Generally, Animation and Motion Graphics are the two terms which are quite used in the Entertainment and Media industry. As understood from my own experiences, people around me usually use the term Animation for Motion Graphics as well. I live in a country where the majority of people never bothered to understand the meaning of a term. Since there is a huge difference between the terms Animation and Visual Effects, so I decided to pen down this article where I have mentioned a few points letting you know the major differences between the two words.

Why is there a need to know the Difference between Animation and Motion Graphics

Well, it is indeed important to interpret the conflicts between the two conditions. If you desire to follow your career in Media Industry, then this article is for you. I have seen newbies using the term Animation in place of Motion Graphics and vice-versa since they think both divisions are same.

Thus, understanding the differences will not only help you realize a piece of knowledge, but will make you recognize that there are two different sectors where you can go. One is the Animation Industry and other is the Motion Graphics Industry. Though both the sectors operate under the same roof, yet there is a divergence between the skills of the artists working under it.

What is Animation?

Earlier Animation is made by exposing a series of pictures or frames, which results in an illusion of apparent movement. At this age of Technology, we have High Performance Workstation, which helped artists produce High Quality and more realistic animations.


Animation movies is a result of ones vision and imagination. The most common examples of animation are the cartoon which you and me have wathced in childhood. I still watch cartoons, mostly Pogo and Cartoon network :-D. Speaking about the Motion Pictures, there are award winning animated films such as Despicable Me, Cars, Rango, Up etc. They are wholly based on fictional roles and build entirely in a studio of a number of studio’s. An animation film does not consists of a real human or things.

Animation has its own definition and can be phrased as- “The technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the film is shown as a sequence.

What is Motion Graphics or Visual Effects?

Motion Graphics or Visual Effects is the process where Animation is embedded into a live action scene, i.e. something which is photographed using a camera, a real location and actors. It is then processed using Vfx Techniques, and various effects in the shot are composited into the scenery.


Matte Paintings is a term used under the heading Visual Effect. A matte painting is a painted representation of a landscape, set, or distant location that allows filmmakers to create the illusion of an environment that is nonexistent in real life or would otherwise be too expensive or impossible to build or visit.


In short, Visual Effects is implementing Computer Generated Effects Into a Live Action Footage.


From this article, it can well be concluded that Animation is something where a non existing character is created by the modelling artists with a computer and a story is framed by several other artists such as the Lighting artists, Texturing artists, rigging artists, and so on

Whereas, Motion Graphics or Visual effects are the various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the setting of a live action shot by artists such as Compositors, Matte  Painters, Rotoscoping artists, Keying Artists etc.


  1. Thanks for this informative article Raunak. I have watched a couple of animated movies and the ones with motion graphics as well but it never occurred to me that both the things are so different. I am not into film making and stuff but I think this is a good piece of information even for a normal person, after all we all watch movies and we should know what kind of movie are watching.
    good article 🙂

  2. Hi raunak,

    Great article.. I am looking to pursue career in 3d animation / visual effects but bit confused out of these two options..

    Could you please give a brief idea which field has better scope abroad and what courses or books can I refer too..

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Rahul,

      The Answer is simple, If you want to work on Full Animated films, then you should opt for an Animation Course, but if you want to pursue you carrier as a Vfx artist or a Vfx supervisor in Motion Picture Films, i.e. Bollywood, go for a course that offers both VFX and Animation. Check out MAAC, they offer various courses that covers both Animation and Visual Effects.

  3. I like your article.

    I’ve always been a bit confused about which term to use to explain what it is that I do. I think it all boils down to who I’m speaking to and how long I want the conversation to last sometimes. I’ll use the term ‘Animation’ when when speaking to people who aren’t in the industry because they’re more likely to understand what Animation is whereas ‘Motion Graphics’ is going to take a bit more explaining about what it is and why it’s different to Animation. It’s for that reason that I use the term Animation on my website too because I think that the general public are more likely to search for that term and know what they want instead of Motion Graphics.

    Then again, when I’m in After Effects and animating some sort of graphic to use in a video I’m thinking “this is Animation”, but then when I’m in Cinema 4D modelling something to animate alongside some other graphics, I’m thinking ‘this is motion graphics’. The mind boggles!

  4. I was wondering how can I figure out which one I would prefer more.
    I honestly have not completely gotten it. I like to create cartoon stuff, and would still enjoy using visual effects. What in your opinion could help me figure it out?

  5. Informative blog for us. Now i understood the main difference between motion graphics and visual effects. i would like to see that animation movies. Thanks Raunak for sharing this type of blog.

  6. “Motion Graphics or Visual Effects is the process where Animation is embedded into a live action scene, i.e. ” Whaaaaatttttt??????? No no no no no no! Wrong!! Are you really saying that motion graphics and visual effects are the same thing?? No way my friend! Look at this: It’s a motion graphics piece with NO LIVE ACTION! And it’s not VFX, its motion graphics. Please, correct your article.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here