One trend that we’ve been seeing a lot of in motion graphics in recent times is the trend of morphing shapes layers. This is especially prevalent in logo animations. It’s been gaining popularity for the past few years and continues to be popular across the design world. But why?
There are several good reasons as to why the process of morphing shapes has become so popular. Let’s take a look at a few.
We live in an emoji world.
What this means is that we are lightning fast in processing and sending icons and simple images as a way of communication. In fact, we are moving towards a glyph based system of language as we are more on the go.
Information can be more easily expressed with a couple of images than a lot of text. So, it makes sense that designers would want to add iconography and simple images and shapes to their work to convey their message. And morphing between these icons is a great way to transition information smoothly and quickly. One asset/logo, multiple facades.
Take this sample Google Play logo animation. In a few seconds, the animators morphs between the Android robot icon, a game controller, headphones, a document, and a film strip, illustrating everything that Google Play has to offer with no text and no lengthy animation to get through.
We have learned to recognize icons more quickly than ever, and with everyone vying for the short attention spans of the masses, image and shape morphs have become a great way to express a lot in a short amount of time.
Flat design is still king.
One of the other trends that’s been very popular over the last few years is flat design. Simple, flat color palettes and iconography have been all the rage. This type of design lends itself well to3D elements when morphing.
Instead, they can simply move from one shape to another with relative ease, knowing exactly what should land where. Google has been a big proponent of flat design with a lot of their animation work.
This example of a Google logo animation perfectly illustrates how easy if can be to morph shapes with a flat design aesthetic.
Everyone is looping.
Thanks in large part to Dribbble and to the world of internet memes, more and more designers are animating with looping in mind. Some designers like James Curran have made careers out of building short looping animations for fun and for clients.
Here logo and shape morphs work perfectly. Going from one shape into another two or three, then back to the original makes morphing a great choice for loops.
This is evident in the earlier examples as well as this email sending animation by Tamas Kojo.
It just looks cool.
Let’s be honest, logo and shape morphing looks pretty cool. It’s all well and good to move a shape across the screen, maybe add a bounce effect. But when you can seamlessly transition one icon into another, it just looks great. It has a bit of magic to it.
So, it’s no wonder that so many designers want to employ this technique. Of course, serious designers are very thoughtful about their animation choices, but we all want to do things that look great and have a bit of dazzle to them. So, when it fits, it’s a natural choice to go for a morph.
You can learn this technique.
Since the shape morphing technique has really taken off with designers, it’s also become a popular topic of tutorials around the web. A simple Google search will net you tons of results showing off various ways to incorporate shape and logo morphs into your animations.
Here are a few examples that can be found in a basic query.
Another great way to get shape morphing elements and movement into your design or video production is with After Effects templates. Here are a few examples of Motion Array’s After Effects templates that including some shape morphing animations:
Example 1 // Example 2 // Example 3
These can be used as is, or a designer can use one of these templates to get a better handle on how to pull off the techniques.
Although the morphing of shape layers and logos has found it’s way into countless animations over the past few years, there is no sign of it slowing down.
It’s a great way to convey messages quickly, it’s perfect for things like looping animations, and when done right, it just looks great. Plain and simple.
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