“I prefer that animation reach into places where live action doesn’t go, and it seems like all of animation nowadays is trying to go where live action is.”
-Don Bluth | Film director and Animator
Animation or Live action
The increasing trend of animation in the videos or film industry has taken up a massive space. From the use of it for advertisement to action movies, animation has really filled the gap left by live action; many people fear that the replacement is soon to come.
Today, the total value of the global animation industry is estimated to witness the growth of 4.9% by acquiring the market size of US$404.83 billion in 2023. However, despite an exponential growth and reliance on animation, the significance of live action has not faded completely, as of yet. There are some obvious and contrasting differences between animation and live action that make them unique.
Animation is imagination whereas Live Action is reality:
As Norman McLaren rightly sketched the art of animation as not art of drawings that move but the art of movements that are drawn. Animations give life to the imagination. The animator is at full leverage to put out his ideas on the paper. Therefore, animation provides the right medium for the apt delivery of complicated and abstract ideas. One of the noticeable contributions of the animation is the personification of the animals and the inanimate objects. Today, this practice of personification has opened up new avenues for the film industries.
On the other hand, live action catches the reality. Whatever exists in the society is represented in its real and raw form through it. Where the creator does not have the leverage to sketch his own imaginations, he does, however, have a natural edge where the real flavors come to his creation automatically. The Live Action portrays the real emotions of the people so the creator doesn’t have to work so hard to give his characters a real essence.
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Audience is attracted to the animation whereas Audience relates to the live action:
The Animation catches the eyes of the individuals. The unique or imaginative representation appeals to the mind of the audience. Since animation usually puts together the abstract ideas and produces its physical reality, it has the potential to leave the audience in awe. Due to this quality, animation has a higher retention chance. Moreover, the animation can engage a wider age group of the people. Its concept is enjoyed by children and elders alike. Therefore, a greater audience is expected to be attracted towards the animation.
On the other hand, the live action helps the audience to relate themselves to it. Live action presents to them the real people who are going through something or living and experiencing events in reality. This makes it easier for the audience to trust the live action. When they trust what they see, they develop an attachment that can be translated to a personal level. Live Action is shot at a real location that gives people an easier way to associate themselves with it. Therefore, live actions generate a more connected audience.
Animation takes time whereas live action can be produced earlier:
Animation can take relatively a longer time to complete as animators have to start everything from scratch. From the sketches of the characters to the drawing of the scenes, the animator has a lot of preliminary work to do. Animators have to work harder to make their animations become a reflection of the reality and for this reason, they need to work more on the nitty gritty of the settings. They need to have an eye that sees beyond what is obviously visible. Therefore, they have to spend more time on their animation. To add to this, the option of redoing a work in animation can actually be worrisome for the animators.
On the other hand, Live Actions can be shot and completed within a couple of days. All the props for live action are usually pre-existing; there is a little work required for transforming them as per the requirement. Similarly, the real setting in life action gives a lot of edge to the creators to improvise at the spot. Therefore, for life action, the creators naturally have the real location and the real actors to play the character.
Animation can be budget friendly whereas Live Action can add strain to the pockets:
The team and people required for animation are relatively fewer. There is no need for real actors to act or a real location to shoot. Due to the absence of this team, the supporting staff expense is also eliminated. Moreover, the camera work is not required in the animation which also lowers down the logistical expenses. Illustrators and designers are the prime expenses of this production. Therefore, the animation projects give more space for the producers to adjust and simplify their costs as per the need or requirement.
On the other hand, for the Live Action, the budget can not be defined independently. The team working on the live action production is relatively bigger and their logistical cost can not be avoided. Moreover, the location for shooting also adds up money; the props needed to alter the location accordingly can be a little too expensive on the pocket.
In a nutshell, the animation and live action have their own pros and cons. Where they make the work of the creators easier, they come with their own complications. Therefore, it is challenging to figure out which one is the best. As a matter of fact, there is no need for one to replace the other; Animation and Live Action can coexist. There is a massive co-dependence that exists between animation and live action as of now and for this reason, the prediction that animation may replace live action entirely is an utter misjudgment. An ideal and cost-effective work would be the one that has the perfect balance of both animation and live action.
 “Global Animation Market – Forecasts from 2018 to 2023”, Research and Markets, February 2018, https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/4479378/global-animation-market-forecasts-from-2018-to.
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