Step-by-step guide to the animation production process

Learn the process of animation production to create a successful video

Today we will talk about the main stages of the animation production process. If you have never dealt with it, it may be quite shadowy to you. So we decided to explain how it all works. Each project is unique but usually the steps in animation production are the same.
Let’s look closer to each of them.

Step 1: Brainstorming

The timing and duration of the project are defined, so now we can proceed with the brainstorming. The whole team is gathering and everyone expresses any of his/her ideas, even the craziest ones, even when they are on the wrong track. It doesn’t matter at all! The main thing here is that it’s fun and cool! Everyone is involved and this brings the whole team together. To make it all possible, we just need a concept, any information on the topic from the client or the agency we are working with. If the client already has a finished script and VO, we should have it at this stage. Either the client wants us to make some changes, or we have to make the script, we get down to work. We can edit the already obtained information, put everything together, or create a script based on the information we receive from our client.
That’s why we send a detailed brief for them to fill as he knows all about his product. This is a client questionnaire which contains a lot of details like the aim of the video, the target audience, the key product/service features need to be highlighted in the video, type of the video, etc.
You could check our explainer video script template pdf.

So feel free to use it as a sample.

Tip from XPLAI: We recommend you to use Google Docs when writing the script. This helps you to get feedback and offers from your clients and your team in a more easy way.

When you create an explainer video script  there is one important thing you should keep in mind:

Length of the video script:

The ideal length for an animated video is up to 2 min, that is, 120 sec.
But we recommend the explainer video to be 60 – 90 sec long.

Storyboard

Step 2: Storyboard

Storyboard is used to explain the story. It shows the main elements of the animation and gives an idea of how the voiceover will match the visual part. Just imagine a schematic pencil drawing. As the animation production process takes some time, storyboard helps your clients to see the process and to understand if we move in the right direction, thus avoiding delays in the future. For storyboarding we use a very cool platform, Boords, the online storyboard creator.
And here is the example of the storyboard for our client
Brainstorming

Step 3: Design

So, our geniuses, our illustrators, start working. They search among many styles to find the one that emphasizes the individuality and uniqueness of this particular project. There is no limit to their imagination! Inspire and work! It is very useful to get the style examples you like so that the designer could focus on them.

  • This will definitely be helpful.
  • At this stage, the designers also cooperate with the motion designers.
  • There is a mutual exchange, how to better animate this or that detail.
  • After that, we send for the review several examples of illustrations in different styles.
  • The client chooses what he likes best and goes to the next animation production step.
  • But of course, the number of edits depends on the schedule and budget of the project.
  • We can use the prepared illustrations provided by the client, too.

Design

Step 4: Аnimatic

Animatic is a great way to get everything we have and create a draft video. Its goal is to show the time and the pace with key movements and transitions. Animatic is just illustrations synchronized with the music and voiceover. The animation as it should be is still far away. For example, you will not see how the character freely walks in the park.
In animatic, it will have a more static picture or a slight slip along the background image. At this stage, the voiceover is very important for the motion designer to continue the animation.
Depending on your preferences and the target audience, you could choose a professional speaker from many platforms, Voices and Voicebunny, for example. These professional speakers can deliver the message of your brand perfectly.

Step 5: Animation production process

Here it is! The most important stage – animation! At this stage, we are doing what we know best: we embody a unique story that has to become something truly fascinating and charming. We devote a lot of time and attention to the previous steps to make sure everything is ready. Then we will be able to go to the animation itself. All the above steps must be agreed before we start working, since it’s hard to change something after that. Of course, we could do it but this affects the timing and the budget of the client. So we try to avoid it as much as possible.

Step 6: Feedback and approval

This step is applied throughout the process of working on the project and finishes with the arrangement when we finish the video. At the agreed time, the client has the opportunity to view and to send the feedback. The number of reviews we could implement at each stage depends on the schedule and budget mentioned at the beginning of the project. Quick feedback is important to ensure that we continue the workflow. That is why it is perfect when the client indicates first the priority changes that should be done immediately. And after it – the other ones, which can wait for a little.
Feedback and approval

Step 7: Render and final delivery

The finish is almost here! Creation and final delivery!

  1. With agreed changes, we send the mp4 file to the sound design.
  2. Our sound designer adds his cherry on the cake, sound effects, which completes and highlights your piece of art.
  3. After the sound design, we give the full version of the video in Full HD, as well as other formats on request from the client.
  4. Any changes that the client wants to make at this stage are quite possible but will incur additional costs and delay of the entire project.
  5. The render and sending to the client may take some time. It depends on the size and nature of the files, so we always inform our customers about it.
  6. Well, finally, the project is over. On the computer screen you see your video, worthy of all that efforts and expectations, and now ready to conquer the world!

To sum it up

  • Well, this is how our standard production process looks like. This is the ideal variant, of course)
  • Usually it takes a lot of time and efforts to complete the project, especially if there were a lot of rounds of feedback.
  • So our typical turnaround time for a 60-sec video is 4-5 weeks. Plus client comments/revisions/iterations.
  • We hope that this guide to the animation production process will help you in your work as well.

If you want to create an animated video about your product/services, or you have some additional questions, feel free to contact us.