A good animated video starts with a good idea.

Whether the purpose of the animation is to sell something, educate, accompany music, shock, or just simply entertain, it’s generally a good idea for a production team and their client to understand and agree that the idea is an excellent, tight, concept.  It is very important that we look at the concept, not only through our own eyes, but also the eyes of the target audience, and if you really want to be sure nobody will misinterpret the concept, then it should be pitched to someone with the attention span of a five year old. If they get the point of the concept you are pitching, then the concept is water-tight.

Having said that it takes courage to put any and all random ideas on the table, but it’s important to do that. Just as it is as important to listen to the ideas of your client whilst taking notes and asking questions if there is something about their product or service that is not so easy to understand. It makes a client feel safe to be questioned, because they already understand that you cannot know their product or service better than they do. We have been very lucky to have clients that are good at articulating their ideas and bringing interesting analogous ways to interpret their message within the confines of an animation, but a lot of the tightness of the concept has been down to us asking the right questions (as well as being a bit psychic on occasion).

Creating the idea

A lot of ideas are born in the confined space of a client’s expectations, time and budget. Minimalism is a powerful tool here. Strip away as much as possible to get to the core of an idea. Only bring in what you really really need and throw away what you don’t need. I like remind myself constantly of the KISS acronym ( keep it simple, stupid). KISS is a recurring theme throughout the entire production process, especially if the desired end result is something slick, glossy, flawless and expensive looking. From a production point of view, the quantity of 3D assets which need to be created often severely affects the quality. The less assets you have to create, the more time you can spend perfecting what it is absolutely necessary.

When an artist is forced to send his or her work off into the pipeline, like a parent sending their children off into the world, when they know they are not yet ready, this will eventually lead to unwanted consequences. When we want to get the client on board and we only have a defined time to get something together, we are all sometimes guilty of presenting an idea which will cost more time than the budget allows. Right there, the fine line between a studio director and a business person is made! So the objective should be to narrow everything down to between 1 & 5 elements and put all you have into developing those elements. Spend time researching the way it looks, the way it sounds, the way it glistens in the light in different lighting conditions. It is important that you manage your production so that everything in the animation gets all the time and love it needs.