The choice of animation style and type is an important step in the video production process. It identifies how the business video will be paced, what tools and techniques will be used for that, etc.
For many companies, however, the challenge here is how to correctly decide on one option since there are so many forms of animation out there. Often, business owners get simply lost while browsing through all the terminology and real-life examples.
In this blog, we want to shed some light on the peculiarities of different categories of animation. We will look at the most popular styles and types of computer animation, as well as techniques used in animation, and explore their characteristics to give you an understanding of what should influence your choice in that regard.
Let’s get started! 😉
- Animation Style vs Animation Type: What is the Difference Between Definitions?
- Different Animation Styles: 3 Things You Need to Know to Choose the Best Style or Type for Your Video
- Different Types of Animation with Examples
- Which Type of Animation Is Best for Business?
- Final Thoughts
- Our Experience with Different Types of Animation
In the years of developing animation videos for startups and SMEs, one of the most common questions we get asked is “What types of animation styles fit my business video?”.
First of all, there’s no unambiguous answer to this question, and the choice depends on different factors. So, if the video agency you are about to start working with answers this question right away, without giving it a second thought, chances are your contractor is not that experienced in the business video production — but more on that later in this blog.
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Secondly, and most importantly, the problem around different types of animation styles already contains a logical contradiction in itself since the animation styles and animation types are not the same thing.
You may ask “Why do I need to know that? I’m not an animation developer expert” — By knowing where the difference lies in you’ll be able to make a better-informed decision about aspects of your next business video.
So, before we proceed to discuss the animation styles examples and describe types of animation, let’s get clear on the terminology.
In traditional art, the style is a set of rules that define the appearance of the objects. These rules influence shadows, transitions between shots, forms, colors, and object sizes.
Check this example — Here is how a single cartoon character looks like when drawn in different styles:
– But what about animation styles in a video?
In the video industry, animation style defines how objects move in a shot, i.e. how they are animated. Here, the object appearance plays a significant role too, but the main characteristic that identifies style, however, is how objects flow in a shot.
For example, your character may inherit all the biomechanical moves of a human body, and move accordingly, or it may show up as a doll with articulated limbs only. More information on the character creation process can be found in this article.
Aside from the obvious differences in a color palette, compare the character’s animation: Onfo is an example of a simple animation style, the one where characters barely move in a shot while Bundermail’s characters move a lot more freely.
Animation Style – concept, that defines animation logic for the objects in video and helps to set needed mood via visual elements
Basically, animation type is a parameter of an animation style that characterizes the technology and effects used to produce video. This term incorporates all the animation techniques used by the video industry today: 2D, 3D, Motion Graphics, Stop Motion, Cutout, etc.
Animation Type – technique that is used to create animation video and is chosen based on the preselected animation style
Lots of resources often confuse the concepts of ‘animation style’ and ‘animation type’, so we think it would be important for you to know what comes first. Such small but important knowledge will definitely play to your advantage while discussing your project with the video agency.
Different Animation Styles: 3 Things You Need to Know to Choose the Best Style or Type for Your Video
For those who are only starting to think about creating their own video, coming across all the details of animation video production may be overwhelming: “How to decide on the right animation style?”, “How do I know that the animation type I have chosen is the right one?”, “What does the budget of an animation video depend on?” and so on and so forth.
To clear the air for you, here are three must-know things about animation videos.
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that style and type of animation video are only ingredients — or tools — that help achieve your goals, and not the end goals by themselves.
Oftentimes, businesses that are looking to create animation video don’t quite get the idea behind this marketing asset, thinking that here success is directly proportional to the complexity, and thus style/type of animation video. The choice of style should be dictated by the results you expect to achieve and not by the tools themselves.
Let’s develop on this point a bit more. When choosing animation style or animation type for their video, businesses need to identify practical outcomes they want to get and work towards achieving them. These can be the increase in conversions across different distribution channels or sales funnel stages, brand awareness, etc.
The concept of animation video should be based on your client’s profile, messages you want to deliver, nature of distribution channels, etc.
