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Why Use Animation: Beyond The Basics

When it comes to the world of animation, there's more than meets the eye. It's not just about cute characters or flashy effects; it's a powerful tool that can transform your video projects in ways you might not have considered. Let's dive into the incredibly versatile world of animation and explore how it can elevate your upcoming projects.

2D vs. 3D: Adding Depth to Your Story

Animation comes in two main styles – 2D and 3D.

2D Example for the Seattle Kraken

3D Example for the Seattle Kraken

What's the Difference?

In 2D animation, motion occurs along the x-axis and y-axis, creating a classic yet dynamic feel. It's perfect for adding life to existing 2D elements, like logos or creating minimalist and easy to understand visuals for explainer videos. The simplicity of 2D animation can deliver complex ideas with elegance.

On the other hand, 3D animation introduces an extra dimension—the z-axis. This adds depth to your visuals, allowing objects to move closer or farther from the viewer, mimicking real-life movements. It's a go-to choice for things like sports broadcasts and product renderings where the goal is a more realistic and engaging viewing experience.

Animation And Filming: Unleashing Creativity

Many projects initially lean towards filming as the primary method to convey their message. While live-action has its merits, adding animation can be a game-changer even for footage based-pieces. It brings a touch of magic to your video, stimulating your audience's minds and really embedding those key messages.

"Talking heads and expert interviews are the way to get my message out there," you might think. While it's true, sometimes traditional interviews can become repetitive. Animation, paired with the more traditional interview footage or even with expert voiceovers or audio, can illustrate the message with a fresh perspective that resonates and sticks with viewers.

Building Your Brand 

Animation is a great tool to help reinforce your brand.

Your brand has colors, fonts and a specific visual style. Why not incorporate that into the video with animation? It makes a memorable impression on your viewer, helps distinguish you from your competitors and also helps clarify your values and message.

Sometimes this is as simple as the color of the graphics or style of the animation. In some cases, it helps provide specific character to the video. A video shot of a student walking toward a campus can certainly be any student at any campus. But talented graphic designers, illustrators and animators can create that scene  in a way that leaves no mistake that it was your institution and brand

Enhancing Footage with Animation

When animation is supported through a voice over or interview audio - it opens up the possibility to illustrate the message and give some added value to the expert voice. Let's say it's a piece for a specific college and the passionate interviewee gets into how there are some bright individuals who are showing academic promise, and if they get on the right path, they can blossom.

If this section is handled with traditional b-roll, we might see a cinematic shot of a student walking in slow motion toward the campus - which is fine and certainly inspirational! But what can’t be shown with just video footage is that initial feeling of leaving your hometown, choosing between the right college and the emotion you feel when you finally know.

Here, we can use animation to illustrate the subconscious and have a student confidently walking from their home and seeing two paths. They choose the path toward the campus and the scene blossoms with flowers and sunshine. Pretty impactful, right?

Repurposing Footage 

But maybe you already have some great video clips or photos you want to use. (And if you aren’t repurposing footage from previous projects - you are not getting the most out of your content. But that is a whole different blog...) Maybe there are some shots that weren’t used or were cut short. Or maybe what was seen wasn’t explained as clearly as you would have liked. Maybe the shots are so awesome you have to show them it again.

While you are reusing these clips - what helps keep the shots fresh and really get the message across is adding motion graphics to illustrate core concepts and stylize the footage in an eye-catching and engaging way. When the viewer sees the kinetic text and style, these visuals can resonate subconsciously with the viewer as they absorb the content and are already forming a brand awareness of your company.

We did this with a video a client needed for a trade show. This automation company had a collection of video clips of their machines and wanted to repurpose the content to use for a trade show. And with trade shows, the room atmosphere is noisy and can be difficult to hear a voice over. So, that was a no-go. But they still needed a way to provide information, identity their brand and attract people to the booth. So, we used high-end motion graphics to highlight their machines, reinforce their messaging and get conversations going. We shot no footage, but the clips looked brand new and served a brand new purpose as well.   

Animation can be Simple or Complex

Animation is very good at simplifying concepts. Like this video we did with DRB for their Uptime Solutions brand. Something as complex as car wash equipment and monitoring services can certainly sound complex and machine-y. But they wanted to reenforce their simple, friendly and responsive approach.

This was better handled through simple animation vs. filming car wash troubleshooting and customer service. And their brand was represented through the style of animation - so the viewer easily understood the attitude of the company and also what distinguishes them from the competitors.

But not all animation and motion graphics need to be simple! Especially with some tremendous imagination and some ideas that cannot be articulated through filming alone. This is where animation can really shine and, in the most simple way, subconsciously make people feel in awe or wonder.

In our sports projects, we are able to transform a desolate desert scene into an ice rink with the energy and impact that matches. We are able to burst flames behind basketball players right as those lyrics of the song hits. And, on the side of wonder, we are able to put Santa relaxing on a chimney enjoying a cookie and some milk. These ideas cannot be done without imagination - and they cannot be done without animation.

Final Thoughts on Animation

Animation is limitless when it comes to creativity. It can take you to fantastical worlds or create awe-inspiring moments that can't be captured through filming alone. Whether it's turning a desert into an ice rink or adding flames behind basketball players, animation brings your wildest ideas to life.

On the surface, it's easy to see what animation is and how it’s helpful. But it’s more important to realize why animation is effective underneath it all and why it can lead to greater results when it comes to a viewer taking action or feeling an emotion. Because animation really can be a little bit of magic!

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