Motion graphics is a rich domain that is always changing and evolving. It has moved away from being considered just a kind of graphic design, and have become a movement in their own right. 2018 was a phenomenal year for animation and motion graphics. There was a noticeable shift away from minimalism. 2018 was filled with numerous videos that embraced being big and being loud. Some of the motion graphics trends included liquid motion, thin line art, layered typography, and fusion of 2D and 3D animation, among others. While a lot of the trends from 2018 will flow into 2019, augmented reality (AR) is expected to be up right at the top.
AR market: Hitting the mainstream
Broadcast is increasingly adopting AR graphics for enhanced storytelling, allowing for better interaction between presenters and graphics objects, and even remote locations. Having had a few years of experimentation behind them, broadcasters now have a much better idea of where AR makes sense, how to use it, and what kind of AR elements make sense. And there are now more realistic graphics, with the introduction of hyper-realism. Using render engines broadcasters are bridging the gaps and removing barriers to entry. Especially in areas like live sports production, 2018 has been a breakthrough for AR graphics adoption thanks to big ticket events like the Winter Olympics and the World Cup.
The market for AR is still in the front end of the adoption curve. When it comes to the mainstream use of AR graphics in broadcast, if a 100 percent adoption curve is assumed, it would mean that every local market TV station is using AR to the same extent that they deploy regular graphics such as graphics and lower thirds, then over the last year or two, the industry has been making rapid progress to reach an adoption levels of 30 to 40 percent. It is a little soon to expect mass adoption of AR/VR solutions, but there is progress.
Broadcasters continue to refine the AR viewing experience. Apart from the quality of the graphics and backgrounds, the most important challenge is the integration and continuity of the whole scene. Having tracked cameras, remote locations, and graphics moving accordingly, perfect integration, perspective matching, and full broadcast continuity are paramount to provide the audience with a perfect viewing experience of AR graphics.
The growing maturity of the industry has helped graphics vendors develop better solutions that are improving the quality of the augmented reality viewing experience. AR is a team job, involving design, data gathering and management, virtual sets, camera tracking, and much more. So, the perfect integration between the different real and virtual objects and the backgrounds becomes essential, but what really makes the difference for the audience is to be unable to tell whether the images they are watching are real videos or digital renders. However, for virtual set production and live broadcast operation, photorealism is a complicated challenge because of the constraints of real-time rendering and operation.
These technologies offer really exciting new opportunities for revenue generation. At a basic level, using AR and virtual set tools in the studio to augment storytelling lowers costs, enables fast changes to any environment.
Stations can use virtual set technology to create a lot more content and greater numbers of shows within the same studio space. Without the time and hassle of building and dismantling physical sets between shows, new revenues can open up thanks to more efficient of valuable real estate in the studio. Plus the AR graphics can serve as virtual advertisements, together with sponsored virtual graphics, both of which offer new revenue sources. For example, a station could sell sponsorships of virtual players or data and stats; this player segment is brought to you by (the sponsor), along with a huge 3D rendition of the sponsor’s logo.
Each player has leading graphics solutions with AR to offer. Vizrt’s Viz Virtual Studio with Viz Engine; Brainstorm’s eStudio and InfinitySet, Ross Video’s Xpression, and RealSet from Avid, to name a few popular ones make it easier than ever to change the look and feel of the studio environment and create compeling virtual set piece. They provide a feature-rich yet cost-effective virtual studio and augmented reality solution for any production need and budget.
Blazing trails for the future
Every year usually builds on the momentum, innovation, and technology of the previous year, and if the trend over the past few years is followed, motion graphics have been growing by leaps and bounds year-on-year.
In live event production, especially sports, hitting a deadline is paramount for a successful show, but, with motion graphics, there is a significant trade-off. High-resolution imaging can add the extra layer that can bump a broadcast from good to great, but the challenge lies in not having enough time. With no current solution for slowing the clock, developers are making the attempt to keep up with these intricate and ornate models by devising new plans to quicken rendering speeds. There is more use of retargeting, motion capture, and even full-on hand-animated pieces, although those are the ones that take extra time. Overall, users are getting optimal results at a quicker pace with the help of real-time engines.
For marketers, the industry is going to experience a mass adoption of motion graphics design and animation, perhaps more than ever before. As more brands look to use motion design to stand out on their social and digital channels, they will attempt to define their unique voice and stylistic approach. On the trend-conscious and experimental side of motion design, there are going to be a lot more play with responsive typography and real-time type integrations into video using AR and VR frameworks. But these applications of the newer technologies are not for everyone’s taste or appropriate for most communications needs, so these will stay on the fringes with a few notable and exciting breakthroughs.