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Custom Animation v.s. Template Animation

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Not so long ago, custom-made animations were a thing of luxury, solely for the elite, the kingpin companies. Nowadays video animation is everywhere and used for everything. From education, to work presentations, to promotional and advertising videos, and of course entertainment. Got a product to sell? Animate it! Got an important message to express? Animate it! Need to stand out in your next pitch? Animate it! You get the idea.

This accessibility comes thanks to the advancement of technology but also thanks, in part, to our burning desire to make life easier for ourselves, ever searching for and creating helpful packages and ready-made solutions to our problems. Thus were born online quick-fixes, in the form of animation tools, templates and downloadable animation programmes that provide the everyday person with the basic requirements to make their own animated videos and presentations in a relatively short amount of time. Pretty nifty, right? But is it really all sunshine and rainbows? As with anything, there are pros and cons to both template animated videos and custom-made animations.

Usually the two most influential factors people consider boil down to time and money. It goes without saying that a custom-made animation will take both more time and more money, whilst an animation template is designed to be quick, simple and cheap. However, a custom design doesn't have to break the bank – it's possible to find a tailor-made solution that suits you and your needs and get a quality, value-for-money end product, without having to spend money and time on a template solution that may not give you exactly what you want.

Which brings us to the next point – what do you want? What message do you want to communicate to people? How are you going to convey it? Using an animation video template gives you near full control of what you say and how you say it. What it doesn't give you is originality or creative freedom. Of course, animation video templates nowadays have become really quite diverse and sophisticated, with thousands to choose from and a great deal of customisable features, to boot. Nevertheless, there is always a limit restricting you. As original as you think your customised template animation might be, it's more than likely that someone out there has created something really quite similar. What if you end up with a campaign that's frightfully akin to that of a competitor? Or worse, similarities to an animated video portraying values and beliefs that undermine or damage your brand image? Custom animations remove this fear. Working alongside trained professionals, you can create something entirely unique, something that screams you when people look at it. From the mouth of Walt Disney himself “If you can dream it, you can do it” and that's exactly what you get with a custom-made animation.

One of the most important factors of this discussion is animation itself. We're talking movement, motion, fluidity. With pre-made video animations, there can be quite a limitation to this, depending on the type of animation you require. With simple text-based, or whiteboard style animated video, the limitations of an animation template will not be so noticeable. However, the more ambitious you are, the more resistance you will face. Do you want a generic walk cycle or rigid character mouthing disjointedly along to your voice over? Do you want something little more than a moving powerpoint presentation? Maybe that does suit your needs but if not, this can be fixed if you stick a trained and dedicated animator behind your project. You'll be blowing away customers and competitors alike with flashy transitions and characters as passionate about your brand as you are.

Another hugely important factor is the design of the animated video. How exactly do you visualise your message being told? Not generally, but down to the very last detail. What should your characters look like? What backgrounds will set the stage? What colour palette should be used to instigate emotion and create aesthetic appeal? Templates are easy enough, but with a custom animation every aspect of the design will be carefully considered and thought out in order to enhance the message and compliment the image the brand wants to project.

All this is not to say that animation templates do not have their time and place. A zero-budget marketing campaign, or a brand-new start-up can make great use of templates and D.I.Y. animation tools. But if you can afford it, ensure you stand out from the crowd with a memorable custom-made animation!

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