Animation Techniques: The Smear
In 1942, Warner Bros. released an animated short called The Dover Boys at Pimento University (or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall). Produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions and directed by Chuck Jones, this Merrie Melodies cartoon is significant for a couple of reasons. One, because The Dover Boys at Pimento University was one of the first animated shorts to break away from the so-called “Disney look.” And two, because it was one of the first animations to utilize an animation technique called the smear. A technique which will be the focus of today’s post.
Explainer Video Best Practices: Trade Show, Sales Pitch, Conventions and More
Animated explainer videos are a fantastic way to hook new viewers, explain a complicated product, or build hype for your startup (sometimes all three!), but not all explainers are meant to live on your website or YouTube channel. Video can be a simple, powerful real-world tool for everything from pumping up an industry crowd at a trade show to priming a boardroom of executives for your next sales pitch—you just have to know the rules for using explainers in the the real world.
8 Surprising Ways to Use Whiteboard Animation
When you think of whiteboard animation, you probably think of a hand illustrating a complicated series of ideas as a soothing voiceover explains particle physics or the psychology of social media. Odds are, you’ve seen a whiteboard video in the past few years because online education content has exploded in the past decade, and whiteboard animation is kind of perfect for explaining things.
Whiteboard Animation vs. Talking Head Videos
Despite the wild popularity and critical acclaim of RSA style whiteboard animation over the past decade, you might still be skeptical of the power of whiteboard animation—and that’s understandable. Embracing animation as the medium for your message can feel like a big leap. Many companies are concerned that whiteboard animation is too simple, or not as persuasive or informative as a talking head—with a real-life flesh and blood expert—can be.
Friday Roundup: The Best Animation of 2016
You've made it. This is the last IdeaRocket post of 2016! This year was huge for animation—27 animated feature films are nominated for Academy awards. 27. Just think about how far animated feature films have come since Beauty and the Beast got the nod in 1992. It's incredible.
Animated Mobile Video: Best Practices
2016 was the year of mobile video.
More than half of YouTube’s one billion users watched video from the comfort of their smartphones, mobile viewership of everything from micro-content to longform documentaries is up, and even “paired viewing” (watching video on desktop AND mobile devices simultaneously) has become the norm. People watch video on the go.
Mobile Video is Here. Is Your Video Ready for 2017?
A lot of things happened in 2016 (I think there was an election?), but one of the biggest developments was the fact that mobile video finally became the dominant way that people watch online video. Add in the dramatic increase in video traffic, and it’s easy to see why mobile video will be a huge part of any video marketing strategy in 2017 and beyond.
5 Jaw-Dropping Animated Shorts From Gobelins in 2016
Certain schools tower above the rest. Every art has its Everest—an institution that consistently attracts and develops top-tier talent that shapes the industry at large. Music has Juilliard, engineering has MIT, the visual arts have RISD. And animation, particularly animated shorts? Animation has Gobelins. Haven’t heard of the famed L’École de L’Image? This tiny Parisian school has culled the crème de la crème for the past 30 years, admitting just 25 students into its animation department out of over 850 applicants.
The 10 Best Books on Business
Let’s face it, as a genre books about business have more than their share of flabby writing and theoretical hocus pocus. That does not mean, however, that there aren’t books out there that are useful and entertaining. Here are a few of my favorites.
What’s the Best Length for a Video?
Infographics have long been a popular way to impart information. They're usually made with vectorized graphics. At IdeaRocket, however, we're big fans of the comic book form -- nearly all of our staff and freelancers are current or past practitioners, and I think it's fair to say that all of us are fans. So we thought... why not use the comic book form to impart information in a graphic way? What we came up with is what we might call a Toongraphic, the first example of which you can see below. This one is written by me and designed by our Associate Creative Director, Robert Kopecky.
Education Industry + Whiteboard Animation = Results
Over the past few years, IdeaRocket has had the pleasure of crafting explainer videos for a number of educational institutions. From high schools (like Langley and Clintondale) to universities (like Harvard and Johns Hopkins), we've worked with members of the education industry to create whiteboard animation videos. Why whiteboard animation? Because it gets results. Here's why...
Employee Feedback is Critical. But What Type is Best?
Earlier this week, we talked about the sad state of employee engagement; specifically, we talked about how employee feedback can boost engagement and also improve customer satisfaction. In our post, we cited several compelling figures. Like this one: 72% of employees under age 30 would like feedback on a daily or weekly basis.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Planet Unknown (3D Animation)
Did you like Pixar's WALL-E? What about Toy Story? Or how about just compelling buddy stories in general? If you answered yes to any of that, then there's a strong chance you'll enjoy Shawn Wang's thoughtful, accessible and endlessly endearing animated short Planet Unknown.
Can Employee Feedback Improve Customer Satisfaction? Yes!
We all want to satisfied customers, right? And we all want motivated employees too. But who would have thought that a simple solution could improve your odds at achieving both? Beth Benjamin, that's who. And what she discovered about how employee feedback can influence customer satisfaction is something every manager can use to improve their business.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Where Do Great Ideas Come From? (Animated Short)
What do great ideas and fishing have in common? According to filmmaker David Lynch: a lot. And in an interview with The Atlantic, he beautifully and eloquently describes why. The audio from that interview was plucked and now serves as the centerpiece of an animated short that's bound to engage, inspire and, ideally, help you better "catch" ideas.
What Type of Explainer Video is Right for Your Startup?
In yesterday's post, we talked about how every startup needs an explainer video. But, of course, explainers come in all different shapes, sizes and styles. So which is right for you? Whiteboard animation? 3D/CGI? Or perhaps what your business needs is another technique entirely. Either way, how long should it be? And what kind of call to action should it end with?
5 Reasons Why Every Startup Needs an Explainer Video
In the life of a business, there's no time more critical than when you first get started. There's also no time when it's more important to explain what you do in a clear and compelling manner. So to accomplish the latter and help with the former, explainer videos can be an invaluable asset to a startup.
