Is 3D animation the new standard for online content?

Tuesday June 25, 2024

The world of animation has changed a lot over the years, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down! From the hand-drawn 2D animations of yesteryear to the latest 3D and CGI animations that stop us in our tracks, the industry has evolved. This evolution both meets and drives the demands of modern viewers. And since the digital world is where we consume so much of our content, this is where a lot of 3D animation appears. So is 3D animation becoming the new standard for online content? And where do other animation forms fit in?

Understanding different animation styles

There are various types of animation, each with its own unique characteristics. Many pieces combine animation techniques, too. So it’s worth understanding the differences in order to appreciate how commonplace 3D styles have become for online content. 

  • Traditional animation: This animation uses sheets of celluloid, onto which each image is hand drawn or painted. It’s incredibly painstaking and complex.
  • 2D animation: Earlier 2D animated characters would be initially hand drawn and then scanned and layered using digital technology, which then moves parts of the image. More often now, the whole process can be digitally drawn and animated. It’s the animation that lots of us grew up with.
  • 3D animation: This style is what we’re used to seeing in the latest cinema releases from the likes of Pixar and Disney. Characters are designed using graphic software, and there’s texture, light and movement in the images.
  • Computer Generated Imagery (CGI): This encompasses visual effects. It’s generally a step beyond 3D animation when it comes to realism. It often uses motion capture technology to enhance realism of character movement. 
  • Stop motion animation: Covering things like puppetry, clay modelling, even human actors, this animation uses a series of still photographs to create the action. 

Each type of animation has its own set of tools, techniques, and applications. Traditional 2D animation involves creating images on a flat surface, while 3D and CGI use complex algorithms to create more lifelike visuals. The great thing about technology now is that animation types can be combined to great effect. It’s all about getting the right concept. 

Animation in digital marketing

It’s clear to see why animation is such a popular medium online. From a digital marketing perspective it ticks loads of boxes. With audiences scrolling through endless feeds, it’s challenging to stand out. By incorporating movement, vibrant colours, and dynamic storytelling, animations grab attention and make messages memorable. 

They’re accessible too. Animations break down complex ideas into digestible visuals, making them perfect for explaining products, demonstrating services, or sharing brand stories. They engage viewers more deeply than static images or text alone, increasing the likelihood of message retention. For digital marketers and small business owners, integrating animation into marketing strategies can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates. 

So, of course more and more marketing campaigns are choosing to use animation. This is one of the drivers for the rise of ever more advanced animation technology in the online space. Does that mean that it’s taking over? We think that other forms of animation still have a really strong place too. It’s just about using them in the right context.

When to choose 2D Animation

2D animation is extremely versatile. It’s used in explainer videos, social media content, email marketing, and website design. Explainer videos benefit from 2D animation’s ability to simplify complex concepts through engaging visuals and storytelling. Social media content often leverages short, snappy 2D animations to capture attention quickly.

  • Cost effective: Producing 2D animations tends to be less expensive than 3D animations, making it accessible for small businesses.
  • Faster production: With fewer elements to animate, 2D projects typically have quicker turnaround times.
  • Flexibility: 2D animations can be easily adapted across different platforms and formats, ensuring consistent messaging.
When to choose 3D Animation

3D animation is often used in product visualisations, virtual tours, and detailed demonstrations. For instance, e-commerce websites might use 3D animations to showcase products from all angles. Real estate firms can offer virtual property tours, providing potential buyers with a realistic viewing experience.

  • Realism: 3D animation offers a level of realism that 2D cannot, making it ideal for product demos and immersive experiences.
  • Engagement: The depth and detail of 3D animations can captivate audiences, encouraging longer engagement times.
  • Versatility: 3D models can be reused and adapted for various purposes, from marketing videos to interactive applications.
When to choose CGI 

CGI can create stunning visual effects, interactive experiences, and realistic product renderings. For example, luxury brands use CGI to produce high-quality visuals that reflect their premium status. Interactive CGI elements on websites can enhance user experience, keeping visitors engaged longer.

  • High quality: CGI delivers high-quality visuals that can elevate a brand’s image.
  • Innovation: Using CGI demonstrates a commitment to innovation, appealing to tech-savvy audiences.
  • Customisation: CGI allows for highly customised content, tailored to specific marketing needs.

Matching content and style

Choosing the right animation style can really boost the effectiveness of your video content. Sometimes it’s worth chatting to an expert, which is where a production house like Ally and Mo can help!

Brand identity

The animation style should align with your brand’s identity and message. For example, a tech company might benefit from the sleek and modern look of 3D animation, while an health organisation might find 2D animation more accessible.

Target audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial. Younger audiences might be more drawn to the vibrant and playful nature of 2D animation, while older audiences might appreciate the sophistication of CGI.

Content goals

Consider the goals of your content. If you’re looking to explain a complex concept or send an aspirational message, 3D animation or CGI might be more effective. For more straightforward messages and explainers, 2D animation could be the way to go.

By understanding the unique benefits and applications of each type of animation, you can create more engaging and effective online content. Whether you’re a digital marketer, content creator, or marketing manager, animation offers unlimited possibilities to bring your ideas to life. At Ally & Mo, we work with expert animators who specialise in a huge range of styles. Get in touch today to discuss your project – we’ll make sure you find the perfect animation style for your online campaign.

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