Explainer videos: 6 types of animation styles

Nowadays, there are lots of style options available to choose from when producing explainer videos. Every business situation is unique, so choosing the right format can be a tricky task and often rests upon understanding which one best aligns with your needs and objectives.

To make explainer videos, you have to choose whether to make a live action or an animated video. So once you decide on animation, there are also different types that you should choose from. Animated videos have become one of the most powerful tools for your marketing endeavors. Animation is the process of creating the illusion of movement by showing series of still pictures in rapid succession.

Let me give you an idea about some types of animation styles for your next explainer videos . Here we go!

Whiteboard Animation

This style of animation is one of the most popular for explainer videos. It is all about simple illustrations which are drawn in black and white on a whiteboard. You can tell your story with hand drawn images on a clean white surface that will supplement the information you are trying to communicate.

These videos are excellent for explaining dense or complex information and technical jargon in a straightforward way.

Whiteboard animations have a simplistic feel and minimalistic design which allows the viewer to concentrate on the content and understand even the most complicated ideas, thus they offer the benefit of being to the point.

These videos are ideal for IT solutions, tech startups, educational purposes and are also best for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to explain new medications, surgical advancements, and patient portal information.

Here’s an example of a whiteboard animated video we produced for Agile.

Screen-cast Animation

A screen-cast is a digital video recording that captures actions taking place on a computer or mobile screen, showing the changes over time that you would see if you were watching the screen itself. It often includes a voice-over which narrates what is being explained on screen, thus placing your audience directly in front of the information you want to convey.

Screen-cast videos are effective instructional tools for educating customers or employees. They are useful for explaining tutorials, demonstrating how to use operating systems and website features. If your product is a complex software, platform or a mobile app, you can benefit from this style to showcase how it works, step-by-step.

Here’s an example of a screen-cast animated video we produced for the Lebanese Ministry of Finance.

Animated Infographics

Infographic videos are visual representations of complex information are created by combining various animations to create an informational video which helps explain data in a clear and engaging way and aims at improving the viewers’ perspective on the subject matter.

These videos aim to explain, educate or inform based on a script. They usually include numbers, graphs, charts, histograms, diagrams, and mind maps. Having all this information animated is very helpful in avoiding putting the viewer to sleep while reading through the data.

Animated infographics are an effective tool for communication. This style is great for statistically based information and best when you’ve got a lot of detail to get through in a short amount of time, or when you have a complicated topic you need to explain simply.

Infographic videos are often components for business intelligence software. They help people understand information, for they are a visual representation of data.

Here’s an example of an info graphic video we produced for Medica.

2D Animation

2D animation is one of the most popular and broadly used techniques. It focuses on creating characters, storyboards, and backgrounds in two-dimensional environments. Often thought of as traditional animation, the figures can move up and down, left, and right. They do not appear to move toward or away from the viewer, as they would in 3D animation.

2D animation uses vector graphics to create and edit the animated images and is created using computers and software programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, and Encore.

2D animation provides the most possibilities based on colors and characters that can be used and gives you the most control over your video. They aren’t perfect for every situation, but for most businesses and scenarios, 2D animation is the way to go. It gives you a lot of options and flexibility which is why they end up being so popular.

Here’s an example of 2D animated video we produced for Cooling Events.

2.5D Animation

2.5D animation, as the name suggests, lies somewhere between the 2D and 3D space. It’s a 2D animation drawn into a 3-D space as it involves the motion of 2D-animated object in a 3-D space.

This animation creates an eye-catching sense of depth. This animation technique simulates a 3D environment. The object layering makes the whole video appear more sophisticated and fluid. It’s like looking to cutouts moving in a 3D-like space, even when all of the elements are designed in 2D. This is a great alternative for companies with a limited budget that want to look top-notch but can’t afford the price that comes with 3D techniques.

Here’s an example of a 2.5D animated video we produced for UNDP Lebanon.

Motion Graphics

Motion Graphics is the animation style that uses shapes and text and brings still graphics to life with animation, visual effects and other cinematic techniques. So just as the name suggests, this video animation style conveys an explanation through simple animated graphics.

These videos are colorful, fresh, dynamic and to-the-point, and straightforward in presenting facts. Unlike the other types it is not character or story driven. It’s the art of creatively moving graphic elements, shapes, logos or texts, usually for commercial or promotional purposes.

Final Thoughts

Your choice of animation style says a lot about your brand and your message, and depends on many factors such as the complexity of the topic, key message of the video, target audience, and video marketing goals. To view more of our videos click here

Not sure which animation type is right for you?

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