The Animation-Lover’s Guide to New York Comic Con (2016)
During the first week of October, the 11th annual New York Comic Con will be invading Manhattan. That means four days of comics, cosplay and pop-cultural chaos at the Javits Convention Center (October 6-9). Including, of course, previews, highlights and reflections from the world of animation. So with the show's full program now released, let's take a day-by-day look at some of the most interesting and exciting animation-related events at NYCC 2016.
PICK OF THE WEEK: The Airport of the Future (Animated Video)
What will the airport of the future look like? What will it feel like? And where, twenty years from now, will even we be going? The Vancouver Airport Authority sought to answer these questions with a gorgeous 30-second animated video that gives us a glimpse into what might be...
What is Wipster? (And How Can The Video Production Platform Help You?)
One of the best things about video production is that it's an inherently collaborative process. Directors, producers, clients and so many more, all working together to make something greater than the sum of their parts. But where there is collaboration, there are difficulties as well; especially with the process-driven nature of video production. From schedule and workflow to communication and prioritization, it can be challenging to leverage the collective power of collaboration.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Ripaille (a Gobelins Animated Short)
Have you ever looked at art from centuries ago and thought to yourself: those "simpler times" don't look like very much fun? In Ripaille, that's exactly what our two main characters—a pair of museum-dwellers; Ségolène and Martine—think as they observe paintings from the Middle Ages. But suddenly, much to their surprise, the art comes to life and shows them a whole other side of the Middle Ages.
The Unique Powers of Whiteboard Animation
A couple years ago, a psychologist by the name of Richard Wiseman conducted an interesting experiment. Curious about the impact of whiteboard animation, he arranged a test of memory in which participants (there were about 1,000 total) were shown one of two video clips:
PICK OF THE WEEK: Invisible (CGI 3D Animated Short)
Finding love is hard enough. But when you're a shy chameleon—who vanishes from visibility whenever you get nervous—it can be downright brutal. Is there any hope? Animators Michael Trikosko and Andrew Wilson aim to answer this question in their charming animated short Invisible, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
An Interview with NYT Senior Graphics Editor Graham Roberts
Last week, we raved about The New York Times' latest 360 video: The Modern Olympic Games, which transported viewers back in time to some of the greatest moments in Olympic history. To learn more about how that wonderfully immersive virtual experience was crafted, we spoke with Graham Roberts.
The Framework of Multicultural Animation (Part 2 of 2)
Animation is a powerful tool that can help messages traverse cultural boundaries. And so, given that power of that tool, we can't help but ask: what are the key characteristics of multicultural animation?
The Framework of Multicultural Animation (Part 1 of 2)
As digital distribution changes the way that we can reach (and target) consumers, thinking about a multicultural audience has never been more important. This is one reason why animation—with its potential for global accessibility—has become an increasingly effective means of corporate communication.
Phil Amalong: Confessions of a Piano-Playing, Mountain-Biking Serial Entrepreneur
Growing up, Phil Amalong dreamed about a career in music.
Like most of us, Phil Amalong has many interests. But what makes Amalong different is that he has a habit of turning those interests into businesses. It started back in the 80s—when his lifelong passion for the piano led to the founding of his first company—and continues to this day. Not only with companies he founded but his entrepreneurial spirit and marketing expertise have also led him to several interesting places along the way. Like Freedom, the popular digital distraction solution (which we wrote about a few weeks back), where he currently serves as the Director of Marketing.
Tell Stories with Your Data: What Google Data Studio Can Do For You
Google believes that "as more people have access to data, better decisions will be made."
And, in typical Google fashion, they've put their money where their mouth is. In the form of Google Data Studio, a free-to-use (for individuals and small teams) suite of data collaboration and visualization tools. So let's take a closer look at and see what Google Data Studio can do for you and your business.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Which Sunscreen Should You Choose? (Explainer Video)
One of the most enjoyable things to do during the summer is spend a relaxing day at the beach. But in order to relax, you'll want to make sure that you're fully protected; to make sure that you've selected the right sunscreen that'll keep you healthy and un-burned. So, which sunscreen should you choose? Our PICK OF THE WEEK, Which Sunscreen Should You Choose? not only answers that question, but aims to answer a larger one as well: how (and why) does sunscreen exactly work?
What is Neo4j (and Can Its Graph Databases Help Your Business)?
In almost any line of work, how we organize information is very important. Both for internal purposes and for clients as well. That's why, in this digital age, it's important to keep tabs on latest tech-driven organizational tools and see if they might be able to help our business. One such tool, the graph database, has become increasingly popular in recent years. So today we're going to take a closer look at Neo4j, a graph database management system developed by Neo Technology.
INTERVIEWS WITH ANIMATORS: Ying Wu
In this week’s installment, we speak with talented, recent-grad, Ying Wu...
Last week, in our PICK OF THE WEEK, we wrote about Spellbound, an adorable animated short, which was created by Ying Wu and Lizzia Xu as their thesis project at Ringling College of Art and Design. To learn more about how Spellbound was made and get some insight into how Ringling helps shape young animators, we spoke with Ying Wu.
PICK OF THE WEEK: The Modern Olympic Games (360 Video)
Have you been following the Olympics? Well, our PICK OF THE WEEK allows you to do more than just enjoy the 2016 Rio Games. With The Modern Olympic Games, a 360 video from The New York Times, viewers can be transported back in time to some of the most iconic Olympic moments from the past century. From Babe Didrikson's triumphs in 1932 to the record-breaking feats of Usain Bolt in 2008. And, because of the 360-degree video format, viewers will actually feel like they are there; observing and embracing the virtual reality of these frozen, golden moments...
Going Mobile: Character Animation in a Mobile Video World
Recently, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) polled 360 marketers across a variety of industries about their digital video ad budgets. 62% of respondents answered that they expect to increase their mobile video ad spending within a year. These findings are significant but not at all surprising. In fact, according to recent estimates from eMarketer, mobile’s share of total digital video ad dollars is expected to reach 47.7% by 2019.
Going Mobile: How to Make Your Explainer Effective as a Mobile Video
Recently, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) polled 360 marketers across a variety of industries about their digital video ad budgets. 62% of respondents answered that they expect to increase their mobile video ad spending within a year. These findings are significant but not at all surprising. In fact, according to recent estimates from eMarketer, mobile’s share of total digital video ad dollars is expected to reach 47.7% by 2019.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Spellbound (3D Animated Short)
"Be careful what you wish for."
