While most of our digital media posts are dedicated to topics like theatrical and video game advertising, short films and motion graphics, we can’t overlook the enticing visual graphics that dominate the sports marketing industry.
Staying the course with our week dedicated to sports marketing in anticipation for Super Bowl Sunday, we’ve rounded up some of the best NFL motion graphics, title graphics and digital media spots.
As a motion graphics artist, McCauley designs, models, lights, animates, edits and renders powerful visuals like player goal animations, interstitials (those brief one-second animations you see in between slow motion replays), in-game features, on-screen stats and editorial graphics which enhance the game-watching experience.
“A lot of people get into sports motion graphics as stepping stone to other types of digital media, which is great, but I want everyone to know that you can make a great career out of sports motion graphics,” says McCauley in an interview with FIDMDigitalArts.com. “Just like any career, with passion and discipline you can truly create great art.”
Browse our picks for the best NFL motion graphics, including McCauley’s sports graphics reel below:
#1 – NFL Total Access
By Capacity (Culver City, CA)
Our take: This short by Capacity, delivers all the excitement we love in sports graphics, heavy with futuristic CG animations and supported by powerful sound design by Echolab. The digital media agency’s online portfolio is in progress, but the team’s Vimeo page reveals lots of other exciting broadcast graphics pieces for Fox Soccer, NBC and Cartoon Network.
Description: “In the midst of last season’s salary cap negotiations, while players weren’t even allowed to practice, we were hard at work developing a completely new show package for NFL Total Access on NFL Network. At the start of the 2011/12 season, we helped relaunch TA with a dark and aggressive new tone, complete with a logo redesign. The package is an energy-packed mix of live action and CG, spanning hundreds of painstakingly created opens, bumps, transitions and franchise segment,” states Capacity on its Vimeo page.
#2 – NFL GameDay 2012
By visual production company BiG MACHiNE (Burbank, CA)
Other projects include: Film titles, advertising, TV shows, games, multi-screen experiences and mobile devices.
Our take: We loved the digital media pieces by BiG MACHiNE so much that we pulled two of their NFL projects, including this 14-second spot which involved cross-country travel for director Ken Carlson to capture gameday footage:
Description: “NFL Network challenged BiG MACHiNE to reinvent the look of sports graphics for their Sunday block of programming NFL GameDay. BiG MACHiNE had created 2 past versions of the on-air look for GameDay that featured slick, all CG elements and environments. This time around, NFL Network wanted to get back to the roots of the game. BiG MACHiNE suggested a hybrid live-action/CG package that combined the raw energy of football with dynamic and eye-catching design and animation.
BiG MACHiNE Director Ken Carlson traveled across the U.S. to shoot footage during the pre-season which became backplates and environments for the graphics package.
With an incredibly tight deadline between the pre-season and the start of the official season, BiG MACHiNE created several hundred elements for the NFL.”
Client: NFL Network
Creative Director: Ken Carlson
Directors: Ken Carlson, Steve Petersen
Senior Producer: Matt LeBoeuf
#3 – NFL Gameday Morning 2011
By BiG MACHiNE (Burbank, CA)
Our take: This opening is from 2011 but we can’t get enough of the mix of live action and holographic motion graphics inspired by “Tron: Legacy” and “Minority Report” in another short by BiG MACHiNE below:
Description: “The 2011 update to the NFL GameDay Morning package [included] an entirely new open for the popular Sunday morning show. We shot the sequence on the set of NFL GameDay with Rich Eisen, Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Steve Mariuchi and Marshall Faulk.”
Client: NFL Network
Director/Creative Director: Ken Carlson
Senior Producer: Matt LeBoeuf
Producer: Nyenye Kitchings
#4 – Madden 13 Opening Sequence
By visual effects and production company Iron Claw (Los Angeles)
Other projects include: Production and integration of live action, design and visual effects– domestically and internationally.
Our take: Iconic Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis delivers a powerful and compelling message in this dramatic opening for Madden 13 by digital media agency, Iron Claw. The short film even got props from Madden 13’s game creative director Jean Adams stated:
“They captured the emotion of the NFL and created a piece that describes our product better than words could convey. The community loves this piece and describes it as the best intro in sports game. They get chills every time they see it and for the first time refuse to skip it before going in game.”
Description: “Iron Claw director Jeremy Wabiszczewicz coaxes an amazing performance from football great Ray Lewis. Following last year’s work on Madden 12, Iron Claw wrote, directed and produced the opening to the Madden 13 game.
Client: Electronic Arts
Director: Jeremy Wabiszczewicz
#5– FOX Sports Logo Redesign
By digital media agency Drive Studio (El Segundo,CA and Vista, CA)
Other projects include: A wide variety of (Emmy Award-winning) graphics packages for broadcast television.
Our take: It’s always a challenge to update a corporate logo, especially for such a brand as visible as FOX Sports. We love the slick solution that Drive Studio came up with, shown below:
Description: “Recently FOX Sports asked us to update their iconic logo. It needed to evoke the big, bold and innovative personality of FOX Sports while maintaining its signature elements– the oval and crosshairs. This new mark has become the foundation for all of their regional networks and most of their international properties,” states Drive Studio.
#6– ESPN Monday Night Football
By Big Studios (Toronto and Ontario, Canada)
Other projects include: Award winning commercials, broadcast motion graphics and VFX.
Our take: We just couldn’t overlook ESPN in our sports graphics lineup, and we love how digital media agency Big Studios incorporates vault-inspired visuals with stadium lights and cityscapes in this fast-paced 3D short:
#7– Sports Graphics Reel
Although McCauley’s work doesn’t include any NFL projects, his reel reflects the range of opportunity in the sports graphics industry with spots for the Chicago Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox.
“Knowing your audience is important, but knowing your brand is crucial. In the case of in-game entertainment, generally speaking the team is the brand you’re working for,” states McCauley on his portfolio site. “Just as in advertising, knowing where your brand has been and where they’re going is integral to the success of a design or animation. Even something as seemingly inconsequential as a ‘make some noise’ fan prompt speaks to a larger narrative and visual style that has been established by the team, marketing department and game operations personnel.”