Everything You Need to Know About Animated Explainer Videos

Have you ever wondered how those cool, catchy short videos that explain things work? 

You’ve probably seen them in school, on a website, or while scrolling through social media. 

These are called animated explainer videos, and they’re more important than you might think. 

Let’s take a closer look.

What are Animated Explainer Videos?

A live hand drawing cartoon animated figures in a ship heading towards land.

In simple terms, animated explainer videos are short, fun videos that describe and explain complicated concepts in an easy-to-understand way. 

Explanations can include product and service overviews, orientation videos, and training exercises – the possibilities are endless!

Animated explainers also come in many different styles. Let’s explore the details and benefits of those below. 

Popular Animated Explainer Video Styles

Motion Graphics Animation

Motion graphics are a type of animation with text as a significant component. Motion Graphics are ideal for making abstract concepts more coherent and compelling. 

Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of motion graphics and how they work in explainer videos.

What are Motion Graphics?

Motion graphics are digital footage or animation pieces that create the illusion of motion or rotation and are usually combined with audio for multimedia projects. 

While they may include elements of text, photos, diagrams, charts, logos, or other visual components, their primary goal is to convey information quickly and clearly.

Why Use Motion Graphics in Explainer Videos?

Motion graphics animation has several significant benefits when used in explainer videos.

  • Simplification of Complex Ideas: Motion graphics can break down complex concepts into simple visuals, making it easier for the audience to understand the core message.
  • Professional Appeal: Compared to other forms of animation, motion graphics often have a more professional and sophisticated appeal, making them a popular choice for corporate and tech-focused videos.
  • Flexibility: They’re highly adaptable and can be used in conjunction with other styles, like 2D and 3D animation, to create a more dynamic and engaging video.
  • Efficient Communication: By combining text, graphics, and movement, motion graphics can communicate a lot of information quickly and efficiently.

Key Elements of Motion Graphics

Effective motion graphics explainer videos often incorporate the following elements.

  • Typography: Using animated text is a crucial part of motion graphics. The text’s style, size, and animation play a significant role in conveying the message.
  • Color and Design: Color and design are critical in setting the video’s tone and maintaining viewer interest. It also helps in branding and creating a memorable visual experience.
  • Animation and Transitions: Smooth animation and seamless transitions are crucial in motion graphics. They guide the viewer’s eye from one point to the next, ensuring a coherent narrative flow.
  • Data Visualization: Motion graphics are great for illustrating data in a visually appealing and digestible way. They can turn numbers, charts, and graphs into engaging animations.

2D Animation

A cartoon animation image showing a male standing in front of a bank

2D animation, or two-dimensional animation, is one of the most commonly used forms of animation.

Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of what 2D animation is and how it functions within the context of explainer videos.

What is 2D animation?

2D animation is a form of animation that occurs in a two-dimensional space. This means the objects and characters are only represented in width and height. It’s the traditional form of animation that has been used for decades in everything from classic Disney movies to modern day cartoons and explainer videos.

Why Use 2D Animation in Explainer Videos?

There are numerous advantages of 2D animation when used in explainer videos.

  • Versatility: 2D animation is incredibly versatile and can be tailored to suit a variety of styles, from playful cartoons to professional corporate presentations.
  • Simplicity: With 2D animation, complex subjects can be simplified into enjoyable and engaging visuals, making them easier to understand.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to 3D animation, 2D animation can be more cost-effective and quicker to produce, making it a popular choice for businesses.
  • Relatability: The use of animated characters in a 2D environment can make an explainer video more relatable, thereby helping to build a connection with the audience.

Key Elements of 2D Animation

Effective 2D animation explainer videos often incorporate the following elements.

  • Characters: Characters are often used in 2D animation to bring stories to life and create a narrative the audience can connect with.
  • Backgrounds: The use of different backgrounds can help to set the scene and create the atmosphere for the video.
  • Motion: 2D animation is all about creating motion. Whether it’s a character walking or the movement of objects, the way things move can greatly impact the storytelling.
  • Colors and Textures: The use of color and texture is important in 2D animation, helping to create a specific look and feel for the video.

Whiteboard Animation

screenshot of custom whiteboard explainer video

Whiteboard animation is a popular style of animated explainer videos, recognized for its simplicity and educational effectiveness. 

Here, we’ll explore what whiteboard animation is, why it’s used, its key elements, and its creation process

What is Whiteboard Animation?

Whiteboard animation is a video style where a creative story and storyboard are drawn on a whiteboard (or something resembling a whiteboard) by artists who record themselves. It’s a simple yet impactful style of animation that resembles a time-lapse or stop-motion aesthetic.

