Understanding a few basic principles of computer animation will help ensure that your budget is focused on only the smartest, most cost-effective visual approach to winning your case.

Every attorney’s case is different, but visuals in litigation usually follow common sets of guidelines that our strategists will help you navigate.

You need 3D animation for your case when...

  • Your animation requires the ability to rotate the viewer's perspective around objects, realistically zoom in and out, and continuously maneuver the camera without having to cut to a dramatically different angle.
  • Your animation involves organs that move and fluctuate according to biological patterns, such as the heart and lungs, which require a higher tier of accuracy that only 3D software can achieve.
  • Your animation depicts cellular activity involving millions of particles that would be impossible to illustrate individually or accurately in 2D.
  • You need to emphasize an important point and anchor your audience’s understanding of that point with a powerful visual that leaves an unforgettable impact on their memory.

2D animation will work for your case when...

  • Your animation doesn’t require the camera to move around much.
  • Your animation involves fixed subject-matter that doesn’t move or fluctuate often, such as the skeleton or intestinal anatomy.
  • You need to summarize many different injuries and surgeries in a short amount of time, in which case we will typically recommend a Digital Injury Summary equipped with 2D animations, illustrations, and other exhibits.
  • You're on a tight deadline or a tight budget.

The purpose of this guide is to help you understand these guidelines, and why you should consider 3D or 2D for certain scenarios.

What's the Difference?

3D animation is necessary when you want or need the ability to cinematically maneuver the camera throughout your animation with three-dimensional context. These two examples (below) compare the difference between 3D and 2D animated cervical spine surgeries.

Notice how the camera in this (3D) animation is able to maneuver through and around objects in smooth, continuous motion without having to make a dramatic jump cut between different perspectives. Now, let's look at an example of a 2D animation.

In this 2D animation, whenever a perspective needs to change, it quickly cuts or fades to a new perspective with no camera movement. You can see this in the example above when the perspective quickly cuts from a side view of the spine to a top view of the vertebrae.

This is because the camera in the 3D animation is moving around an actual 3D object we created with three-dimensional context and texture you can see from every angle. If we were to try to make a similar camera movement in the 2D animation, the spine would look like a paper-thin, two-dimensional illustration.

There are Pros and Cons for each approach. The 2D animation was created and rendered in a fifth of the time and cost of the 3D animation. The 3D animation helped return a $2.1M verdict for a routine case involving a herniated disc after a rear-end collision.

Choosing the right approach ultimately depends on what you need to show to make your point, and the level of quality you're willing to invest in achieving your target settlement value.

The Bottom Line

Your visual media strategist will help you navigate these guidelines in a way that saves you the most time and money, while also leveraging the most strategic elements of your case with powerful visual anchors. The best way to ensure maximum quality, cost-efficiency, delivery speed, and bang for your buck is to prepare as early as possible for your next case.

See more in depth review of 2D vs. 3D animation here. Upcoming case? Request a quote to get started.

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