Another aspect of choosing a style for an animation video is the requirements set by you, of course. For example, you may have a storyline idea or want a video to match brand colors, or your budget is limited and you don’t have resources to invest in complex animation, etc.
Creating complex animation forms is labor demanding. Opting for a rich style or animation type can inflate production costs dramatically. Moreover, two animation videos of the same length but different animation art styles could differ in price by 2-4 times. A few fast pricing situations that you may bump into on the market today:
- Opting for a 1-minute whiteboard/motion graphics animation would normally cost $1,000 – $2,000 / minute.
- Opting for a 1-minute flat character animation would cost $2,000 – $4,000 / minute.
- Opting for a 1-minute traditional animation would cost $4,000+ / minute.
👉 More about the costs of animation video production can be found here.
Animation videos can be produced in a vast variety of styles. Of course, there are some basic rules that animation designers follow, but the style of the animation video can be anything you like or want to see.
With animation types, however, the situation is more or less clear, and you have a ready-made set of technologies to choose from.
Before going through basic types of animation videos in a bit more detail, one important thing that we want you to know is that 2D and 3D are the two main animation archetypes, while others are just deriving from these two categories:
- 2D — Motion Graphics, Whiteboard, Cutout, Traditional animation, Screencast, etc.
- 3D — CG 3D, Motion capture, Stop motion, etc.
As the name implies, this is a type of animation where all characters, creatures, FX, backgrounds are created in two-dimensional space. The animation is created by setting in motion or sequencing together individual drawings. 2D animation videos normally render on screen 2-24 unique drawings per second.
Thanks to its cost-effectiveness (compared to 3D animation) this type is widely used on television, ads, websites, in mobile games, and explainer videos.
Let’s look at 5 types of animation that are most commonly used in the creation of 2D videos.
Animation video where every frame is drawn on a computer individually and each following frame is drawn a bit differently from the previous one. An example of traditional animation is a flipbook, where images gradually change from one page to another. The following is an example of such a video type produced by our traditional animation studio:
Basically, it is an animated graphical design where different elements (text, shapes, objects, characters) are set in motion by a 2D animation production studio.
Animation where an author ‘draws’ images on a whiteboard by hand. All images in this type of animation video are sequenced to accompany a story narrated by the author. In fact, we at Blue Carrot originally started as a whiteboard video production company and thus have the most expertise with this type of 2D animation.
Another name is “puppet animation” because here a direct analogy can be drawn with the puppet show, where the movement of a doll or toy is controlled by the rods or strings. This type is widely used in business videos as it allows you to get quality animation without breaking the bank. Here’s an example of such a type produced by our cut out animation company for TTRS:
Relatively simple type of animation video where the actual interface of a program, website, or software is displayed and synced with the voiceover audio. Also, it can include some basic elements of motion graphics.
👉 Follow the link for more video services our 2d animation agency has to offer.
In a similar way as with the definition of 2D, 3D animation sets in motion various objects in a three-dimensional space. This type of animation is considered to be expensive to produce; however, with the right approach and experienced 3D video production company, you can also get a 3D animation video on a budget.
The commonly used types of 3D animation for business videos are:
The most popular format that comes up when you think of 3D animation. Here, all the imagery is computer-generated and animated in a 3D space.
This type of 3D animation involves recording the actions of the real actors and rendering them in 3D.
