What is the best animated explainer video style for your business?
what is the best animated explainer video style for your business?
We are frequently asked this question, clients know they want a video for their business, they enjoy our work at Sundstedt Animation and perhaps they have seen a few videos they loved with a style that they have in mind for their video. This can be either a video from our portfolio from a previous animated video project, or sometimes also from another web video they watched online.
We have our own personal video styles at Sundstedt Animation
There are a lot of different styles of animated explainer videos, perhaps you are also wondering what is the best animated explainer video style for your business? In this article, we provide you with some information and tips on this subject. We show some of our own animations to help explain some of the differences between our different styles and techniques. At Sundstedt Animation or main focus is on animated cartoon style videos and whiteboard videos, so we will concentrate on those styles in this article for you.
We only make handcrafted explainer videos at Sundstedt Animation
Please note that the information here applies only to our own animated video work, we don’t use any standard characters, stock artwork or templates, so you will get very different results from other animation studios. We make sure they are unique by creating new characters for each cartoon style animated video. Our techniques and styles differ from the competition, our videos are handcrafted and we design and animate them in-house, sometimes with a creative brief from another agency, but mostly directly with our own clients.
We design and animate all our videos in-house
Anders Sundstedt designs, illustrates, directs and animates all our video from scratch, so every design, style, illustration and animation you see is his own work and is custom made for each animated explainer video project. Anders Sundstedt has his own personal design styles and he can do many different cartoon styles, corporate styles, and motion design styles for your explainer video.
This is why videos from Sundstedt Animation are always unique and custom made for you. Every video is different, sometimes sketchy, sometimes very smooth lines and curves, depending on what the client wants. But always with great care, and a lot of time spent on each client project. You can see this for yourself by viewing some of our explainer videos in our portfolio. We can only take on a certain number of projects per year because we’re a small studio, so we sometimes have to turn projects down if our schedule is full and we can’t take on any more bookings.
Different complexity – our focus on premium quality, advanced cartoon explainer videos
The different styles and level of complexity have different benefits. At Sundstedt Animation we focus on more high-end, advanced animated explainer videos, but they are all different, custom made from scratch. So when we produce a new quality explainer video for a client, we know it is going to be unique. A lot of work goes into each video, because we really care about the quality of the resulting explainer video (or any other animated video we make) at the end of the project. Here is an example of one of our latest high-complexity animated explainer videos:
DPRAA Animated Explainer Video
The importance of getting the viewer interested in your video from the start
First of all, it’s important to keep the customers interested from the start of the video, within the first 5-10 seconds, so the video needs to make them want to watch the whole video from the first few seconds. Videos are known to keep the audience on websites longer and convert better than text only.
Remember the importance of a great voice over
Never forget the importance of the voice over. A great voice over can actually be more important than the visuals in the animated explainer video, it’s not all about a cute video and clever designs! The voice over needs to be made by a professional VO artist, professionally recorded, ideally in a recording studio environment, professionally mastered and edited. We always use profession, experienced VO artists that we have chosen based on the style of the project, the kind of voice our client wants and we usually listen to many different artists before we decide who the hire for the VO recording. This can be quite expensive, you should plan to spend at least £300 or more for a professional VO artist. We often spend more, as recording studio time often needs hiring as well (so it’s not cheap when you want the best quality and a seasoned VO artist.)
About our Animated Cartoon Style Explainer Videos
These videos we make are great for drawing people’s attention and to explain complex subjects in 60 seconds. They are usually story based and consists of cartoon style characters, that can be very different in style. These videos are great at engaging the viewer to help turn them into a customer or client. They are often funny and entertaining, making them more fun to watch.
Animated Cartoon Videos can help build your business brand
With our custom animated characters and handcrafted backgrounds, artwork and scenery, this helps build your brand and getting this just right is important. These videos, especially animated explainer video and animated marketing videos, are compelling and can be 100% custom made, helping build you brand with a great story and a quick, short video to tell your brand’s story in a fun and entertaining way. So it’s important at the start of the video project to be able to provide us with the basic information we need, in a creative brief.