We've all heard that expression and undoubtedly experienced variations of this adage-in-action at various points throughout our lives. But, as adults, most of us have probably forgotten how silly those words sounded to us when we were kids. Careful? About what we wish for? What could possibly go wrong?! Well, our PICK OF THE WEEK—a 3D animated short called Spellbound—attempts to answer those questions and brings this old adage to life in a thoughtful and endearing manner.
Virtual Reality Advertising Coming to a Headset Near You
How big is VR going to be? According to a recent report by Goldman Sachs, virtual reality (along with augmented reality) is forecast to become an $80 billion market by 2025. As this budding medium quickly grows, advertising will undoubtedly play a big role. The question, though, is in what form? A new virtual reality advertising network launched last week by Flo VR gives us a glimpse into the possibilities.
How an Explainer Video Can Help You with Lead Scoring
When it comes to following-up with leads, timing can be everything. Take, for example, a recent Harvard study in which researchers reviewed data from 1.25 million sales leads (received by 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies). Here's what they found:
PICK OF THE WEEK: Economics is for Everyone! (Whiteboard Animation)
Economics is important...but much too complicated for non-economists to understand, right? Well, economist Ha-Joon Chang begs to differ. At least on a fundamental level. He believes that every single person can and should get their head around basic economics. And his perspective has never been more accessible than it is in our PICK OF THE WEEK: Economics is for Everyone!, an engaging, explainer video based on a recent speech given by Ha-Joon Chang.
Surround Your Video with Goodness (Titles, Descriptions, Thumbnails)
You know how, on special occasions, we get dressed up and put our best foot forward? Well, when it comes to getting people to click on your explainer video, the same logic holds true. From the thumbnails you select to how your video is described, there are little things you can do to dress up how your video is framed for the viewer.
8 Common Mistakes that Prevent Video Conversions
There are a lot of great explainers being made these days. For proof, look no further than some of our most recent PICKS OF THE WEEK. Meanwhile, however, there are also a ton of not-so-great explainer videos being made. For a company relying on an explainer video to serve as an ambassador for your brand, this can be devastating. But luckily, it's also something that you can help to avoid with a combination of the right talent and early identification of potential problems. So today we're going to review 8 common mistakes that prevent video conversions...
PICK OF THE WEEK: Hi5 (explainer video)
When hiring personnel, we’re all looking for superheroes. But as most of us have learned from experience (as well as a decade of Marvel movies!) superheroes don’t always get along. Getting talented employees to collaborate can often be a challenge. But as we’ll see in our PICK OF THE WEEK—an explainer video for Hi5, a brand that assists companies conduct co-worker reviews—there might now be some effective solutions to help solve this problem.
Billion Dollar Explainer Video?
Last week, Unilever spent $1 billion to acquire the stylish, grooming startup Dollar Shave Club. Founded only five years ago, Dollar Shave Club has already attracted over 2 million members to sign up for their monthly razor-providing service. There are several reasons why their disruptive business model has been successful—some of which we'll touch upon below—but certainly one key for the company was their incredible, introductory explainer video. An explainer that was viewed over 23 million times! So today we're going to break down what made that video so effective.
INTERVIEWS WITH ANIMATORS: David Heredia
In this week’s installment, we speak with (animation) hero of color David Heredia…
Last week we raved about a wonderful, dynamic and educational series of whiteboard animation called Heroes of Color. As we noted in our PICK OF THE WEEK blog post, this was the second episode of the series. So it felt fitting for us to bring back its creator, the great David Heredia, for a second interview. This time we dug deep into his graffiti-filled background and discussed how he got into (and then out of, and then back into again) animation. And, along the way, Heredia delighted us with insights and anecdotes of inspiration.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Fix Florida by Costa Sunglasses (Explainer Video)
Have you ever been to a place so beautiful that photos and videos simply don't do it justice? Of course, we all have. And we've all thought: well, then I wish there was another way for me to express the magic I've just experienced. Oftentimes, our solution is through narrative. To tell a story that--through physical description and personal experience--can convey that elusive magic about a place.
How Virtual Reality Marketing Can Help Your Brand
As marketers, we're always looking for the most effective way to deliver our message. As attention spans shrink (see: Humans Have Attention Spans Shorter than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones) and seemingly limitless distractions abound, delivering that message might seem more difficult than ever. All of which makes leveraging the unique attributes of virtual reality a very interesting possibility to help your brand. It's also a possibility that—thanks to the rapid influx of multiple VR headsets; from mobile to PC)—has never been more ripe to explore.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Heroes of Color- Gaspar Yanga (Whiteboard Animation)
Last year, we raved about a wonderful (and educational!) example of whiteboard animation called Heroes of Color, which highlighted the Harlem Hellfighters. The Harlem Hellfighters were an African-American infantry unit in WWI who spent more time in combat than any other American unit. In that video, animator David Heredia (of Heredia Designs) did a terrific job of introducing these heroes in an explainer video that was both compelling and captivating and compelling from start to finish. And in the newest episode of this groundbreaking series--this week's PICK OF THE WEEK--we're pleased to say Heredia's done it again.
The Animation-Lover’s Guide to San Diego Comic-Con (2016)
Next week, the country’s longest running comics convention kicks off in San Diego. As in years past, the 47th annual Comic-Con is about more than comics; it's a celebration of pop-culture in dozens of different arenas. Including, of course, panels devoted to highlights, previews and reflections in the world of animation. So, with the show's full program now released, let's take a look at some of the most interesting and exciting animation-related events.
BEST PRACTICES: Explainer Video Distribution & Marketing
When it comes to distributing and marketing explainer videos, there is no perfect answer. Especially not in our rapidly changing online environment. But while trends come and go and technology changes the game, there are a handful of best practices that have developed over the years and can provide assistance with distributing and marketing your explainer video.
