Video Animation: tips, process and insights from two Switch Video animators

Important video animation tips

We asked Lead Animator Dan Shaw and Animator Hugo Noordijk to put together a few insights into the five-week video animation process that starts when you commission Switch Video to create an animated video that explains your business, product or service.

They’ve also got some great ideas about how to work with us to create the most effective video we can. And that starts when you’re working with the Switch Video team to come up with the basic concept for the animated video.

For starters, here’s three key video animation tips from from Dan and Hugo:

1) “Try to step back and consider things from the viewer’s perspective.”

2) “Keep things really simple – with only about two minutes to explain, there’s only so much we can cover!”

3) “Have fun and use some humor! We’ve noticed these seem to be the most successful kinds of videos.”

Dan and Hugo explain the process:

Once there is a basic concept for the script and images, the animators get to work drawing three or four samples. We’ll come up with different styles for the characters that will be in the video, as well as a variety of looks for things like text and backgrounds.

For example, maybe your video has a rabbit as one of the characters. Well, we can draw a really life-like rabbit, or we can do something more “cartoon-y”, or we can do something more rough.

From there, we rely heavily on you – the client. We need to know exactly what you do and don’t like.  More importantly, we need to know what you think your customers will and won’t like. Maybe you want some of the elements from one sample, combined with aspects of one of the other samples. Nothing is settled at this point – the sky is the limit! Stay open to all the possibilities.

And here’s the key to the entire video animation process. Talk to us! Let us know what’s working and what isn’t. As with any successful endeavour, good communication is the most important part.

The next phase is the script. We animators don’t have much to do with that part, so we’ll just skip over that for now and leave that conversation to those “boring two-dimensional writer types”.

(Ed. note: We’re sensing an upcoming altercation.)

After the script is completed, it’s time to put together a storyboard. This is a series of rough sketches that outline the actions that will happen onscreen while each line of the script is read. Now it’s your turn again, as the client, to send back your comments and request any changes.

It takes some imagination to look at a storyboard and imagine the moving pictures and sound, and there’s always going to be an element of the unknown until all of the pieces are together at the end. It’s during this stage that we ask for some creative freedom. That can be a bit unnerving, we know, but very exciting as well!

Once you’ve approved the basic concepts of the storyboard, we’re off! Now we’ll use Flash to animate the style of drawing you selected, adding music, sound effects and voice-over. While we do use the Flash program to make things move, keep in mind that before it gets to that point we must draw every single frame of action. It’s a very labor-intensive process (that we love!), and it’s the reason we don’t turn your videos around faster.

Thanks for joining us for this brief explanation of the video animation process. We hope to be working with you soon!

Video Animation: tips, process and insights from two Switch Video animators was last modified: by

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