WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING A PROJECT.
There are numerous web articles on the subject of marketing and advertising animation, and they all have something in common. “Animation is great for these reasons….buy here,” they all say.
Of course, they’re trying to sell you animation. This article, on the other hand, aims to give you an honest account of the benefits and drawbacks of using animation to market or advertise your products or services. It is intended for Business Development Managers, SME directors, Sales Managers, and anyone else considering creating an animation/video.
This piece will:
- a) assist you in determining whether animation is appropriate for your project and, if so, which type,
- b) assist you in considering the information you will require before beginning an animation project,
- c) and supply you with all pertinent information (without the technical jargon).
DO YOU EVEN NEED ANIMATION?
Animation is excellent for communicating key messages in a concise and engaging manner. However, it can be costly, so before deciding to use animation as a marketing or advertising tool, consider that other options, such as using live footage video or even creating a well-designed website, may be more cost effective.
LIVE FOOTAGE VIDEO, ANIMATION OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH?
If animation/video appeals to you, the next step is to decide on the key messages you want to convey to the viewer. A rough script will need to be completed based on this. This will serve as the basis. The script will help determine whether live footage video, animation, or a combination of the two should be used. Animation is further subdivided into 2D and 3D animation, but it is frequently a combination of both.
In practice, your chosen studio will guide and advise you on the combinations you will require; however, it is worthwhile to arm yourself with this knowledge because the more complicated the combination, the more expensive the project. This will give you an idea of how much your project will cost.
LET’S LOOK AT SOME EXAMPLES:
- Tens of thousands of pounds for a high-end commercial that uses live footage video + 3D + 2D.
- The cost of 3D Product Animation using 3D + 2D is in the tens of thousands of pounds.
- The cost of 3D Medical Animation using 3D + 2D is in the tens of thousands of pounds.
- 3D Ident, which uses 3D, costs several thousands of pounds.
- Corporate videos that use live footage video and some basic 2D animation cost several thousand pounds.
- The cost of a 2D Explainer in 2D is around a thousand pounds.
After seeing some examples, it’s worth discussing the advantages and disadvantages of using 2D animation, 3D animation, and live footage video.
2D ANIMATION TENDS TO BE:
- Faster to produce and thus less expensive than live footage video and 3D animation
- more adaptable to creative changes
- Because of its 2D nature, it is more restrictive and limiting. Very good 2D artists, on the other hand, can make it appear 3D.
- more stylistic and straightforward appearance (which is maybe a good thing depending on the desired visual style). 2D is almost never photorealistic.
- best for describing a company’s services
- suitable for animations with a lot of text and images
3D ANIMATION TENDS TO BE:
- Because 3D animation has more power and flexibility than 2D animation, it is more epic and grand, as well as more creative. This gives the artist complete creative freedom. With 3D animation, you can recreate anything.
- used to visualise products and services that are intangible or impossible to visualise in reality
- If needed, it can be more photorealistic, but it can also achieve more stylistic looks.
- high-end commercial advertisements and product animations
- improved integration with live footage
- more expensive as creative freedom and complexity increase
- more expensive, but sometimes less expensive than live footage video
- longer to manufacture
- 2D animation is more adaptable to creative changes.
LIVE FOOTAGE VIDEO IS A GREAT WAY TO MARKET A PRODUCT OR SERVICE ESPECIALLY IF:
- The tangible product or service already exists in the real world.
- It must involve real people and/or a large number of people, or it must involve human touch/emotion. This is difficult to capture and/or costly to implement in animations.
- Live footage is sometimes less expensive to produce than animation (but can also be more expensive).
- Due to the difficulty of organising a film crew, booking shooting locations, and dealing with unpredictable weather, project management may be difficult.
In conclusion, because of lower costs and faster production time, 2D animation and live footage videos should be preferred whenever possible. However, due to the limitations of 2D animation and live footage videos, this may not be an option. Using 3D will provide you with complete creative freedom, but it will come at a cost. In reality, your budget and timeframe will dictate whether you use live footage, 2D, or 3D.
After deciding which type of animation is best for you, you should think about your requirements in greater detail before beginning your project.
DO YOU NEED VOICE OVERS?
Do you have a budget for voice-over work? Professional voice over artists are costly, but they are worth their weight in gold. A well-written voice over can make or break the final animation/video. It can greatly improve and simplify the viewing experience. Adding voice overs to the animation/video allows you to pack more information into the same amount of time without overburdening the viewer.
If the budget allows, voice over should be included wherever possible. This is a critical decision that must be made early in the process. The decision to include or exclude voice over will have an impact on the script and, because the script is the foundation of the entire process, will most likely have an impact on the rest of the project.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS AND TIMESCALES?
In general, cost and timeline are inextricably linked. The greater the cost, the longer it takes to complete the project. The cost is determined by:
- the image quality, ranging from low detail to high-end photorealism
- Animation complexity ranges from a few to many complex movements.
- the duration of the animation/video
Because there are so many variables, providing an estimate on a “typical” animation/video project is difficult. Please see the table above for rough cost guidelines.
Here’s an interesting read about the cost vs. quality of 3D animation (coming soon).
WHAT IS THE OUTPUT AND HOW WILL IT BE USED?
What will happen with the animation/video? Will it be shown on national television, on in-store screens, on the company’s website, as a sales tool, or something else? This is a crucial question because it determines the format and size of the animation/video. If you are clear with your chosen studio, they will be able to advise you on the best format.
WHAT LENGTH OF ANIMATION/VIDEO DO I NEED?
You will be in a much better position to determine the length of the animation/video once you have decided on the output and how it will be used.
Due to airing costs, it will need to be short, typically less than a minute, if it is used as a national TV commercial.
There is no time limit if it is used on the internet, on the company’s website. However, animations/videos should typically be no longer than a few minutes in length, as internet users prefer short, bite-sized content. The key messages should be delivered within the first minute or so of the animation/video. If the length is greater than a few minutes, it is best to create several shorter animations/videos instead. Appropriate links must be clearly visible and easy to assess.
If used as a sales tool or educational tool, the animation/video can be longer (> 5 minutes), especially if accompanied by a presenter.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO HAVE BEFORE APPROACHING A STUDIO?
Before approaching a studio to create the animation/video, the following items should be on your checklist:
- Determine whether it will be live footage video, animation, or a combination of the two. However, be open to the studio’s suggestions. They may be able to achieve your objectives in a more cost-effective manner by employing alternative methods. This will help you decide which type of studio to approach and will provide you with rough cost estimates.
- Choose whether to use voice overs or seek advice from the studio.
- Make a list of the key messages you want to convey to the audience.
- If at all possible, prepare a script. If necessary, studios will assist with scripting.
- Have an idea of the concept of the animation/video if possible. Studios will gladly assist you in developing the concept.
- Keep a strict budget in mind because it will ultimately determine everything from the length, style, quality, and even the concept of the animation/video.
We hope this article has helped you answer the most important questions, but if you have any further questions, please contact us here.