2D Illustration and 3D Render side-by-side with text, "2D Animation vs Motion Graphics"
2D Animation, Motion Graphics

Is 2D Animation and Motion Graphics The Same? (Updated for 2023)

What does an Apple commercial and Rick and Morty have in common? If you correctly guessed “Animation,” congratulations, this article is for you. Truly, “Animation” is incorrectly used to describe almost anything that moves. When most people think of Animation, the hand-drawn Disney movies of their Renaissance era may come to mind. But the traditional way of Animation isn’t the only one. And that’s where 2D Animation and Motion Graphics come in. So, what’s the difference?

What is 2D Animation?

To distinguish between 2D animation and motion graphics, we’ll need first to define what 2D Animation is (Animation can also be 3D or stop-motion, but we’ll be using 2D Animation for the sake of this article). At its core, Animation is a dance of still images in quick succession, which tricks our eyes into perceiving movement. It is the art of bringing life to static images. Be it a lovable cartoon mouse, a wish-granting dragon, or a simple bouncing ball. This medium has revolutionized storytelling forever.

What are Motion Graphics?

Motion Graphics is used everywhere, from movie studio logos to local dealership commercials on TV. If Animation is a series of static images resembling movement, then motion graphics give movement to static images. And although the term sounds new, motion graphics have been around since the mid-1800s. Motion Graphics breathes life into static elements, making it an ideal tool for turning complex concepts or data into simple visual content. Motion Graphics is the Animation of choice for tech companies like Apple and Samsung love using it in promotional videos for their latest smartphones.

Which One Should I Use?

If you have big ideas (and a budget of equal scale), then 2D Animation may be the right option, especially if you think of more complex transitions or character animations. It may take longer to produce, but the end product truly speaks for itself.

Motion Graphics may be better if you need animated assets such as your software’s UI or logo. Whether it’s a PNG or a vector, Animation can help bring it to life. Motion Graphics and marketing videos for social media are used for your site.


In short, Animation is used as an umbrella term for anything that moves. And this includes motion graphics as well. While 2D Animation and Motion Graphics share the goal of bringing visuals to life, their methods are completely distinct.

Thanks for reading our article!

Have any more questions?

At Optious we got nothing but answers! And maybe some Animation and Motion Graphics skills as well. We have plenty of experience working with companies of all sizes from small SaaS startups to household names like Microsoft and Google.

If you’d like, you can click the link here to schedule a quick chat with us so we can talk about your project’s needs and to see which option is the right one for you.

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