular ‘style’ for Motion Graphics in 2.5D – short and punchy, graphic vector-style, bubbly, minimalist.

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I came across this brilliant post that broke down step-by-step their process from preliminary sketch to final product in 2D motion graphics. The post does not go into depth about the animation side of things so I researched further into those specifics;


From one of the tutorials listed in the above article, I tried my hand at a simple 2D walk cycle within After Effects. I had never used the program before for more than video editing so the beginner tutorial showed me a few of the basics so I could manoeuvre my way around the system easier when it came to producing my final outcome;

My attempt;

After toying around with a 2D graphic style I thought I would rather look into 3D motion graphics and see what artists are doing with it in After Effects.

Using nodes and particle systems similar to fully 3D software such as Maya, artists are able to create 3D images in After Effects.

In 3D, FX seems to fall into the Motion Graphics department and the manipulation of substances such as noise deformation and messing with particles to create stunning images. I have always been entranced by the complexity of VFX and producing or representing a new version of reality in 3D, so this was definitely a key interest for myself and a brand new 3D path I could explore. The surreal 3D images I looked at are most often associated with the sci-fi genre. Unknown, abstract and alien similar to the montage of initially confusing but ultimately meaningful images.

I came across an online archive of contemporary 3D motion graphic sequences @

Below are a few of the sequences that inspired me most. At this point I was really eager to create some kind of intense sci-fi piece; I had ideas for an abstract landing on an alien world, or tumbling towards a black hole and the effects it would have on the reality of the viewer and the images they were watching.

[‘Symbiot’ Using Element 3D; an After Effects Plug-in]

“Kinsetsu, a short fictive macro sci-fi journey to planet nine. 
All footage was shot using live action and practical effects, no cgi involved.”

At this point I was also looking into the sound design of these pieces. The substances in ‘Kinsetsu’ are reflected in the sounds of cascading rocks, liquid flowing, submarine bleeps and an ethereal backing track. The sound and images are all symbiotic which is a similar narrative the director was portraying. This was also another medium, using live action.

This piece took a shape and experimented. The spherical form and the movement within those bounds. The artist used After Effects for compositing and Cinema 4D, Realflow, TurbulenceFD for 3D.

One of my favourite VFX artists, Ash Thorp, director of ALT Creative Inc. produces some extremely stunning and visually impactful sci-fi scenes. When I watch his sequences I become entranced by outer space and, ironically, a sense of humanity when watching his barren alien landscapes;

Ash Thorp uses 3D softwares, After Effects, live action and Google Maps for his sequences. Offering an insight into a few of his shots;


Motion Graphic pieces have a purpose. Whether it be advertising, an idea, or presenting a comedic commentary. Rather than advertising, I was focused on how the images connect to create a story or complex idea.

Initially I thought of an Alien Landing sequence.

There needed to be meaningful transitions. I noticed this technique from all types of 2D and 3D motion graphics.


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