Defining the Project
First we establish the essential content, budget, and schedule. All of this can be discussed over email or phone so that we can make a plan that works for everyone involved. A few things we may cover in this stage:
- What is the essential information you must have in the final animation?
- What kind of style/mood/target audience are you trying to appeal to?
- How will the final product be displayed (TV? Web? Projector?)
- Write the script We might do this together or you may provide your own script. (As soon as script is “locked”, voice recording may begin and should be completed before Production gets under way)
- Visual design
- Character design – Before we can animate, we must know what the characters look like! Are they short and youthful in proportion, with “rubber hose” arms and legs? Or do we want something more sophisticated, with more realistic proportions and a more thoughtful, mature design?
- Background design – What do the backgrounds look like? Are they bright and friendly with saturated colors? Blocky and graphic so as not to distract from characters or displayed information?
- Information design/fonts – For infographic/explanatory animation, we may need to define things like icon design or font choices.
- Storyboard and Animatic. This is where we make a kind of visual blueprint for how the animation will work, using the script to plan each scene. A storyboard may look something like a comic strip, but with more details to communicate where the character and props are on the screen and when. The animatic is where we turn the storyboard into a video and lay in the dialog/narration, which gives us a decent preview of the final product before we get into animation.
This is the longest part of the animation production schedule. Now that we have our plan in place, we can create all visuals and start animation.
- Draw/paint/create backgrounds, character models and rigs, and props.
- Composit: Backgrounds and animation are generally created in different programs. Once both are completed, these elements are assembled together into a compositing/editing program.
- Sound design: Once animation is locked, final sound design can commence.
Congratulations! Your animated video is complete and delivered!