Providing us with a creative brief for your video
To write a creative brief (that we usually get from the client) it’s important that you know the following basic information about the video you want: What must it be? Who is it for? What’s the age group & gender? How long does it need to be? What’s your objective with the video? When does it need to be finished (timescale)?
The importance of a unique, high quality video that is easy to recognize
This is also why we recommend that you don’t go for a cheap looking video with stock characters that have been used in lots of other company videos. The video can help build your website and brand, so it’s really important that it’s unique and easy to recognize. Because it’s not good if potential customers and website visitors see competitor videos that use the same design, artwork or stock characters as your video. That is not very impressive or good for helping your brand, making it less likely to potentially turn the viewer into a customer, or make them stay longer on your website.
It’s boring to watch a video that uses standard templates and/or stock artwork and characters. This can turn people off, making it less interesting to watch a video. You probably have experience of seeing cheap explainers and other web videos using drag-and-drop stock characters and templates? There is nothing that could make us make videos that way, because we take great pride in every single explainer video we make, and as artists, we love what we do and want to create new content! Our videos are the result of loving what we do!
Check out this example of a longer animated explainer video we did for young children. You can tell it’s made from scratch, with original characters, backgrounds and animations:
D&G Animated Explainer Video for school children
Timescale, design and budget
The visual style and look of each video we create is decided based on different factors including budget, timescale, and requirements. The more complex and time-consuming work, the higher the budget required. Also, keep in mind that the larger the budget, the more time we can spend on making your video more awesome!
2D Cartoon Style Animated Explainer Video
Here follow’s examples of some of our animated cartoon style videos. As mentioned, we have our own design styles, but there are two fundamentally different techniques we use, 2D or “2.5D”.
First here is one of our recent 2D cartoon style animated explainer videos for Milo Biotechnology:
Milo Biotechnology Animated Explainer Video
As you can see, we use our own characters that we designed especially for this video. This video is 2-dimensional, there is no depth in the animation, even though there are a lot of layers in the illustrations, it’s all flat. This is one of our most common techniques for explainer videos. It’s usually just called 2D animated cartoon style explainer videos or simply cartoon style explainer video.
In the clients Milo video above, we created our own custom detailed background illustrations, a lot of details and custom made, detailed characters that are animated, not static. You can also see that the motion is not simple, the characters are climbing and walking across the screen. So it’s another example of a more complex animated explainer video.
2.5D Animated Cartoon Explainer videos by Sundstedt Animation
Next, we have another 2D animated cartoon video style, this a variant which we often call “2.5D”. Again, in our work all the assets and all artwork, characters and animations are handcrafted and custom made.
This video ‘100 Years in Marketing‘ is an animated cartoon explainer video in our own 2.5D style. It’s one of our earlier videos, but people really like this animated video and it’s good at showing the basic differences between our 2D and 2.5D videos:
100 Years in Marketing Explainer Video
Key differences between our 2D & 2.5D animation styles
You will notice differences such as that there are now shadows on the ground, there is a “3D” feel to it, objects are in different layers at different distances, there is 3D-depth. But all the layers are still drawn in 2D. We call this 2D animation in a 3D-space. The characters and objects are not 3D-models like in a 3D movie, but the scene is in a 3D space. (If you find all this talk about 2.5D and 3D confusing, just notice that it’s not all on a flat plane, you get shadows and we can move in and out of the scene. Apart from that, the design style is very similar to normal 2D.
In the image below, you can see an alternative screenshot (this bearded character version was not used in the final video) from the ‘100 years in marketing’ 2.5D animation. We have objects and characters at different distances to the viewer and shadowing:
More differences with our 2.5D versus 2D animated cartoon style videos
Another difference in 2.5D that you will notice in the example above, is that it allows the use of DOF, depth of field. Which is when for example the foreground is more or less out of focus, while a character further away is in focus, just like a real camera works. This can be visually very pleasing but is overkill for many explainer videos, where normal 2D is often the simplest and most suitable style. One example could be a video that features cartoon style animations of an app user interface, it could be more suitable to stick to normal 2D, like for example in this example, an earlier explainer video we did:
This early video we did for Givvit, we would consider being of a medium complexity in our video portfolio, the characters are custom made, but they are not moving very much. It’s still ‘advanced’ but less complex than some of our other, newer videos.
