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Revolutionizing the Broadcast Industry

The proliferation of video content and screens today has given an impetus to the growth of motion graphics, which has found its way in various media platforms such as Internet, TV, cinema, mobile apps, and video games. From opening titles in movies, motion graphics have hit mainstream television broadcasts in a big way, with news channels leveraging the technology for everything from breaking news text and imagery, to animated channel logos, weather reports with an animated map in the background, and re-enactment of past news events such as accidents. Sports channels, which are also part of live broadcast production, utilize motion graphics for slow motion and instant replay as they seek to offer state-of-the-art coverage of the action to the viewer sitting at home. The low cost of motion graphic production, combined with the availability of affordable web-based data visualization applications such as Adobe After Effects, Discreet Combustion, and Apple Motion, has made motion graphics increasingly accessible. Motion graphics are usually combined with audio, making the effect more dynamic like films, rather than still and static infographics. The goal is to add the elements of time and space to the world of infographics, by merging video, text, speech, data visualization, special effects, and even 3D to create animations, thereby breathing life into an otherwise static content.

Indian Market Dynamics
The motion graphics market in India comes under the animation and visual effects (VFX) industry, which was pegged at ₹6950 crore in 2017, and is estimated to reach ₹13,170 crore in 2021, recording a CAGR of 17.33 percent, with animation and VFX segments witnessing a growth of 9.5 percent and 25 percent, respectively. While animation in India has been typically restricted to providing entertainment for the kids through television shows. VFX, which has been revolutionized by cloud computing, is witnessing unprecedented growth with an increasingly large number of Bollywood films having an in-built VFX segment.

The leading vendors that operate in the motion graphics segment in India are Ross Video and Blackmagic Design, offering real-time motion graphic systems for creation of high-end 3D graphics and animations with ease and simplicity, while still supporting existing 2D workflows, which use still images and rendered animation clips. Sophisticated graphics platform for broadcast and media production workflows comprise multiple hardware platforms, software applications, virtual renders, clip servers, and workflow tools that provide the key functionality to handle graphics creation, content editing, media management, publishing, control, data handling, automation, and more. This is complemented by a comprehensive software suite, with an open architecture for connecting to the outside world. Furthermore, powerful character generators allow creation of animated 2D or 3D text and title sequences in any language. Advanced motion graphics combine vector graphics, live action, virtual reality (VR), and 3D modelling objects for creation of existing broadcast graphics, dramatic titles, and even feature film visual effects. 3D particle systems can create 3D animated particle effects, reminiscing real world physics such as gravity, wind, and collision, allowing particles to interact with objects in the broadcast.

The Indian television broadcast industry has tapped motion graphics, which uses animation technology, for creating spinning 3D logo animation and introductory titles in news, entertainment, and sports channels. Broadcasters airing kids’ entertainment content such as Nickelodeon Sonic are also forming partnerships with animation studios for original and localized animated content, from cartoons to game shows that frequently require dynamic graphics and special effects.

Aside from show titles and channel identities, motion graphics have also made their way into live broadcasts such as flash news graphic sequence, which when mixed with the appropriate audio quality creates a more powerful and attention grabbing impact on the viewer. For India, which rides high on political news, particularly during election time, the country’s news channels increasingly rely on real-time 3D motion graphics and animation for poll result prediction and post result analysis. The popularity of the IPL which has deepened India’s love affair with cricket has enhanced the quality of live sports broadcast in the country with sports channels increasingly using 2D, 3D, and HD motion graphics in their highlights package, action replays, pre and post-match analysis for score lines to player and team information, as well as dynamic tournament or team logos, resulting in more interactive and engaging content. Football broadcasters also use a variety of animated graphics such as player formation, goals, penalties, and shot arrows.

The latest motion graphics technologies adopted in India include 3D printing, which is based on the stop-motion animation technique, and also non photorealistic rendering that allows a wide range of digital art. Project mapping is another technology, which is currently being used for turning objects that are most often random shaped, into a display surface for video projection. As broadcasters keep pace with fast changing content production technologies, a paradigm shift toward high-quality 3D animation has now become visible, leaving behind 2D animation that dominated the industry landscape a few years ago.

