Nissan Animation Research graphic design and animation trends, camera tracking, and cinema 4d

Graphic Design Trends

For this project we have ha to research current trends of 2016 so that we can keep up to date and provide our client with the newest look, and keep them in the now with current trends as far as image and visuals go.

Here are a few of those trends that I believe will help benefit us as a team as it is always important to make sure that we as designers are part of the in crowd in terms of trends. They will also enable us to make striking imagery that will suite and pair well with Nissan's already established, brand and image.


The flat design trend is characterised by a clean, colourful look, big typography, white space, and subtle gradients. It’s influenced by minimalism, Bauhaus and the Swiss Style. Flat design was introduced in 2006 with Microsoft’s Zune mp3 player, refreshed by Apple’s iOS 7 in 2013, and further refined by Google’s Material design in 2014. A beautiful example can be found in the award-winning indie game Monument Valley.

This trend has the staying power of a visual language that creates high usability and fast loading times. It’s also easy to mix flat design with more intricate or hand drawn artwork and photography, which makes the trend versatile and flexible. It started as a completely flat style, and has been updated adding depth, light and shadow, as well as motion.

In 2016 we’ll continue to see the popularity of the style grow, and spread from UI design, to areas such as surface pattern design and illustration.


Typography is awesome because it has the words TYPO and GRAPH in it.

It also has a Y on the end :)

The Flat Design trend together with tools like the Glyphs app that make the production of fonts more easy and inexpensive, pave the way for dramatic and creative typography. Bold statements, playful sans-serif typefaces, and letter stacking. Possibly also the Serif will make a return performance, encouraged by the higher resolution screens. We’ll continue to see new crops of handwritten fonts in 2016. Huge, interesting drop caps like SNASKs hand-crafted, 3D letters.


Retro styles are inspired by the 80s and 90s, The Memphis Group, and arcade video games. Think about bold colours, pixel art, playful geometric designs and patterns. Take a look at Tim Colmant's work for examples.


Shapes are cool, even better if they were geometrically sound, oh wait they are? Sweet!

You can see the visual influences of geometric shapes in current designs, especially for mobile games, MONUMENT VALLEY is a big example of this trend being used in a very successful way.

Monument Valley Game


For this project also, a vast majority of it will be the animation of the assets that are made for the various videos we have been tasked with creating. All the trends are current within the last few years.

Animation trends slide of the back of the graphic design trends, as it is the animation of the of those finished products that will be discussed, but that animation is equally as important. There will be references to other design trends and predominant links between some. Bellow are a few key animation styles and techniques that I agree will enhance the experience of the videos and will once again be of use when creating successful videos that fit within Nissan's visual style.


The design community for a long time now has been all about a simplified, slick design, giving a more modern vibe, proving to be more effective and aesthetically pleasing.

When it comes to what makes a logo stand out, the simpler the logo, the better, and it makes it easier to identify brands. Static logos are slowly becoming outdated giving way to new, minimalist, sometimes abstract logos that can be manipulated into more than just your average logo. Opening up new possibilities for brands.

Bellow are a couple of examples of this trend at its best, in terms of design and animation.

Mixing 2D and 3D.

2D and 3D paired together never used to be a commonly used thing. Today the mixing of 2D and 3D has become common place and many of these combinations have worked successfully giving a more stylized, illustrated look and feel.


Typography has been known to make or break a design. So it's only natural progression that print design has worked it's way into video. Motion graphics artists are required more and more to create astonishing works of art in each and every frame.

Kinetic Typography can be used to pay homage to a famous movie in the form of a quote, or provide a lyrical animation for a song, or to enhance interest for a promotional piece, kinetic typography can definitely be classed as a work of art if executed correctly.

It can also be used to raise awareness of difficult to talk about social, political and global topics, in a suitable and comforting way.


Motion graphics trends often accompany trends that are predominant in our everyday lives. The retro look has been rising in popularity over recent years, especially when considered for interior design and fashion purposes. The retro look used for motion graphics relies on the feeling of nostalgia to create a lasting unique imprint on the audience, this is the case with the following examples.



As we have decided to use a blend of live action footage and animation in some of the commissioned videos, a big technique that us as animators have to look into is Camera Tracking. This will allow us to place three dimensional layers onto the footage, and make them appear to be part of that footage. This is done by tracking the various focus points in the footage and parenting the 3D layer to one of these points making it look like it is in a fixed place within the footage.

Bellow is as really good example of camera tracking done extremely well, also used for a corporate video, so it's along the same lines as what we are trying to accomplish with this project.

The Application that we will be using to do the CAMERA TRACKING along with all the animation, is Adobe After Effects (Ae). There are a few various way as to achieve this effect within Ae, I have listed some of the techniques bellow accompanied by sort video tutorials on how to achieve the desired effect.

One Point Track

When to Use It: Very quick 2D tracking situations centred around a single point with no warping.

The single-point tracker built into After Effects has long been a go-to tool for motion artists, but you need to be careful with single-point tracks because footage doesn’t normally shake in 2D space only. After Effects uses contrast to find track points, so you’ll need to make sure you set your tracker on a well-defined point. If you’re in a rush, one-point tracking will work, but for most professional circumstances, you’ll want to at least use two-point tracking.

Two Point Track

When to Use It: On footage with mild to moderate levels of camera shake.

Two-point tracking is fantastic for simple camera movements, as long as there are a few contrasted elements for the tracker to track. Two-point tracking is notably superior to single-point tracking because it can track rotation and scale, not just position.

3D Camera Tracking

When to Use It: Matte painting, set extensions, and compositing.

One of the most powerful features to hit After Effects in recent years is the 3D camera-tracking tool. The tool essentially automatically creates dozens of track points in your footage and allows you to select which ones to use after the computer processes the footage. This is your best tracking option directly in After Effects. However, the 3D camera tracker can take quite a while if you have a long clip.

Planar Tracking Using Mocha

When to Use It: Advanced tracking on flat surfaces.

If you have a very difficult-to-track flat surface, then the planar tracking feature in mocha Pro is the way to go. Unlike After Effects, mocha Pro will use predictive tracking to track the position of an object even if a portion of the tracked object is offscreen. Tracking data can then be exported from mocha into After Effects.

Spline Tracking

When to Use It: Complex camera tracking jobs.

If you’ve exhausted all of the other options on this list, or simply want the most accurate track possible, then spline tracking in mocha Pro is the way to go. Spline tracking can track any type of shape because you custom create the tracking plane. Essentially, you trace around the object you want to track and mocha will try its best to keep track of the object. Data can then be exported to After Effects.


For this project I will predominantly be using Ae for all the 2D animation as I am first and for most a graphic designer and 2D animator. But I will also be learning the basics of a program called Cinema 4D in order to help out where I can with the 3D stuff if it gets too much for the 3D animator. They will also brushing up on after effects to help me where I need it.

CINEMA 4D is a 3D modelling, animation and rendering application developed by MAXON Computer GmbH in Germany. It is capable of procedural and polygonal/subd modelling, animating, lighting, texturing, rendering, and common features found in 3D modelling applications.

Created By
Alex Pickering


Created with images by thisguyhere - "nissan car black" • adactio - "Typography" • CamEvans - "Space Invader Tag" • Alexas_Fotos - "frog photographer funny" • Sam Howzit - "Awesome" • Mark Morgan Trinidad B - "4D"

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