Animation is a versatile tool for getting your message out there. But, it won’t solve all your video problems. It’s useful for explaining big concepts by breaking them down but can be harder to establish an emotive connection with your audience. And with so many different animation styles, it’s important to understand what will suit your budget, timings and messaging.
We’ve got 5 simple questions that will help you nut out if animation is right for you.
Question #1: What does “animation” mean to you?
Using the word “animation” to describe what you want can be tricky, as there are many different animation types. Here are three of the most basic animation types that you need to know to understand what type of animation may work best for you.
Two-dimensional or 2D animation is easily recognisable – it’s where you have 2D objects and characters in two-dimensional space. You're not necessarily limited to a single plane - 2D planes at different depths can create 3D illusion - but all the elements have width and height, but no depth. It’s considered a traditional animation style, starting in the 1800s, and in those early beginnings was created by pulling together 24 frames, or drawings, for every second of animation. While the technique has advanced, the principles of manually creating movement are the same (this means every small movement, by characters and in the background, needs to be manually created by the animator).
3D animation has become more and more popular, and while it is more expensive it’s not just for blockbuster movies anymore. 3D animation is defined as the act of animating objects and characters in three dimensions, using motion. We see many different applications of this technology thanks to variety of software, and it has developed so much that it’s now commonly used in bigger budget advertisements & commercials.
Motion graphics is animation, but with text and icons or isolated visuals as major components. Essentially, it’s animated graphic design. Together with music and effective copy, motion graphics can give us a message where text and iconography are the story tellers. This enables viewers visualise everything from a complicated concept to helping them connect with an emotive message. It’s used in commercials as well as more commonly seen in television prom,os and series titles. Motion graphics in marketing tend to rely heavily on “iconography” which uses the simple movement of icons to convey messages. You may also come across the term “kinetic typography” which is using moving or animated text. So you may want a motion graphics video that uses only iconography or only typography, or a combination of both.
.How much time do you have?
Now that you know a little about each type of animation, it’s important to know up-front how much time you have, or what your content deadline is. While it may seem like animation saves time in planning (or “pre-production”) phase of your video, it can be a slow process as every element need, it can be a slow process as every element needs to be created. For example, when filming a real-life sequence of someone performing an action, we are capturing through film everything that is there on the day, from the person onscreen to the background or situation they are in. For all types of animation, all of those individual elements that are both main focus or background need to be created from scratch. or found in stock sources. Which means a person’s time is billed for creating everything. This also means if you wish to change any element of animation, for example make it a sunny day instead of a raining one, this can be done but then has an impact on how all other visual elements interact with this change. If you do want an animation quickly, it’s great to consider motion graphics, and even combining this with filming of content. While this may seem like extra in the production phase, it will save a lot of time (and budget) in the post-production or editing phase.
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What’s your budget?
It’s important to have a clear idea of your budget no matter the project. But for animation, it’s important to have a healthy budget that aligns with your expectations. If you have a small budget, don’t expect a Pixar-quality ad with many complicated and visually impressive elements. Having a clear budget will also ensure that the production company can make the best video content for you. You can also ask a production company for examples of previous work within your budget range as this will help manage your own in-house expectation of the content. Also be aware that changes with animation can be costly, so be sure to ask what that may cost – and be clear on your own internal review process and how many rounds of changes you expect might be needed for final approval, as this will also impact the price.
Will this video need a lot of changes, or different versions?
There is a real, and costly, consequence to making any revision in an animated video project. Because every element of animation is created and set into motion by the animator – so changes may mean that many impact other unseen elements. At the end of the day that means more billed hours in the edit. We often see very costly changes happening due to internal approvals causing previously approved elements to change. A good way to prevent this is to ensure your stakeholders have been on the approvals journey with you, which involves approving these visual elements early in the production phase before they are set into motion in edit. Also be aware if the video may need to be viewed by multiple or different audiences, For example, many government and corporate animated explainers we have created have been required in multiple languages. This has required some tweaks to iconography as different cultures or countries may interpret icons or visuals used in different ways. Extra editing time will also be required for changing text on screen to different languages. So think ahead, and let your production company know in the quoting phase if different versions or extra changes might be needed so you get an accurate overall quote for your project. Alternatively, ask for these to be an optional extra in the quoting process so you can forward-plan any additional content versions.
What’s going to appeal to your audience?
Animation is great for explaining big concepts but building human connection through animation is harder (but not impossible). This is where talking to a full-service video production company specialising in various forms of content is best, as they can build content to suit you – not make your content fit their skills set. In the pre-production phase, be sure to have nailed down what is your message, what’s the goal/call to action, and who’s the audience. Having the answers to these questions will help determine if animation is best for your project - if yes, it’ll also help inform the creative animation choices available within your timeline & budget, and ensuring you get meaningful content that makes an impact.
If you’d like to talk to one of our experts about your video project, get in touch with us.