Everything You Need to Know About the Animation Process
Over 50% of marketing professionals say video has a higher ROI than any other marketing tactic they use.
45% of users watch over an hour of Facebook and YouTube videos a week. By 2021, a million minutes (that's 17,000 hours!) of video content will cross over global IP networks every second.
How many videos are you posting every week? How are you incorporating video content into your marketing strategy? If the answer to those questions is none and we're not you need to get on board with video content.
What's one of the most accessible and affordable forms of video content? Animation.
We aren't talking about Blinky Bill or Babar. We are talking about professional marketing animation videos. There are a ton of different popular types.
Here we give you the complete guide to the animation process for marketing and how you can utilize it to build your brand presence.
How Does the Animation Process Work?
Let's Go Step by Step
There are plenty of reasons why animated videos trump live recordings in marketing. They are more cost-effective, easier to source; and don't require the additional steps of castings, managing people, and covering the logistics of a set.
They offer the opportunity to bend reality and skirt the laws of physics. You don't have limits put on the story you can tell.
But, creating a piece of animated content does take a team of professionals. Experts in their craft. To stay on schedule and budget the project also needs a clear plan.
A process means the project will work. That you'll have your piece in hand on schedule and on budget.
But, what should the plan include? How does the animation process work? Where do you even start?
From start to finish we will tell you what's involved in the animation development process and what you can expect from this type of project.
Your best bet is to find a company that keeps the process in house. This gives you access to the entire process and keeps you in the loop at every phase.
Step 1: The Brief
It's important that the production team understands your business.
The brief process lets us get the opportunity to get to know you and your company. We then distribute the brief to the team working on your project.
It will include the type of video you're after, what visual ideas you want to be included, and what the end goal of the animation is. The induction process will get all of our questions answered about the project so everyone is on the same page.
When considering your brief it's great to get your marketing team together to give input. Make sure the topic of the video remains relevant to your current marketing strategy. Make sure you're on the same page about your company's vision.
Making sure you understand the story you're trying to tell puts you way ahead of the curve. You're helping the video production team start off on a solid foundation. It takes the guesswork out of what you want and cuts down on future necessary edits.
Step 2: The Script
No matter which type of animation you choose to produce it all starts with script creation.
You'll work hand in hand with a creative manager and producer to flesh out your vision into a video script. They'll work with your brief to learn about your business and get a sense of exactly what it is you do.
They'll have a full understanding of your goals with the animation product and continue to hone the script until it meets your standards. An in-house production team makes this process faster and easier with edits being completed on the fly in real-time.
An animation script is different from a standard film script. It's not as complicated. Most have only one voice. So, you need a decent writer to create what is essentially a monologue.
The script must hold the audience's attention for two to five minutes. That's a long time in the world of instant gratification and 2-second attention spans. This is why it pays to hire a professional.
They have the experience to write a script that will accomplish your goals for the video in a professional and seamless way.
Step 3: Styleframes
Once we have the brief and the script we will create an initial still preview of each phase of the video.
These are known as style frames.
This process involves the designers, your creative manager, and the producer of the project working together to come up with the initial look and design of the video.
For an explainer video, the frames may feature the largest main components and the line styles. While other animations feature different angles or the views of different characters in the video.
These give you a visual interpretation of what the end result of the video will look like. You'll get a sense of the style of animation, how the end-user will interact with the video, and see any important characters that are included.
This gives you the opportunity to tweak the style of the animation before the bulk of the work is complete. This saves everyone time and frustration in the end. By adjusting the main components of the animation in the style frames phase it cuts down on edits on the backend of the project.
Step 4: Storyboarding
A storyboard is the detailed setup of each moment of the video.
It takes the style frames a step forward and showcases every moment of the video and script.
It compiles everything that the video requires. It maps out the creations necessary to produce the final version of the animation.
For a feature film shoot, storyboards are used to map out shots and create the shot lists. This saves time and money by scheduling the actors and crew correctly based on the shots list.
For animation, storyboards determine how many animators are needed for a project. If the project needs any specific specialty included. They take you bit by bit through every change within the animation.
They give another opportunity for edits in a rough environment instead of additional editing on the back end. If you hate the flow of a certain section you can switch things around before the video is made.
Since edits are limited once the animation is complete it's vital to get on the same page with the creatives in these beginning phases. Do as much as you can to get the look you want now so you aren't facing additional edit fees at the end.
This is the time to speak up if you don't like where the project is going. Maybe the storyboard isn't reflecting something great you saw in the style frames.
If the team is not capturing the vision tell them now. This will let them pivot and produce a better final result for you. No one wants to waste time or resources which is why these beginning steps are as important as the final approval process.
Step 5: Animation Voice-Overs
The next phase in the animation process is the hiring of voice-over talent.
The actors record the script in a few different ways so the editor will have options once the animation is complete.
In projects like explainer videos, the voice-over speed and cadence is important. This timing will determine the speed the animated elements will appear on the screen.
It's an art to produce great voice-over. The actor has to provide enough blank space to leave room for animated elements and the viewer to understand the concepts. They need to speak clearly and succinctly so the message remains clear.
A professional voiceover talent will understand the process and what is needed to make videos like these successful. Some companies try and save money and use in-house employees to do their voice-overs.
This is a missed opportunity. It's a fiver savings tactic that ends up costing you a Bradman in the end. Using a professional saves time. It also gives a better final result and gives the animation an air of professionalism missing when an amateur records the voice-over.
Step 6: Animation Production
Once we have received approvals of the storyboards our team gets to work creating the animation.
This team will consist of creatives, content managers, editors, and others to ensure your final product is the best it can be.
Artists will set to work creating every second of footage. The characters are brought to life. If it's a whiteboard that little animated dry erase marker will begin it's hurried race across the screen.
Once the drawings are completed then the animation and audio are brought together in the editing studio.
An editor takes the final voice-over recordings and cuts and snips and overlays until it's the best representation for the animation. They'll also cut down the animation itself if the piece is too long or there are unnecessary pieces that don't contribute to the main point.
Once everything is layered together and finalized on our end it's sent to the client for final approval.
Step 7: Your Animated Video
Your video is done! What an amazing email to receive!
You've been waiting a bit for this project to complete and now you finally have the first draft of the completed video.
If the editing team and quality control processes are a success this first version will also be your final version. But, if tweaks are needed edits will be accepted.
Your production team will limit you to a few rounds of edits. This means you need to pick the piece apart the first time. Let a few different people take a look. If you end up missing things and having to add additional edits this will add additional costs to the final invoice.
Compile your edits and send it to production. They will make the revisions and send you the next draft.
If you approve then the video is sent for final HD processing. The production team will make sure the video is converted into it's final highest quality version. Prior to this, it will be in a lesser quality since the smaller file size can transfer to you faster.
The conversion to HD means you can show the video anywhere. Up on the big screen at your next event. On your website suitable for any size screen to have a crystal clear view.
This file is delivered to you in a compressed and secure format. Once you accept the file download it internally and that's it. The video is yours!
The Animation Process Is a Breeze with the Right Organisation on Your Side
We hope this breakdown helps you understand the animation process.
From brief to final delivery now you know every step along the way. We hope this also gives you a glimpse into the value behind the cost of video products as well.
No matter which producer you choose to make your video content insist to see their process. If they can't tell you the steps they take to make their product we suggest you find another video production company.
Here at Lumeo, we staff an in-house production team that is ready to make your vision into reality. We hope to produce your next video project.
Ready to jump into the current age and start marketing with video?
Contact us today so we can get started blowing your audience away and boosting your ROI.