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Intro to Motion Graphics: Explainer Videos From Storyboard to Animation

Intro to Motion Graphics: Explainer Videos From Storyboard to Animation

Explainer videos are animated videos that explain a business and also convey the value of a business. There are so many awesome explainer videos created

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In the digital age, motion graphics have become a powerful tool for communication, enabling complex ideas to be conveyed through dynamic visual storytelling. Among the many applications of motion graphics, explainer videos stand out as a popular and effective medium for educating and engaging audiences. This essay explores the journey of creating an explainer video, from the initial storyboard to the final animation, highlighting the key stages and considerations involved in the process.

Understanding Motion Graphics

Motion graphics is a discipline that combines graphic design principles with animation techniques to create visually compelling content. Unlike traditional animation, which focuses on characters and narrative storytelling, motion graphics often emphasize abstract visuals, typography, and shapes to convey information. This makes motion graphics particularly suited for explainer videos, which aim to simplify and illustrate complex concepts in a concise and engaging manner.

The Role of Explainer Videos

Explainer videos serve various purposes across different industries. Businesses use them to introduce products, services, or processes; educators employ them to clarify difficult topics; non-profits leverage them to spread awareness about causes. The versatility and effectiveness of explainer videos lie in their ability to capture and retain audience attention while delivering a clear and memorable message.

The Pre-Production Phase: Concept and Script

The creation of an explainer video begins long before any visuals are crafted. The pre-production phase is crucial for laying a solid foundation. This phase involves defining the video's purpose, target audience, and key message. Once these elements are clear, the next step is to develop a script.

The script is the backbone of an explainer video. It outlines the narrative and provides a detailed account of what will be communicated. A well-crafted script is concise, engaging, and focused. It should include a compelling introduction, a clear explanation of the main concept or idea, and a strong conclusion that reinforces the key message.

Storyboarding: Visualizing the Script

With the script in hand, the next step is storyboarding. A storyboard is a sequence of drawings or images that represent the visual and narrative flow of the video. It serves as a blueprint for the animation, helping to visualize how the script will translate into visual content.

Storyboarding involves breaking down the script into individual scenes and illustrating key frames. Each frame includes notes on the action, dialogue, and any special effects or transitions. This stage is crucial for identifying potential issues and making adjustments before the animation process begins. It also provides a clear guide for animators, ensuring that everyone involved in the production is on the same page.

Design and Style Development

Once the storyboard is finalized, the next phase involves designing the visual elements of the explainer video. This includes creating characters, backgrounds, icons, typography, and any other graphic elements needed. The design phase is where the visual style of the video is established.

The choice of style depends on the video's purpose and audience. For instance, a tech company might opt for a sleek, modern design with clean lines and minimalistic elements, while an educational video for children might feature bright colors, playful characters, and whimsical illustrations. Consistency in design is key to creating a cohesive and professional-looking video.

Animation: Bringing Visuals to Life

With the storyboard and design elements ready, the animation phase begins. Animation is the process of bringing static visuals to life through movement. This is where the magic of motion graphics truly shines, transforming flat designs into dynamic, engaging content.

There are several techniques used in motion graphics animation, including:

  1. Keyframe Animation: This technique involves setting specific points (keyframes) for the start and end of a movement, with the software interpolating the motion in between. It's widely used for animating objects, text, and other elements.

  2. Motion Paths: Objects follow predefined paths, creating smooth and natural movement. This is useful for animating complex trajectories or guiding the viewer’s eye through the content.

  3. Layer-Based Animation: By manipulating different layers independently, animators can create depth and complexity in the motion. This technique is often used in software like Adobe After Effects.

  4. Effects and Transitions: Adding effects such as blurs, glows, and transitions can enhance the visual appeal and flow of the video. These elements help in maintaining viewer interest and ensuring smooth transitions between scenes.

Voiceover and Sound Design

While the visuals play a crucial role, sound is equally important in creating an engaging explainer video. The script is typically recorded by a professional voiceover artist, ensuring clear and articulate delivery. The tone and style of the voiceover should match the video’s intended mood and audience.

In addition to the voiceover, sound design involves adding background music, sound effects, and ambient sounds. These audio elements enhance the overall experience, making the video more immersive and memorable. Background music sets the tone and pace, while sound effects can emphasize key actions or transitions, adding an extra layer of engagement.

Post-Production: Editing and Refinement

The post-production phase involves assembling all the elements – visuals, voiceover, and sound – into a cohesive final product. This stage includes editing the animation to ensure smooth transitions, synchronizing the audio with the visuals, and adding any final touches or adjustments.

Editing is a meticulous process that requires attention to detail. It involves trimming unnecessary elements, adjusting timing, and ensuring that the video flows seamlessly from start to finish. Color correction and visual effects may also be applied to enhance the overall look and feel of the video.

Testing and Feedback

Before the video is finalized, it’s essential to conduct testing and gather feedback. This involves sharing the video with a small group of stakeholders or target audience members to evaluate its effectiveness. Feedback can provide valuable insights into areas that may need improvement, such as clarity of message, pacing, or visual appeal.

Iterative testing and refinement ensure that the final video meets the desired objectives and resonates with the intended audience. It's an opportunity to make any necessary adjustments and polish the video to perfection.

Distribution and Promotion

Once the explainer video is complete, the final step is distribution and promotion. The video can be shared across various platforms, including websites, social media, email campaigns, and presentations. Effective distribution strategies ensure that the video reaches the target audience and achieves its intended goals.

Promotion involves optimizing the video for search engines, leveraging social media channels, and encouraging sharing to maximize reach. Analyzing metrics and feedback post-launch can provide insights into the video’s performance and inform future projects.


Creating an explainer video involves a meticulous and collaborative process, from the initial concept and scriptwriting to storyboarding, design, animation, and final editing. Each stage requires careful planning, creativity, and technical expertise. When executed effectively, explainer videos are a powerful tool for communication, capable of simplifying complex ideas and engaging audiences in a memorable way. As the demand for digital content continues to grow, mastering the art of motion graphics and explainer videos will remain a valuable skill for designers, marketers, educators, and communicators alike.

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