PICK OF THE WEEK: The Berlin Candy Bomber (Explanation Video)
War, as any soldier will tell you, is hell. That's why it's rare to come across a war story that is upbeat and uplifting for all parties involved. But such tales do exist, and it's a joy to seem them brought to light. Which is exactly what our PICK OF THE WEEK has done with The Berlin Candy Bomber, a two-minute explanation video that blends animation with interview footage to tell the tale of, Gail Halvorsen, a retired officer in the United States Air Force who, during World War II, was best known to children all over Germany as "The Chocolate Flier."
5 Common Call To Action Mistakes That Explainer Videos Make
Although the message makes up the meat of an explainer video, achieving the call to action (CTA) is its ultimate goal. Because this is why the video was created in the first place; to inspire and create a specific behavior reaction. Sign up today. Try a free demo. Start using this brand new solution. Yet even though the Call to Action is a vital component, it's something that a lot of explainers don't quite manage to pull off.
Can a New App Called “Freedom” Increase Your Productivity?
We all want to increase productivity, right? But it isn't so easy. Especially nowadays, when our primary tools for productivity—our computers, phones and tablets—are also the sources of our greatest distractions. Surely, in this age of rampant technological marvels, there must be some solution out there? A way to help get us on track; to swerve us away from the things we want to be doing and focused instead on what we need to be doing. Well, now there is such a solution. It’s an app called Freedom.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Accidents, Blunders and Calamities (CGI Animation)
If possums read bedtime stories to their children, what kind of stories would they read? Filmmaker James Cunningham and his students at New Zealand's Media Design School posited that perhaps they read cautionary tales about the most deadly predator out there: humans! To bring this notion to life, they produced a beautiful and hilarious animated short entitled Accidents, Blunders and Calamities, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
10 Excellent Examples of Branded Content for Virtual Reality
Last Thursday, The Wall Street Journal published a story that wondered if branded virtual reality content was the next great frontier in marketing. The article cites a few examples from the Cannes Film Festival where "VR was a popular talking point among ad agency executives, tech companies such as Samsung...and online services such as YouTube" as well as some recent deals (like AOL's gaudy acquisition of the VR production company Ryot) that seem to point in the direction of this being the case. Not just because of those deals and examples but because branded content for virtual reality can help marketers achieve that elusive holy grail: engagement.
What Makes Something “Kafkaesque”? (Explainer Video)
Who among us hasn't heard the descriptor "Kafkaesque" before? And who among us, at one time or another, hasn't wondered exactly what that word means? Well, we needn't wonder any more as the term is analyzed and beautifully explained in our PICK OF THE WEEK: a clever new explainer video entitled "What Makes Something "Kafkaesque"?
News and Highlights from Annecy 2016 (Animation Film Festival)
Last week, the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival was held in Annecy, France. As one of the most prestigious festivals in the world—considered by many to be "The Cannes of Animation"—this annual event provides an insight into the latest and greatest in the world of animation. So let's review some of the most interesting news and highlights—the who, what and wow—that dazzled at Annecy this year.
PICK OF THE WEEK: “Make The Future” (Motion Graphics Explainer Video)
At the end of this month, Shell will be hosting a four-day festival of ideas and innovation called "Make The Future." The event, which will run from June 30 to July 3, promises to provide a rare glimpse into "the future of our cities, our energy and the lives we’ll soon be living."
An Interview with Entrepreneurs Kyle Racki & Kevin Springer
When it comes to entrepreneurship, there's no better source of information than those who have lived it themselves. That's why we feel so lucky to welcome entrepreneurs Kyle Racki and Kevin Springer to talk about partnership, startups and the challenges of building a business.
6 Tips to Keep Your Explainer Video Compelling from Start to Finish
We all know that explainer videos should be compelling. But, of course, that's one of those things that's easier said than done. And it's a task that's made even harder when you factor in that "compelling" is not a yes-or-no binary function. It's not as simple as "this explainer is compelling" or "that explainer is not," but rather a spectrum of engagement/entertain that often fluctuates through a video.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Mr. Seed (CGI Explainer)
If you care about your food, your children, or the future of all mankind, then ___________.
How many times in your life have you heard a bold, future-hangs-in-the-balance message that sounds something like that? Probably enough times to make you think twice. That's normal. Maybe it's because we've all been burned by blustery messages like that or maybe it's because we occasionally feel burdened by them; either way, messages like that tend to go in one ear and out the next.
Internet Trends 2016 (Part 2: Video Marketing, Messaging and More)
As we mentioned yesterday, venture capitalist Mary Meeker has been giving an annual talk on the state of the internet every year since 1995. What started as intriguing presentations has now become must-see material for those in Silicon Valley. That's because, over the years, Meeker has shown a prescient talent for identifying digital trends. For example, since 2010 the Digital Growth Funds she helps lead has bet early on numerous breakout hits; an impressive list that includes Twitter, Spotify, slack and many more. In short: when Mary Meeker speaks, people listen.
Internet Trends 2016 (Part 1: Changing Demographics, Evolving Brands)
Nowadays, every business has some kind of online presence. Whether it's a website, an app, social media channels or another type of digital footprint, it's just not possible to thrive without an online presence. That's why staying up to date with digital trends can be a valuable asset to us all. Which brings us to Mary Meeker...
What is Proposify (And Can It Help Your Business)?
Whether it's soliciting new business or spearheading a new project, proposals play a vital role in any business. But what makes a good business proposal? It typically involves a well-stirred mixture of layout, design and function but, as we all know, there's by no means a precise formula. In fact, it tends to vary greatly on a case by case basis. Which means that flexibility is also key. Not only in terms of content and aesthetics, but also with regards to interacting with colleagues, clients and prospective collaborators.
PICK OF THE WEEK: The New Plastics Economy (Explainer Video)
Most of us use plastics on a daily basis. Nevertheless, most of us probably don't ever think twice about the economics of plastic. Luckily, however, getting viewers to think more deeply about seemingly ordinary topics is just one of the many benefits that an explainer video can offer. For proof of that, look no further than The New Plastics Economy, a fast-paced, thoughtful explainer that we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Fame in the 21st Century (An Explainer)
When we think about explainer videos, we tend to think about those that illustrate businesses, introduce new products or teach valuable lessons. Rarely, however, do we find an explainer video that talks about culture. But given how much cultural trends can influence all of the above (business, products, lessons), such videos can be useful to help us better understand our surroundings. And that opportunity for analysis--and how it's cleverly brought to life via an explainer--is one of the things that we really liked about Luiz Stockler's Grooming Your Stardom, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
10 Incredible Simpsons Couch Gags Created by Guest Animators
Last night, the 27th season of The Simpsons came to a close. But, before it did, the top of the show featured a clever rendition of the show's recurring opening sequence couch gag. This one created by the award-winning Polish animator Michel Socha, who uses black and white stick-figure-like animation to playfully pay tribute to IKEA's iconic ready-to-assemble furniture.
