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the animated video process from a to z

The process of creating an animated video is complicated and the steps from start to finish numerous. However, don’t be intimidated! Video is a wonderful marketing tool that easily engages people and rapidly improves lead generation and sales. In order to create a video that will be successful, knowing these steps will help you. It will empower you to understand what to look for, what to expect, and what to watch out for.

Step 1) – What do I want my story to be?

Animation is a storytelling tool. So getting clear on what you want your audience to understand about your story is essential. A good place to start is to ask yourself this question; what do I want my video to convey to my customer?

Consider answering these questions before you pick your vendor, it will help you to decide what kind of project you want to build:

  1. What do I want my customers to think or feel about me?
  2. What is the essential information I want to convey to them in this video?
  3. What is the tone and feeling of the video I am looking for?
  4. How quickly do I need this project completed?
  5. How much can I afford to pay for this project?

Step 2) – What to look for in a vendor

Animation studios and companies that can provide animation services are numerous around the world. Many of them with unique strengths and weaknesses. Some are focused on 2D animation only. Others focus exclusively on 3D work for industrial applications or commercials. Others are a blend of video studios who do visual effects and motion design.

Because of this, it’s important to hunt around and do your research on the kind of company you’d like to work with. If you know you want a 2d explainer video at a lower cost, there are many options out there of companies that exclusively produce those products. So pick your vendor carefully and in accordance to what you think they can do for you.

Step 3) – How soon can I get my video?

Animation production can take a while depending on how long, detailed or complicated your video is. If the animation is simple and short, say a 30 second spot. The turn around could be as crunched as 2 weeks, to as much as 4 or 5 weeks.

For a longer form project like an explainer video that is say 2 minutes in length. The average production process be can as little at 4 weeks to as much as 8 weeks. Anything less then that and you’re looking for trouble. Turn around and time to integrate feedback will be limited. It could cost you your deadline!

Animation is created from scratch and every second of the video counts towards labor in the budget. For a Pixar film like Toy Story 3 an average of $36,639 per second was spent to create that film.

Hopefully that gives you a better idea of the scale and time that goes into animation.

Step 4) – The Script and Preproduction Phase

Now that you’ve picked your vendor and locked in a budget and schedule, the first phase of production begins. Depending on the length and how complicated the script is, the process from beginning to end could take as little as a few days to up to a week or so. If you have taken on the task of providing the script yourself, great! If you have asked the vendor to create your script for you to comment on and tweak, great as well!

The other part of this phase is called Preproduction. That can mean you will start getting some visual ideas and designs or illustrations for sections of your video, like the characters, icons, backgrounds, etc.

You may be provided with the following during Preproduction:

Styleframes: these are still frames that show you what your video will look like at a few points in the script.

Storyboards: These are more rudimentary, not overtly designed drawings that illustrate your video’s progression from start to finish. They usually include an explaination of what will be happening in that part of the video, as well as timecodes for it.

Animatic: An animatic is a moving storyboard with sound. It’s basically a pre-animation, low resolution of the timing and pacing of your video with some rudimentary movement of things to show you how everything will work together.

Step 5) Production Phase

The production phase is where the rubber hits the road. Now that you have approved the pre-production portion, animation begins. During this phase is where your video is now created. Sometimes segments of the video will be presented up front as a proof of concept.

Usually for explainer videos I give clients the first 15 seconds for comments. This informs them of where the look and feel of it is going and gives them a chance to tweak and adjust things that aren’t working right off the bat.

Next you are usually provided with a finished product to look at and give feedback for.

Step 6) Post Production Phase

This is where sound and music are mastered and officially finished for production. As well as final tweaks to things like color correction and the look of the finished product as a whole once it’s done.

This is the last phase of the process. After this the project is wrapped up and your final product is ready to go!

If you’re curious to know more about animation or hire my company to help you out. You can view more of my blog here, or email me anytime with questions or comments at christina@yonyonderstudio.com

Have a great day!