5 Shopping Cart
Your cart has been updated

Cover image via

How Circle Bursts Can Enhance Your Motion Design

Caleb Ward

Can circle bursts transform your motion design? Let’s take a 360 degree look.

There are a lot of trends that come and go in the world of motion graphics, but one such trend that has only grown in popularity in recent years is circle bursts. Circle Bursts are cool on a lot of levels and their simplicity makes them only more desirable to both motion designers and clients.

In the following post we’ll take a closer look at circle bursts and examine a few ways that we can integrate circle bursts into our projects. Plus we’ll watch a few quick tutorials about how they’re made and discover a few free and paid places to find them. Let’s dive in:

Where to Get Circle Bursts

1. RocketStock

Price: Free

Our good friends at RocketStock are giving away free circle bursts with no strings attached. Just click the download button on the circle burst blog post. While you’re there check out their freebie section full of awesome After Effects freebies. The circle bursts are pre-rendered footage that can be easily colored in After Effects using the tritone effect. The cool thing about these elements is they can all be integrated directly into After Effects.

2. AE Sweets

Price: $14.99 a pack

AE Sweets is a… sweet script designed to help with creating 2D elements. You can simply select the shape you want, hit apply and watch the shapes form before your eyes. There are also a bunch of other cool shape effects on AE Sweets website including a few freebies.

3. Create Them Yourself

Circle bursts are relatively simple to make, essentially it’s a shape layers with just a few keyframes. The process is simple, but refining the animation is the hard part. In this quick tutorial from Evan Abrams we’ll take a look at how to create Circle bursts in After Effects. It’s really simple and the end result is pretty awesome.


The Benefits of Circle Bursts

Circle Burst elements are great for multiple reasons:

1. They Can Help Add Visual Complexity Without Being Distracting

It is certainly cool to add in grunge or distortion to your projects, but in a lot of circumstances, namely client work, it’s not necessarily ideal when it comes to tone. Circle bursts, as opposed to ink drops or film grains, are neutral and can be easily integrated into most projects. This is especially true if your project is a little too simplistic. By simply adding in a few circle bursts you can breath life into previously boring projects.

2. They Can Hide Cuts

Circle Design Example
Just ignore the man behind the curtain, and by man we mean edit point… and by curtain we mean circle elements. 

Can’t think of a great way to transition between two scenes? If you’re stuck try adding in a few circle bursts. They can help ease the audience between two ideas without there being a jarring cut. In this way circle bursts help those artists who prefer to create animations using the “Post to Pose” style of classical animation. More on this in our principles of animation post.

3. They Can Create a Custom Look

When it comes to motion graphics perceived value is one of the most valuable tools when marketing yourself as a motion designer and giving your projects a “custom” look is a quick way to make your work look much more valuable. So if you’re animations are looking too “computery” you can always give your video a more hand-made look by adding circle bursts.


Circle Bursts In-Action

Here’s a few examples if good circle bursts in-action.

Full Circle Logo Build – Concept B

Created By: Miguel Reyes

This lifestyle logo designed by Miguel Reyes is a great example of well thought-out animations with good physics. Notice how each movement is motivated.

Tendril Relaunches – Logo Animation

Created By: Gabriel Rocha

This is another great logo example of circle bursts in action. These animations are a little bit more bold, but the animation is none-the-less amazing.

Qadrant.io Explanation Animation

Created By: Studio FourPlus 

Explainer videos are a great medium to for integrating circle bursts, and smooth 2D elements for that matter. This awesome video created by Studio FourPlus is a great example of both circle bursts and eased keyframes.

Want to learn more about working with flat 2D animation? Check out a few of the following resources:

  1. Sliding Intro – PremiumBeat
  2. Stripes Transition with Shape Layers – PremiumBeat
  3. 2D Animated Shapes – RocketStock

Have any tips for creating circle bursts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.