The Best of Virtual Reality Animated Videos
Consumer VR has only been out for a short while, but there's already an impressive amount of content out there. So today we're going to look at the best of virtual reality animated videos and the studios creating these animated shorts.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Flattr Plus (Animated Teaser)
Whenever you go online, internet ads are just a part of life. Right? Well, maybe not. At least if Flattr Plus has their way. Flattr Plus is a microdonation provider--a joint venture between Flattr and Adblock Plus--whose goal is to eliminate online ads by directly paying content creators instead. To help launch the product and spread the word about this bold endeavor, Flattr Plus created a smart, swift animated teaser that we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
7 Ways To Get the Most Out of Your Animation Provider
A couple of months ago, we looked at 7 Tips For Choosing an Animation Provider. Today we want to explore what happens after that--after you've selected an animation company and are about to begin the process--in order to help you maximize your investment. So let's look at 7 ways to get the most out of your animation provider.
6 Tips To Help Tighten Your Explainer Video
Like any medium of storytelling, explainer videos are at their best when the narrative is sharp, streamlined and digestibly lean. In theory, this makes sense. But in practice, it can be difficult to execute. Especially if you already have a concept, script or animatic that you really like. Because the sum of an explainer is often greater than its individual parts, it can often be hard to figure out how to approach revising the material.
PICK OF THE WEEK: The Cook-Off (Character Animation)
Competition brings out the best in us, right? Perhaps, but sometimes that competitive spirit needs to be tempered with some humility to progress. This is a lesson that's learned by the passionate, pastry-making protagonist of Hanna Cho's The Cook-Off, a great example of 2D character animation that we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
PICK OF THE WEEK: How OnHub Keeps Your Wi-Fi Fast (Explainer)
At home or at work, Wi-Fi connectivity plays a big part in our daily lives. But what if I told you that your Wi-Fi experience could be even better? Faster? Smoother? More consistent? Well that's exactly what OnHub promises to deliver. And to help get the word out, they've created a fun, flashy, motion graphics explainer video in How OnHub Keeps Your Wi-Fi Fast that we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
Behind The Scenes: AutoMD (Whiteboard Animation)
A little while back, we had the pleasure of working with AutoMD to create a pair of 30-second whiteboard animation spots as well as a 5-minute explainer. The goal of these videos was to highlight AutoMD's standing as a forward-thinking and customer-oriented comprehensive auto repair resource.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Desert Critters (Video Animated)
Are you having a tough day? The stresses pilling up? Could you use a little pick-me-up? Then let us recommend something that's bound to slap a smile on your face: an adorable, endearing two-minute animated short called Desert Critters that we've unanimously selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
Meet Mr. Whiteboard Animation: Andrew Park
Earlier this week, in The Origins of RSA Animate, which talked about how an innovative animated series launched by the Royal Society of Arts in 2009 spurred a revolution for whiteboard animation. The animator responsible for firing those opening shots is Andrew Park, the Director of a Kent-based animation studio called Cognitive. So today--to better understand the story behind this revolution of whiteboard animation--let's take a closer look at the very talented Mr. Park.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Should You Trust Unanimous Decisions? (explainer)
To help make our own decisions, we often rely on the decisions made by friends, family members and anonymous audiences. So it stands to reason that the more consensus there is amongst their decisions, the more sure we should be about our own, right? Well...not quite. That's because there are hidden variables at play; unseen factors that influence decision. Luckily, to help make us more aware of these hidden forces and the potential dangers, there's a crafty, compelling explainer video entitled Should You Trust Unanimous Decisions?, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
INTERVIEWS WITH ANIMATORS: Amaël Isnard
In this week's installment, we speak with the French Animator Amaël Isnard.
You might remember Amaël Isnard from our PICK OF THE WEEK series, when we featured his explainer video Newton's 3 Laws of Motion last month. To learn more about how that explainer was made, how he got into the animation industry and how he approaches creating unique characters, we spoke with to get the inside scoop.
The Origins of RSA Animate (RSA Animation Series)
On this blog, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about how popular whiteboard videos have become—how useful whiteboard animation can be for clear messaging and video marketing—but we’ve only tangentially touched upon the origin of this style and technique. So that’s precisely what we’re going to do today. We’re going to look at the origins of RSA Animate, and explore how this groundbreaking animation series managed to so quickly and convincingly popularize the concept of whiteboard animation.
8 Great Small Business Collaboration Tools
Technology has changed the way that small businesses collaborate. Both internally, amongst employees, and externally, with clients and customers. As a result, there’s an ever-growing list of software solutions that can help improve efficiency and productivity.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Introducing the Reddit Mobile App (Motion Graphics)
As businesses grow, particularly those in the social and tech spaces, they often reach a point where it makes sense for them to create their very own mobile app. Well, it makes sense to them. But it might not always make sense to their customers and users. Or, at the least, it's unfamiliar and potentially daunting to those who have grown accustomed to interacting with that business/service in a different capacity. As a result, it can be quite challenging for brands to introduce mobile apps. That's why we were particularly impressed by a cool, crafty explainer video entitled Introducing the Reddit Mobile App, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
INTERVIEWS WITH ANIMATORS: Natalie Labarre
Today, we're pleased to kick off an exciting new series for the blog: Interviews with Animators, where each week we'll be chatting with someone who works in the trenches to get an inside look at what it's like to be an animator.
The Balancing Act: Fun vs. Professionalism in Your Explainer Video
Whether you're creating an explainer video or simply watching one, you'll want the video to be fun and engaging. At the same time, you'll likely also want that explainer to be on-tone and professional. But sometimes these things--the fun and the professionalism--can feel like opposing forces. So how do you go about balancing those out? How do you create an explainer that simultaneously feels both fun and professional? It's a fine line to walk, but it's an important one. And that's exactly what we'll be discussing today.
