… But DO judge a film by it’s opening credits!! Or a least, judge the opening credits, period. Because good opening credits, and, more broadly, good motion graphics in GENERAL can be SUPER RAD. There are about a thousand super cool things you can do using motion graphics and most of the time, you probably don’t even 100% realize that they’re going on! If you actually consider the many, many steps that go into making a cool motion graphics sequence, it’s pretty mind-blowing.


I love the opening credits of Juno ( I debated putting them here, because I did struggle with the question of, is this truly a good example of motion graphics? But actually, I do think that it is. (Do you disagree? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!!) I did some reading on the difference between the two because I wasn’t totally clear, and this is what I came up with:

“Animation is something where a non existing character is created by the modelling artists with a computer and a story is framed by several other artists…

…Whereas, Motion Graphics or Visual effects are the various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the setting of a live action shot…” (

So, Juno is definitely more the latter! Though the footage looks as though it may be original animation, it’s probably live-action film that’s been edited and altered, with text and effects overlaid on top.  As for WHY this sequence is so effective: it’s so quirky and playful, really setting the tone for the entire movie. It grabs and holds your attention and makes you curious about the character you’re seeing. And the fonts and the music all work together cohesively to further set the mood. It just makes you feel good!! You want to keep watching because it’s so delightful!

I am also quite fond of the opening sequence of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World ( It’s sort of pulpy and full of poppy, intense colour, all of which really nicely riffs on the film’s comic book origins. The frenetic movement of the text follows the beats of the music, which accentuates its role as an important element in the film. I especially like the way that the graphics that appear next to each actor’s name relates to their character in some way. It’s like a cool subtle little bit of foreshadowing without giving too much away in the way of plot.

Watching all these motions graphics clips get me very excited to make my own, but, I must be honest, I haven’t the FOGGIEST what I want to do. There’s just SO MANY OPTIONS!!!! And so little time!!! I always feel a lot of pressure at the start of a new project: I want to learn the software and I want to make something AWESOME, so I better not waste all that time making something uninteresting and sub-par. It’s a bit like reverse artist’s block: we’ve watched so many cool, beautiful videos and I’m just feeling inspired from so many directions that I don’t know which way I want to go!!

I do really like the examples of movie opening credits I’ve seen, so although obviously I don’t have that much time to work with, I think I may do something with typography showing a short quote from the film and then the title. One example that I’m thinking of is, for the film “Bottle Rocket”, having the line “On the run from Johnny Law… Ain’t no trip to Cleveland” pop up on the horizon over an empty road. Then a car shooting fireworks out the window drives up the road, kind of “knocking over” the text. Then it zooms in on the car’s back license plate, which reads “Bottle Rocket”. Of course the big hitch with this idea is that I have NO IDEA how I would execute it!!! Perhaps by drawing some of the elements, like the horizon and the car, on paper, and using a combination of the scanner and photos, kind of stop-motioning them? Well, you know, one step at a time. I really like the idea giving the viewer a good sense of the film in a very short, concise clip. It’s a cool challenge. And I love “Bottle Rocket”, which is such a weird, dry film, so I’d get a kick out of using it for this project. Right now, it’s just exciting to consider all my options!


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