Why Use Whiteboard Animation in Explainer Videos?

Whiteboard animation offers several distinct benefits for explainer videos.

  • Simplicity: The clear, clean visuals on a plain background help viewers focus on the content without distractions.
  • Engagement: The process of seeing the image drawn in real-time engages the viewers, keeping their attention for longer.
  • Educational Value: The step-by-step revelation of images assists in learning and retention, making whiteboard animations great for educational content.
  • Versatility: It can be used for a wide range of topics, from business to educational content, making it a versatile choice.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Due to its simplicity, whiteboard animation can often be more cost-effective compared to more complex forms of animation.

Key Elements of Whiteboard Animation

Effective whiteboard animation explainer videos often incorporate the following elements.

  • Continuous Drawing: One of the hallmarks of whiteboard animation is the continuous flow of images being drawn, creating a seamless narrative journey.
  • Black & White Imagery: While not a strict rule, many whiteboard animations stick to black-and-white or minimal color palettes for simplicity and clarity.
  • Clear Narration: Voice-over narration is a critical element, guiding the viewer through the unfolding story on the screen.
  • Visual Metaphors: Whiteboard animations often use visual metaphors or symbols to represent complex ideas in a more digestible way.

3D Animation

Modern internet business and entartainment. 3d vector illustration"r"n

3D animation, a highly dynamic and engaging form of animation, brings a unique level of depth and realism to animated explainer videos. 

Here’s a more comprehensive look at what 3D animation is, why it’s used, its key components, and its creation process.

What is 3D animation?

3D, or three-dimensional animation, is a type of animation that utilizes three-dimensional objects and spaces. Unlike 2D animation, which only involves height and width, 3D animation includes depth, providing a more realistic and immersive visual experience.

Why Use 3D Animation in Explainer Videos?

3D animation offers several compelling benefits for explainer videos.

  • Realism: 3D animation brings a greater level of realism, allowing for more detailed and lifelike representations of objects, processes, or concepts.
  • Engagement: The depth and dynamism of 3D animation can result in more engaging and visually captivating videos, holding viewers’ attention for longer.
  • Versatility: 3D animation can create virtually anything, from realistic human characters to complex architectural structures or abstract concepts, making it incredibly versatile.
  • Innovative Perception: 3D animated videos are often perceived as innovative and high-tech, which can enhance a brand’s image.

Key Elements of 3D Animation

Effective 3D animation explainer videos often incorporate the following elements.

  • Modeling: This involves creating the 3D objects and characters that will be used in the video.
  • Rigging: This is the process of creating a ‘skeleton’ for the 3D models, which allows them to move in a realistic manner.
  • Animation: The rigged models are then animated to move and interact within their 3D environment.
  • Lighting and Texturing: These elements add realism to the 3D models and environment, impacting the mood and visual appeal of the video.
  • Rendering: This is the process of computing and outputting the final video from the 3D software.

Why Consider Animated Explainer Video Services?

Infographic about the science of visual communication

Working with an animated explainer video company offers many benefits for businesses, educators, and individuals alike. 

Let’s explore some of these advantages in more depth.

Easy to Understand

One of the primary benefits of animated explainer videos is their ability to simplify complex concepts. Through visual storytelling, difficult ideas can be broken down into easy-to-understand visuals, making them more accessible to a wider audience.

Engages the Audience

With their dynamic visuals and storytelling, animated explainer videos are designed to catch and hold the audience’s attention. This can result in higher engagement levels compared to text or static images.

Versatile in Style

As we’ve seen with the variety of animation styles (2D, 3D, whiteboard, and motion graphics), animated explainer videos offer enormous versatility. They can be tailored to fit the tone and style of any brand, subject matter, or target audience.


While the initial investment can be higher than other content types, animated explainer videos often offer a greater return on investment. They have a longer shelf-life and can be easily updated or edited over time without the need for expensive reshoots or edits.

Enhances Retention

Studies show that people remember information better when it’s presented visually and audibly. Hence, combining visuals, voiceovers, and sound effects in animated explainer videos can significantly boost information retention.

Increases Conversion Rates

For businesses, one of the key benefits of animated explainer videos is their ability to drive conversions. By succinctly explaining a product or service and its benefits, these videos can help persuade potential customers to make a purchase or take a desired action.

Boosts Online Visibility

Videos, including animated explainer videos, are favored by search engine algorithms. This means having such content on your website can improve SEO, helping your site rank higher on search engine results pages.

