How to make an animated video

Maddie Prior
April 6, 2023
4 min read
How to make an animated video

Animation is becoming more popular and is being shown as a very powerful marketing tool, with 80% of marketers saying video helps them increase the number of time users spend on their website (source). Customers love visual content as this can be processed much quicker than any text or image content, animation is all based around moving visuals which will grab and hold customers attention for a lot longer then. Animation can be relevant to any business, it can help explain complex concepts, sell products or even help sell your brand in a new way. Therefore knowing how to create animation for your business can be really important if it is a marketing tool you are thinking of using.

Creating animation can be challenging, if that's you and your team doing it yourself in house or using a team of animators and outsourcing it. We have put together a step by step guide on how to create an animated video is the easiest possible way.

Objective -

When creating your animated video you need to know why you are creating it, what are the reasons behind creating an animated video. Are you choosing to use animation because you want to be explaining a product or service or are you using it to tell your business's story?

Once you know why you are creating the video content you will be able to put together the core messages, what are you trying to achieve from the content. Setting out SMART objectives will really help you put into place what the outcome of your video will look at and will help you know what you are doing in more detail.

Brief -

Once knowing your objectives and before starting anything else you want to write a brief, this will help determine your main objectives, the target audience of your video and the core messages behind it. You want to be figuring out how you are going to convert the core messages of the video into a simple short video that will keep engagement with your audience. You don't want to be creating anything that is too confusing otherwise you will lose interest and people will not want to watch your video content. In the brief you want to be deciding the type of animation you are creating, are you making a 2D animation, 3D or whiteboard, this is something you want to be figuring out as they all look different and can have different effects on the audience. 

Making sure your story has a clear layout is crucial, it needs to have a hook, the main story and a CTA (a call to action). The hook is the most important part, this is the first 8 - 10 seconds of the video, it will decide if audiences will stay on the video or click off so making sure it is attention grabbing is important. The main story is where you get to the information of the video, this part is the main reason for the video and the objectives behind the video. Lastly, the CTA, this is the final part of the video that will encourage people to take action from your video. If the hook and the main story are good, audiences will listen to the CTA and take action from it. By making sure you have all 3 of these in your animation it will help the video perform better as you will be able to keep audiences on the content for longer. 

Storyboard -

Storyboarding is essential when creating an animated video, it helps you get an idea of how your final video is going to look before creating any animation. It helps predict if your concept and ideas are going to work or not and it will give you the opportunity to change or tweak anything that might not fit or look right. By seeing the visuals out in the front of you can really help give you a better idea of what goes best where and what type of visuals fit together perfectly. 

Storyboarding helps organise your video scene by scene, if certain scenes don't look right together you can change them to make sure the following of your video is perfect. As a company you can decide if you hand draw your storyboard or use online tools, using online tools can be more simple as you will be able to drag and drop the visuals into the storyboard blocks and it can be easier to see what will look best together. Hand drawing your storyboard can be done easily as well by drawing rectangular boxes for the main images than smaller boxes below for the dialogue, camera angles and other smaller features. 

Designing -

In the design stages you will be collecting the graphics, creating and illustrating graphics, this will help you piece together what you are making in the animation and it will make it easier for you to visually see what your animation is going to look.  You don't need to use complex visuals, you want to be making sure the visuals you are creating are clear and simple. The message wants to be straightforward to help the viewers out with understanding what you are explaining, it will help keep their focus more, if you make it too complex audiences wont understand what you are trying to tell them.

At this point you will also be blocking out the timing of the visuals, working out the timing of the video and lining up the video with the voice over and any other SFX that will be in the video. This is important as you want to make sure the animation makes sense. The visuals on screen are showing what the voice over or music are speaking about. If this doesn't match up it will not make sense and will confuse people making them less interested in what you are talking about.

Style frames can also be done at this stage, these are similar to the storyboard but it will be a much cleaner version. This version can be presented to your team to show what the end project will look like using the actual assets you have created for the animation. It will give a much clearer idea and will demonstrate what the final video will look like. This can overlap with storyboarding but the storyboarding is a rougher version than the style frames. 

Animating your video -

Deciding how you want to animate your video can be the challenging part, you can either hire a team of animators to do the work or you can try and do it yourself. If you choose to do it yourselves there are many different apps you can use that can create good quality 2D and whiteboard animations. Once you have created the first draft of your animation you will be able to share it with colleagues which is an important thing to do, you will be able to get other people's opinions on the project. This will help you make changes as other people will be able to notice faults that you might not be able to see and it is better to review your work that way. Taking breaks during this time is important as if you continuously work on the project you might be making changes you don't need to do and you will be putting too much pressure on yourself to get it perfect. 

If you decide to outsource your animation to an animation team you will only do the planning and you will be able to send them your ideas for them to bring to life. When outsourcing an animation team you will have to consider costings and a timeline as this can be a much longer process due to the animation team wanting to make sure the video they send out to you is perfect. As a company you want to find out if you have the budget to outsource a team to do it or if you need to do it yourself within the team.

Post production -

In the post production stages you will start adding transitions, effects, sound effects and music to the animation. This is what will help bring your animation to life more and will set the tone of the video for you. Music and sound effects can really help convey emotions and give the video energy it might need if it lacks it.

Once you're happy with the project and the way everything fits in, you can share it around to your colleagues to see what they think of the content. If they think any changes need to be made you can make more changes making sure it fits your storyboard and brief perfectly. Making sure your whole team is happy with the content you are creating is important as everyone needs to like what you are putting out there to your audience. If everyone is happy with the animated video are able to publish it and share it and send it around to your audience, if you are choosing to share it on your social media channels you want to make sure you are using correct sizing and lengths for each platform.We have also written a blog all on the social video guide, this has all the correct sizing and lengths for your social videos to make sure you are getting maximum reach out of everything you are posting.

If you have chosen to use an animation team that is outsourced you are able to review the video and make changes as you like. The team will make sure they are sending over what they have created to insure that you like what they are doing and that you're happy with the animation being created. Sometimes some changes can be chargeable depending on how long it might take the animation team to complete. Using an animation company can help in post production as they will know the types of effects and sound effects that will fit your animated video perfectly. 

Animation allows you to visually show off your brand and make complex concepts easier to understand. By using bright eye catching visuals can keep audiences attention for longer and represent your brand in a new way. By following this step by step guide to help create your next animated video will help make sure you don't miss out anything you want to put in it and will make sure your final video meets the guidelines of what you want to be making. 

Doing it by yourself can be very difficult if you haven't made an animated video before. By using an animation team it can take the work off your hands and they can help explain the process to you and take you through it step by step. This can make your work a lot easier as the animation will be done for you and you will be able to have as much or as little input as you and your team would like.

If you're interested in creating some animated video content for your business, chat to one of the team to find out how we can help.

Article by
Maddie Prior
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