This post features the essential steps in the production process of an explanimation.
Indispensable in getting mutual expectations clear.
This is the most important step in production. Changes in script later in the process can result in a lot of extra work, especially when it concerns animation.
Experience teaches that script guidance is generally advisable to prevent problems later on. This means good collaboration is indispensable.
With a proper script as a guideline the rest of the process runs smoother, keeping time and cost within certain limits.
Beware length: 120 words = about 1 minute of animation
For instance: structure for a start-up explanimation:
It’s important to keep your message short and structured in communicating your brand (no more than 150-200 words). After all, you are telling a story with a beginning, a middle and an end: a probleem, a solution, and clear call to action.
This last part urges a viewer to take action, such as: ‘mail now’, ‘call now’, ‘click here’, ‘leave a message’, ‘share this video’, ‘visit the website’, and so on and so forth.
A start-up script looks like this:
The script is done when we have a voice over and an accompanying visual description fro each segment.
A voiceover comes in various price categories, depending on client budget, although I would advise against low budget approach. A good voice means a lot to the message, and animating itself takes a heck of a lot more time.
I have worked with excellent voices artists for you to choose from. A famous actor/actress would be it more pricey, though. You can also use my (temp) voice. And some of you can provide your own voiceover.
With some simple instruction you can cheaply record your own voiceover, for instance with your iPhone under a (soundproofing) blanket and a light to read your text by, but that usually means a lot of feedback and editing on my end so it’s not very time or cost effective unless you really want your own voice. We can also head over to the sound studio close-by here in Groningen.
While writing the script, visual elements are taken into account. The storyboard fase actually starts during scripting, showing what the visuals can be for each text fragment.
Storyboards vary in extent depending on budget.
The script is divided into logical shots.
Next to the sketches for each shot, the following can be placed:
Based on a total list of the graphic elements it’s also easier to estimate how long the animating process will take.
ILLUSTRATION (about 25% of the animation time)
I can do the drawings in or I can hire someone with a specific style. You can also use other graphic elements – such as photo’s, video and text. Stock photo’s and footage can be used; these vary a lot in price.
All in all this part of the production greatly influences the budget.
Your corporate design is very important. Any pictures, illustrations, fonts you can provide for the animation are timesavers, which is good for the budget. I prefer vector-files, such as .eps, .pdf, .ai. Otherwise large resolution files, so close ups do not result in rasterized images.
Animating one minute of relatively simple animation takes about a week. Excluding revisions.
I use Adobe After Effects for most animation. In comparence with traditional animation, this software takes care of many frames that I won’t have to draw. Take in to account that one second holds 25 frames and there you have it: explanimations in the olden days would have been pretty costly.
Animation is tough on the computer’s rendering capacity and timelines on the digital editing table can become pretty complicated. So bear in mind that changes afterwards are time consuming. Hence the importance of the script fase.
Character animation — animated puppets — take time, exponentially so once they have faces and expressions, and have to do elaborate movements. Depending on your wishes the animation can be simpler or more elaborate.
You might need a longer video to get across more elaborate and complex content, such as manuals or financial, economical and legal puzzles. In short, length is a key element for the price, as is the complexity of the animation.
By the way, you wouldn’t want to disregard brilliant insights during animation. It does remain an organic process in many ways and it would be a shame to not include them.
By adding 3D to the mix a higher budget would be needed. Since customer is king, it is a possibility; 3D specialists are standing by — they’re available at close hand … like sitting next to me 😉
But lets not stop there: stop motion would be cool, and you could even make an explanimation with practical means where the elements are on wires and manually animated in real-time and it becomes a performance.
SOUND DESIGN & MUSIC
Sound design covers all sound, besides the voice over, that further dresses the video and makes it more pleasing to watch. They involve sound effects and music. The choice in music is essential for setting a mood. However soft and unobtrusive music is supposed to be, Explanimations without music do miss a sensory dimension. Cutting down on this budget would be a shame. Alternatively, leaving out music is sometimes necessary but requires more form the overall soundscape and sound effects to lead emotions.
The number of revisions depends on the budget. Revisions lift the end product to a higher plane, without them it is simply not possible to attain the highest expectations of the client.
Cutting down on this budget will therefore not benefit the end product and its quality.
COMPRESSION AND DELIVERY
The computer will often have to render (read: calculate) the animation, which can take quite some computer power and time. Then a version can be send though WeTransfer or placed on Vimeo behind a password.
Ready to create something cool with Mutant Worm? Get in contact here, or call! +31 617 096 032