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

cut-out animation
Cut-out animation is making a comeback! This animated video style is an engaging, fun style of stop-motion video that uses 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, instead of 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.

This is why we decided to share a few approaches to cut-out animation. Just to give you more of an idea of what is possible. There are also more cut-out style examples at the bottom, so be sure to scroll to the end.


A Photo Shoot

One approach is to do a photo shoot and then digitally “cut out” the images to leave the white border. Although this can be painstaking, manual work. Our very own video describing the explainer video process was created in this way. The video actually took a very long time to produce! Why? Because the Piehole team was really impossibly difficult to herd together for a photo shoot! Which we eventually managed to do, and we are actually quite pleased with how the video turned out:

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. Phew…


Using Stock Photos

Another great option is to source stock photos, as you will see from the few examples below. 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, really huge. But at the same time, it also has its own challenges! For example, it can get tricky to source lots of images of the same person in different poses/situations, thereby limiting your video in a way.

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

Below is a bit of a style mash-up. We combined live-action, animation, and cut-out stock footage. The whole shebang!


More Cut-Out Animation Examples:

Do you need more inspiration? Below you can view even more explainer videos using cut-out animation as the style. We love seeing this style grow in popularity, and will keep updating this blog as we have portfolio pieces to add!


Cut-out Animation: The Final Word

That concludes our little article about the comeback kid that is cut-out animation. If you are busy researching styles for your video, then be sure to check out our ultimate list of explainer video styles. Or you can visit our YouTube page for some more ideas. Furthermore, if you’re curious about the cost of an explainer video, please get in touch, we would love to hear what you have in mind for your next video!