A Guide To The Animation Process
Everybody knows that here at Form Play HQ we are passionate about animation. Indeed, our films are ruthlessly conceived by our endless dedication to shredding those storyboards and cooking up characters. So we thought we'd give you a cheeky glance under the hood of our mega-methods. As our chief pencil pusher Mr. Davis would say about the process: "that's Amore!".
There are four main steps to cooking up a dream:
Stage 1: Discovery
This is a crucial stage, where we gather information about the clients needs, goals, budgets and timescales. It often starts with a brief (read our 'How To Write An Animation Brief') and through conversations, we gain clarity on the project objectives and client aspirations. We explore:
Purpose, audience and desired outcome
Scope of work and deliverables
Voiceover and audio options
Budgets and payment terms
Timelines and milestones
Script and storyboard
Style and direction
Stage 2: IDEATION
This is the stage where the final outcomes are decided and where clients have most involvement. It typically involves:
Concept Development: We generate and explore ideas for creative solutions within agreed parameters. It includes stylistic treatments, storylines, characters, and setting. We then present our ideas through mood boards, sketches and feedback revisions. We sometimes revisit timelines and budgets, should the creative options affect them.
Storyboarding: We create a visual breakdown of the story with sketches of characters, environments, and staging, including notes on dialogue, action, and camera movements.
Character and Environment Design: We develop the appearance, personality, and mannerisms of each character and create settings and backgrounds such as landscapes, buildings, and props.
Animatic: This is the first presentation to the client showing the sequence of shots and establishing the overall pace and tone of the project. It uses storyboard images with rough dialogue and audio.
VO, Audio, SFX: We audition and cast for the VO or commission music, audio, and SFX.
Styleframes and illustrations: We create detailed illustrations of the characters and settings, establishing the visual style, tone and aesthetic of the project
Technical Planning: We plan how the animation will be produced, including the software and hardware needed and any technical challenges that may arise.
Stage 3: Implementation
This is when we start to animate!
Animation is a complex process, which is why we ask for sign-off on the previous stages before any production work can begin. It's also a difficult phase to share progress, as often the elements are created in isolated segments, ready for assembly in the final stages. The animation process typically involves:
Key Frames: Establishing the motion and timing through key poses and movements
In-betweening: Creating the movements between the keyframes to create a smoother motion
Cleanup: Removing stray lines, errors and ensure consistency
Colouring: Adding colour, texture, shading and highlights
Compositing elements into the master animation
Stage 4: Delivery
Before sharing a final proof, we add finishing touches to the animation, such as:
Add final audio and adjust timings
Check for inconsistencies, including colour correction
Version for required formats
And then voila! Your delicious animation is served.
Whether the goal for your animation is to educate, entertain or inspire, our process combines strategic thinking with creative expertise to bring your vision to life.
Get in touch to discuss your project.