Animation in Deaign Studios

Does anyone implement animation/video in the design process on a regular basis? I was wondering if anyone has experiences in this and what softwares they typically use - also what stages of the process and to whom they are shown -

Wondering because I just scored a legit copy of Cinema 3d and have been having some fun with it- not using it other than hobby level now. A car studio I worked at had a pretty cool setup with a power wall and they used DeltaGen software for presentations, which had really good realtime automotive visualization- are any of you using Delta Gen within a product design process?

Typically we only use animation for the presentation/marketing aspects of a project. The big question you have to ask is:

1: What will showing motion achieve? IE what will it explain to someone that they couldn’t get from a still image.

2: Does that animation accomplish something faster and clearer than a prototype (mockup, appearance model, etc) would do?

3: Is your time best spent on the animation itself, or would your time be more valuable elsewhere?

Usually we don’t end up doing animations internally for those reasons. If we do, we use a program like Showcase that can render the motion in real time to explain the mechanics of something. Then any high end animations for marketing get farmed out because they take too long.