Why an Animated Explainer is Perfect for Mechanism of Action Videos
Whether you're selling lemonade to neighbors or ice cubes to eskimos, presentation plays a key role in the sales process. That's why, if you're in the healthcare industry, a strong mechanism of action (MOA) video can be such a valuable asset. It's a way for you to help physicians, pharmacists, and regulatory investigators visualize your drug’s interactions.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Time Smash (3D Animation)
If we, as a society, have learned anything from Back to the Future, it's that time travel can be a dangerous endeavor. How dangerous? Well, if you accidentally leave your cat behind, that could potentially wipe out humankind as we know it. At least according to Ben Reicher's smart, stylish animated short Time Smash, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
9 Eye-Opening Digital Marketing Stats from the Past Month
As the calendar turns to April, we've put together a list of the most interesting digital marketing statistics from the past month. Some of these stats piqued our interest because of what they say about the state of digital marketing and the impact of video marketing, whereas others helped identify the type of content that has been successful in this quickly growing space.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Mrs. Meyer’s Home Maker (animated video)
Even if you love what you do and have a talent for that craft, it can be hard to figure out how to monetize your skill and your passion. This was a challenge faced by an Iowa homemaker named Thelma A. Meyer, who wanted to create a cleaning product that not only worked great, but smelled great as well. The result of her inspiration was a successful line of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products. Now, to give back, the company is looking to help other DIYers replicate that kind of success. And to woo submissions for the "First-Ever Mrs. Meyer's Home Maker," they created an engaging, inspiring animated video that we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
Virtual Reality: The Who, What, Where and When…
In yesterday's post, we celebrated the historic launch of Oculus' Rift and discussed some of the top applications of virtual reality. Today, as promised, were going to take a broader look at the landscape; exploring who, what, where and when to expect in the near future.
Today is a Historic Day for Virtual Reality!
After years of appearing in sci-fi books, movies and fantasies about the world of tomorrow, virtual reality is finally here and ready to bring into our homes. Earlier today, Oculus started shipping the Rift, their groundbreaking consumer VR headset.
PICK OF THE WEEK: 5 Tips to Improve Your Critical Thinking (explainer)
Every day, all of us are faced with thousands of choices. With so many possibilities, it's impossible to make the right decision every time. But it would be great to understand why we make certain decisions and even greater, especially for those tough choices, to implement a technique for objective analysis and evaluation. That's exactly what "critical thinking" is and it's the focus of our PICK OF THE WEEK: a well-structured and enlightening explainer called 5 Tips to Improve Your Critical Thinking.
Behind The Scenes: Tenneco’s AEGIS Explainer Video
A little while back, we had the pleasure of working with Tenneco to help them create an explainer video about their new environmental health and safety-tracking program called AEGIS. With over 25,000 employees and offices on six continents, this explainer would need to be accessible to a global audience and persuade viewers that AEGIS is a tool that will ultimately save them time and increase efficiency.
The Design Behind 5 Great Animated Title Sequences
Last week, in 5 More Tips for Incorporating Color Into Your Whiteboard Video we talked a little bit about the work we did to create the title sequence for the eight season of Weeds. Reviewing that opener was a good reminder about how much title sequences and explainer videos share in common. Although their final objectives may different greatly (one ends with a call to action, the other with the beginning of a long-form narrative) they both must find a way to draw viewers in, set a tone and deliver information.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion (explainer video)
Figuring out how to explain Newton's three laws of motion is tough. But figuring out how to do that and make viewers actually care? That's a brutal challenge. Yet it's one that is beautifully achieved in a new explainer video by the Royal Observatory Greenwich aptly titled Newton's 3 Laws of Motion, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
The Power of E-Learning (by the Numbers)
A few weeks ago, we looked at how animated video can be leveraged for e-learning. In that post, we cited a couple of research papers (which taught us that animation has an "intrinsically motivating appeal" and "animated graphics include additional information and the ability to convey more comprehensive content that static graphics alone") and discussed a handful of techniques that leveraged this information. In light of these findings, as well as evolving technological trends, it's no surprise that so many organizations are using e-learning for professional development; to educate and train employees. But how many organizations are implementing e-learning courses and what kind of results are they experiencing?
PICK OF THE WEEK: Facebook Best Practices (explainer video)
The prevalence of social media is more than just a reality; nowadays, it's a necessity. But given the short history of even the most popular social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter) as well as their quickly evolving nature, it can be hard to be aware of all the DO's and the DONT's. To help bring light to this issue, and direct users towards more information, Facebook has released a beautiful Best Practices video, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
5 More Tips for Incorporating Color into Your Whiteboard Video
As we discussed yesterday in 5 Tips for Incorporating Color Into Your Whiteboard Video, more and more whiteboard videos are injecting some degree of color. It's usually not a ton of color that's included, but given the influx it inevitably spurs questions like these: Should my video include color? If so, how much color should there be? And where, exactly, should that color be added?
5 Tips for Incorporating Color into Your Whiteboard Video
Although whiteboard videos are well known for their iconic black-and-white aesthetic, many of them these days tend to include some degree of color. It's usually not much--shades of color here and there--but it's happening more and more and, given the influx, it inevitably spurs questions like: Should my video include color? If so, how much color should there be? And where, exactly, should that color be added?
BOOK REVIEW: Rocket Fuel
When we think about matchmaking, we tend to think about romantic relationships. But as most of us have learned, business relationships can often be just as intimate, rewarding and difficult to navigate. So, when starting or running a business, it’s important to ask ourselves questions like the following: What qualities make for a successful partnership? How should responsibilities be divided? And, given the infinite number of variables and personality types, is there any sort of replicable dynamic that can help businesses grow?
PICK OF THE WEEK: Rock, Paper, Scissors (Animated Video)
Who wore it best?
