When done properly, animation can add some visually striking features to an interface while providing a functional benefit. Animation allows you to tie key concepts together in a visually pleasing manner with an attractive capability to capture user attention. Animation provides a memorable experience as it leaves a mark on a different area of the user’s brain, resulting in a longer-term visual recall. With attention spans at an all-time low, the faster you can hook your viewer’s interest, the better. Written content is still the go-to method for conveying information, and it works well, but animation and video are powerful tools that shouldn’t be overlooked. When site copy drops the ball, animations are waiting to pick up the slack. Some argue that video is a greater contributor to conversion rate optimization than content, but the jury is still out on whether that is factual.
There are a host of different types of animation ranging from the simple to the visually complex. We have 3D animation (CGI, computer animation), 2D animation (vector-based), stop motion (claymation, cut-outs), video series, motion graphics ( typography, animated logos), and, of course, some combinations of all the above. Each will have its advantages depending on the response you are trying to evoke, the surrounding content, and, of course, the human and financial resources available. That being said, some basics of animation are common regardless of which style or approach you decide upon.
Each type of animation is prepared uniquely based on the script, references, storyboards with descriptions, and related audio (music with a free or paid license, sounds, and/or voice-over recordings.) These basic elements, when combined, create engaging, effective animation. What makes animation such a favorable tool is the balance it strikes between the need for visual stimulation with information delivery. With that said, it’s important to know the unique characteristics of each style of animation for you to make an informed decision based on the needs of the project and/or your distinct tastes and preferences.
3D animation will highlight texture and lighting elements, always a strong choice if your information is complex; complex information can easily be adapted into a visual medium. This option is especially popular with modern-themed digital products. On the other hand, 2D animation is still popular for disseminating information with a classic look and feel. 2D animation includes images, illustrations, content, and various graphics. Stop motion is a less common medium but one that will showcase your striking design if implemented well. It uses a sequence of frames taken from a photo and video materials compiled to create a cohesive movement from scene to scene. Because stop motion is less common, it screams “unique” to your viewers. In case you needed a reminder here, the design is entirely about attracting your target user and converting them into whatever action it is on your site. It is designed to capture whether that is a registration or sign-up, a sale, information-based, and/or surveys or questionnaires, and we’ve established by now that hooking your users is vital with any interface.
On a more traditional note, video sequences use edited clips of video stock or self-recorded footage. These clips are then tied together to deliver a graphical message most memorably. Motion graphics are a popular form of animation and are perfect for elementary designs. Motion graphics utilize code to create engaging visuals that release bursts of information briskly. Motion graphics are usually icons or image animations. They’re popular on both desktop and mobile interfaces.
As you might expect, and similar to other types of highly functional tools, animation takes time to produce and is not without cost. There are, however, several factors that will affect the production timeline and price. Let’s break a few of those down, so you have a better sense of what you’re dealing with:
In short, the type of animation you select and the related cost is determined by many factors; it is not cut and dried. Generally speaking, the animation is rarely a mistake. It is usually a worthwhile investment and seldom a regretted decision.