What’s involved in animation?

Jan 13, 2019 • Animation

We often get asked about our process in animation.

Animation is a complex task that requires a lot of time and attention. Having a team who understands the creative and logistical processes within can make a huge difference in the final product. Animation takes time, so by following certain processes, we can reduce the chances of a client asking for changes at the end. It all starts in the creative brief, followed by the script, followed by the Voiceover and music selection/recording. Once these are reviewed and completed we move into the art direction, treatment creation and storyboarding. The last step is the animation and SFX phase, where we take everything and bring it to life.


Creative Brief

While being creative, they are never brief. This is where we discuss the use of the video, the audience, potential styles of artwork, potential music, the style of narrative, the number of characters, the type of animation and the tone. It sticks with us to the end of the project, and acts as a living, breathing document that gets updated as we gather more information and progress further in the project.


Script Development

Every movie starts with a script. This is where we create the story and narrative in the video. Its the foundation for the timing and content within the video. It's also extremely useful for our illustrators - who work with our writers to create proper annotations that influence visual content that coincides with the narrative.


Voiceover & Music Selection

When it comes to your audience, choosing the right voice-actor can make a huge impact on the tone of your video. Pairing the voice-over with different samples of music helps us refine the tone as well. You won't believe the difference that music can make on how a person sounds, and the emotions they convey while speaking. Choosing a high-quality studio is ideal, but many actors also have a home-studio. We typically ask for samples from our shortlisted artists, so that we can factor in the studio tone into the work as well.


Treatment & Art Direction

The treatment is the step before we storyboard. It's how we bring descriptions of visuals into existence - using sketches to draw out how most frames should look. They aren't meant to be fancy, but they help us visualize the visual content before we invest countless hours in the digital asset creation and move on to a full storyboard. As part of this, we also develop several key "Style-Frames" which help us choose the final art direction to be used in the storyboard. Once approved, we move into the illustration and storyboarding phase.


Storyboard & Asset Creation

Storyboarding is the final stage before animation. This is where we use the approved style frames, treatment and script to create an art-board and storyboard. During this phase, our illustrators create all the digital assets for every frame. In some cases, we will also create new Treatments to breakdown complex animations/transitions. Within each frame, we provide detailed annotations that explain what effects will happen, what moves, and what transitions will take place.



With all assets approved and completed, this is one of the most comprehensive phases in the project. A team of motion graphic artists, 2d & 3d animators, character animators and transition specialist will work together to create a cohesive and smooth project. It's important that objects move fluidly, and characters move naturally -- Scenes need to transition with careful effort. Its typical for us to release a rough-cut prior to implementing the final processes so that we can get approval before implementing the final elements.

The Alberta Retired Teachers' Association from SAVIAN on Vimeo.


SFX and Mixing

Although often done while animating, this is where we add in the final touches with proper SFX use, final sound-blending, and timing updates. Sometimes we will re-stitch the music to meet the animation sequences for a better "punch". In this phase we address the final pieces that bring the overall tone and appeal to a conclusion. It has often been said, the sound is just as important as the visual aspects. If you miss out on the audio, you are jeopardizing the product.

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