Similarly to the traditional animation, here the 3D objects are moved by small increments between frames, conveying the illusion of movement once all the frames are put together in a sequence
Let us show you a list of examples of different animations and their stylistic combinations that are coming straight from our portfolio:
- Punahou — a minimalist animation style that allows for higher animation quality by animating simple characters, without stretching budgets or dedicating more time to the production process:
- Route 4 Gas — the example of a painted flat motion graphics explainer video where a lot of complex technical information is conveyed via animated objects and elements:
- Owlin — a great example of kinetic typography animation. Here, the textual content is set in motion to capture user interest and convey main messages:
- Infoskill — a whiteboard animation video. Here, text, characters, and other objects are all ‘mixed’ together and presented in a form of hand-drawn-like images:
- Takeda — a flat vector 2D explainer video done in soft color palettes with smoothly animated characters:
- GIN — an example of traditional animation. Every single frame is hand-drawn; the video consists of 12-24 frames per second:
- KOA — 3D low-poly explainer video. Though low-poly animation drastically differs from those that are highly polygonal, the end result doesn’t look cheap (thanks to the carefully thought-out style) even though production costs of low-poly videos are lower compared to high-poly animation:
This category of video encompasses different types of animation, the production of which does not involve the use of computational power, in other words, the use of any digital software. There are probably more than 10 types of animation of this kind, but here are the most popular ones:
This is a cutout animation in its traditional form. This type of animation involves creating characters, props, and backgrounds out of paper and moving them slightly between each shot — in a similar fashion to stop-motion animation. The photos (shots) are then played in sequence, to create the illusion of motion.
Sand animation involves creating illustrations by manipulating sand on a lightbox. The artist moves the sand around and creates different shapes, textures, and even characters that get captured on camera. Sand animation can be either stop-motion or recorded in real-time, depending on what effect an artist wants to achieve.
Zoetrope is an optical device that has been used for more than a century to create animations. It consists of a drum-shaped cylinder with the pictures attached on the inside. When the cylinder rotates, these pictures start to ‘move’.
It can be used to create simple sequences of motion, such as a running horse, or a bouncing ball. Today, this ‘old-school’ device can be used as an educational tool or for some specific creative purposes.
We have explored the main types and styles of animation, so what’s next? “How to choose the one that will fit my project?”
When clients reach out to us with this question the first thing that we are looking at is the sales funnel because the choice heavily depends on your objectives and most of them are coming directly from the sales funnel phase that a business video will be used on.
For example, if it’s an Awareness stage we recommend doing a short promo video that then can be used in the marketing campaigns. You can also consider creating an educational video — 2-3 minutes long video that carries practical value will trigger audience interest as well.
If it’s a promotional campaign, designers often build animation videos around bright and catchy concepts. The requirements for the style, in this case, are more demanding since bright and idea-rich concepts demand more complex animation and more time to produce a video.
Educational videos, on the contrary, shouldn’t be overly complex to produce, that’s why they are created using simple animation styles.
The cost of an animation video is directly connected to the video length and, since instructional videos are normally longer than marketing ads, there’s no reason to opt for complex animation style or types in this case.
Here is a short ‘cheat sheet’ for you that covers all the stages of the sales funnel and offers the corresponding animation video type for each:
At Bluecarrot.io, we normally identify the style and type of a business video during the briefing process.
At this stage, we also define whether there are any constraints that will affect the choice of the style. These can be budget limitations or the need to accurately render the mechanical object (in this case 3D would be the obvious choice right away), etc.
If for some reason, during the briefing process we don’t get all the information needed, then we advise on the style and type during the concept development stage where our designers create a few illustration samples to help the client make the final decision.
So here you have it — a complete guide to the different styles of animation and all types of animation that is based on our own experience.
The main idea we want you to take away from this blog is that all animation styles and all types of animation are only tools that should not be your guiding factor during the animation video development process.
Set marketing objectives that you want to achieve and choose complex or a style/type accordingly, and not vice versa.
If you are looking for help with your business video, feel free to contact us via the form below, and one of our managers will reply to your inquiry ASAP 🚀
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Creating animation videos for more than 8 years we at Bluecarrot.io developed our own approach to this process.
Our mission is not to produce a video within a limited set of rules, but to deliver a product that is 100% tailored to the requirements of a client — our showreel proves exactly that.
We always strive to go the extra mile and do our best to deliver the expected results. When we are not satisfied with how things are going, we change direction and do it our own way — if the quality of hand animation does not satisfy us, we take 1,500 photos of the real hand to step up the whiteboard video quality. This is what makes us — and our work — different.
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