The Wonderful World of Animation

A is for Animation in my ABCs of Video Marketing series and here’s a video with some quotes from one of the best known names in animation.

“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.  ~ Walt Disney

Simply put, animation is an illusion – like an optical illusion.  Animation creates an illusion of “continuous motion and shape change” according to Wikipedia.  Watching a series of static images displayed in rapid sequence, we experience the illusion that those images are moving and changing.

Animation can be created in a variety of ways, ranging from flip books hand-drawn on paper to traditional hand-drawn cartoon animation and today’s many computer software tools.

Once the individual static images are drawn or otherwise created, then you need a way to “play back” the series of images in very rapid succession.  With a flip book, that happens by fanning the pieces of paper.  But more commonly, the images are recorded and then played back in a movie or video.

We enjoy watching animations made with clay figures (known as “clay-mation”). paper cutouts, or magnetic letter toys moving across a refrigerator and we marvel at the creativity of their authors, this process of stop motion animation is extremely time consuming.

Flip books and traditional hand-drawn animation (sometimes known as cel animation) are also very time consuming and labor intensive and they require precise drawing skill.

The widespread use of computer software has made digital animation accessible to many more people and made it much, much faster to create and record animation.

Why is animation so powerful?

When I first read the Disney quote above, I wondered why he thought animation was so powerful.  I thought perhaps he just meant video in general.  I thought perhaps it was the innovation of movie techniques that made animation seem so powerful at that time.  But the more I began using video in my business, I began to understand.

Here are a few of the benefits which I think make animation an excellent medium for communication:

  • You can create video of things that would be inaccessible to record a video with a camera, such as inside a living human body or objects in outer space.
  • You can design the main characters to look however you want, easily creating more diversity in the “cast” of your video.
  • You can place those characters in front of an infinite variety of background scenes without having to take your camera “on location” – and without relying on the performance of human actors.
  • You can turn inanimate objects into the main characters of your video and give them the ability to move and speak and tell a story from a unique perspective.

I think animation invites our creativity in a way that no other medium does because its possibilities for expression are really limited only by our own thinking.

How can animation be used in video marketing?

Animation is a great addition to the video marketer’s toolbox.  While it is important to show yourself on camera and to let your audience hear your voice, it is also important to mix it up and provide your content in an engaging and entertaining variety of styles.

That said, I will also offer a few cautions:

  • Marketing is mainly about getting your message into the minds of your clients and prospects.  For that you really need a verbal message, not just animated characters and background music.
  • The majority of your marketing videos should present valuable information that your audience is seeking to solve a major problem in their lives or businesses.
  • But you can inform and educate while you also entertain.  This will make your target audience more likely to watch your videos – animated or otherwise.

I’ll close with another Disney quote:  “I would rather entertain and hope that people learn something than educate and hope that people were entertained.”  ~ Walt Disney

Do you have a favorite animated video or movie?  Please leave me a comment about it.  I love to hear what people find attractive and entertaining.

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