Big Think Series: Can You Know Motion Without Knowing Stillness? (Part 1)
Editor’s Note: The Big Think Series attempts to step back from our frame-to-frame existence and look at the bigger picture. This post is from Austin Shaw, a designer and director currently serving as a Professor of Motion Media Design at the Savannah College of Art & Design.
Motion Media Design Fractal © Austin Shaw 2010
This is a question that many Motion Media Designers struggle to answer. Is it Motion Graphics? Is it Animation? Is it Branding? The Theory presented in the fractal diagram above seeks to answer some of these questions.
Motion Media Design builds on the tradition of many creative disciplines. To break it down to its essence, I have constructed a fractal image that is essentially a set of cross continuums. Each continuum represents a pair of complementary opposites. Being complementary means that each opposing end of a continuum completes and/or balances its opposite. That means that an aspect of Motion Media Design such as “Motion” is not complete without its complementary opposite, “Stillness.”
This theory is expressed through the idea that a beautiful motion piece begins with a beautiful still image. A single Style Frame is most often the genesis of a Motion Design piece. In practice, I typically begin a Design Board striving to achieve a frame with a dynamic composition. Once I have a great composition, I will create another frame in the sequence, either before or after my first ‘Hero’ frame. Creating beautiful motion becomes an extension of creating beautiful compositions in still frames. The process of animating can be a journey from one amazing composition to the next as planned out in a Design Board.
If you look at the fractal diagram you will see the words “Change” and “No Change” at either end of the Motion / Stillness continuum. These serve as tipping point guidelines to know where a piece stands along the continuum. The question to ask to determine where a piece is located along the continuum is “Is it changing?.” If it is changing then it is tipping towards Motion. Conversely, if it is not changing then it is tipping towards Stillness. Let’s have a look at an example of each…