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If you’re a videographer, filmmaker, streamer, or content creator of any type, chances are you’ve encountered animated backgrounds.
Even if you’ve never used them, these backgrounds can be found anywhere. From news broadcasts, to YouTube videos, to conference calls, animated backgrounds are a great way to stand out.
That said, the quality of animated backgrounds and their implementations can vary drastically. At their best, an animated background is hardly a distraction and meshes well with the video.
At its worst, the animated background is distracting, nonsensical, and makes the video harder to watch.
In order to avoid this, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to find high quality animated backgrounds, as well as included some important things to consider if you’re going to use an animated background.
By the end of this article you will be able to find some great backgrounds for your next video, understand the best practices in implementing it, and maybe even be inspired to use backgrounds in ways you hadn’t considered before.
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Why Use Animated Backgrounds?
There are a lot of reasons to use animated backgrounds. If you’re an independent filmmaker or small content creator, creating sets may be too expensive or even impossible.
Using an animated background is an alternative to avoid having a messy or unprofessional background.
Animated backgrounds can also be used in videos and live streams for title cards, end screens, and/or introductions. As opposed to a still title card, animations can be more engaging for viewers.
Especially if you can find an animation that fits the theme of your video, these backgrounds can function as seamless transitions.
Changing between times, locations, or scenes can be difficult, especially in unscripted and low budget projects. Animations can smooth this over.
Consistent animations can also function as a throughline through your project can help create consistency and ground the viewers attention.
Paired with text, voice over, or green screening, animated backgrounds essentially become their own scene in a project.
Finally, animated backgrounds can be a standalone part of the story. Plenty of stock animated backgrounds can be found for free.
With a little creative thinking it’s possible to include this stock footage as a central part of your story.
Entire films have been created only using found footage and stock footage. At the end of the day, the limitations of using animated backgrounds are up to you.
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Best 5 Places To Find Animated Backgrounds
There are countless places to find animated backgrounds online. Finding high quality animations and avoiding copyright is a different story.
There are plenty of different licensing agreements and it is important to make sure you have the proper rights to the footage before it becomes a part of your video.
In order to help you do this, we’ve compiled five of the best resources to find animated backgrounds (and stock footage in general!).
Some of these are available for free and some require payment for licensing. All include descriptions of fair use and will help you avoid any copyright issues.
1. Adobe Stock
First on our list is Adobe Stock. If you have worked with the Adobe Creative Suite, chances are you’re already familiar with Adobe Stock. If not, don’t worry.
Adobe Stock is a great source for high quality and professional stock footage. They have plenty of animated backgrounds, videos, and pictures available for licensing and many are included with a free trial.
Adobe Stock’s biggest limitation is that payment is required and it can get quite expensive. If you’re on a very slim budget, this might not be the best resource for you. Still, Adobe Stock has great search functions and can be a solid place to start when looking for animations.
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Next on our list is Storyblocks. They are another well known company that specializes in stock footage and their libraries are extensive.
A big benefit of using Storyblocks is their organization. Within the category of animated backgrounds, they have plenty of subsections to make your browsing much easier.
Storyblocks also operates via a subscription service. While not free, it’s extremely nice to know exactly how much money you’re spending ($20 a month) as opposed to licensing videos one by one.
3. Motion Array
Another extremely useful resource for backgrounds is Motion Array. They have hundreds of backgrounds to select from and are searchable by price, usage, and type.
In order to download assets, an account is required. That said, you don’t need to pay to make an account and it’s possible to filter your search to only include free backgrounds.
While a paid subscription will allow you to find a greater variety of high quality animated backgrounds, Motion Array is a great resource for those of us looking for free backgrounds while ensuring fair use.
If you’re looking for free animated backgrounds, Pixabay is a great website to check out. There are plenty of backgrounds available to download at no cost.
It’s also possible to refine your searches by category, however their filter functions are a bit more limited than the resources listed above. The quality on Pixabay is also a bit less consistent than more professional sources.
There are plenty of wonderful assets to be found, but there is also a lot of footage you will have to search through.
It’s always important to make sure that you choose an asset because it fits your project, and not just because it was easy to find.
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Last on our list is Videezy. Similar to Pixabay, their search functions are somewhat limited. That said, it’s possible to search based on license type which is extremely helpful.
A lot of the videos and animations found on Videezy are available for free. This makes Videezy a great source for filmmakers with no budget. There is a pro feature available as well that allows you to buy credits to license videos (starting at 10 credits for $49).
Things To Consider
Between these five websites you should be able to find almost any animated background you need for your video.
Whether you’re only searching for free downloads or you have money to spend on licensing the highest quality animations, finding backgrounds has never been easier.
Implementing these backgrounds seamlessly into your video is a different story. Especially with so many options, it can be difficult to create a sense of consistency. If you’re using more than one animated background, it’s a good idea to consider how these backgrounds look next to each other.
Finding backgrounds of the same resolution and frame rate is a good idea. It’s also a good idea to make sure that those resolutions and frame rates match your video. Same goes for color and tone. If your video is bright and positive, then your animations should be too.
This applies to title cards, transition, and end screens as well. While it’s easy to overlook these elements, your video exists as a whole. The better all parts can align, the easier it is for the viewer to digest.
Finally, if you’re using backgrounds with a greenscreen or as an overlay it’s super important to think about lighting. If you can match the lighting of your setup to the lighting of the background, it will look far more professional.
Chances are viewers will not notice these steps. In fact, if the lighting is seamless and goes unnoticed that is a great sign. Only when things are jarring and offputting do viewers tend to take note.
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The animations selected and their implementation is ultimately up to the creator. While there are best practices, there is also no ‘correct’ way to do anything. All that matters is that what was done was intentional and can be justified.
If you’re a low/no-budget creator, that will often inform what backgrounds you use, your lighting, and the tone of the project. That doesn’t mean the project will be bad or unprofessional.
The story being told, personality, and tone of your video are the most important factors to engaging viewers and getting your point across.
When using animated backgrounds, try to do so in a way that bolsters the story and tone of the project.
At the end of the day, remember why you’re making your video in the first place and understand that tools like stock footage and animations are just that; tools. Your voice and the story should always come as a priority in any project you create.
Do you already use animations and stock footage in your videos? Are there any websites we left off the list? Let us know in the comments below and good luck with your next video.
Cade Taylor is a filmmaker and writer based out of Los Angeles. Originally from Seattle, he continues to work as the Outreach Coordinator for the Bigfoot Script Challenge, where he helps connect up-and-coming writers with industry professionals. When he’s not working on his own projects, helping out with Bigfoot, or covering desks, Cade loves to share what he knows with other filmmakers and promote great content.