Updated: Jun 29
Your favorite animated movies, whether they’re from Pixar, Disney, or Dreamworks, are immense projects expertly crafted from huge teams of talented animators, visual effect artists, writers, designers - the list goes on and on. It’s insane how massive these undertakings truly are, but like any machine, it becomes easier to understand once broken down into its individual parts. Whether you're making a two hour animated movie, or in our case, a two minute animated explainer video, the process is mostly the same. It’s this process that we will be breaking down, explaining what you can expect and what is required from your team, and what is expected from ours.
There’s a lot that goes into creating an animation, but we are able to break down the process into it’s main parts - Scripting, Concepting, Storyboarding and Animating.
Scripting We’ve written on scripting and what goes into writing a good value proposition video (you can click here for more on that). Live-action videos and animated videos do not have a difference between how they’re written, and for the most part, can work for either medium. (lucky you, that blog exists here too!).
The scripting process is by far the most important and will serve as the foundation for the entire video. Make sure you are clearly conveying your message, capturing attention early and converting it into interest. Once we know your content and tone, we’ll find a voice that matches. We have a service that allows a network of thousands of professional voice actors to audition, based on the type of voice we want (age, gender, tone, accent, etc).
Note: While scripting for video, make sure you are constantly considering what can be said, and what can be shown. When we are provided a script, we typically alter it, noting areas that can be graphics. Always be thinking,’is this supporting information, and can it be shown visually?’ Concepts Typically, we work on concept art and storyboarding simultaneously to save on time, but we will discuss it first. ‘Concepting’ means discovering your preferred artist style, and when dealing with companies, we recommend connecting it with your brand. (And before you ask, yes, we have an article on that as well!)
It’s also important to consider budget, as your style will likely reflect the amount of money you can spend developing and animating the different graphics, characters and backgrounds that will appear in your video. We usually decide styles based on both existing branding and on budget, starting with supporting graphics like text and icons, followed by complexity/quality of characters, and finally the complexity/quantity of the backgrounds.
Note: Sometimes the backgrounds, especially with corporate films, aren't as important to the story and thus can remain more simple and abstract. There’s also the question of 2D v 3D animation - the latter is more difficult to produce, thus costing more.
Below is an example of some concepts created for an event intro, which we will be using to illustrate the steps throughout each process:
Storyboarding We’re now at the part where we can literally visualize the script, making scenes and transitions clear to team members, as well as clients. We spend a lot of time getting the storyboard perfect, because the more time spent here means the less time (and money) spent later with revisions.
Note: A good storyboard can be edited and played, meaning you can watch it and follow along as if it was the final product. Always be thinking about how scenes flow to one-another, and if the tone fits that of the script.
Animation Okay, by this point we have the following:
Approved Concepts & Storyboards
Now it’s time for the fun part to begin - though let’s be honest, are we not already having a blast?! We like to animate a single scene first, referred to as an ‘animation test,’ and share it with the client so they can give us feedback early on. Once this animation test is approved, we complete the rest of the video, from the intro to the body to the ending call-to-action.
We complete all of the animation in-house, along with everything noted above. We keep a team on projects from start to finish, so there is never confusion with regards to client expectations.
Once the animation is complete, we send an export to the client (we buy the music track after approval, so it will be watermarked up to this point) and once approved, the video is add to your portal, accessible via a download button. Additionally, we provide hosting through Wistia, which offers a plethora of embedding, marketing and CTA options.
We’ve made it! This process for a 1 - 2 minute video typically takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks, depending on script approval. The only thing required from you is an idea - we can take it from there, from concept to creation. Are you interested in an animated video? Simple or complicated, we want to make your idea a reality.
We hope this article made the process more clear, and please hit us up anytime for more information!