Animation vs Live Action Videos - What is the Difference and Which is Better?

Your brand needs a video. You know it and we know it. But how do you know what style to choose? Do you film it or make an animation? Do you add graphics and typography to stock footage? Or do you just get your phone out and record a quick message?

There are a few things to know and think about when deciding what style of video to make. In today's world of video production, there are two major categories of video content - animation and live-action. Both animation and live-action videos have their own unique characteristics that make them stand out from one another. While some people may prefer the look and feel of the animation, others may prefer live-action videos for their realism. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the differences between animation and live-action videos and help you decide which is better for your next video production project. 

Animation Videos

Animation is a form of art, entertainment, and storytelling that uses a sequence of drawings or pictures to create the illusion of movement. They are created using computer software, hand-drawn illustrations, or a combination of both. They are typically used for creating fictional characters, environments, and storylines. 

Animation videos have a lot of advantages over live-action videos. For starters, they are incredibly versatile, and you can create anything that you can imagine. Animation allows you to create visuals that would be impossible to achieve with live-action videos. You can create talking animals, fantastical landscapes, and even space travel - all without leaving your computer.

Animation is also very popular in the business world. Animated videos make a great choice for explainer videos and how-to videos, where concepts are still being developed or products aren’t necessarily available. Animation allows for more possibilities.

Live Action Videos

Live-action videos, on the other hand, are created by filming real-life actors and locations using a camera. They are typically used for creating documentaries, commercials, and business videos like product or testimonial videos. Live-action videos have a unique feel and can capture the realism and emotions of the actors or customers.

One advantage of live-action videos is that they can create a more profound emotional impact than animation. The human connection that is created through live-action videos can be very powerful and can resonate with the viewer on a deep level. Live-action videos are also ideal for showcasing real-world products and services, as they can demonstrate how they work in real-life scenarios.

The pros and cons of Animation and animated videos

Animation is a powerful tool to convey messages engagingly. It is used for entertainment, education and advertising.


Ability to create whole new worlds. Animation can be used to show the inner workings of things or even to create a whole new world.  Animators have the freedom to create characters with exaggerated features or impossible physical movements that can be hard to achieve in the real world. 

No limitations. One of the biggest advantages of animation is the ability to create any scenario or character without the limitations of live-action videos.

Cost-effectiveness in the long run. Another benefit is the cost-effectiveness of animation videos in the long run since once the character designs and settings are created, they can be used repeatedly without the need for additional resources.

Help people understand complex concepts better. Animation is very engaging and helps people understand complex concepts better. Animation can also help you tell stories with more detail than just words on a page - it has the power to tell stories about anything


The downside of animation is that it can be expensive and time-consuming to produce, especially if you are doing it yourself.

Time and effort to produce a quality video. Animators must go through a long and complex process of storyboarding, designing characters, and animating, which can take a considerable amount of time.

Initially expensive. Animation takes time, money and skill - all three of which are in short supply these days.

Animation can be less engaging. Some viewers may find animation videos less engaging or relatable since they do not have the human element of live-action videos.

The pros and cons of filming and Live Action Videos

Live-action videos also have their own set of pros and cons.


Creates strong emotional connections. One of the advantages of live-action videos is their ability to create an emotional connection with the viewer due to the human element. Live-action videos can depict realistic scenarios and settings that can be easier for viewers to relate to and connect with on a deeper level. 

Demonstrate real-life situations. With live-action, theirs the ability to showcase real-world products or services and demonstrate how they work in real-life situations. 


They can be expensive. Live-action videos can be more expensive than animation videos due to the need for actors, locations, and equipment. 

Limitations of resource availability. Live-action videos can be limited by the available resources and are not as versatile as animation videos.

Susceptible to natural elements. Live-action videos are also vulnerable to weather conditions, equipment failure, or other unpredictable factors that can impact the production process.

Sometimes you only get one shot. With limited budgets and times, if you make a mistake when filming or run out of time, it’s both expensive and difficult to fix.

Motion graphics and mixed media videos

Motion graphics and mixed media videos are two types of videos that are created by combining different visual and audio elements. This can be a combination of animation and live-action, imagery, stock footage and anything else.

Motion graphics: This type of video uses animation techniques to create the effect of motion or movement in a still image or graphic design. The purpose of this type of video is to show how something works in an animated way without using live-action footage.

Mixed media videos: This type of video combines different types of visual elements such as animation, live-action footage, photos, illustrations, typography etc., to create an artistic effect or message that cannot be

So, animation or live-action… which one is better?

The answer to this question depends entirely on the type of video content you want to create. If you want to create a video that is highly imaginative, fantastical, and visually stunning, then animation videos may be the better choice. On the other hand, if you want to create a video that is more grounded in reality and has a deeper emotional impact, then live-action videos may be the better choice.

Testimonial Videos

Testimonial videos work best when they are live-action videos. By filming the person, you can connect on an emotional level to their story and experience. It makes the video easier to relate to and creates strong social proof of your product or service.

Explainer Videos

Explainer videos work as both animation and live-action. Depending on the product or service, you can use either medium to tell the story. Animation can be easier to explain products or services that don’t exist yet, whereas live-action can demonstrate real-life scenarios

How-To Videos

How-to videos are similar to explainer videos, in that they can be either animated or filmed. When explaining hard-to-visual things, animated videos are a lot easier to understand. However, when demonstrating specific steps to take, live-action videos can be better.

Videos for social media

Videos used on social media can suit either animation or live-action content. The goal is to stand out, create connections and make content that is so engaging that viewers complete the call to action. As such, there is no one best type of video.

Conclusion: There are pros and cons to any type of video medium

In conclusion, both animation and live-action videos have their own unique characteristics that make them great for different types of video content. It ultimately comes down to your personal preference and the type of video content you want to create. Whether you choose animation or live action, the key to creating great videos is to plan your project carefully, create engaging content, and produce it to a high standard.

Start creating videos today

If your business wants to start making powerful and creative animations or live-actions that tell their story, then get in touch. We’re corporate video production Sydney experts. We’re more than happy to share our advice!

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