School of Motion

Motion Design Inspiration: Analog Motion Graphics

  • By Caleb Ward
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Let’s take a trip through the history of Motion Design.

In an industry with an average age of 32 it can be easy to think that our industry has just emerged within the last few decades, but the reality is the digital MoGraph industry goes back over 40 years. 

The Scanimate

Before there was After Effects or Cinema 4D, or even personal computers for that matter, there was the Scanimate. Scanimate was a revolutionary technological invention that made it possible to animate text and shapes with a computer instead of animating by hand. In a way the scanimate was the very first digital Motion Graphics machine. 

Scanimate David Sieg.jpg

David Sieg has preserved the first Scanimate in his workshop. The device produces Motion Graphic pieces that simply look more raw and organic than modern Motion Graphic applications. This documentary from Viceland gives you a look into how the Scanimate works. The coolest takeaway is the fact that in order to change a look you literally have to ‘plug-in’ an oscillator. Does that term sound familiar?

Our good buddy Nick Campbell from Greyscale Gorilla interviewed David Sieg and Roy Weinstock to talk about the process of creating analog MoGraph work. Fascinating stuff here...

Stranger Things

Perhaps the best modern example of analog Motion Graphic work is the intro titles for Stranger Things. While the titles themselves were not created by Scanimate, they were inspired by 1980s analog sequences. 

Vox put together this really cool microdoc about how the Motion Designers for Scanimate put together the titles. The whole thing is a combination of digital techniques and analog looks. It’s so dang cool. 

Saul Bass

If you go back even further than the Scanimate, industry pioneers like Saul Bass had to create their MoGraph sequences with scanned-in pieces of paper and film. Can you imagine creating a Motion Graphic project like that? Here’s a reel with some of his title design work. 

It’s crazy cool to think that our industry has a rich history. Now if you excuse us we need to go find the nearest Scanimate for our next MoGraph project.