Planning your first animated video?
Whether you are creating your own or looking to hire a video production company, it is essential to know the animation production process behind it.
Fortunately, we have created this guide to show you the step-by-step 2D animation process.
In fact, we have successfully created over 250+ animated explainer videos using this very animation workflow.
So, if you’re eager to discover the magic that goes behind creating a killer animated video, this guide is for you.
But, before we go any further…
What is the Animation Process?
The 2D animation process is the technique of creating the illusion of movement using still images in a two-dimensional space. It includes characters, storyboards, and backgrounds in the form of vector graphics. It is usually created with software like Adobe After Effects, Illustrator and Photoshop.
What are the steps to create animation?
While every animation video project we work on is different, they all follow these 7 fundamental stages.
- Step 1: Gathering information
- Step 2: Concept & Script
- Step 3: Voiceover recording
- Step 4: Storyboard
- Step 5: Visual style
- Step 6: Animation
- Step 7: Music
Step 1: Gathering Information
Before you start, here is something you need to be aware of. The foundation for a great animated video is to understand the client’s company and project.
At this stage, we communicate with our clients to set the right expectations for their video projects.
To do so, we send a detailed creative brief for them to fill. In short, the creative brief is a video production client questionnaire.
It encompasses details like the video’s purpose, product features/benefits they want to highlight, target audience, quick elevator pitch, etc.
Later, through an online call or a personal meeting, we get a more in-depth understanding of the project.
It is in this stage of the animation process that the participation from creative directors and scriptwriters are encouraged.
Here is the creative brief template we use at Studiotale. Feel free to use it if you wish.
Step 2: Concept & Script
The concept and script are the backbone of any video.
At this stage, we use the above requirements as a guide, along with our own research to create a concept for the video.
The idea can be either conceptual, character-driven, emotionally evoking or conversational, that best suits our client’s video project.
This basically means creating a framework for the animated explainer video.
Once we have approval from the client, we use the concept as a base to create an engaging script that effectively communicates the message to be delivered.
Pro Tip: We recommend using Google Docs when writing the script because it’s easier to get feedback and suggestions from all the various stakeholders, like clients and your team.
When you’re writing an animated explainer video script, here is a list of things you must take note of:
Length of the video script:
The ideal length for an animated video is 60 to 90 seconds, which amounts to an average of 150 to 225 words for the video script.
There are two categories to which your story can belong:
- Problem-Solution Approach: This is when you start the script by addressing well-known problems faced by your target audience. This is then followed by the launch of your product as the solution, highlighting its features and benefits. This is a highly preferred approach.
Stand-alone Story Approach: This is used when launching an innovative product that is entirely new and unknown to people. You can directly start the video script with the product, followed by the features and benefits.
Example: Here is the sample script which we made for Atoka animated video project.
Step 3: Voiceover Recording
Alright, you’ve come up with an awesome narrative with a powerful message. What you need now is the right voice to deliver it.
That’s the next stage – choosing the perfect voiceover artist.
Taking the concept, script and client’s brand tone into account, we find the best voice from our curated list of artists.
If you are entirely new to this, there are some great platforms where you can find the best voice over artists for your video.
Whatever the case may be, if you wish to hit the right chord with the user, the tone and pace should be just right.
It is important to give the viewers enough time to digest what you say while also assuring that they do not get too bored.
If your brand is easy going and simple, your voice over artist can have a little fun while recording. On the contrary, if your product or service is serious, an authoritative and neutral tone is what you need.
A good voiceover demands to
- Stress the right words
- Follow the correct pitch
- And, pause at the right place
Example Voiceover: Check out this voiceover recorded for Atoka explainer video project.
Step 4: Storyboard
Our next step is to connect the narrative to visuals by creating a detailed storyboard.
It is nothing but hand-drawn sketches of how the script will play out scene-by-scene, describing the visuals and actions.
It helps the client and the team to be in sync with how the final video will unfold.
The storyboard directs the designer and animator to design scenes, transitions, and progression in the animation.
Example: Take a look at how we created the storyboard for Atoka.
Step 5: Visual Style
In this stage of the animation process, a visual style is created based on our client’s brand guidelines. You can call it a colored storyboard. These are custom, full-color images that show us how the final video will look.
They include character design, eye candy illustrations, text, background color, and icons.
We normally create two to three visual style options for the client to choose from. Based on the client’s selection, we translate the rough sketches to final, colored illustrations.
This part of the animation process is time-consuming and requires creativity. We leave our designer undisturbed to get the best results.
Example: Take a walk through the visual style we have defined for the Atoka animation project.
Step 6: Animation
Now for the much-awaited stage. This is where the animated explainer video starts to take shape! Here, our animators provide the illusion of life to the created visual style.
In addition, it is perfectly timed with a good voiceover to make an engaging animated explainer video.
Animation involves a lot of time, so patience is key.
Example: Peek-a-boo into Atoka’s style frames that have been animated creatively.
Step 7: Music
Finally, it’s time to set the mood of the video, and we do that by adding the perfect soundtrack and sound effects.
There are two ways you can go about this.
If the client’s budget is high, we hire a music composer to create an original piece.
This phase of the animation process is most noteworthy to liven up the video and give it a little more oomph.
Example: Listen to the final output of the music that we have used for Atoka.
Bingo! The explainer video is all set to charm the audience.
For instance, take a look at the final output of the explainer video we made for Atoka using this animation process.
Well, that’s about our animation process. Pretty simple in theory, but involves a lot of time and creativity.
Our animation process timeline typically takes around 4-6 weeks.
While this isn’t the only way to go about the 2D animation process, this method has definitely worked wonders for us.
We hope our process of animation production helps you in the same way too.
If you want to get an animated explainer video for your business, or have any additional thoughts on this guide, feel free to contact us.