How many times have you had to wait on account of the simplest of updates to an animation in your timeline? Or found yourself having to hunt down a designer to make what you know is a change that will take them approximately two seconds to make? Even though the render for it will take quite a bit longer.
Providing editors with the ability to avoid such challenges entirely is the exact reason motion graphics templates (MOGRTs) were created. Built for video editors to quickly and easily add polished, customized animations and design elements to their video projects, the concept for what became MOGRTs had been bubbling with the Adobe After Effects team for many years. Live Text Templates provided editors with better control over certain elements but were ultimately incomplete. With MOGRTs, editors finally have the control they’ve wanted to avoid challenges with render times and designer availability.
What kind of a difference can a MOGRT actually make for editors though? How can project managers quantify that difference? And what sort of creative and paid opportunities can they open up for motion designers?
Providing Editors with a Taste of the After Effects Magic
Many editors don’t have the time to learn an entirely new tool when they only need to do something simple. A certain level of complexity is beyond their interest or scope when their main focus is their edit. That’s why jumping into After Effects can be a bridge too far for many editors. There’s too much to sort through in After Effects when it’s not their area of focus.
MOGRTs were designed to be that very bridge though. They provide editors with the graphics control they need without leaving the environment they comfortable with. These .mogrt files can be easily exported from After Effects and opened in Premiere Pro automatically. This ease and control over how these files can be handed off and utilized is the result of years of work.
“The idea for what would become MOGRTS had been kicking around for a bit, but a few years ago it began to evolve into something that has become a model for creative collaboration between professionals with different skill sets,” said Victoria Nece, Senior Product Manager, Motion Graphics and Visual Effects at Adobe. “We’ve spent a lot of time over the last several years making After Effects more approachable but we knew there needed to be a better connection with editors. Now, an expert motion designer and expert editor can work together but still focus on their parts of the workflow where their skills matter the most.”
The distinction around doing so is all about context. MOGRTs allow both the editor and motion designer to work on the aspect or element of a project without removing it from the context of that workflow. Motion designers can have creative control over certain elements that need to be updated or adjusted without having to remove or review every graphic.
This control allows them to hand off the iterative and repetitive work that forces people to create multiple elements and versions based on a single design. When a simple date or name in an animation changes, editors can make that change themselves to the template.
Once the template is set, the process is as simple as drag and drop. Consistency from version to version can be defined and editors can know they’re always using the right font, brand colors, etc. However, all of those elements can be updated as needed. It’s an ideal workflow for frequently used elements but is also just as ideal for elements that need to be globally updated. The efficiencies of being able to do all of that in the context in the timeline can be measured in multiple ways.
Defining Production Efficiency
As an illustration of how the efficiencies that MOGRTs can be measured, a given documentary film might use 80 different lower thirds, each of which is a distinct asset. Once those assets are dropped into an edit, any change to the design would mean every single one of them would have to be updated. The time that it would take an editor to do so is considerable.
With a MOGRT, that kind of update only needs to happen once. However, the MOGRT provides even more creative control for the editor, as it allows them to customize each one to best fit the context.
A case study entitled: Adobe Motion Graphics Templates: Speeding Up Video Workflows detailed what kind of difference this can make to the bottom line. The aim of the research was to document the efficiency and productivity gains linked to MOGRTs when compared to conventional ways of placing After Effects content in Premiere Pro and other applications. It found that productivity was on average almost 350% higher using MOGRTs. Additionally, using MOGRTs was up to 454% faster than using native After Effects files for the same tasks.
“If you boil it down, what MOGRTs really do is allow editors to do day-to-day graphics work without having to rely on or even utilize an entire graphics team,” Nece said. “One decision doesn’t mean 80 changes, it just means one update. When you think about it like that, you can see how it makes sense for big broadcasters and people with large teams. Those kinds of efficiencies add up.”
There’s a whole ebook that details how easy it is to make MOGRTs, but editors and other creative professionals still have questions related to why it makes sense for them. It’s easy enough to talk about turning 20 clicks into one, but how can individual editors make sense of them in their customized workflows?
