Adobe After Effects
The program I find most valuable for motion graphics and art is Adobe After Effects. I can easily make create 2D animations, simulations, add sound effects, and so forth. Granted, there are other programs like Adobe Premiere that would be better for sound design and rendering, but you can get by with Adobe After Effects alone. And now with plugins like Element 3D from Video Copilot, doing high quality 3D work is a breeze. There is also massive online support available for Adobe After Effects should you run into problems and a huge list of free plugins to expand the capabilities of the program.
Maxon Cinema 4D
The next program I love is Maxon’s Cinema 4D. I have used a number of 3D programs for animation, modelling, etc., and have found this one to be an overall gem. I find the interface easy to navigate and learn, it runs smoother than other programs I have tried, and there are endless options, and some really great plugins for it. If you’re looking to do 3D simulations, text animations, visual appealing 3D openers, and so forth then this is an excellent program to look into. As well, it has various exporting and rendering options that make working between it and Adobe After Effects really easy.
Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator
Some might be surprised by my inclusion of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. After all, what does an image editing and manipulating program and a vector graphics program have to do with motion graphics and motion art.
Adobe Illustrator is a huge time saver for certain things. If you need to create an animated logo or banner in Adobe After Effects then Adobe Illustrator will save you so much time and effort using Adobe Illustrator. If you do not have Adobe Illustrator could you still create a logo or banner? Absolutely! One could create a logo or banner in After Effects, but that is not what the program is designed and optimized to do. Using a program like Adobe Illustrator will save you so much time and frustration. Create the elements you need in Adobe Illustrator and then just simply export them and important them Adobe After Effects.
You can also use this program to create 3D extrusions. You can create a design, export it as an Ai 8 file, and then bring it into Maxon Cinema 4D and extrude the designs. Now you have a 3D logo or whatever it is you may have created.
Adobe Photoshop is definitely the least used program I have for motion graphics, but nonetheless, it is making the list. I most commonly use this program for textures. If I need to edit or create a texture for a 3D element in Maxon Cinema 4D or a background or element in a animation inside Adobe After Effects, then Adobe Photoshop is my go to program.