Easily Shareable

Animated explainer videos are easily shareable across various platforms, including social media, websites, and emails. This makes it easier to reach a wider audience and increases the likelihood of your message being spread further by viewers who share your video.

Use-Cases for Animated Explainer Videos

Animated explainer videos are an excellent tool that businesses of all sizes can use in various ways to communicate more effectively with their audience. 

Here are some popular use cases in a business context:

Product or Service Explanation

The most traditional use of animated explainer videos is to explain a product or service. 

These videos can demonstrate how a product works, outline its benefits and show potential customers why they need it. 

It’s an engaging and effective way to convey what might otherwise be complicated information.

Onboarding and Training

Companies can use animated explainer videos to onboard new employees or train existing ones. 

These videos can illustrate company policies, demonstrate how to use certain software, or show the steps of a complex process.

Marketing and Advertising

Animated explainer videos are a popular choice in digital marketing and advertising campaigns. 

They can capture the attention of potential customers, engage them with a story, and convince them to purchase a product or service.

Social Media Content

In the era of social media, businesses need content that is engaging, shareable, and fits within 

various platforms’ constraints. 

Short animated explainer videos can perfectly fit this, providing visually engaging content that followers can easily share.

Customer Support

Animated explainer videos can be a great addition to a company’s customer support resources. 

These videos can answer frequently asked questions, guide users through troubleshooting steps, or explain how to use different product or service features.

Investor Pitches

An animated explainer video can be an effective tool for startups seeking investment. Such a video can explain the business concept, the problem it’s solving, how it works, and why it’s a worthwhile investment, all in a way that’s engaging and easy to understand.

Internal Communications

Animated explainer videos can be used for internal communication within a company. This could include explaining new policies, communicating changes within the company, or providing updates on company performance.

Event or Conference Presentation

Animated explainer videos can be used to spice up presentations at events or conferences. They can be used to illustrate points, keep the audience engaged, or introduce a topic or speaker.

These are just a few examples of how businesses can leverage animated explainer videos. 

The possibilities are nearly endless and can be tailored to each business’s specific needs and goals.

Examples of the Best Animated Explainer Videos

This explainer video explains the benefits of video animation for business use cases and educates users on leveraging animated explainer videos for their unique communication needs.


This explainer video was made to help promote the new franchising opportunity at The Vitamin Shoppe, which is opening a limited number of territories in a booming industry with a beloved and trusted brand.

This explainer video was made for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to help parents understand how the human heart works. 

This video walks patients through their statements, the terms, and how insurance factors in. 

It explains the complexities around insurance coverage and how it impacts a patient’s statement, how to use the MyChart portal, and how to access financial assistance.

What is the Animated Explainer Video Production Process

Colorful sketch with large light bulb symbolizing brainstorming session

Understanding the explainer video animation process is crucial to creating a successful animated video.


The pre-production stage is where the idea for the video is developed and refined before the actual production begins and includes the following steps.

  • concept development
  • scriptwriting 
  • storyboarding
  • voiceover casting


The video is created in the production stage and includes the following steps.

  • Asset Creation
  • Animating the Video
  • Sound Effects and Music Selection
  • Recording and Syncing the Voiceover


In the post-production stage, the video is edited and refined to create a final product. 

This includes:

  • Editing and Refining the Animation
  • Color Grading and Special Effects
  • Sound Design and Mixing
  • Exporting the Final Video

Work With a Trust Animated Explainer Video Production Company

CTA graphic with screen shots of animated videos

Are you ready to take your business communications to the next level? 

The Sketch Effect is your go-to partner for impactful and engaging animated explainer videos. 

Here’s why you should choose us.

  • Customized Solutions: We tailor each video to your unique needs, ensuring that your message is heard, understood, and remembered.
  • Quality and Professionalism: Our team of skilled animators and storytellers is dedicated to delivering top-notch quality with every project.
  • Innovative Techniques: We blend the latest trends with tried-and-true techniques to create modern and compelling videos.
  • Results-Driven Approach: We don’t just focus on making your videos look great. We strive to help you achieve your communication and business goals.
  • Trusted By The Best: We’ve created explainer videos for Marriott, American Cancer Society, Microsoft, Chick-fil-A, Delta, Coca-Cola, Mailchimp, and more! 

So why wait? 

Elevate your business’s communication strategy today with The Sketch Effect. 

Contact us now to discuss your project and see firsthand how our animated explainer videos can drive engagement, boost comprehension, and yield results for your business.