Cartoon animation vs. live action: Know, how to decide

Present complex topics in a simple manner. Communicate dry information in a fresh way. Who doesn’t want this? Everyone can do boring – especially when it comes to How-To videos! But the decision of working with animation or live action, needs to be carefully considered.

Animation always looks fancy at first sight. However, the associated time and effort quickly becomes obvious: It is not only the suitable character that has to be developed and designed so that it would last for years – the complete set design also has to be created. It becomes disadvantageous if you need many items to explain a process. However, with a live action video the set design already exists. The host slips into the picture, acts with objects and explains processes. Done!? Almost. It may take a while before the sentence is said as it should be and the movements are coherent. Expensive equipment can also drive up the price.

The limitations of live action videos

When it comes to complex topics you will reach limitations with live action videos. Some things may not even be visible to the naked eye, others are simply too complicated. With cartoon animation, you make these processes visible – and understandable. Have courage to leave gaps! By deliberately leaving out irrelevant information, viewers are only confronted with the content they need to understand. However, it does not make any sense leaving out detail information when it is crucial. For example when presenting a new car, nothing should be left out! This is where the live action comes into play, enabling the viewer to perceive the object in all its facets and with all its information.

What wasn’t shot, doesn’t exist

An important argument for cartoon animation is that the “protagonists” are always available. Missing scenes can be added or corrected at any time. But be careful: This can end up being very difficult and expensive.
The rule with live action videos on the other hand is: What wasn’t shot, doesn’t exist. Either a re-shooting has to be arranged (expensive!!) or the scene will be dropped. Corrections afterwards are also almost impossible.

Real emotions require live action

Character animations do not replace live action. If you want to show real emotions, you will need the „real“ image. A human being can express any kind of feelings in a short time and is able to transform into a role model for the company. An animated character on the other hand won’t be able to manage this so easily.

As you can see, both video types have advantages and disadvantages. Carefully consider how best to transport your content. You can’t decide? How about a combination of live action and cartoon animation?