[Big Cheese Expertise Guest Post] Hi, I’m Jon Turner, co-founder of Kilogramme animation studio. Animation can bring character, humour, emotion and a human connection to your products, so here’s a beginner’s guide to finding and choosing an animation studio to work with.

Creating video clips for your social media channels and website may feel straightforward, particularly if you’ve ever experimented with filming on your phone. But the idea of using animation might feel a bit daunting if you haven’t worked with it before.

To help you feel confident, we’ve created a quick guide to explain animation in brief.

From animation embellished filmed footage to animated logos, bold, graphical social media content to experiential website content, and commercials to short films, animation can evoke emotions and ideas that other mediums can’t because it can take you absolutely anywhere.

What are the most common animation styles to choose from?

At Kilogramme, we mainly create three types of animation:

  • Motion graphics
  • 2D character animation
  • 3D animation

You can see examples of all three below:

This Royal Exchange Theatre uses motion graphics:

Splosh is a 2D character animation:

Wartie Cool is a 3D character animation:

The easiest way to describe the difference between the three styles of animation is:

  • Motion graphics mainly use shapes to put its points across
  • 2D uses hand-drawn characters
  • 3D uses computer generated ‘puppets’

Of course, it’s a bit more complex than that and budget may decide which you can use, but there is an animation to suit every company brand, whether it is crafted, bold, modern or traditional.

Motion Graphics (2D)

These can be quirky, charming and informative, like this animation we made for a mobile phone company called Onedle using colourful motion graphics:

This is the quickest and easiest method to produce animation, as shapes are the easiest objects to create and manipulate in animation. This means it usually costs the least amount of money if you keep things simple, and as a small business, this is probably the best place to start.

2D vs 3D

The processes for making 2D or 3D animations are different.

2D production is quite a linear process involving pinning down the story, concept, structure, design and then animation in sequence, with most decisions being made early in the process.

For short films this generally means 2D animation is quicker to do and more cost effective, but the lines can blur depending on how complex your short is.

With 3D it is more higgledy-piggledy.

  • The main character of the film is designed first
  • This then needs to be built as a model
  • The puppet is rigged/told how to respond to animation commands
  • The animation itself is done
  • Later it’s textured/colour added, alongside adding light and shadow.

Because there is so much information in a 3D film, you have to allow for a two-week period at the end of the project just for the computers to process the final elements in the rendering stage, so it’s not one to do if you are in a hurry!

This is an image taken from a 3D film we made for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Before you get in touch, think about your design style

Your animator will be able to chat with you about design, so you don’t need to be an expert. However, it’s best to think about what look and feel you and your audience likes before commissioning your film. For example, do you like:

  • Bold bright colours
  • Subtle natural colours
  • Pencil lines
  • Cute characters
  • Abstract patterns
  • Which colours or style best reflects your product?
  • How old is your audience?

Look online at sites like Pinterest or Instagram for illustrator inspiration.

What is your preferred your animation style?

Look at animations already created on Vimeo, YouTube or the Motionographer website for what animation styles might appeal to you and your audience.

You never want to imitate another film, but you can look at elements from other films to help explain to your creative what you like.

Even if the films you choose as reference are way out of budget, starting with what you like is important and your animator can take the essence of that to create a film within your budget.

Disney and Pixar aside, there are so many different ways to animate so any references will help to start the conversation with your animator and get ideas flowing.

It’s like going through Pinterest to look for interior design ideas before deciding how you’d like to decorate a room.

What do you want your animation to tell people?

To make sure the animation you make is going to be effective, the very first thing to do is to jot down a kind of script or synopsis of the content and messages you want to get across. Nothing too final, just what you would like to include and what you would like to happen.

Do you want to depict how your product is made, what its heritage is or what it feels like to consume it? What message do you want people to remember when they’ve seen your film?

But be brutal, brevity is the soul of wit and shorts should only last between 30 and 120 seconds unless you have something very complex to get across. If this is the case, it might be better to have the details on your website and guide people to that.

Think of this as baiting a hook, without using the whole loaf.

How does an animator make your film?

This can be relatively simple:

  • Script
  • Voiceover Recording
  • Design
  • Storyboard
  • Music
  • Animation.

For each film, script is king and your foundations need to be solid, so make sure you’re happy with it before you start making anything.

If you want your audience to see your brand or product in a new light or draw their attention in an interesting new way, making an animation film is and should be fun for everyone involved. We know we’re lucky to be paid for something we enjoy, so want to make you happy too!

Special Blog Offer

If you’d like to work together to create some content for your business, we are offering Smoothie PR readers a discount on short animated content for social media:

  • 15% off one short
  • 25% off a package of three

Alternatively, if you make a short film, we will produce your storyboard or animatic for free as part of the package.

If you have any questions about this offer or animation in general, email Jon or Claire and feel free to look around our website or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

More food for thought…

Hey, Charlotte here, thanks for reading through to the end. If you enjoyed this then you’ll also enjoy ‘How to choose a website design agency‘ and ‘How to find a great designer for branding and packaging‘.

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