Guide to animation styles

Looking for an animated video? Check out our quick guide to different animation styles.


Animated videos are an incredibly powerful tool for communicating complex messages and come in a range of different animation styles. They allow you to bring literally anything to life on-screen – whether that’s painting a picture of the vision for your organisation, or taking someone to the moon. 

One thing’s for certain, there’s a lot more to animation than just cartoons. However, the different animation styles available can be a bit confusing. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide to some of our most popular animation styles.

3D animated videos

3D animation involves using specialist computer software to make objects move within a three-dimensional space. Typically, you start by creating 3D models of the objects that need to display (these models can either be created from scratch from photos, created from CAD models or bought from a third-party website). Once you have your models, you can use software like Cinema4D to create a scene with your 3d objects, lighting and cameras – just like a movie. 3D animation is particularly great for: 

  • Showing employees how to use the tools and machinery required to complete tasks
  • Demonstrating how something works (especially when the cost of live filming is prohibitive) 
  • Sharing safety messages in a professional and visually impressive way

Character animation

This style of animation uses characters to tell your story – and making them move in a way that resonates with your audience. Characters can be designed in a range of styles (check out our Pinterest board for inspiration). You can then create a character rig that allows animators to make the characters move on the screen. It’s particularly good for: 

  • Explaining the relationship between different groups or people (such as employees and managers, or customers and staff)
  • Painting a picture of how your organisation may appear to employees in the future (for instance, after your digital transformation completes)
  • Explaining how new tools and ways of working will benefit employees

Motion graphics

Motion graphics pretty much does what it says on the tin. It’s essentially about taking something visual (whether that’s an illustration, graph, data or text) and then making it move in a way that resonates with the audience. Motion graphics are great for:

  • Visually explaining data and complex information 
  • Making text (or typography) jump off the screen 
  • Explaining complex subjects through abstract visuals

Animated training videos

While not technically a style all on their own, animated training videos are really powerful tools for quickly summarising complex subjects in a way that makes sense to the learner. They can be created in any of the styles outlined above – but the trick is to keep them as short as possible (we recommend under two minutes). Training videos are particularly useful for:

  • Explaining how to use tools and systems within the workplace
  • Walking staff step-by-step through complex processes 
  • Sharing internal expertise with the wider business

Want to find out more about animated videos? 

If you want to find out more about animated videos and how they could help you achieve your goals, we’d love to hear from you. You can also find more information on animation here – as well as view a range of different styles of animated video on our Vimeo channel

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