Home Ideas & inspiration Turn Photos into Motion With These Simple Design Tips and Tools

Turn Photos into Motion With These Simple Design Tips and Tools

by Mary Ivanova

working in a cafe

As non-designers, many of us often feel overwhelmed by all the small details we have to pay attention to make our visual creations look unified and sleek. Not only that, we barely have the time to create all the graphics to supplement the need. Things don’t get any easier once you try adding motion into the mix.

That said, motion attracts much higher engagement, which means whether you like the process of making it, the time and effort investment may well be worth it. Let me show you how to create simple motion visuals that clear the design minimum bar. But first, some ground rules – stick to the general design guidelines when adding animated objects, backgrounds or videos to your content. I’ll walk you through them in a brief list below.

Less is more

animated salt shaker

Think of adding design to your content as sprinkling salt onto your dish – the recipe sure says add to taste, but it works best when used in moderation. Too many colors, fonts, texts or design elements in your visuals – and you are running the risk of your piece ascending into complete chaos. Pick a focus point of your design and cut everything that distracts the eye.

Create flow

Consider how the eye of your viewers will be moving through your visual to create even and easy to follow flow – do they read the text first or look at video/animation? Flow makes your piece scannable. Rely on basic design rules of thirds (or grid) and proportion (making key messages and headlines are larger) to guide viewers through your design.

Align everything

Use Crello’s magenta-colored guides that appear whenever you align an element with neighboring text, shapes or objects, as well as when your element aligns with vertical, horizontal or absolute center:

design template

Maintain contrast

Contrast is one of the best ways to maintain readability and establish visual hierarchy within your design. Making the most important parts of your message noticeably larger in size as well as adding visual accents to bring attention to parts of the design that the viewer needs to see first is a great way to support your message visually.

Stick to brand style

This approach will instantly solve all your font and color combination problems along with overall visual style and aesthetic of your piece – whether your brand is more serious or fun, if you rely on more minimalist or vivid imagery, whether your style leans toward a more natural or industrial vibe, etc. is going to introduce helpful limits to your design choices whenever you are making a graphic or a motion visual.

Create multiple versions

dancing salt shaker

If you have the time, create multiple versions of your design on different days. Give your creative process some time is going to help you detach from your designs and be able to judge them more impartially. If you can, ask members of your team for feedback or run a split test using several of your best options (Facebook allows running a split test with up to 5 ad sets).

Use templates

Whether you just started using Crello editor or you’ve been at it for some time, some designs just don’t come together, no matter how many versions you create or how many design advice articles you browse. That’s when finding a template you don’t have to make too many edits in in order to adjust it to your purposes is your best option. Whenever you find yourself doubting your design or feeling like you’ve arrived at a dead end, rely on ready-made templates to bail you out;)

animated header

Use template

Anybody ordered more animated CAT templates? You ask, we deliver:

animated cat with a cupcake

Use template

Recommended reading: 6 Basic Design Tips for Non-Designers, Typography Crash Course from Crello, Font Pairing for Beginners.

Well, that’s about it with the theory, time to apply some of that knowledge. Dip your toes in motion by adding one or two animated elements to your photos, applying minimal tweaks to existing templates or adding cool animated or video backgrounds to your content. Let’s try our hand at a few examples.

Adding animated objects

I’ve decided to start small and use this animated line to add emphasis to this illustration for a hypothetical blog post about vegan recipes:

healthy food, salad

Besides animated lines, frames and letters in Crello’s collection of animated objects, you can also find cute and funny animated images that can help you tell more of a story with your design – like this one:

christmas animation santa

Or this:


By the way, in the latter design, I’ve included two animated objects to further support the message of my visual for a hypothetical online service. So don’t be intimidated by all the motion tools you have at hand and try combining several elements that work together.

Here’s another attempt:

fun bouquet

Using an animated or video background

Another simple way to create motion visual is adding an animated or video background to a static image, like in this design:

donuts sweets animation

To find an animated background, go to Animations > Backgrounds. To pick a video background, go to Media > Video.

Replacing sample photos in templates

And finally, just find a template that can fit the image(s) you want to include in your motion visual and replace the placeholder pictures with them, like I did in this template:

instagram story template for a sale

Go to template

This way, you are saving yourself the time on adding text boxes and picking corresponding fonts, and your end result can look that much more complete and stylish with so much less effort!

Concluding thoughts

Just like with everything in design, turning static images into motion by adding video or animated design elements is all about comfort and ease of perception for your end user and the concept behind your design. Create meaningful messages supported by well picked out animation or video to make the most impact with your visuals.

No time to study principles of design? Use these quick hacks to make your visuals better in an instant: When in Doubt, Use These Fonts, Typical Social Media Cover Mistakes and How to Fix Them, 9 Valuable Design Tips to Enhance Your Social Media Graphics.

Related Posts