Explainer videos are not one size fits all. In fact, there is a myriad of different types of explainer videos, with just as many uses. Some videos fit certain purposes and audiences perfectly, while others, less so. With so many different types to choose from, it’s no wonder so many people find the decision a tricky one to make. A task made even more challenging when considering the impact this choice can have on your return on investment.
This article aims to make this decision an easy one. We will discuss the various types of explainer videos, what they do best, and how they might affect your business. Let’s get started!
Motion graphics animation
Beginning our list is motion graphics, a type of explainer video that has found particular use in the tech industry. It is incredibly simple and straightforward, not requiring much in the way of expert knowledge. It can be a great way to explain complicated products in a simplified and easy-to-understand manner. No wonder the tech industry likes it so much.
Motion graphics animation typically consists of an eye-catching 2D animation style. Flush with bright colours, lots of objects, and dynamism sure to grab your viewer’s attention and keep it. The only hurdle here is in keeping your animation from overwhelming your marketing message. Though, with a bit of creativity, you’ll be surprised just how easy that is.
2D character animation
Another type that has seen extensive use is 2D character animation. It is incredibly versatile, able to fit pretty much any role you can think of. Your creativity is the limit with 2D character animation; by blending art, story, music, voice-over, depth, and more, you can create a great animation that can get across any point to any audience! All that you need now is an idea.
The main drawbacks to 2D character animation are budgetary, in both a time and a money sense. Unlike motion graphics, this type of video often takes a bit more skill to create. If you don’t think you’re the next Picasso, you might want to outsource the task to a professional company. But of course, that costs money. The tradeoff here is that for higher investment, you can create some fantastic, engaging content to a level of customization that is hard to match.
Following on from 2D animation is, of course, 3D animation. For those that want a level of detail and customization beyond what 2D animation can offer, this type of video is for you. It can be used to create impeccable, top-quality, artful videos that can tell any story you can think of. As opposed to 2D animation, you can employ creative camera use to pan or rotate around your characters to enhance your story. With all the tools on offer, 3D animation is sure to result in unique and high-quality content, perfect for your marketing needs.
However, quite like 2D animation, there is a catch. Where 2D animation was somewhat costly, 3D animation is hugely expensive, both in time and financial costs. 3D videos can be a huge undertaking. Often requiring a host of animators and artists to finish one in a timely manner. Any changes you might want to make will only further push the finish line down the road, something that can result in notable delays if not carefully managed. This may seem like quite the condemnation, but for businesses with a large marketing budget, this style can be one of, if not the best, approaches available. For smaller businesses, however, it is likely best to steer clear.
This style of video acts as something of a middle ground between 2D and 3D animation. All of the assets in a 2.5D animation video are actually 2D, though, through a technique of layering objects, they appear as if they were 3D. This allows you to create visually interesting videos at a high level of quality without the high costs associated with 3D animation.
2.5D animation is relatively similar to other styles in function, such as 2D animation or motion graphics. However, as it is a pseudo version of 3D, it does offer quite the stylistic difference. If you are looking for a 2D style with a twist, this one could well be for you.
Quite the leap from the styles of today, stop motion is a blast from the past that still holds a significant place in modern marketing. As you likely know, it is a style of animation where objects are photographed in sequence as they make slight movements. With the resulting photographs being pieced together to make an animation, quite like a digital version of flipbook animation. There have been a number of films shot using this style that were very successful, so it certainly isn’t obsolete just yet.
As you might guess, the major issues with this style are time and rigidity. In exchange for a fresh look, you must be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into creating a good video that can satisfy your marketing goals. If you want to make changes partway through production, the lack of adaptability will make this quite a challenge, with costs mounting the more changes you need to make.
One of the most unique types of animation, rotoscopy, is a mix between real-life performance and animation. It is a fairly old invention, dating back to 1915. Though you will be happy to hear the process has been made easier since then. Unlike the past, present-day rotoscoping is done mostly by software, which takes real performances, such as dances or expressions, then traces them over a long series of individual frames. The end result is a very realistic and unique-looking animation. Think Aha’s Take On Me music video as a stylistic example.
If you have decided that animation just isn’t for you, then don’t worry! Live-action is one option still on the table. It is often used in videos that need a lot of talking, such as testimonials, making them a great fit as an explainer video type. One noteworthy advantage live-action offers that animated alternatives can’t match is personality. As you will be recording real people, it is much easier to build a connection with your audience, as well as making a more emotive video.
Hopefully, you can see how much explainer videos have to offer as a genre. Though we have included a range of applications in this article, there are so many more types available. If you are still left wanting, widen your search, or better yet, blend some of the types together! With explainer videos, the possibilities are truly endless.