The Art of creating animated videos

Explainer Videos, Illustrations

Creating an animated video is a complex task made up of 4 main areas;

  • Script 
  • Visual Storyboard
  • Artwork creation
  • Animation

Writing a script for animated video content

Script writing in itself is a very creative process and could be its own lengthy topic. But in most cases the client is best placed to write the script initially as they understand their business or product. A script should be broken into 3 main areas; Introduction to the product or service, then how this benefits / helps the target audience, and then finally draw conclusions with a call to action.

This structure meets the criteria for most videos and ensures the video flows smoothly. Some e-learning style videos or treating videos take a different approach as they are more explanatory in nature, so will follow a structure tat best suits what is being taught.

Once a script has been supplied, we would normally feedback any minor changes or recommendations on how to improve it. Often the main change we tend to recommend is reversing how lines of dialogue are delivered.

For example, the main point to a line of dialogue is often made at the end when talking, but this leaves little time to visually show the  point. By simply reversing the point being to the front and then clarifying within the rest of the line, can change how the scene can build. Eg:

“The results were amazing and led to over 1000 new members.” – In this dialogue the 1000 members is an important visual queue, but comes at the end of the dialogue. Changing this to “We now have over 1000 new members due to amazing results”. This line now allows us to visually play with the important 1000 new customers visual and give it time to digest through the rest of the line.

Visual Storyboard

Once the script is approved and everyone is happy, the visual storyboard and art style is an important phase. This is where each scene is sketched out and planned and where the art style of the animation is established.

As part of this process we carry out concept art to establish the art style and look.

We encourage feedback and changes throughout this stage to ensure the storyboard meets the requirements. Making changes at this stage is easy, so it is important to fine tune this as much as possible.

A typical explainer video can be made up of anywhere between 10 to 20 storyboard scenes, depending on how complex the visuals need to be.

Artwork Creation

Once a storyboard and script have been approved, we move onto creating all the artwork for the animation. This can be a time consuming process and even after years of experience, it still amazes me how many little bits of artwork need to be created even for a seemingly simple scene. 

It is not unusual to create over 100 individual ‘elements’ that need to be animated.

Animation

The animation process can often make use of multiple software. Typically we use Apple Motion, Moho, After Effects and Toonboom Harmony to create our animations. Scenes can either be animated individually and then pieced together in Final Cut Pro editing software. Or in some cases the way scenes have to animate into each other seamlessly, then they are animated all within the animation software.

Summary

Every project is different, and comes with its own unique challenges. Art styles, complexity of animation and length of script all play a part in dictating how involved a project will be.

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