Cut-out Animation: Is it Cut Out for you?

Cut-out animation is an engaging, fun style of stop-motion video using photos and illustrations. Traditionally these videos were made by taking photos of physical card-board images and moving them around by hand. These days that may still be done but more usually digital images are used with the scenes laid out in animation software (as opposed to being moved around by hand). Whatever the case, when people say “cut-out animation” they’re usually referring to the general look rather than the production method.

In this article we show a few approaches and examples.

A Photo Shoot

One approach is to do a photo shoot and then digitally “cut out” the images to leave the white border. This can be painstaking work. Our own video describing the explainer video process was created in this way. That video took a long time because the Piehole team were really impossibly difficult to herd together for a photo shoot!
 

 
 
The next example was also created along those lines. Except we cut the photo out by hand and then photographed it in different poses. Finally it was digitally manipulated into an animation.

 

 
 

Using Stock Photos

It’s possible to source stock photos, as in the below video. This can actually work quite well even with a more serious, corporate look like the one below. Using stock photos gives you a lot of flexibility because the universe of pictures out there is really huge, but it also has it’s own challenges e.g. it can get tricky to source lots of images of the same person in different poses/situations.
 

 
Here’s another example, again using stock photos but also with some more custom animation.

 
The next video was a bit of a style mash-up. We combined combined live action, animation and cut-out stock footage.
 

 
 

Cut-out Animation: The Final Word

That concludes our little article about cut-out animation. If you are researching styles for your video then be sure to check out our ultimate list of explainer video styles
.