The advent of futuristic technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and VR could prove to be a gamechanger for motion graphics in India, offering a promising outlook for the industry. Broadcasters geared toward children’s entertainment are launching 360 degree animated shows while news channels are going all in on production of immersive content with 3D 360 degree video-based VR and 180 degree VR formats now ripe for adoption. Moreover, the increase in the adoption of VR headsets in future may prompt broadcasters in the film, television, and digital space to launch more VR-based content, compelling demand for animation, graphics, and VFX services. With more than 30 percent of India’s population below the age of 15, there exists a massive opportunity for the country’s broadcasters to cater to this segment of the population through creative, animated, and graphical content.

Technology Trends
Motion Graphics entails a large variety of design disciplines, including moving type, traditional cel and stop-motion animation, film, digital video production, 2D, flash animation, and 3D elements. Motion graphics are usually displayed through the electronic media technology, but they can also be presented with the help of manual powered technologies such as thaumatrope, phenakistoscope, stroboscope, zoetrope, praxinoscope, and flip book.

Most frequently used software in motion graphic design includes After Effects, Cinema 4D, Final Cut Pro, Maya, Flash, Photoshop, and Premiere Prohe, that serve as 3D modelling, 3D rendering, and character rigging solutions for 3D animation graphics. Adobe After Effects CC is a widely used animation and compositing software for creation of titles, intros, transitions, and logo or character animation. After Effects possesses both 2D and 3D capabilities while several built-in and third-party plug-ins are available for creation of visual effects such as blurs, particles, etc.

Cinema 4D is a 3D modelling, animation, and rendering application, which has integration into After Effects, and is used for turning 2D artwork into 3D motion graphics. Final Cut Pro X – Motion 5 enables creation of cinematic 2D, 3D, text animations and 360 degree titles, fluid transactions, and real-time realistic effects. A robust 360 degree VR motion graphics workflow with real-time output to a VR headset enables design of 360 degree titles, generators, and filters to perfectly fit the VR landscape. Maya is a 3D animation, modelling, simulation and rendering software providing motion graphics, VR, animation and character creation solutions. Based on the MASH plugin, the new 3D motion graphics toolset in Maya enables creation of 3D motion graphics with ease. Flash can also be used to create motion graphics that can be integrated into After Affects while Photoshop, a primarily photo editing software can perform graphic design, typography, illustration, 3D modelling, and animation. Premiere Prohe can create graphics like titles, lower thirds, and bumpers using the graphics workplace.

Cinema 4D Release (R) 19 has emerged as a new tool for motion graphic enhancement by offering fast, simple, stable, and streamlined workflow for quality content production. It extends the state-of-the-art in motion graphics by delivering four times faster results and additional workflow capabilities in Voronoi Fracturing, while breaking objects progressively based on object collisions and other forces, adding displaced noise for better realism and gluing multiple facture pieces together for creation of complex shapes. The all-new Sound Effector in R 19 helps creation of energetic and audio-reactive musical visualizations, based on multiple frequencies from a single sound file.

The future of motion graphics will be underpinned by technological advancements, and design trends that will determine how they look and move, while technology will dictate how we interact with those designs. Motion graphics uses animation technology to reconstruct the representation of logos, the text, titles and numbers, creating the illusion of motion or rotation. Motion Graphics pieces contain design elements like shapes, typography, and composition. Computer animation has emerged as a digital successor to the stop motion techniques using 3D models, and traditional animation techniques, which used frame-by-frame animation of 2D illustrations.

As we move forward in 2018, expect the mixing of 2D and 3D animation and graphics to develop a perfect and everlasting match between depth and visual attractiveness, while use of Macromedia Flash-based animations may be reduced with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript-based motion graphics gaining more popularity. AR and VR are the two key emerging trends in the graphic space in modern day broadcast television. Adoption of AR graphics in key broadcast events such as sports and elections is picking up pace. Advanced realistic graphics such as the creation of 3D virtual objects that seem to be in the broadcast studio or outdoors provide visually engaging representations of data and information, enhancing the art of storytelling. For example, NBC Sports, the sports programming arm of American broadcast network NBC, during the recently held Super Bowl 2018 event blended AR with the help of body scanning technology, creating video-game like full size figures of key players, which were inserted over the field with the figures standing on virtual stages, backed with 3D team logos. Pre-kickoff, the broadcaster used traditional headshot style video clips of players that were seated atop a stage-like platform, along with live video feeds. The animation made the headshots change as the players introduced themselves. Virtual tension wires were also notably visible in some of the augmented graphics. As AR deployment for real-time 3D graphics in daily broadcast television gathers pace, adding VR elements to a newscast will become much easier. Pan-European television sports network Eurosport is blending AR, VR, data, and 360 degree graphics to enhance the coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics from its uniquely created South Korean studio The Cube.