That's the question that most Academy Award viewers are left wondering after the Oscars. This year, however, I found myself wondering something else entirely: Who animated that? And as much I loved seeing the Minions on stage, and admired several of the animated films contention, this question on the tip of my tongue--who animated that?--came in response to this wonderful commercial that we've now selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK:
IdeaRocket Summer Fellowship
Today, we are pleased to officially open admissions for our 2016 Summer Fellowship.
Below are all the details you'll want to know about this exciting opportunity, but before scrolling down you can download the Summer Fellowship application here.
Leveraging Animated Video for E-Learning
Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to remember the information from your middle school classes, yet it’s so much easier to recall the information (and sometimes even the dialogue) from your favorite childhood cartoons? Or why we seem to ignore the written notices in public places like the movie theater, but yet we pay complete attention whenever that popcorn starts dancing on screen? It’s because animation is a highly effective way to engage audiences and relay information!
PICK OF THE WEEK: How Miscommunication Happens (Animated Video)
Whether at home or in the office, do you find yourself frequently colliding with moments of miscommunication? With so many diverse ways to interact these days—and the increasingly diverse backgrounds of those interacting—it’s almost hard to imagine that miscommunication, in some form, isn’t part of everyone’s daily lives. But why does it happen? And, more importantly, what can be done to minimize its frequency? These are the questions that lie at the heart of our PICK OF THE WEEK: an insightful animated video aptly titled How Miscommunication Happens.
7 Ways to Sell Fellow Stakeholders on an Explainer Video (Part 2 of 2)
Yesterday, in Part 1 of 7 Ways to Sell Fellow Stakeholders on an Explainer Video, we explored what to do when you believe that your business could benefit from an explainer video but--before moving forward--you need to persuade your fellow stakeholders that this is the way to go. To help convince your colleagues, we touched on the following points:
7 Ways to Sell Fellow Stakeholders on an Explainer Video (Part 1 of 2)
Okay, so you’re convinced that your business needs an explainer video to bolster your digital marketing strategy. You’ve seen the influence of video marketing and realize that it’s time for your company harness the power. This is all great news. But here’s what isn’t such great news: now you need to convince your fellow stakeholders that producing an explainer is important so that you can all move forward together.
PICK OF THE WEEK: The History of Dried Fruit (Whiteboard Animation)
Have you ever found yourself deeply contemplating the history of dried fruit? (Don't worry, neither have we). At least not until we came across our PICK OF THE WEEK: a fun, engaging whiteboard animation produced by Crispy Green.
Q&A with Dr. Claudia Aguirre (from Ted-Ed to Explainer Videos)
Back in December, we selected a Ted-Ed Original called The Effects of Sleep Deprivation as one of our PICKS OF THE WEEK. For those unfamiliar with Ted-Ed's series of original lessons, you can learn more (and check out all kinds of great videos) by visiting here. And when you go there, we highly recommend that you check out The Effects of Sleep Deprivation as well as three other explainer videos by the wonderfully talented Dr. Claudia Aguirre:
A Weekend at Toy Fair 2016: Dolls, Puzzles, Animated Videos and More
Over the long (and cold!) weekend, we kept warm by visiting the Jacobs Javits Center and attending the 113th annual Toy Fair. As in years past, the biggest names in the toy business were on hand with a strong presence, but this year’s show had a particular emphasis on introducing and highlighting new exhibitors. Of the 1,237 exhibitors who displayed at this year’s Toy Fair, over 300 of them were newcomers to the show (up from under 200 the year before).
Q&A with David Heredia, creator of Heroes of Color
Late last year, David Heredia of Heredia Designs LLC, launched an educational video series called Heroes of Color. The three-minute episodes, created with a whiteboard animation technique, celebrate the outstanding achievements, courage and perseverance of a diverse group of heroes from a wide variety of ethnicities and nationalities.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Papa (Animated Video)
Typically in our PICK OF THE WEEK section, we like to highlight an exceptional explainer video or example of whiteboard animation. This week, however, we were so impressed with Natalie Labarre's Papa, that we wanted to shine a spotlight on her inventive, evocative and entertaining short film.
An Interview with Sales Samurai Dan Englander
Back on October 2010, Dan Englander became IdeaRocket’s very first employee. Over the next three years, serving as our Senior Account Manager, he helped grow the business tremendously; bringing in business that ranged from startups to Fortune 500s.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Vitaminwater (explainer video)
Doesn't it seem like Vitaminwater is sold just about everywhere these days? Well, that's because it pretty much is. Impressive! But perhaps what's most impressive about Vitaminwater's omnipresence is that the beverage was launched only 16 years ago, and with the most humble of origins. How humble are those origins and how quickly has Vitaminwater grown? That's what our PICK OF THE WEEK was created to tell us.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Big Data (animated demo)
Last week, many of the world’s political and business leaders met in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) conference. The official theme of this year’s meeting was “mastering the fourth industrial revolution,” which entailed looking at technical innovations—from artificial intelligence to virtual reality—and talking about how these things will change the way we live and work in the future.
What is FreshBooks (and Can It Help Your Business)?
Yesterday, CBS This Morning aired an interesting piece about FreshBooks, the popular cloud-based accounting software provider. Surprisingly (though enjoyably so), the story didn’t talk much about what closed-based accounting is or why FreshBooks has become the #1 invoicing software for small businesses. Instead, the story focused on how FreshBooks was taking workplace satisfaction to a new level by setting up blind dates for its employees.
5 Tips for Startups Who Are Looking to Make an Explainer Video
One reason why animated explainer videos have become so popular is that they have proven to be an extremely useful tool for many startups. From Dropbox and Groupon to Pinterest and Spotify, explainers have played a vital role in helping startups grow into established brands. But one thing that often gets lost in the shuffle is that these startups didn't just use an explainer video to convey their young company’s message…they used an effective explainer video. So today, let’s discuss a few tips that will help ensure that your startup’s explainer video will be effective and, ultimately, a successful part of your video marketing strategy.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Spicy (3D Animation)
Have you ever ordered a lizard from Mexico and then dressed him up to look more like a vampire? Me neither. But that strange question serves as the premise for our PICK OF THE WEEK: an exciting and endearing 3D animation called Spicy.
