Professional motion graphics can add polish and panache to your video work, but video editors aren’t usually also motion graphic artists. The skillset needed to create a complete graphics package takes time to learn. And in the deadline-driven world of video production, that’s often time you don’t have. What’s the solution? Motion graphics templates that you can customize to your needs in programs like After Effects or Apple Motion.
Read on to discover the best options when it comes to stock motion graphics. At the end of the article, we’ll point out some key considerations to keep in mind as you shop.
The Editors’ Choice award recognizes exceptional video production equipment, software and services. These products must help videographers be more effective storytellers while being affordable, easy to use and dependable. The products must also deliver a superior user experience.
Best a la carte motion graphics templates
- Large, well-organized library
- Pricing starts under $10
Envato Market offers a large library of royalty-free stock video footage, but the site also features a robust selection of motion graphics elements and templates. Its Motion Graphics library includes everything from simple premade motion graphics elements to full graphics packages. With templates for After Effects, Apple Motion and more organized by program and element type, you can quickly find animated text, transitions and backgrounds for your next video. There’s even a collection of complete broadcast packages. Items are priced based on complexity, quality and use of file.
Thanks to a community-driven approach, users can contact project authors to view their portfolios and ask questions. User-compiled item collections on a variety of themes make browsing easier, as does a weekly summary of the most popular items. Robust search and filtering options help narrow down the options even further. Pricing starts at under $10 per item and goes all the way up into the thousands.
Starts at under $5 per item
Best subscription motion graphics templates
- Unlimited downloads
- Lifetime license
Formerly known as VideoBlocks, Storyblocks aims to provide affordable creative content as a one-stop-shop for stock video, audio, images and motion graphics. The Basic Video plan includes access only to HD video clips, but upgrading to the Unlimited Video plan unlocks unlimited downloads from the Storyblocks video library. In addition to more than 325,000 HD and 4K video clips, the platform also features a wide selection of animated backgrounds and motion graphics templates. The library is updated frequently with thousands of new clips that can be accessed at no additional cost.
Storyblocks also offers Audio and Image collections as well, which users can access with the Unlimited All Access subscription. Content can be used multiple times for commercial and personal projects. Anything you download is yours to keep and use forever.
Five monthly downloads: $15/month
Factors to consider
As you shop for the right After Effects or any other kind of motion graphics template, you’ll want to first consider the function of the graphic element in your project as a whole. This will point you in the right direction in terms of style and included elements.
Graphic element vs. customizable template
Browsing through your motion graphics library of choice, you’ll likely encounter a few different kinds of stock assets and templates. Often, you’ll find individual pre-made elements — for example, a computer-generated coyote ready to composite into your scene or an animated floral pattern that you can layer under your text.
Most useful, however, are the motion graphic template packages that allow for full customization. With these, you can change the timing, content, fonts and colors to your liking. A customizable template can serve as an excellent starting point while still allowing you to create a unique look for your production.
All of this is to say: Pay attention to what can and can’t be altered within your chosen template. If you want maximum control over all stylistic elements, look for a fully customizable template that will give you more flexibility.
Types of templates
From opening titles to lower-thirds to closing credits, there are templates available for almost any use case. Make a list of all the graphic elements that your production will require and use this to guide your search.
If you only need a lower-third to introduce your interviewee, your search will likely be quick and easy. If you need a full set of matching graphics, look for a graphics package or a set of graphics templates designed to work together. This will help your project feel more cohesive overall.
Quality and project organization
Templates are supposed to help you work faster, but a poorly organized project template will only slow you down. When choosing a motion graphics template, go for the most professional-looking option you can find. Not only will the end results look better; it’s likely the project will have a structure that’s easier to understand and modify. The more logical the project organization, the easier it will be to work with that project.
Another obvious and important factor in deciding which template to use is compatibility with your motion graphics or editing software of choice. You won’t be able to make much use of an After Effects template if you only have access to Apple Motion. Double-check compatibility, including software version and hardware support, before buying any stock template.
Identify sources that work for your projects
If you have the opportunity, note down the names behind the motion graphics templates that you like the most or use most frequently. Likely, the artist uses the same styles and organizational structures in their other template offerings. This will make it even easier to work with their projects in the future; you already know what to expect. It’s worth having a list of go-to motion graphics artists.
Learn what you can
Motion graphic creation is an art in itself. It can take years to fully master After Effects, and even pros learn new tricks all the time. One of the best ways to learn is to take a close look at projects built by professional motion graphics artists. Using motion graphics templates is a great way to get a window into the world of a motion graphics designer.
Once your deadline is met, reserve some time to explore how the template you purchased actually works. How are the layers organized? What elements and effects are used? Make note of any interesting techniques and think about how they might be useful in your own future projects.
Whether as a time-saver or a learning tool, a well-built motion graphics template allows you to do more with less. Look for professional, well-organized projects that give you the flexibility you need to get the look you want. For more stock media advice, check out Stock media: How to find and use the best stock photos, videos, music and more.