Episode 9: How Animations Are Produced for Brands and Businesses


Episode description

In this week’s episode of The Video Marketing Show, Graham & Phil talk you through the process of animation and what happens at each stage. From time frames to budget, it is all covered in this week’s episode.

Watch the full episode via the link above or listen to the podcast below.


Welcome to the Ark Media Video Marketing Show.

Hi, welcome to The Video Marketing Show, I’m Phil Arkinstall

My names Graham Allsopp

 Now today, we wanted to talk about the process of animation. Do you want to just tell us a little bit about things like styling?

Yeah so I get asked a lot by people about the whole process, I think more so just because they’re interested by it because the process with live action is fairly simple, isn’t it? You go, you kind of do a bit of a storyboard, you film it, you bring it back edit it. With animation, it’s completely new to them. So, what we do is we always try to sit down with the client, and almost not ask for examples they’ve seen that they like, but more just trying to get out of them what they like the look of and what will work, and then we can kind of see what their business is and almost kind of meet in the middle and brainstorm an idea and a style.

 And I also think something we’ve really improved on in the last year is to help the client with the style, we provide them with other examples that we’ve produced for other clients that sort of go across the levels of animation as well, because I think sometimes people don’t fully appreciate a stick man character versus, let’s say Shrek, there’s a whole chasm in between of the time it takes, the amount of assets you need, the amount of animating it requires, and I think that’s something we try to get across early doors now to try and demystify what they’re after.

I think that always gets chosen, in my opinion, when it comes down to budget as well, which it is a shame to a certain degree because it should be tailored for what will work best for the business, but obviously you can’t expect people to have all the money in the world.

 No, but then our challenge becomes hoe do we get the best results on the budget they have, so I think actually knowing and understanding the budgetary level that the piece of work is being aimed at really gives up scope. I mean our formula basically comes down to the budget, breaking that down into day rates, and how many days of asset creation, voiceover, animation, storyboarding, how much does that generate in the amount of work they can have within their budget? So, that does, in a way, frame the level that the animation can go to. So, again if time and budget allow, you can have the Shrek experience, but we find with the majority of clients they want something that gets their message across. So, their message isn’t necessarily all wrapped up in the quality of the character and the spend on that character and that world, it’s more focused on, okay what’s my end objective, and how do we get to that, from the budget that we have?

So coming back to how we get to the end objective, the kind of next thing that we do, once we’ve had a chat with the client, sat down with them and they’ve decided on a style, is what we do is we go away and put together almost a sample of the character and backgrounds that we want and then show it to them and get their feedback, because it almost brings it to life for them in that sense, doesn’t it?

 Yeah, there’s a visual, tangible asset to see.

Yeah and obviously this is the stage just before the storyboard.

 So just following the proves through then, we’ve produced some styles, some style sheets, the clients approved what they want it to look like, so then we move into the storyboard phase. So, just tell us a little bit about the storyboard phase.

Yeah, so for me, the storyboard phase kind of fits alongside the whole scripting as well, because obviously we’d help the client with the script, and the script is fifty percent of the story isn’t it a lot of the time, and it’s how you structure a video, it’s how you structure a story. So, what we do then is we have the script there, and then we have the storyboard there, and we almost break the storyboard down into sections of maybe like 12 to 26 slides scenes almost, depending on how the video is. And that is basically a visual representation of what the animation will look like, but a still version, and that is the time that we ask for amends, because if we get the storyboard right, then all we have to do after that is animate.

 The next step then, is obviously the animation, so someone used to say the final draft of a script is the first draft of an edit and I think that’s exactly the same in the animation world, that final storyboard becomes the first draft of the animation and then from there you can continue to build, improve and modify.

Let’s just have a quick chat about time, the time frame from the start of an animation, so we’re talking about the side where we’re brainstorming, right through to the finish. Obviously, you’re going to have obstacles and hurdles in the middle of it because it’s never just a plain sail, is it? Especially when it comes down to different forms of animation, but just run me through the timeline of an animation, how long can it take? How long should it take?

These things can go on a lot longer, but also, if something’s really straight-forward, we can knock it out the park in a couple of days.

There are so many hurdles that you don’t think of, and a client wouldn’t think of. It’s like the render time, I don’t know if people are aware of what rendering is, but you basically create the assets and then it’s got to render out, and while it renders out, it’s almost like putting all those assets together. But if you want a 3D object, flying through the sky, or something like that, it can take days to render out. CGI films animation stuff takes years to create just because of that concept, you know. If you render out even just a scene and you’re not happy with a little bit, it’s just.. 

Yeah exactly, that’s right. And I think the final thing that I’d like to sort of finish on is lifespan of animations. I think it’s interesting with animation because if you take it out of the real world, it can have a longer lifespan, whereas live action is very much focused down on the here and now. So I always think you have to explain to clients that the value of the animation is very much in it’s longevity. You can also cut down social media length versions of the same project, and maybe pull different thread out of it. You could also have different campaigns that come out of an animation, so if you design a character for the animation video, you could then turn that character and stick it on the side of a billboard or whatever, because it’s part of their brand identity then, and I think that’s quite important thing to say actually, if you bring animation to life within your business, as part of the identity, then it can filter through into that whole brand package that you have, and I think it’s quite important to build that in as well. So that’s a bit of an insight into the animation process, we hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of The Video Marketing Show, please join us for other episodes that are available on YouTube.



The Ark Media Video Marketing Show, bringing you powerful video marketing strategies to truly make an impact.

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