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VFX Inspiration: 9 Stunning Music Videos of 2016


Get inspired with these amazing VFX-heavy music videos from 2016.

2016 has been an awesome year for motion graphics in music videos. Here are a few of our favorite music videos from around the web.

Coldplay: Up & Up

  • Directed By: Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia
  • Why It’s Awesome: Coldplay seamlessly blends stock footage elements together to create a beautiful, surreal world.

From corporate videos to Hollywood blockbusters, we see stock footage used in just about every visual medium in the world. However, there aren’t a lot of modern examples of videos that exclusively use stock clips. In their latest music video, Coldplay composited different stock footage clips together to create a surreal world that has never been seen. Some of the clips come from our sister site,

Majid Jordan: Every Step Every Way

  • Directed By: Common Good
  • Why It’s Awesome: 2D stylized elements interact with live-action people.

This clever video created by Common Good is a beautiful example of color theory and 2D animation. The video uses 2D shapes by utilizing liquid motion techniques. This is a great video if you are into organic motion design.

Massive Attack: Young Fathers

This video created for Massive Attack features a brilliant blend of 3D compositing. You’ll notice in the video how the orb uses reflection maps of the environment, along with some next-level lighting. This video is a brilliant example of what is possible when you blend Cinema 4D and After Effects. The actress’s performance also helps sell the illusion of control.

Yili: Jay Chou Kinetic Milk

  • Produced By: Khoo & Dane Neo
  • Why It’s Awesome: This video blurs the line between real and animation.

In what can only be classified as a 3D version of OK Go’s This Too Shall Pass Rube Goldberg machine music video, this video showcases computer-generated 3D elements that act in a very similar manner to real-world elements. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself wondering if the elements are real or not throughout the video. Notably, the physics in the music video are fantastic. If you do a lot of 3D work, this is a case study in real world application.

Ma’agalim: Jane Bordeaux

  • Directed By: Uri Lotan
  • Why It’s Awesome: This beautiful world rivals that of Pixar.

Anytime your video gets staff picked, you know it’s good. In this Pixar-like animated music video, viewers are invited into a highly stylized fictional music box. The 3D masterpiece is a beautiful example of creative storytelling.

Christian Löffler: Veiled Grey

  • Created By: The Offstream
  • Why It’s Awesome: This video showcases 1960s style 2D animation.

Creating a Disney-look is the goal of many aspiring 2D and 3D animators, and for good reason. The highly stylized look has become synonymous with professional storytelling. In this music video, viewers follow two 2D animated characters on their mythological quest.

Run and Run: Lyrical School

  • Why It’s Awesome: This motion graphic masterpiece is designed for phone viewing, and it’s incredible.

In a world of 16:9, it can be easy to forget that a lot of your audiences will actually be viewing your video on a smart phone. In this creative K-Pop music video, viewers are invited to keep their devices in portrait mode as the video fills their screen with a journey through an iPhone. The creators of this video likely used After Effects to create their 2D journey.

The Chemical Brothers: Wide Open

  • Directed By: D O M & N I C
  • Why It’s Awesome: This video masterfully motion tracks and blends 3D elements.

The Wide Open music video created for the Chemical Brothers is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. The video essentially slowly replaces a dancers body with a see-through mesh substance. The result is absolutely spectacular and a testament to the creative possibilities of collaborative projects.

Charles X: Can You Do It

  • Directed By: Quentin Baillieux
  • Why It’s Awesome: The artists created an amazing toon-shaded world.

This video from Chales X was likely created in Cinema 4D and converted into 2D using a toon-shading technique. The video features some complex camera movements that really help make the entire video more cinematic. You’ll also notice a good amount of stylized color grades using blues and reds.