Measuring Greatness: 3 Factors That Determine Excellent Animation
Animation needs to be great to be successful. But quality and greatness are subjective. And what makes an animation great depends on who you ask.
The creative professionals you hire to craft your animation presumably pay the closest attention to technical details to determine quality. Your CEO and other high-level strategists, on the other hand, may only call a campaign successful if it reaches certain metrics. And the audience likely desires something beautiful and relatable — regardless of the technical aspects and business impacts.
If Animation Appreciation is Subjective, How Do We Define “Great?”
Clearly, you have a lot of people to please. But yes, great animations exist. You know that. You’ve seen them. And you can have one, too.
It starts with understanding the factors each of your stakeholder groups analyzes when judging an animation’s greatness. The combination of those factors are the key to create an animation that will please creatives, strategists and audience expectations alike, hence creating a great animation.
There are three primary factors that contribute to an animation’s greatness:
1. The Technical Aspects of Your Animation Are On-Point
Just because your animation partner is the one who knows and cares the most about technical details, doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who notice when an animation is — or isn’t — technically sophisticated. Even lay people can see when an animation doesn’t meet technical standards for movement, sound, design, and so on. They simply can’t articulate, in technical terms, why the animation isn’t good.
For that reason, ensuring your final product is technically sound (by hiring the right animation studio to do it for you) is non-negotiable.
A technically great animation will consist of a great timing of actions, hitting the right animation curves for acceleration and deceleration of every movement, including well-designed characters, harmonic visual compositions, and an illustration style that enhances the brand’s visual identity guidelines.
And all that starts with a great script, a well-crafted concept, and a storyboard – meaning those are non-negotiable before jumping into production.
An innovative approach to an animation project is often what results in greatness. You might even garner an industry award or two with such out-of-the-box thinking.
2. Clear Metrics Which Prove the Animation Is Reaching Your Goals
Tracking performance metrics is a way to make what’s intangible — the greatness of your animation — tangible. You can’t argue with data. The right data, that is.
Certain metrics are better indicators of animation quality than others, depending on your ultimate goal. A high number of views, for instance, doesn’t really speak to animation quality. It tells you you’re getting your animation in front of the correct audience – and that your thumbnail is attractive enough. People who see it are interested enough to click play. It also tells you your promotional dollars are well-spent because the right eyes are on that final product.
In most cases, you should look beyond just views . View-through rate and interactions are more directly correlated to animation quality in a brand awareness-focused campaign. If a viewer watches your animation in its entirety, it’s designed well enough to enchant them and keep their interest – you guarantee the message was absorbed. If they interact with it through comments and sharing, even better. If your campaign is focused on generating new businesses, getting the right-fit prospect to convert is the key factor that your animation is great.
TL;DR? A great animation is one that reaches the campaign’s main goal, as indicated by the right KPIs.
Bonus: With the appropriate metrics in your back pocket, there’s no more c-suiter commenting that your animation is great simply because it uses his favorite color. You know it’s great — and effective — because the numbers say so. It supports your strategic decisions while producing this piece and the choice of the right partner.
3. The Audience Is Wowed by Your Animation
We saved the trickiest factor influencing animation success for last: the audience’s impression of your work. You could follow every technical animation rule in the book and still not achieve animation greatness.
Because every stakeholder, including the creatives who focus on technical details and the strategists who look to metrics, is a human. As are your prospects. They’re watching your animation with subjective eyes, despite the pains you’ve taken to analyze your work rationally.
The most technically performed animation means nothing if the target audience can’t connect with it. And if the audience can’t connect, your chances of hitting the desirable metrics are even lower.
Understanding what makes your customers tick is the first step to crafting an animation that impresses your audience. Different generations can connect at contrasting levels with animation. Where your customer will consume the animation impacts the pace and narrative style of your story.
Think of your animation as a musical score with crescendos and decrescendos that echo your audience’s moods. This constant flow and rhythm is a key factor in getting your audience through the whole video. An animation that resonates with your audience in this way will mesmerize and immerse them. Yep, even in a world jam-packed with ever more stimuli demanding their attention.
You’re One Step Closer to Great Animation
Greatness is largely subjective, even abstract. But your need for an animation that positively impacts your business (or your client’s business) is very real. We’re not creating animations for the sake of it, after all. The visuals will make your customers hit play; the rhythm and pacing of a well-crafted animation will retain the viewer’s attention at all times, and a message capable of resonating with your audience will guarantee a memorable experience.
Now that we’ve defined the factors — technical aspects, metrics, and audience impression — that influence an animation’s quality, a successful final product that considers every stakeholder group’s desires is imminent.