Have you ever been able to focus through a PowerPoint or lengthy presentation and truly enjoy it? How many times have you been distracted by your phone, or just completely spaced out? Although each of these outlets has the potential to showcase a lot of useful information, it can be difficult to sit through a boring lecture. All too often the simplest bits of information travel in one ear and out the other during the course of a boring presentation. Is there a solution to any of these snooze-fests? Yes, there is. And it’s called computer animation.
Up until 2014, it was recorded that "the output value of the global animation industry has reached $222.8 billion dollars while animation-related derivatives have exceeded $500 billion" (1). The proof is in the pudding.
Companies use computer animation to effectively deliver information and entertainment. e-Learning videos, commercials, corporate communications, and company websites are just some of the places where you can find animation. While PowerPoint may be appropriate for certain types of information, animation is a proven and powerful way to deliver all types of information to a broad range of audiences. For example, millennials prefer to receive information at a faster pace.
Which would be a better approach: using a click-through PowerPoint presentation or engaging them with an attention grabbing animated short? I would choose animation – 99 percent of the time.
PowerPoint presentations, online reports, or hard copy documents can be an appropriate option for mapping out complex information, but with some creativity along with the technologies and software available, animation can provide the same information to viewers at a faster pace and in a more entertaining fashion – whether that be with animated text or a spotted elephant, the possibilities are endless.
Afraid you will miss material because of it’s fast-pace delivery? The beauty of computer animation is that it can easily be reviewed, accessed, or manipulated. With our increasing use of digital media technologies, it is easy to develop, create, and distribute computer animations.
TYPES OF COMPUTER ANIMATION
Computer animation is a form of animation that uses computer graphics to create computer-generated animation, which can range from minimal movements on a PowerPoint to an elaborate animated feature film. Animation is simply a tool to give movement to information and objects you normally wouldn’t expect to have movement. Movement creates an unpredictable delivery of information. This unpredictability means that the viewer will be more surprised by the outcome, which creates an “at the edge of your seat” feeling throughout an animation, no matter the length. How can you zone out of a presentation with all of that excitement going on?
Animation itself can be an element of delivering material, but it does not always involve hyper-realistic graphics with a complex set up. The floodgates of computer animation have opened! With animation becoming easier to create and view, animators have more room to experiment; new styles of animation are invented every day.
Another benefit to computer animation is the reach it has to educate an audience. As humans, we all learn differently, so there must be a diverse way available to receive information. In the ever-growing manner in which we are exposed to media, there must be an evolution in which we receive information. Computer graphics and animation can be shared and exported via internet and reach thousands of viewers, as opposed to a print medium which is only reached by those to whom it happens upon.
2D animation involves the animation of graphics in a two-dimensional space. If you think of a graph with an X and Y-axis, the graphics would be animated in this space. In two-dimensional mediums, you can create motion graphics, infographics, logo animation, and stop motion animation. Platforms for 2D animation include PowerPoints, e-Learning videos, commercials, advertisements, company websites, movies, or TV shows.
- Logo animation is when a static logo can be brought to life with animation. Movement can now be a part of your brand identity, bringing a whole new medium to your company’s brand.
- Motion graphics usually contain minimal stylized graphics to support other information or media. It uses various kinds of graphics: 2D graphics, 3D graphics, or text. Although 3D graphics could be used, they still hang out in the X and Y- axis
- Typography animation focuses on the animation of text. Typically we would see this style of animation in a presentation. It can be overlaid on footage for aesthetic or learning purposes.
- Infographic animation is a style of computer animation that utilizes numerical information and typography. This style of animation is a great way to portray information to an audience with minimal motion, coloring, styling and layouts.
2.5D animations use 2D graphics in a 3D space. 3D animation is similar to 2D animations, except the graphics have an additional depth to them. On the graph, you would animate on the X, Y, and Z-axis. Now for those of us who aren’t mathematicians, the Z-axis extends out in-between the X and Y-axis, creating a three-dimensional space with depth. The Z-axis is typically used in calculus and computer animation. The graphics are created within the X and Y-axis. 2D graphics in a 3D space allows for more freedom of movement, giving more possibilities to present information and graphics. There is also the option to bring 3D graphics into a 2D space, which holds the same purpose as 2D graphics in a 3D space.
Three-dimensional rendering software, or plainly just 3D animation, is the most complex method of utilizing animation. However, 3D graphics are as versatile as 2D graphics when it comes to animating, customizing, and distributing. Infographics, 3D models, logos, and geospatial animations are just some of the possibilities within the media of 3D animation.
Geospatial animation is a type of animation that focuses on the aerial (or bird’s-eye view) animation of a location. Geospatial animations are used to visualize a city, continent, or planet.
Another type of animation is stop motion animation. Stop motion animation is simply a frame-by-frame animation. A “frame” is a still of an animation. Animations are made up of thousands of frames and gives an illusion of the objects moving. Stop motion animation can be used with various digital graphics such as the aforementioned 2D and 3D graphics. Stop motion can also be used in the medium of its origin, including tactile objects. Remember watching claymation as a kid? That is stop motion animation in its purest form.
With more people having access to animation technology, an even wider range of interpretations and uses for it continues to grow. Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024 (3). Companies should use computer animation because it is a contemporary and easily accessed medium in which to display information. One prominent industry database lists more than 4,500 animation companies in North America and about 1,700 in Asia (1). The viewer has a greater chance of remembering information if they are entertained. It takes the viewer on a visual journey and is not just a boring presentation to sit through while daydreaming.
- Ayesha Ambreen, Marketer, Digital Media Strategist and Writer. Global Animation Industry 2015: Strategies, Trends and Opportunities. Digital Vector. January 2015
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Multimedia Artists and Animators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-htm(visited December 29, 2015).
CATMEDIA is a certified Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm’s trademarked communications process, CATVANTAGE™, enables the team to deliver customized solutions to meet client needs in creative services, strategic communications, training and eLearning programs, and program management. For more information about CATMEDIA, visit CATMEDIA.com.