2.5D, timescale and complexity
Our 2.5D videos can take more time to make. It is for example, more computer-heavy, so it can often be slower to work with the video and animation. There are more things to keep track of than if it’s all on a flat 2D plane. But by avoiding complex scenery, the difference in complexity is not always that much higher than normal 2D.
Here is one more of our earlier cartoon style video in 2.5D, notice for example how the scenes are built with layers at different distances from the camera:
Another example of or 2.5D Animations
Making your choice between our 2D or 2.5D cartoon style animation
So should we use 2D or 2.5D cartoon style animation? First of all, 2.5D is not very common in online web videos, so it’s really something subjective. “2.5D” can be a bit more labor intensive to create, but it’s not something that would impact very much on our pricing. It’s more really about what you like the most and what you think suits your web video and brand the best. We really like our own 2.5D style animations, in our own personal styles, so we are happy to do your video in this style, or a combination of both. But it’s a bit more unusual and unique. As mentioned, the two techniques of 2D and 2.5D are really pretty similar, with the main differences being for example depth, 3D movements, image layering, DOF and shadowing.
When animated cartoon style videos are great
If your video is for end users, small- or startup businesses, then a cartoon style animated video can be a great choice for your video. Let us know what you budget is, when you need it by, and who it’s for, and we can help you choose if a cartoon explainer video is best for you and provide you with a free quote.
Animated Whiteboard Videos – Sundstedt Animation style
Whiteboard video is a different style, it is an exciting way to advertise and market your service or products. Whiteboard videos are really great because it’s very easy to follow and explains things in a very simple way. It’s ideal for areas such as software, IT, technology, medical and science.
Whiteboard videos and videoscribe videos are often fun and with a great script, they can be super-entertaining for the viewer to watch. They are flexible and can often be easier to update compared to a cartoon animated explainer video.
So what is a whiteboard video and how does it work?
Because characters and artwork are mainly static, apart from a hand/arm moving (often a photograph of an arm, sometimes and filmed arm). When it’s animated on the computer the hand “draws” the illustrations in “real-time”, or at least it’s made to look like it is, as seen in this short clip:
Brief example clip from our whiteboard video with moving arm
The name whiteboard video comes from that the surface that these videos are drawn on are usually whiteboards. These days, they’re often drawn on the computer instead (some companies use stock artwork but we never do because we want every video to be unique) and the arm that draws the illustrations are not the actual arm from the artist that drew them but is made to look like it’s drawing them with a real pen, as seen in this screenshot from one of the whiteboard videos we worked on:
This can be really convincing and the quality can often be better and more detailed when it’s animated on the computer instead of filmed with a video camera of someone drawing on a real whiteboard screen. We prefer to make more detailed, higher quality artwork which would not be possible with the thick pens used on a whiteboard screen.
Here is one example of a whiteboard video with did, where you see what we discussed above, an arm/hand “drawing” the images, in our own design style. Notice the detailed lines and coloring that makes our whiteboard videos different (Swedish Voice Over):
Whiteboard video example for Microsoft
Sundstedt Animation whiteboard video styles
Our styles of whiteboard videos are different because we have our own personal style and not very sketchy or rough. We frequently use multiple colors. Sometimes we also use animated elements, instead of only static drawings (a limitation if using physical whiteboard screen). We spend a lot of time in creating all the illustrations for our whiteboard videos. Whiteboard videos are generally less complex than cartoon videos, especially because there are less complex animations. On the other hand, the work on creating all the artwork can still be demanding, especially because everything we do is handcrafted.
Here is another example of a whiteboard video we animated based on a script provided by an agency client (Swedish VO):
Whiteboard explainer video example – Microsoft
Whiteboard video voice over timing
The drawing of the images in a whiteboard needs to be in sync with the voiceover, so timing is of importance, not only the script and design.
So should we go for whiteboard video or cartoon style animated video?