One of the most telling descriptions from the AMA After Effects Motion Graphics Template MOGRTs with School of Motion and Adobe Stock was from Kyle Hamrick, who described MOGRTs as something that makes graphics accessible to everyone but are ultimately, “motion templates for people who don’t know how to do it.” That sums up how editors can spend their time doing creative work to their edit instead of being focused on updating and working through iterations of the graphic elements in their timeline.
That control can manifest itself on the project management side. Instead of giving users a text field where misspelling can (and do) take place on a regular basis, they instead have a drop-down menu option that locks them out of those spelling mistakes. That completely eliminates a costly and timely QC process, showcasing the potential for creative opportunities on both sides of a project.
Creative Opportunities for Editors and Designers
While MOGRTs have been in development for years, the missing piece for a long while was media replacements. Now that it’s finally there, users can put in their own images and videos to unlock brand new workflows. It’s a super simple process that has opened up creative opportunities for editors and designers.
Many of those opportunities are connected to the editors who can adjust templates from designers they’ll never meet, which is partially why the stock marketplace has become so popular. It’s opened up creative options for editors that are being driven in a collaborative manner by designers from across the world. Several thousand templates are available in Adobe Stock, featuring plenty of free ones as well as premium templates from a wide array of artists.
“People are downloading templates and making use of them without having to learn After Effects and figure out someone else’s project,” Nece continued. “So you can utilize more graphics and higher-quality graphics that otherwise might have been too expensive or cumbersome to integrate.”
Designers can monetize their creativity with MOGRTs in multiple ways, as they can turn their designs (as well as alternate versions of that design that didn’t make it into a project) into templates available to download. Doing so represents another income stream for work that might not otherwise see the light of day.
This can be a powerful way for artists to scale their output. Many designers are also being hired to produce toolkits that will allow other freelancers to pick up certain aspects or elements of a project. What will those freelancers need to change? What’s most important for them to put up the top? How do they describe these properties?
All of these questions have forced artists to consider these types of projects in a whole new light. They have to consider what it means to create efficiencies in order to drive their own revenue considerations. Doing so has opened up a whole new level of opportunity for everyone.
A factor when switching?
We’ve detailed the many professionals and productions that have switched to Adobe Premiere Pro, but can something as relatively small as a motion template really be a factor in making that kind of change? Surprisingly enough, such efficiencies aren’t considered in such a limited way, and certain productions have gotten especially creative in terms of how they can enable or take advantage of them.
Core creative teams can put together assets in a templatized fashion and hand that off to someone that might need to create various versions for social media. The people who are only doing a little bit of editing are able to create the elements they need without having asked the core creative team. Other roles can be empowered by this process since they don’t have to go back to the core creative for every update or new element.
Teams have rebuilt their entire process around MOGRTs which has in turn completely change the way they work for the better. While Premiere has enabled larger working environments with multiple people over the past few years, MOGRTs have made these workflows that much more efficient. They’ve come to highlight what’s missing for anyone used to working in a different manner.
“We’ve got some big-time customers that are on another editing platform as their main NLE because they have been using it forever, but they’re opening Premiere to render out their templates,” Nece mentioned. “We’re definitely seeing people explore Premiere for the sake of using these templates because they see the potential time savings. I also hear After Effects users lament the fact that their editors aren’t using Premiere because they know how much easier they could make it on them.”
That ease of use is critical because anyone who’s using the template should have a simple experience with them. Regardless of their skill set, experience or preference, anyone who’s using templates needs to have good control over options with that template. A great deal of complexity can come from both, which is why MOGRTs are being continually refined and expanded. Ultimately, they’re designed to be a powerful workflow tool, but each individual editor and user should determine exactly how that power is defined for them, for their workflow, and for their project.
As part of that process, the Adobe team is always looking for feedback and insight around what doing so can look like, especially with the public beta now available.
How can MOGRTs improve your workflow or create revenue? That’s a question with countless answers, all of which can be determined in a context of an established process or brand new workflow.
Video Editors and Motion Designers can learn more about how to install and use MOGRTs here.