Animation in marketing: A beginner’s guide

Animation in marketing: A beginner’s guide
Matt Burton
Matt BurtonRusty Monkey Ltd

Posted: Tue 3rd May 2022

Using animation in marketing can strengthen your brand, improve audience engagement and better demonstrate your product or service.

That being said, it can be quite tricky to choose the right type of animation to suit your goals. There are so many things to take into consideration, such as budget, key audience, time limitation and so on.

There are several digital animation techniques out there, each one suited to specific applications.

Let’s clear up some of those uncertainties for you, and help you choose the most efficient type of animation for your project.

What are motion graphics?

Motion graphics animation consists of turning static graphic design into animation.

This type of animation focuses on making dynamic and interesting presentations using basic illustrations, shapes and text.

They can be used anywhere, from explainer videos and news to commercials and TV productions.

How motion graphics work

The process of creating motion graphics usually involves animating 2D illustrations, text and transitions using basic keyframing.

To move an object from one point to another, all you need to do is to set its initial position and its final one. The computer does the job of filling the gap between the two. You can get very smooth animation, with minimal effort.

Pros of motion graphics

It is the fastest and often cheapest way to create an animation.

You can illustrate complex ideas with animated graphics. And the visual style is appealing to a vast range of viewers.

Cons of motion graphics

It is a lot harder to get complex motion (such as a character running in 3D space, or intricate facial movements), which means it’s harder to follow the narrative of a story.

It is harder to deliver emotion and character. Other animation mediums are better for that.

So, when are motion graphics most useful?

  • When the deadline and/or budget is tight

  • When there is minimal narrative or storytelling

  • When you need to explain complex services or products

Motion graphics are also great for:

Short GIFs for social media to boost engagement. It’s no secret that video and animation get a lot more love from people on social media than static images do:

What is 3D animation?

3D animation, also known as CGI (computer-generated imagery), is the most popular animation type for character-driven animation.

It is used in both feature films and games. But it is also used commercially, often to visualise products that have not been manufactured or photographed yet.

3D animation of girl with laptop and cat

How it works

The process of creating 3D animation is often technically intensive, as it requires a lot of steps to get a final result.

A character is first modelled, then textured, then rigged (this creates controls which move the character), then animated and put into a scene which has been decorated and lit.

After all that is done, the whole thing is rendered out - which can take days, if not weeks. And finally, you have an animation.

Pros of 3D animation

With 3D animation, you are playing a long game.

Once the assets have been created (things like the characters, environments, objects), you have them for life.

You can re-use them, show them from different angles, and create future animations a lot faster. These assets become very versatile.

You can also create very complex scenarios, tell stories, and even create visual effects like flowing water or falling snow.

Cons of 3D animation

It can be quite time-consuming - not only the creation process but also the rendering process.

And that means it can be a lot more expensive if the animation is done from scratch.

So, when is 3D animation most useful?

  • When you need more complex animation

  • When you know you will be using the assets for a long time

  • When you need to see more angles of the subject matter

  • When dealing with narration or a story

3D animation is also great for:

3D visualisation of your product. You can show what it’s made of and how its inner workings run in a very accurate way. It’s also a lot more versatile than product photography:

What is 2D animation?

2D animation, also known as traditional hand-drawn animation, is the oldest type of the three.

While it is very time-consuming, it has a specific charm to it. It stands out from all the other styles of animation that are out there.

How it works

The process of 2D animation is the most straightforward out of them all.

The animator draws every frame by hand, mostly digitally these days. It is usually animated at 12 frames per second rather than 24.

That means that it takes 12 separate drawings to make up one second of moving imagery. Most movies run at 24 frames per second, but when it comes to 2D animation, artists often choose to skip every second frame, thus cutting the production time in half.

The animator only has to make 12 drawings per second as opposed to 24. This way, creating the animation becomes more achievable in terms of time and budget.

Oftentimes, the final result has a ‘choppy feel’ that is very characteristic of 2D animation due to the low frame rate.

Of course, you can always choose to go for a smoother look with 24 frames per second, as long as you have the time and budget for it.

Pros of 2D animation

2D animation has a definite ‘wow factor’.

It stands out, as it’s rarely used these days. You can animate anything in 2D, as long as it is not very technical, and it is great for storytelling and conveying emotion.

It is a lot more artistic than technical, so it’s better if you’re looking for a more relaxed feeling.

Cons of 2D animation

It is time-consuming and therefore more expensive.

The end result also heavily depends on the art style of the animator.

So, when is 2D animation most useful?

  • When you are looking for something unique.

  • When you have a narrative, a story to tell.

  • When emotion and character have priority.

2D animation is also great for...

Short GIFs for social media to boost engagement:

Add animated accents to already existing footage:

And of course, you could always combine all three types of animation to get something truly unique:

Do you need some animation to bring your project to life? Find out how our animators can help and connect with me on Enterprise Nation today!

Matt Burton
Matt BurtonRusty Monkey Ltd

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