So should we go for cartoon animation or whiteboard video? First of all, even though we enjoy doing both, at Sundstedt Animation we personally prefer animated cartoon videos because we love the style and they are similar to traditionally animated films. But we will now explain some of the benefits of both animated cartoon and whiteboard style videos to help you:
When cartoon style explainer videos are great – length and speed factors
They are great for shorter videos, i.e. 60 seconds or less and to explain things really quickly. In comparison, speed is generally not great for whiteboard videos. The hand must draw everything “manually”, so because it draws everything with a pen, either in real-time or sped up so hand is drawing faster, it’s still all drawn manually and thus it takes longer and you need to allow for the time it takes for the hand to draw the illustrations on the screen. for example, you may need 5, 10 or 15 seconds to draw one image, depending on how much lines it has and how complex it is. I.e. a circle is quick to draw, but a castle takes a lot longer! So cartoon style videos are often better for short videos.
Here is an example of a short cartoon style explainer video we did for a client. It’s only around 60 seconds, so we knew this is a good length for cartoon style explainers, and that’s also what the client wanted from the start. You can also notice that this video is using vector artwork, which means the lines are very smooth and no rough edges and sketchy lines, in comparison to our whiteboard videos and many of our other cartoon explainers:
Duraflor Animated Explainer Video by Sundstedt Animation
More benefits of cartoon style animated videos
Another thing that is better with cartoon style animations is that they can be much more advanced in styling and design, the can be very colorful and just like a cartoon animated film. They are not static because they are not meant to look like they are drawn by a pen on a whiteboard screen. They can have stretch, bend, movement, advanced motions and be more visually pleasing. In a whiteboard video, you would generally not have any motion elements like you have in animated cartoon explainers.
Cartoons can be more fun and allow for advanced motion graphics, transformations, character animations, animated texts, animated images and everything else that is great about animated cartoons. There is a reason why cartoon videos are so popular in the cinema and TV, while you rarely see a whiteboard video on the TV, apart from in some commercials or information videos.
When whiteboard videos can be a better choice for your explainer video
For some really complex areas and subjects, whiteboard videos can be best, to better explain complex subjects in a more engaging way. They are also great because you can include letters and words, that are drawn by the hand/pen, as seen in this short demonstration clip:
This can be very powerful, and it’s a reason why most whiteboard videos include both drawings and words. Sometimes the words are written by the pen, but they can also be animated appearing on their like of drawn by an “invisible hand”.
More benefits of whiteboard explainer videos – longer videos
Another benefit of whiteboard videos is that they are great for longer videos, longer than 60-90 seconds. It feels more like if you are watching a teacher/tutor drawing up everything in real-time as you are watching it, which makes it feel more like you are taking a class in an educational setting (like if you were back in school or university for example). They can also be great if a client thinks that a cartoon style explainer is not suitable for their company profile. Depending on what your video is for, sometimes you may not want a story-based, character-driven cartoon style video, so then a whiteboard (or corporate motion graphics video) could be a better option. Here is one more example of a whiteboard explainer video we did for an angency client:
Animated Whiteboard Explainer Video – Microsoft (in Swedish)
Summary – 2D, 2.5D & whiteboard videos by Sundstedt Animation
Both our 2D cartoon style animated explainer videos or 2.5D cartoon style animations and our own whiteboard style videos all have their different benefits as we have mentioned above. We love cartoons a lot, so that makes them a personal favorite, but for certain videos, whiteboards can be the best options. We think that our whiteboard videos are unique and different from the common whiteboard style videos you will find online, so we really like them as well and for some explainer videos, they are the better choice. We enjoy making them and we do work hard on making the best illustrations we can that are suitable for the whiteboard video.
We hope that this guide has been helpful in explaining some of the differences between Sundstedt Animation cartoon videos in 2D, 2.5D, and whiteboards and that this will help you in deciding what style of video you want us to use in your animated explainer video project!
Other video styles we provide
We also do motion graphics video, motion design, stop motion style, 3d animation and much more. So if it’s an animated web video you want, most likely we can make it! Thank you for reading this article and please do contact us if you are looking for an animated web video and we will do everything we can to help, including a free quote, support and production of your video from script to finished video file.
Other animated film and video we create, include animated music video, training videos and much more. Here are two examples of animated music videos we made:
Pale White Guy – Live (Best Things In Life Are Free) Official Music Video
The Mother – Lush – Music video by Sundstedt Animation
More videos are being created and as soon as they are released we add them to our video portfolio gallery: