Producing a 1 to 3 minute animated demo video takes quite a bit of effort. What viewers see and enjoy in just a few minutes takes weeks of hard work.
How hard really depends on the complexity and length of the animation, but typically an average video will take about 3 weeks of work.
No matter the complexity all videos follow the same process steps.
Before anything else can even be started, the script must be finalized. Most videos utilize a voice-over track reading of the script. This voice literally drives all of the visual elements we will see in the video. Almost every sentence will be animated with a new visual. That is why it is so important to have the script perfected prior to beginning any animation. Writing a good script is an art in itself and there are dozens of considerations that must be taken to ensure the final video is entertaining, fun, and informative all at the same time. The balance between all these aspects is crucial for the success of the video. To get started writing your script, I just need some basic information as outlined here.
For the storyboard the script is broken down into segments. Each segment typically corresponds to a new sentence of the script. Each sentence is illustrated to show what we will see during each segment of the video. The storyboard is a standard letter-sized PDF document with sketched illustrations corresponding to each script segment. The storyboard document is divided into frames or shots with a detailed description of the actions that will be seen at that moment and transitions between shots. Each frame includes the voiceover text that corresponds with the illustration. Also included within the storyboard file are one or two character design illustrations to provide a better feel for the design direction of the video.
With the script and storyboards finalized and approved, the next step is the voice-over. There are a lot of options for this step. You are welcome to record, or supply your own voice over in order to save a bit of money. The cost for a voice over track can vary widely depending on the experience of the voice talent. I have found that there are many up and coming voice talents available at very reasonable rates. Typically a voice over track costs from $100 to $400 depending on the length of the video and the experience of the talent.
Now it is time to create all of the elements that will appear within the video. Characters, backgrounds and other objects that will drive the story are all designed in Adobe Illustrator. Your company colors and design standards are utilized if applicable.
This is usually the longest and most tedious stage of the whole production process. All work is done using Adobe After Effects (AE). AE is a very robust video program that is capable of creating most any movement or effect you can think of. All illustrations are brought into the AE file and each scene or shot of the storyboard as well as transitions from one shot to another are created. Characters must be rigged to allow all limbs to move in a natural and dynamic way. After all animation is complete and all scenes of the storyboard have been created the timing will be in perfect synchronization with the voice over.
After the animation is finished it is time to add sound effects and music as needed. There are two options for royalty free music that I use. One is SonicFire. This program utilizes completely customizable music files to create a soundtrack that fits exactly to the length of your finished video. I have a small library of various SonicFire music styles available and I am always looking to add more. The second option is to have original music composed to match the mood of your video. With today’s computer composition software and the availability of many very talented musicians, this option is more affordable than you would think.
Compression and Delivery:
All animated videos need to be rendered, compressed, and uploaded for final delivery. Even the tiniest change on a video will require a complete new rendering, compression, and re-uploading of the video file. Depending on the length and complexity of the final video this process can take anywhere from an hour to a full day.
Well, there you have it. After just three weeks of work I will be able to deliver to you a simple and effective video that will be highly entertaining, informative, and communicate extremely well the essence of your product, service or idea.