Global Trends
Globally, the motion graphics market is part of the 3D animation market and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 11.9 percent from USD 1201 crore in 2017 to USD 2105 crore in 2022, driven by the increased uptake of VFX in the entertainment industry. The 3D animation industry also includes 3D modelling and 3D rendering. Amid its increasing applications in film making, VFX is pivotal in the post production stage with the help of many technologies and multiple animations, graphic designs, and modelling tools. Film and television broadcasters are pushing the demand for physics-based animation, which uses the fundamentals of physics, manifesting a greater degree of realism in animated content. With greater adoption of VFX and motion graphics, the media and entertainment segment is expected to account for nearly 35 percent of the 3D animation market by 2025. While North America, with a 40 percent revenue share, is expected to retain its dominance in the global 3D animation landscape, the Asia-Pacific region is likely to emerge as the fastest growing market as increased emphasis is laid on local animated content aside from outsourced assignments performed by domestic firms. India, China, Singapore along with Australia, Japan, and New Zealand are the major contributing regions in APAC for growth of 3D animation technologies and services.

Motion graphics play a key role in television drama production, particularly in designing ending credits and opening title sequences. For example, critically acclaimed HBO fantasy television drama series Game of Thrones used motion graphic tools such as Adobe After Effects to help create a 3D medieval-inspired animated map in its opening title sequence, which is accompanied by the show’s theme tune.

Sports channels are also using motion graphics to sharpen the quality of live broadcast coverage. NBC Sports recently rolled out its new sports graphics package that merges angled ribbons with texture, during Super Bowl LII. The angled ribbons are mostly used in groups, stacked vertically, with subtle shadows giving the appearance that the ribbons are slightly bent within the 3D space on screen, while a variety of subtle textural elements are combined, conferring an angular pattern look, reminiscent of the surface of a ball. The ribbons feature background imagery including adjustable team logos while an angled bar at the bottom of the screen displays current score and other statistics. Other animation effects include using the bar for shifting to a team branded look upon a touchdown and a shrinking score for accommodating other game information, making the broadcast presentation more flexible and dynamic.

Animation, Video to Underpin Growth
From the creation of lower thirds, bumpers, transitions, intros, schedule screens to the field of animation, motion graphics hold immense potential in broadcast television. Rising demand for domestic animated content that has an extensive shelf life, translating into strong ROIs for broadcasters, bodes well for the motion graphics industry.

Moreover, in the world where video is set to rule the roost, future social and educational broadcasts on television may mostly comprise animated and graphical content for making story telling more powerful, visually delightful and effective, apart from increasing audience engagement and recall. Motion graphics will help broadcasters combine elements such as voice over music, vector graphics, text, 3D graphics, sound effects and animated illustrations, thus fusing art, design and imagination to bring an idea to life.

The Way Forward
Broadcast graphics are evolving rapidly with integration of the virtual and the real world no longer seeming a distant possibility. Advance real-time 3D motion graphic capabilities have emerged, making television broadcasting more interactive and immersive. These include the 3D presenter that allows the presenter to be part of the 3D world where she can move around in the virtual set, and can even trigger graphics or other content by hand movement. Further, immersive graphics can be placed realistically anywhere in the conventional studio, adding visual interest to various broadcast programs including news, game shows, financial programs, election coverage, sports events, indoors or outdoors. Broadcasters can also create animated map locators, which can be seamlessly embedded into graphics. The hybridization of VFX and motion design, allowing incorporation of VXF tools into motion graphics workflow in content creation, is also an emerging trend. 3D photorealism has become more attainable with the emergence of third-party GPU renderers, while cloud rendering solutions that mitigate the requirement of developing expensive renderfarms, have also emerged for conventional and third-party renderers. In addition, efficient software-centric workflows for integration with other graphical applications can vastly improve the quality of motion graphics.

Broadcasters can also explore niche elements such as coding and script-based animation as a means to generate more innovative and effective content. With a content creation revolution sweeping the Indian broadcast industry, the role of motion graphics will be greatly enhanced, particularly in production of animated content, which is expected to gain prominence in the Indian broadcast television space. AR and VR can be leveraged to generate 3D-real time graphics that are visually engaging and more insightful, enhancing the quality of sports and news broadcasts.

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