2D or 3D animation – which style is better for your business video?

No need to say that the video/animation is one of the most effective ways of distributing content.

There are many forms of video that work for business needs. There are product or promotional videos. Even unboxing, comparison, tests, live streams, commercials or explainers. All those may be published on the brand owned media or another web platforms. The most stunning ones are pretty shareable. There is a strong connection with using video in your content marketing strategy and increasing the sales. With an appealing visual style and specific added value, it can both entertain and educate the audience. It can encourage people to show the engagement. Also make your brand more recognizable or even gives it the unique personality.

What are the benefits of using the animation?

You can gain all this above mentioned profits by producing animated or live action video – that’s for sure. On the other hand animation gives you more flexibility with putting your vision into practice and coming with more extraordinary or even abstract ideas. And you can introduce your idea in a wide context.
Another thing worth noticing is that the animations production process is easier to control. You can still adjust all the video elements to your target audience preferences. There’s no need of hiring the cast that is more time-consuming.
Furthermore, animated video and storytelling is a perfect match. Storytelling is one of the most effecting ways of conveying information. It is much easier to remember the facts that appear in the gripping story. That’s a part of human’s learning process that appeals not only to the children but also to the adults. Combining the good story with attractive visual form let you get the watchers attention. It increases their engagement too.
You can use the neutral tone of the narration that is not connected with the exact person. That solution can be very helpful. It can be used in social campaigns that aim at raising people awareness about some serious matters. Those matters being violence or any form of harassment.
And last but not least, animation can be also used for many different reasons. Entertaining, educating, promotion and advertising being just a few of them. One of the most effective tools for video content marketing are explainers. They are short animated videos that let potential customers get your business or product idea.

Craftoon- asian proverb

So, to make long story short, there are the pros of choosing animation:

  • flexibility

  • easy to control the production process

  • doesn’t require the actors’ attendance

  • conveying information in the attractive, easy to remember way

  • right both for educational and business purposes

The animation styles you can choose

There is a couple of vital matters you have to decide, when it comes to your explainer or any animated video production. From the audience recognition, overall idea. Things like storytelling, scenario. Goals you want to achieve. Even more specific ones like the audio aspects and appropriate animation technique. There is quite a wide range of styles you can choose for your video:
  • 2D animation – sometimes called traditional animation; uses two-dimensional space for the characters movements
  • 3D animationsimilarily, all the movements are presented in three dimensional-space with a use of digital tools
  • whiteboard animation an animation style that let the viewers take part in the whole drawing process
  • motion graphics – it is a combination of typical design elements – various shapes and typography with an illusion of movement
  • stop motion creating a visual effect of movement by using sequentially photographed objects
Based on our experiences, we will explain the differences between the two most common animation styles. Those styles are 2D and 3D. Follow this guide for the tips that let you choose right one for you.

What is 2D animation?

That style has a long story behind. First things coming to mind about 2d animation are old Walt Disney productions or popular animated TV sitcoms such as The Simpsons.
The process of creating those animations starts from drawing creatures in a series. Each of series shows changes of creatures’ positions. Combining them all together gives the movement effects. Nowadays, artists use both hand drawing and computer methods. The characters are flat and the illusion of movement is created by quick putting all the drawn frames one after another.
Even if the 2D animation seems to be less visually attractive than 3D – it still has many strong advantages. This technique is perfect for the explaining ideas or a message in a clear, non distracting way emphasizing the content’s main point.
Look at the Craftoon’s 2D animation explainer for Sag’s Wien – Vienna City Administration App
Sag’s Wien is an application of Vienna City Administration dedicated to public transport users. This 40-second explainer presents the purpose of the app as a useful time-saving tool. It informs the City Administration about all on-going concerns, dangers and problematic spots of the city.
The most challenging case for this production was to convey the whole underlying idea of the Sag’s Wien app to the viewers. They are not used to have a lot of time to watch the commercial. The 2D form works great with the short time and an informational character of the explainer.

What is 3d animation?

These techniques are based on digital tools to create characters in three dimensions – hight, width and depth. That gives a great effect of more realistic look and smooth movements and gestures. The animator creates models that are computer controlled with a 360-degree rotation. Viewer can observe characters from different angles. It also gives a great possibility to create lifelike surrounding. It also helps showing dynamic scenes like an explosion. Subtle details like object texture, wind ripples and shadowplay are in range of 3D animations too. That’s why 3D is usually chosen for more complex concepts that need making a huge visual impression on the viewers. Even sometimes letting them become a part of the action. That solution is more expensive and more time-consuming than traditional 2D animation.
That kind of animation is often used in the industries that need to give a comprehensive look at their objects such as
  • gaming industry
  • architecture, construction, real estate
  • manufacturing
  • design
  • medicine, health care
  • research institutions
Here’s the example of one of two 3D animated commercials provided for a Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza
It was created to raise awareness of the fact that the newspaper can be also read on digital devices. Mobile phones, tablets or laptops, not only in traditional paper printed form. It was aimed both at newspaper fans and those who usually don’t spend time on reading it. Above all, it was aimed at people who are not informed about the possibility of getting the newspaper online. The target group was quite diversified. Hence, there was a need to create a material that would bring the attention of people with different preferences.
Sometimes there is also a way of combining 2D and 3D animation methods together and getting the hybrid animation.

How to choose?

You might come to a conclusion, that there is no strict rule to choose the appropriate animation style for your video. That’s the half-truth. The use of both techniques is quite flexible but there are some crucial issues you have to consider before making the final decision:

  • budget – undoubtedly, 3D animation production requires bigger financial and time outlay

  • concept – think about your vision, if it will work better with a simple way of presenting things and strong substantive message or creative visual background

  • main goals – name the main points you want to highlight, what is the information you would like to convey through the video

  • define the target audience – their personalities, common features, preferences, a way of perception; consider identifying their preferences by conducting focus group analysis that is often offered by video agencies

  • your brand operational and marketing strategy to fit in it with your video

Remember that this complex approach is essential for getting the animation that brings the satisfying results. Think holistic. The overall impression on the video is a result of all the integral parts working perfectly together. Besides technical animation aspects, narration, the time length and audio background play a very important role as well!

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