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When to use Whiteboard Animation instead of Animation

We are often asked when a video should use whiteboard animation instead of 2D animation of some kind – and vice versa. They’re both great techniques, but they’re different tools with different uses. So let’s explore when we prefer to use each technique.


Fundamental Differences

A major difference between animation and whiteboard animation is the flow of the images and the story. With traditional animation, each image is tied to the images that were shown before. There is a continuous flow to the animation, and the viewer is “told” by the animator what to expect next based on what came before. The action of the animation is used to tell the story.

On the other hand, whiteboard animation jumps around from image to image. Whiteboard animation has the flexibility to create a new world having nothing to do with what came seconds before, and then do it again, seconds later. The images and worlds created support the story being told, without having to tell the entire story.


When to Use Animation

Because of animation’s continuous flow, it’s ideal for telling stories focused on characters. “The Hero’s Journey” storyline works well with animation.

For example, suppose that the Chamber of Commerce asked us to do a video about Joe the Businessman who used the chamber’s various programs to grow his business. In this case, we would suggest creating the video using animation. Which we can do for you by the way.


When to Use Whiteboard Animation

Since whiteboard animation is able to jump from image to image, it’s the perfect medium for communicating abstract ideas that may otherwise be difficult to tie together visually. This is a good medium for discussing value propositions, complex new offerings, solving a problem, or concepts such as privacy or risk management.

In our Chamber of Commerce example, suppose the chamber asked us to create a video highlighting how their various programs can help business growth. In this scenario, we would suggest using whiteboard animation. In both situations, we’re talking about the chamber’s business growth programs, but the structure of the story is different, so we would use different tools to tell each story.



Conventional animation tends to more expensive than whiteboard animation. For this reason, sometimes we suggest whiteboard animation in a situation that would lend itself better to animation, in order to fit within our client’s budget.

Want to learn more? Read about the uses of live video vs whiteboard animation.

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