So you’ve decided to tell your business’ story in animation – awesome! So what’s the first choice when it comes to your soon-to-be masterpiece? Unless you want to do something really out there with stop motion video (be our guest), then chances are you’ll have to make a decision between motion graphics, 2D or 3D format for your project.
But which one is the most suitable for you? Don’t panic – at Fudge we’ve been ‘round the block a few times and when it comes to choosing a style of video and we know our stuff. This week, we’ll help you find out what these different types of animation are, where they’re used and where they excel.
Explaining, Training, Selling and Telling
First off: what are you trying to achieve with your video? Chances are, if you’ve decided to go with animation for your business, you have one or more of these four objectives. These are what you are claiming the purpose of your animation will be and what response you want out of your viewers. By having a clearly defined goal in mind, you will be able to better place and produce your video.
No prizes for guessing that I’m on about animated explainer videos here! These are highly versatile videos with the purpose of making a complex idea, company or product simple and understandable before inspiring action in the viewer.
Animation smashes it as a teaching tool. It inspires information retention and enhanced recall incredibly well. With the challenge of getting your training seen by sometimes thousands of staff and on a tight budget, conventional training methods struggle to keep up. With animated video, Fudge has created stories out of uninspiring topics which are memorable, relatable and encourage viewers to share their knowledge and passion.
In a time when there are so many electronic devices vying for users’ attention, animated adverts succeed in making their mark by doing what they do best – they entertain, catch your attention and are very memorable. You could be selling a new product with an animated product launch or perhaps building interest with a demonstration. Add animated characters or logos and your brand’s recognition can be huge!
Think company profile video, internal communications, safety demonstrations on an aircraft etc. Animation works excellently for this purpose because you can present your message with clarity and make it memorable. Creating characters which your audience can relate to is an immensely powerful way of getting favourable actions out of your viewers too.
Now that you have a clearer idea of what you’d like to get done with your video, let’s get to the actual formats themselves. All three are already very versatile; here’s what they are, how they excel and where they perform best.
Motion graphics are one of those things you don’t realize is so hard to describe until you’re staring at your keyboard, willing your fingers to type something… Essentially they’re sequences of animation (or live action) where images, symbols and text are given motion in order to present information. It’s a genre of animation that’s right at the cusp of graphic design, often having voice over narrating what the visuals are representing.
It’s a great way of keeping viewers engaged, giving them something to read at the same time as they’re watching the visuals, and listening to the voice over. It’s likely this concentrated multi sensory information load that makes motion graphics such an effective method of information conveyance.
Rather than explain, it’s much easier to just show you, so here’s our video for VTSL. You can see why motion graphics are often called animated infographics. They are a great way to present information in a simple way and their ability to keep viewer interest is second to none. It’s all to do with the fluid, dynamic movement between imagery and text which keeps you engaged.
Motion graphics work very well in a corporate environment when you’re trying to deliver statistics, data or training which is quite dry to choke down by conventional means. No one wants to stare at a spreadsheet or a bar graph, but when you can bring those figures to life by taking your viewers on an animated journey that explains where they came from and why they’re important, you’ll have a much stronger response.
This type of slick, information-driven animated content fits well into presentations, pitches, and classrooms. Museum-goers will also find this style of motion infographic familiar as it is cropping up more and more to replace the intimidating plaques of text next to exhibits. These are typically set on loop but the more cutting-edge museums offer interactive elements where various animated options are available through touchscreens, buttons or voice controls.
Okay, everyone knows what 2D animation is surely! We’ve all watched cartoons (some of us more than others), but modern 2D animation is far from being childish. With this format of animation, you can really build your brand visually and push your imaginative boundaries.
Character creation is one of our services at Fudge and it’s a great way to inspire an emotional response in your audience with 2D animation. You want to tell a story with your character, and ideally you want as many of your viewers as possible to relate to them in order for your message (and thus your brand) to resonate.
2D animation is highly customizable as well. It’s a real chameleon of a tool that can be adapted to a number of working styles and tones. Yes, sometimes your company or particular campaign calls for something a little cartoony in order to convey a more approachable or humorous tone but this is in no way the only option when it comes to 2D animation. Check out our Local Care Record animated work for the NHS for a more stylized example.
Most of what I’ve said above can also apply to 3D animation so where does it differ? Well 3D animation tends to be a little more resource intensive to produce, so as a result, a 3D animation says that your company sees value in whatever you choose to represent in 3D animation.
It’s still seen as quite a cutting edge format so you’ll also position yourself as a progressive, forwards-facing company. Part of this is down to developments in 3D animation and modeling techniques in recent years with software that’s getting easier and easier to use. This means it’s still seen as something of a trendy video style.
3D can be the only logical option sometimes: Say you’d like to show off animated plans and architectural designs, you can’t very well replicate a fly-through in 2D can you? Sticking with the architectural theme, a 3D animated video showing off interior and exterior speculations for a project could be the exciting element that ensures you win funding, or get your build green-lit.
Remember on Time Team where they’d take the geophys imagery and build a 3D representation of the archaeological site? That was one of the best bits of my Sunday afternoons! And it could only be done with 3D.
What about VR?
Virtual reality and augmented reality is hotter than the surface of the sun right now and if you want to get involved and show off how progressive and exciting your company is, you’re going to have to do it with 3D. This is still a developing medium so the true value most likely is still to be realized. The true creatives amongst you might want to consider something really cutting-edge like a VR experience to take to conferences and events. One established and effective VR solution is situation-based training for the military and other professions exposed to danger.
I hope that’s de-mystified these three animation types for you – they don’t have to be separate, motion graphics and 2D animation often work amazingly together in an explainer video format so keep that in mind when you’re considering your options.