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How to Create & Maximize 2D Animation Explainers

Animation has come a long way since it was just a source of entertainment. While the earliest examples of animation were little more than novelties, the art form has evolved. Throughout the 21st century, 2D animated videos have been used to tell some of our most beloved stories, and now 2d animation explainers serve as a great communication tool.

The medium is capable of much more than just entertaining, and with advances in 2D and 3D animation, it’s now used in everything from 2D explainer videos to feature-length documentary films. Video animation is now being used more broadly and for more purposes than ever before, and 2D animated explainer videos have been adapted for a wide variety of content.

What is 2D Animation?

Modern 2D animation has progressed considerably since the early days of nickelodeons and cinematographs. With the advent of high-powered computing technology and ever-increasing technological wizardry, another dimension was added to the artform—literally—and 3D animation is now increasingly common.

2D animation is, in essence, an artform that simulates movement in a two-dimensional plane. Individual drawings (sometimes called cels, in reference to the celluloid film originally used in their production) are “stitched together”  and displayed at a specific speed.

When we view these still images at a sufficient rate—24 frames per second, though 30 is more of a modern standard—they create the illusion of movement. This rapid display of images makes us perceive characters, props, backgrounds, and other visual effects as moving in and around their animated environment.

Why Explainer Videos Are a Must for Marketing & Communication

Infographic about the science of visual communication

Explainer videos are some of the most popular videos on YouTube and other social media platforms. 2D animation explainers have been seeing increased popularity lately, but that’s a little like saying more people like fun now than ever before. They have always been popular, and for good reason—they’re instructional, educational, and entertaining!

It’s one of the most efficient means of delivering a message—no matter what it is. Visual messages not only resonate with their audiences more, but they are also processed faster, understood more completely, and retained for longer than information presented any other way.

There’s nothing quite as shareable as an explainer video. They’re instantly recognizable, familiar, and fun. Anything that catches someone’s attention long enough to make them learn, reflect, or care about a message is likely to be shared. The qualities that make explainer videos so compelling are precisely what gives them such high viral potential—people like to share cool things.

There is a long list of reasons why 2D animated explainer videos are perfect for communicating, marketing, teaching, or a host of other purposes. Two of the most compelling reasons from a marketing standpoint are cost-effectiveness and conversion potential.

It’s a lot cheaper to hire a video artist (even an incredibly charming and talented one!) than it is to hire a handful of actors, cameras, lights, and sound operators. Then there’s equipment rental, location scouting, filming permits, and other expensive-sounding things. An explainer video gets your message where you want it for a fraction of the cost—and in a way that’s almost guaranteed to be more effective.

And whether your “conversion” process is directing your audience to a top-of-funnel landing page or inspiring them to contribute to their community, a clear call to action is essential. 

Custom 2D Animation vs. Sites like Fiverr or Upwork

The difference between professional, trained, and talented video production artists and the kind of (frankly) more amateur gig workers you find on sites like Fiverr and Upwork is … significant.

Imagine you have the opportunity to dine at an authentic Tex-Mex restaurant in a scenic, off-the-beaten-path border town. Think fresh lime, cilantro, hand-made corn tortillas, and a feeling of blissful disbelief that such a hidden treasure exists—and you found it.

Now imagine grabbing a couple of one-dollar tacos from a place right off the interstate and the best thing about the establishment is the drive “thru.” Convenient? Sure. Cheap? You bet. Are you going to take a picture of your meal and post it on social media? Not unless you’re big on irony.

A lot of the finished products you’ll get from gig economy sites looks a lot like all the other finished products you can get from gig economy sites—sort of like fast food. That’s because it uses stock imagery, stock backgrounds, and even stock animation. You—and your message—deserve better.

Working with dedicated, talented, and experienced video animation artists is going to provide a much better experience, much better results, and a finished product that’s unique, custom to your purposes, and created with your voice and your target audience in mind.

Use-Cases for 2D Animated Explainers

Screenshot of whiteboard video animation depicting characters distracted by various text bubbles

There are as many uses for 2D animated explainer videos as you can think of—literally. If you can have a conversation about it, you can make an explainer video of it. With the help of talented and experienced artists and a well-tuned production process, you can make it an entertaining, compelling, and powerful form of communication.

Internal Communication

Explainer videos are perfect for a wide variety of internal communications, whether it’s instructional, educational, or more administrative in focus. Teaching your team about new technologies or techniques, bringing them up to speed on changes in policies, or even communicating organizational and management changes are all great opportunities to use the many benefits explainer videos can bring to your message.

External Marketing Campaigns

The same things that make 2D explainer videos great for internal communication make them equally awesome for any external-facing messages. They greatly enhance a landing page or other part of your web presence, and it’s no secret that videos increase page views, retention, clicks, and conversions.

All of those things contribute to your message being shared on social media, and nothing builds brand awareness like trending on social media. They also enable you to track that kind of engagement more easily, whether it’s for a traditional PPC video campaign effort or for top of funnel audiences. Once you have your engagement data, you can remarket and re-message to those friendly faces.

Product Rollouts & Updates

2D explainers are also great for introducing new products or services. You can literally illustrate the features and benefits of an offering, explain how it works in as much detail as you like, and guarantee that information gets across more effectively and efficiently than any other form of communication.

Screenshot of a video animation clip

How to Get Started Creating 2D Animated Videos

2D animated videos can seem deceptively simple—they’re not. A lot of effort, talent, and experience goes into making video animation explainers that are effective, fun, and have that familiar, accessible look. 

Here at The Sketch Effect, our team of experienced and dedicated professionals is proud of their past efforts for clients like Google, Home Depot, Kimberly Clark, and many more.

While we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to share our video animation services with such big names, we love the chance to help the little guy make a big difference, too. We take every chance we can get to work with smaller, local businesses, and we’d like to show you what we can do for you. Schedule a consultation to discuss your 2D animation needs and ideas—we’d love to chat.