It might be challenging to know what to look for when contracting animated material if you haven’t worked on animation yourself, but as the demand for content rises, it’s probable that marketers will find they have little choice but to consider including animation in their content arsenal.
Understanding the differences between animators who work in two and three dimensions is crucial. Style and scope should be taken into account before anything else for more specialized demands; an animator with ten years of experience using the wrong approach would produce work that is less effective than a recent graduate with the right set of skills. In that sense, it is a peculiar discipline.
Here are three types of animation and guidelines for evaluating each from an animator’s reel in more detail.
The motion must, above all things, be aesthetically pleasing. Shapes that transition quickly and smoothly from one position to another. In order to stimulate direct communication of function and form to the viewer as rapidly as possible, objects and characters should be well-drawn, and, specific to motion graphics, unambiguous and simple. Information appears when it is required by the conversation, narration, or subtitles in terms of animation direction.
The hand-drawn animation is the most expensive of the three styles discussed in this article since it places the most weight on artistic ability. Motion, especially in animals or people, should be smooth and natural if it is not striving for abstracted images or a choppy, low-frame-rate (less than one image per every third frame at 25 frames per second). Beware of characters that are warping or bending at strange angles to simulate movement; these are so-called “bones,” artificial joints created by software that the artist has inserted into drawings but which were not intended to move or deform. They are unsettling to look at because they are a kind of cheat code. This avoids the requirement for character rigging, which we see next in the animation of a 2D digital puppet but is arguably unacceptable in a frame-by-frame animation.
Don’t be fooled by the name; this puppet is actually a digital structure that supports a hand-drawn character that was rigged over the course of several days to behave realistically when animated. Look for stationary figures or animal pieces that don’t change stylistically while other elements move, flail, or deform to determine whether animation is puppeteered or boned. These puppet joints are made to make it easy for an animator to change the character’s poses quickly, greatly expediting the process.