Explainer Video Animation Quality: A Guide

What makes a good quality animation? If you’re like most people you’ll know that you like some videos and you don’t like others but what are some of the reasons? And why do some videos cost a lot of money while others are more affordable? In this article we answer those questions.

We also made this video below to explain it all. So go on ahead and watch it now 🙂


The 4 Animation Tiers

Animation quality is kinda like air travel. We have:
1. Economy
2. Business
3. First Class
4. Private Jet


The Animation Tiers Explained:

Here below is a bit more info about the above. Worth noting: each of the categories has their place depending on budget and purpose – an ‘economy’ video can still look professional and be a good communication piece – for your production you should think about your goals and what will work best.

1. Economy Class

These videos are easier and more affordable to create. They will have simpler illustrations that have been designed in a way that makes them easier to animate. Background artwork will be less detailed and the video script will also require fewer characters and fewer character actions that are complex, e.g. stuff happens to the character rather than the character does stuff. The video may use lot of icons and typography or it may be in Whiteboard animation style.

Below is a sample video.


2. Business Class

Continuing with our air travel analogy, these videos are a step above ‘economy’. They require more experienced talent to execute and a sizable period of time/work is committed to the project, typically a few weeks worth. Features of these types of videos may include:

  1. More detailed illustration work, e.g. richer backgrounds
  2. Characters that may be more complex
  3. Nicer animation transitions between scenes
  4. Dynamic movement, e.g. bounce, stretch, stuff morphing into other stuff and so on
  5. More moving parts generally, e.g. more motion in background elements

Below is an example – note the more detailed illustration work and scene transitions compared to the previous example.


3. First Class

The above-mentioned bullet points also apply to videos in this category, but just more so. These videos need senior talent to execute and require a substantial investment of time. It’s not unusual for an animator to spend several days animating just a few seconds of a difficult scene. In these videos you may find:

  1. 3D animation combined with 2D
  2. Sophisticated characters, e.g. more realistic looking and less “vector-y”
  3. A little bit of frame-by-frame animation

As mentioned these videos may contain some frame by frame animation. This is a time consuming type of animation where each frame is individually drawn. You can find more info in our article about frame by frame animation. Videos needing extensive frame by frame animation have been put in our next category (“private jet”).

Below is an example of a video that combines 2D with 3D animations:

Here’s another example of a video that combines 3D with 2D animation and also has a bit of frame by frame animation at places.


4. Private Jet

As we mentioned in our 4 Tiers video, these are the premium of the premium, the best of the best! These types of videos are often executed by a larger team and represent several months worth of work. Private Jet videos may consist of one or more of:

  1. High end 3D animation
  2. Lots of frame by frame animation
  3. Very detailed illustration.

The video below was created out of detailed 3D animation:

Here’s another sample of a video in the Private Jet category. A lot of frame-by-frame animation was used in this video and it also has some 3D work.


Pricing vs Quality Considerations

Pricing will always depend on the sophistication and duration of a video. When getting quotes it can be helpful to discuss some of the above criteria so that you can compare like-for-like quotes with whoever you’re talking to.

Need to discuss your next video project? Get in touch straight away!