I think Sam looks best as a Cartoon!
In the world of the “cartoon look” I don’t think there is any QUICK way to make video look like good animation. There are a few plug-ins that are impressive but are nothing more than a cool trick that you add to low quality footage to make it look “Artistic”. In the film A Scanner Darkly, dozens of artists were commissioned to animate the entire film BY HAND! They certainly developed techniques that sped up the workflow but overall they ended up drawing on virtually every frame. This was a lot of work but the result was very impressive.
Now the look they went for is very difficult and I don’t think I would try to tackle such a complicated process. But I did recently see a very cool hand drawn effect that was like a sketch book come to life. I may do a tutorial to show some techniques I learned along the way.
The truth is this TWO second animation took me about an hour to complete at 12fps. So If I were to animate a 30 second commercial it would take me about 15 hours. Figure about a day or two including a couple of bathroom breaks and a YouTube session, and you will have a very impressive hand drawn commercial. I’ve done far less in a single day. Just remember not everything is a quick fix and a plug-in away, sometime creativity takes hard work too. Besides, if you get paid $5K to animate a commercial, that’s not bad for a single hard day of work.