Animation Process

Here's how an animated video comes together at Demo Duck.

You’re thinking about starting a project, or maybe you just took the plunge, and are wondering “what should I expect?” Here is a detailed overview of the explainer video animation process that we’ve created to give you a better understanding of how this thing works. For each of the stages we’ve added some basic information like what it is, what it looks like, and how long it takes, so you’ll feel confident at each and every step.

1. Creative Brief

The creative brief is a short questionnaire that helps us better understand your business and what you’re looking for in a video. It’s also an opportunity to think about your business at a high level and determine what is most important to share with viewers. All key stakeholders should sign off on the brief to ensure alignment from the beginning of the project.

2. The Discovery Phase

We’ll assemble our core team for the project (typically they Producer, Lead Writer, Associate Creative Director, an Art Director, and our Director of Partnerships) to meet with your team to formally kick things off. During this phase, we’ll discuss the creative brief with your key stakeholders, and make sure that we’re all on the same page as we get the project rolling. This is our time to pick your brain and ask a bunch of questions. We want to make sure that we answer all of your questions,and that we fully understand your goals for the project.

3. Concept & Treatment

The foundation of any great video is a solid visual concept with an engaging story. Without a creative foundation, the visuals are irrelevant. Using the Creative Brief as a guide, and adding our own research and discovery, our team will brainstorm a collection of ideas for your video and then narrow them down to the best and brightest. From there, we’ll present the ideas during a concept pitch meeting. After you’ve had a chance to review and digest, we’ll move forward based on the concept approved by all parties.

4. The Production Timeline

Unless your project is on a tight timeline with a drop-dead delivery date, we’ll provide you with our standard production timeline once a concept is selected. This schedule details how long we need for each step of the project, including revisions from you and your team. From our experience, the most variable part of the timeline is the time it takes for your team to review and provide feedback. The sooner you can get us feedback (ideally within 24-48 hours), the faster we can get your video done. At the start of each new stage, we’ll let you know when you can expect the next deliverable.

5. The Script

With hundreds of videos under our belt, we’ll write a script that effectively communicates your message and serves as the narration for the final video. We find that having our outsider’s perspective on your business can be invaluable for producing a simple, effective video script.

7. Storyboard

Once a script is approved, we’ll create a storyboard that details the visuals for the video scene-by-scene, typically in a sketch style so that we can easily edit before creating the assets. This is where the video really starts to take shape. You’ll see how each scene is designed, the layout, and the progression of the story. It will also serve to direct the animator’s motion of those assets.

Explainer Animation for Dropbox Scenes

7. Style Frames

Your video should be unique to your business and accurately reflect your brand. That’s why we create every single animated video from scratch using custom illustration and design. A style frame is a single, full-color frame that accurately reflects the final aesthetic of your video. Typically we’ll pull a couple of approved frames from the storyboard, and fully illustrated them for your review. These frames may include factors like color palette options, character variations, and text treatment.

8. Voiceover

If you have an important message, you want to have the right person delivering it. From the humorous to the dramatic, tone and performance really matters when it comes to bringing a creative concept to life. After discussing the factors that play into a voice style, such as age, gender, and tone, we’ll assemble a curated selection of professional voice talent for you to choose from. Once you’ve made your selection, we’ll work with the voice talent to record the narration to be used in the animation.

9. Animation

This is the stage where all of the pieces come together, and also one of the longer stages in the process. After designing all of the illustration assets, we’ll begin to bring your video to life. Keep in mind, we’re adding precisely timed motion to each and every scene. Unless we need clarification or further explanation for the animators don’t be alarmed if we aren’t flooding your inbox with updates during this time. We’re just busy making animated video production magic.

10. Sound Design

It’s the little things that count, and when it comes to video, sound design makes all the difference. We’ll either pull together a few music options of licensed music for you to select from, or work with a composer to create an original backing track. Then, custom sound effects will be layered to really make your video stand out.

Check out some finished work

Identiq: Animated Explainer Video

Lenovo: 3D Animated Explainer Video

CloudHealth: Animated Explainer Video