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The Magic of Animated Videos: Simplifying the Complex

Justin Andrews

Remember the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine? (Bear with us; this isn’t a COVID post. Scout’s honor.)

There was excitement and skepticism when pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna announced the development of mRNA-based vaccines for COVID-19.

For many, the concept of mRNA technology was new and challenging to understand, and the rapid development of these vaccines further fueled misconceptions and raised a few eyebrows.

To help demystify the science, some organizations released animations that translated complex biological processes into easy-to-understand visuals, assisting the general public in grasping mRNA technology.

There are multiple examples of how animation can help us tackle complex and abstract information, data, and concepts, from healthcare to politics.

Why Animation Captures Attention

  • Visual Appeal: Animated videos use colorful visuals, captivating characters, and dynamic animations to grab the viewer's attention. Combining visuals, colors, and motion helps viewers retain information and makes learning more enjoyable.

  • Simplification: Complex concepts often involve abstract ideas, intricate processes, or technical details that can be difficult to understand through text alone. Animated videos simplify these concepts by breaking them into easy-to-understand visuals and step-by-step explanations.

  • Engagement: Animated videos are inherently engaging. The combination of visuals, animations, and storytelling elements keeps viewers hooked and encourages active participation in the learning process. This engagement leads to better comprehension and retention of the information presented in the video.

  • Flexibility: With animated videos, you can create any scenario or visual representation that best suits your concept. You can use metaphors, analogies, or creative storytelling techniques to make the complex concept more relatable and understandable for your audience.

Visualizing Complex Concepts

One of the greatest strengths of animated videos is their ability to visualize complex concepts. Text-based content can often leave learners feeling overwhelmed or confused, especially when dealing with abstract or intricate ideas. On the other hand, animated videos bring these concepts to life visually, making them easier to grasp and retain.

By using colorful graphics, animated characters, and dynamic animations, you can create visual representations of complex concepts that are both engaging and informative. For example, if you're explaining the process of photosynthesis, you can use animations to show how sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide interact within a plant to produce oxygen and glucose. This visual representation helps learners understand the process more intuitively.

Simplifying Technical Details

Technical subjects often involve complex terminology and intricate details that can be challenging for learners to comprehend. Animated videos simplify these technical details by breaking them down into digestible explanations and visuals.

For instance, let's say you're teaching a programming concept like object-oriented programming. You can use simple visual metaphors through an animated video to represent classes, objects, and their relationships. By visually illustrating these concepts, learners can better understand the fundamental principles of object-oriented programming and how different elements interact.

Breaking Down Complexity with Simplicity

Another advantage of animated videos is their ability to provide step-by-step explanations of complex processes or procedures. This is particularly useful when teaching subjects like science experiments, engineering principles, or medical procedures.

Complex concepts often involve multiple moving parts, intricate sequences, or layered processes. Animated videos allow us to break down these elements step-by-step, visually representing each component. For instance, a complicated manufacturing process can be visualized with each stage's animated sequence. The viewer can see how each part fits into the larger picture, making it easier to understand.

By breaking down the process into smaller, sequential steps, animated videos allow learners to follow along and understand each step more clearly. Visual cues, animations, and annotations can highlight important details, demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships, and guide learners through the process.

Visual Analogies and Metaphors

Sometimes, the best way to explain a difficult concept is by comparing it to something more familiar. Animation opens the door to unlimited visual analogies. Imagine trying to explain data encryption. With animation, you can visually represent encryption as a lock and key, turning abstract concepts into tangible visuals.

For example, let's say you're explaining the concept of gravitational force. Instead of diving into complex equations and scientific jargon, you can use an animated video to compare gravity to a giant magnet pulling objects toward the Earth. By visualizing this analogy, learners can better grasp the concept of gravitational force and its effects.

Interactive Elements for Active Learning

Animated videos can incorporate interactive elements that encourage active learning and increase learner engagement. You can transform a passive viewing experience into an active learning opportunity by including interactive quizzes, clickable objects, or drag-and-drop exercises.

These interactive elements reinforce learning and provide immediate feedback to learners, allowing them to assess their understanding of the complex concept. This active learning approach enhances the learning experience and promotes better retention of the information presented in the video.

Emotional Appeal and Storytelling

One reason we love movies and series is the story. Animated videos leverage storytelling to make your complex ideas stick, evoke emotions, and create a memorable learning experience.

Create characters, conflicts, and resolutions, even the most technical subjects can be woven into a narrative that's both entertaining and educational. When you incorporate storytelling elements, relatable characters, and emotional narratives, you can capture the viewer's attention and make the complex concept more relatable.

For example, let's say you're explaining the concept of climate change. You can tell a compelling story showcasing climate change's impact on a fictional community through an animated video. Learners develop a deeper understanding and empathy towards the subject by connecting the complex concept to real-life consequences and human emotions.

Accessibility and Versatility

Animated videos offer accessibility and versatility, making them suitable for various learning environments and audiences. These videos can be easily shared online, embedded in e-learning platforms, or used in classroom settings. Learners can access them anytime, anywhere, using different devices, ensuring a seamless learning experience.

Additionally, animated videos can be translated into multiple languages, making them accessible to learners from diverse backgrounds. This versatility allows you to reach a larger audience and cater to different learning preferences and needs.

Data Visualization

Numbers, charts, and graphs can take a lot of work to digest. But what if those static data points were animated? Suddenly, the rise and fall of market trends or data fluctuation over time becomes a captivating visual journey.

Customizable and Inclusive

Animated videos aren't limited by real-world constraints. You can tailor them to represent diverse characters, settings, and cultures, making your content more inclusive. Additionally, because they're not tied to real-life footage, they can be easily updated or modified without reshooting entire sections.

Enhancing Retention

In a study from Microsoft, experimenters found that visual learning improves retention by 400%.

Those aren’t rookie numbers.


Video is social media catnip.

Animated videos, given their engaging and often bite-sized nature, are more likely to be shared across platforms, increasing the reach and impact of your content.

Animation in the Real World

We’re no strangers to using animation in our projects.

  • Capturing human emotion through animation. When the pandemic ruined our in-person filming plans, we needed a new way to capture and share stories for Vertex Pharmaceuticals. With a little creativity, we found a way to create beautiful patient stories. Read more about the project.

  • Creating bold, memorable brands. As a pioneering tech start-up, PinkLion quickly booked speaking engagements that put its brand front and center at key industry events. They could’ve made complicated videos describing all of the features of their offering, but they opted to present us with a simple challenge: Help us leave a big impression.

  • Telling interesting stories. We worked with ThoughtWorks to bring marketing to the forefront of their marketing strategy, capturing employee stories like Maurice’s with fun, engaging animation.

  • Simplifying data privacy. Skyflow is a tech start-up dedicated to solving a big problem: data privacy. We needed to simplify its concept in an engaging video.

If you’re looking to connect with your audience through video animation content, we’d love to help. Contact us today to get started.