In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Blueforest Studios is featured as one of our Top Video Production Companies in the United States. Check out their profile here.
The use of animation is on the rise in commercial video production. The reason is twofold: creating animation is one of the safest low-contact forms of video production in the time of Covid-19, and new cutting-edge animation software and techniques are now more widely available to commercial production studios.
As a marketer, you know animation is trending. The question is when, why, and how you should use animation in your next project?
Traditionally animation is the go-to in commercial video production when you are selling a product that is technical in nature and difficult to explain without a strong visual presentation.
Think classic explainer video. Similarly, animation is a good choice when you need to demonstrate any kind of process flow, from product life cycles to work flows, but the best when is when you want to go out-of-the-box. Animation is limitless. There are no boundaries on characters, setting, mood, or message.
And that leads us to the why. Again, animation is limitless. Use animation because you want to create a visual that is simply not possible in live-action video. Use animation because you want to invoke magic or whimsy.
Check out Apple’s iPad Pro video for a solid sample of both.
Use animation because you want to stretch your consumer’s imagination. Sherwin Williams has been wowing consumers for years with their color chip series.
You can also blend live-action and animation to create depth and contrast in your message. Adobe Photoshop’s newest video Fantastic Voyage successfully drives the “limitless imagination” message home with this method.
Similarly, Keen Decision Systems used live-action for authenticity and blended it with animation to create a playful mood in an otherwise straightforward product presentation.
Finally, use animation because the environment dictates it. Covid-19 caused many marketers to pivot both in messaging and delivery. For months live-action video ceased or was so restricted that a creative, compelling message was hard to deliver. Brands turned to single-actor live-action blended with stock video or animation, and generally speaking, nailed it.
The question of how to use animation in your video really comes down to what style of animation to use. Animation styles run the gamut, from hand-drawn 2D styles to super photorealistic 3D styles. The animation style you choose lends itself to the overall mood of your product message. 2D Vector styles (aka motion graphics) are the most common style of corporate videos. They are simple, straight-forward, and lend themselves to explainer videos.
On the opposite of the spectrum are the 3D styles, which are more expensive to produce but trending because of the “wow factor” and advances in animation technology. Check out this animation style guide if you really want to take a deep dive into animation styles and samples.
Is Animation a Fit for My Video?
The best video, regardless of how it’s made, has a compelling well-crafted narrative. That’s your first step. Figure out your story, the tone of your story, and who it speaks to (i.e your audience). Then find a video partner and do your homework. Look at their animation samples- do they tell a good story, and do they successfully execute the animation styles that you favor. A video partner that offers both live-action and animation is a plus. You won’t be restricted on your creative options. Finally, don’t be led by price. The old adage applies with animation- you get what you pay for. Go for quality. It wins every time.
The Future of Animation
The future of live-action video in the face of the pandemic is still uncertain, but the future of animation is bright. Software platforms like Unreal Engine, previously devoted to gaming, are evolving such that video producers can now create 3D virtual worlds for corporate commercial applications. Commercial animation is an emerging market, and the talent pool is impressive. The definition of the commercial video is changing. But that’s a topic for another blog.