If something moves, and can be imagined, it's within the realm of the animation/motion graphics illustrator. Animation/motion graphics illustrators give life to something.
For motion graphics illustrators, it can be as simple as bringing a shape or line of type to life. Animation illustrators bring a character or a more complex narrative to life.
Both create the illusion of motion by rapidly displaying sequential images that differ, one, from the next.
Animation illustrations and motion graphics illustrators rely upon the same tools to create motion but animate different subjects. Whether analog or computer-generated (CGI), images are displayed in rapid succession.
The early zoetrope, and other optical toys–many with rotating cylinders–were the first inventions that showed motion. In 1868, the flip book came on the scene but the moving picture didn't come into its own until motion picture film was developed.
We've come a long way since 1908, when the first animated film featured a stick figure encountered morphing objects. Back then, the art of animation was painstaking: each frame drawn by hand, then photographed. Today, a gif can flash before your eyes in a split-second, bringing a web page or ad to life.
CGI animation is possible in both 2D and 3D. Techniques for 2D animation center around manipulating an object to move in space and time while 3D animation is more about creating a virtual world in which objects and characters interact.
Animation illustration relies upon vector-based graphics created in Adobe Illustrator, Flash, After Effects, Animate CC and other drawing or animation programs.
Built by digital modeling, 3D animation starts with 3D polygon mesh which can be pushed, pulled, stretched, and reconfigured to create form. Armatures are used to control the mesh and prepare a 3D model for animation, a process called rigging. The 3D animation illustrator uses rigging in conjunction with key frames (locations on a timeline) to create the illusion of movement.
Geometric vertices, faces, and edges in a 3D coordinate system are just some of the players within the domain animation illustrators inhabit. Teetering on the X, Y, Z axes of life, they stretch the laws of physics on-screen while reveling in the illusions of the imaginary worlds they create.
Tricking the eye–and sometimes the brain–into thinking it's seeing moving objects is part of the magic surrounding what animation/motion graphics illustrators create.