When It Comes to Explainer Videos, One Size Does Not Fit All
Given the growing popularity of custom explainer videos, it is perhaps not surprising to see an influx of low-cost software that claims to help you create your own. These are one-size-fits-all, template-driven tools that offer features like "14 Scenes, 3 Characters and 10 Typographies," or boast mottos like, "We hired professional animators so you wouldn’t have to."
Your Comprehensive Guide to the Animated Shorts at Sundance
Later this week, the 2016 Sundance Film Festival kicks off in Park City, Utah. Although Sundance is best known for launching live-action independent films like Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and Whiplash, it's also been a prominent hub for excellent (and often avant-garde) animated films. This year, Sundance will celebrate 12 animated shorts as part of their Animation Spotlight program. The collection of animated shorts has a runtime of 93 minutes and will screen together four times during the festival:
Why Whiteboard Animation is Perfect for Marketing Financial Services
Peter Lynch managed Fidelity Investment’s Magellan Fund for 13 years. During this time—1977 to 1990—the fund averaged an annual return of over 29%. It grew from $18 million in assets to $14 billion, making it the best performing mutual fund in the world. In short: this guy Lynch, he was a pretty savvy investor. So what, you might wonder, does this have to do with whiteboard animation? Surprisingly, more than you’d expect…
PICK OF THE WEEK: An Explain Video About Multi-Asset Investing
Asset management is important to many businesses and individual investors, but it can be an intimidating topic to wrap one's head around. Intimidating and, let's face it, a dry subject matter to talk about in the abstract. That's what makes our PICK OF THE WEEK all the more impressive. From start to finish, The Seven Deadly Sins of Multi-Asset Investing is a fun, tremendously accessible explain video that really shows off the tonal versatility of animation.
7 Reasons Why an Explainer Video Will Increase Conversions (Part 2)
In yesterday’s post, we discussed some of the reasons why animated explainer videos are so well suited to improve conversion rates. So much so that multimillion-dollar companies like Dropbox credit their explainer as a major factor in their growth. Examples like that are just further evidence that an explainer video is perhaps the most influential and cost-effective way to tap into the increasingly rapid growth of video marketing.
7 Reasons Why an Explainer Video Will Increase Conversions (Part 1)
When it comes to sales in the digital age, attracting visitors to your webpage is half the battle. But what about the other half of that battle? How do you convert those visitors from passive voyeurs into active leads (and then ultimately into customers)? There are many tools at your disposal, but one of the most effective is an explainer video.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Does it Take Money to Make Money? (RSA Animation)
We’ve all heard the expression that “it takes money to make money.” In context, this phrase is generally meant to suggest that one must be willing to take a risk in order to reach a desired reward. It’s inspiring, in a way; this entrepreneurial idea that riches lay in wait for those who believe in something strongly enough to make the necessary investment. But what about for those who are unable to make that investment? Those who willing, but seemingly unable to finance their dream? These questions lie at the heart of our PICK OF THE WEEK: Does It Take Money to Make Money?
7 Intriguing Video Marketing Stats from the Past Month
Some have dubbed 2015 the "Year of the Video." Although we agree that 2015 was a breakout year, we believe that when it comes to video marketing the surface has only just been scratched. The more case studies, white papers and research reports we read, the more impressive the numbers appear to be. So to help spread the enthusiasm, we've compiled a list of our favorite video marketing stats from the past month.
BOOK REVIEW: The Sales Acceleration Formula
Over the holiday break, I had a chance to read an insightful business book called The Sales Acceleration Formula. It’s by Mark Roberge, the former SVP of Sales and Services for HubSpot, and focuses on how, in this new digital landscape, using undervalued and underutilized tools--specifically with regards to inbound marketing-- can be used to significantly grow sales . In the case of HubSpot (whose marketing automation software we recently wrote about), this approach helped build the company from $0 to over $100 million in under seven years.
Pick of the Week: FILMFABRIK
With so much great animation being done these days, we thought it would be fun to highlight a short animated video each week. This week's pick is a surreal, stylized choice called "Filmfabrik" that colorfully, and with a subversive Seuss-like sentiment, highlights the animation process for an upcoming festival:
The Pros of Con: Animation Providers and Beyond!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been re-watching some cheesy-but-fun older TV shows like Entourage, The O.C. and Veronica Mars. In addition to reinforcing that teenage angst is grossly overrated, these shows also reminded me that it wasn’t all that long ago that Comic-Con was perceived very differently than it is today. Even though all three of those shows were on the air less than ten years ago, they all portrayed Comic-Con as some kind of hardcore nerd-only man-child extravaganza. And, amazingly, I believe that was pretty accurate for the time. But over the past decade that perception has changed, as the event has evolved into something of a taste-making, geek chic event.
An Explainer for outside The Office
Oftentimes, explainer videos are used for corporate purposes--either to alert employees or inform consumers--but in California, which is in the midst of a horrendous drought, the state has turned to an animated explainer (voiced by The Office's Steve Carell) to help get out the message...
Client Spotlight: SpecialGlobe
All too often, the word “inspiring” is a tired cliché. Really, that PowerPoint on streamlining workflows stirred your soul? Engaging, maybe. Interesting, sure. But inspiring? Then you meet people like the individuals behind SpecialGlobe, and there’s simply no other word to describe it: they’re doing vital work that touches your heart and inspires you to be a better person.
How Should I Judge an Animation Studio’s Portfolio?
If you’re looking for an animation studio for an explainer or training video, it’s a smart move to shop around. In fact, at IdeaRocket, we actively encourage prospects to check out the competition to see how we stack up.
The Tortoise, the Hare, & Jacques Khouri: The Beauty of Animation
“A critic once summed up my entire body of work in a single sentence,” Jacques tells me. “I don’t remember it exactly. He said something like, ‘Jacques Khouri is always looking for new visual ways to tell a story.’”
The Best Video Marketing Statistics, Real and Fake, for 2014 & 2015
72.9% of sales statistics are entirely fabricated, according to the unicorn whispering in my ear. Just kidding. Statistics are undeniably alluring: they give what feels like concrete, scientific, mathematical confirmation to all our oozy, fuzzy, nebulous feelings and hunches. There are plenty of stats backing up the magical effects of video marketing—but there’s one stubborn stat that’s plainly fool’s gold.