Adobe Stock motion trend: Eye-catching transformative transitions

Colorful abstract shaped art.

Image source: Adobe Stock / Digital Juice.

Long gone are the days of the straightforward “barn door” wipe between pictures or graphics in videos. These simple transitions are getting an upgrade with moving elements, flowing text, and shifting colors. While animated transitions and overlays have been around for a while, creatives are taking notable, new approaches, infusing fresh style into transitional elements. Attention-grabbing transformative transitions are one of our Adobe Stock creative motion trends this year, and for good reason. Not only do they catch the eye in fun, surprising ways, but transitions are a great way to tie in a brand’s visual identity with colors and logos too.

Expanding the possibilities of your motion footprint

Motion designers are exploring new ways to include a brand’s personality in videos and moving graphics by replacing the usual scene wipes with bursts of engaging activity. A matrix wipe, for example, becomes pieces of a logo merging, or a brand’s colors swirl in unison and then jump apart as scenes change.

Recent AT&T advertisements are a great example of the transformative transition trend; these spots use a side-to-side wipe with text overlays and colors for which the brand is known. At the end of this 2021 commercial, the characteristic streaks from AT&T’s logo are flipped 90 degrees to whisk across the screen, carrying their name and product info in its wake. A purple and blue gradient seamlessly blends the brand colors into motion.

At the heart of transformative transitions is a particular type of unity of branding and visual concept. Audacy (formerly known as Entercom) recently redesigned its entire brand persona after a major acquisition, and part of their new look involves the use of iconic vertical music bars to represent their status as an audio company. “Any good motion branding has to come from a really good sense of what your visual strategy is,” explains Anna McMichael-Kane, Audacy’s VP and Executive Creative Director, in a recent interview. “What are the motion principles of this visual system and how are those connected?”

Audacy’s latest motion graphics and films rely heavily on transformative transitions, which use the concept of sound bars to drive every wipe. In this short brand video, the creative team brings the same concept into Audacy’s animated logo.

“Being able to wipe in such an interesting way, from one screen to another, it almost looks like the scenes are feeding from each other,” says McMichael-Kane. “We can use it as a portal. We can use it as a doorway that [the viewer] walks through. Quite literally, we can use it to visualize spoken word. Those transitions are deceptively simple, but you’re using every single moment as long as you can.”

Why moving elements capture our attention

Our brains are hardwired to stop and pay attention to motion, but especially the start of action – just like the movement used in transitions. One 2003 study demonstrated that we are sensitive to this kind of activity, stating, “the onset of motion does indeed attract attention.”

This concept also showed up in a more recent study published in the Journal of Vision, which confirmed that onset motion is eye-catching. The researchers also found that it wasn’t only jolting animated motion that had this effect, but that even “the onset of natural motion can capture attention.”

Creatives can harness this power by using transition techniques that call attention to specific moments, or make certain details stand out. This works whether the movement is swift and energizing or slow and soothing. Depending on the desired impact, artists might employ a relaxed transition that still draws the eye. For example, this eHarmony Australia commercial shows how a gentler transition can engage our focus and build interest, first emphasizing the principal subject’s face before growing into a matrix of other faces to show the community of people that await on the dating app. The eHarmony heart logo is in each transition, maximizing their motion real estate.

There are many avenues for creatives to play with transformations, and just as many ways to grab viewer attention and incorporate brand characteristics in one fell swoop. At their fingertips are a mix of popular styles with which to develop a cohesive look in a visual story, including fun, snappy motion that makes the most of every moment.

Elements of this year’s creative trends, like Vintage Vaporwave and Handheld motion, can be combined to create a transformative transition. It’s already happening; this Starbucks “Do You” winter ad, for example, uses soft gradients and mood-boosting color as a doorway-shaped wipe glides in and out between scenes. An Optimum tv spot brings its logo and brand colors into play with title wipes and green and blue gradients.

Increasingly advanced motion tools enable creatives to think about new designs for transitions, looking at them from entirely new angles. McMichael-Kane agrees: “I think that technology gives us this incredible opportunity to think about color combining and motion in a completely different way – a more vibrant, more present, more immediate sort of way.”

Explore more Transformative Transitions motion graphics templates and inspiration in our curated gallery on Adobe Stock.