Morph Animation Process: from scripting to sound design
Morph Animation Process
Script and plan
Our animation process starts with a script and an outline of the plan. We think of this as the skeleton of the animation.
Whether there is a script or not we will agree an outline plan that we can use to break down the animation into smaller sections. This is about agreeing the key messages and the general flow of the animation. We are happy to take the lead with the scriptwriting but also acknowledge it usually works best as a collaborative process. We need our clients expertise to make sure we are getting the message spot on. As a minimum we would ask for a set of bullet points covering the key messages and if appropriate some example copy so we can get the language and tone correct.
We work on the basis that for each minute of animation we need around 125 – 150 words of Voiceover. So one of the biggest challenges is usually to keep the word count down without losing any of the key content.
During the scripting stage of the animation process we will also start work on the design style.
If the client has chosen a style, perhaps based on a previous animation or our house style, this process is simplified and we can move straight onto designing some of the key scenes. If the client has decided they would like a fully bespoke style we will go through a bit of a design process, making suggestions based on different illustration or animation examples and designing some options.
This is an important part of the process as the client can start to visualise how their animation will look.
Once the script and design is agreed we will produce the storyboard.
Each scene is fully designed so the storyboard accurately reflects how the animation will look. The storyboard is broken down into the key scenes sometimes we will need multiple scenes to span a single sentence. Below each panel of the storyboard there is the relevant line of the script and a description of what will happen animation wise.
We work in this way so that we can help the client to visualise the animation as much as possible before we start work on the build. It is much easier to make changes at this stage than when it is fully animated.
If the animation needs a voiceover we will agree the right kind of voice for the project.
We can offer suggestions and provide links to examples. There are lots of voiceover artists with their own studios who tend to be a more flexible solution. Alternatively there are lots of online agencies and studios offering a wide range of voices. If necessary we can do test recordings to make sure the voice and delivery feels right.
A further option is to record multiple language voiceovers for the same animation so that it works well for different audiences.
Once the storyboard is signed off and the voiceover has been recorded we can start work on the animation.
This part of the job can progress quite quickly as we should have everything we need to get on with it. There is usually a degree of experimentation to work out how all of the animation comes together, but once we are happy we will deliver a draft version of the animation. This is usually without sound effects but sometimes we will add music to help the client get a better sense of the finished animation. We then agree a set of amends and complete the visuals.
Once the visuals are signed off the last step of the animation process is to complete a sound edit.
This involves a bit of work to tidy up the voiceover, and add the chosen music and time it up properly. We also add a range of simple sound effects to bring the animation to life. Many of the sound effects are quite subtle and just add a little bit of polish.
Again the client has the chance to review and feedback.
Delivery and timeframes
We can deliver the video in any standard format and are happy to advise.
In general we suggest 8 weeks is a good timeframe to complete a standard explainer animation. This allows a decent amount of time to review the work and collect feedback from different members of the team. We can work much faster and each of the Covid animations that we produced for the Recovery Trial were completed in under two weeks.
It is often the process upto the actual animation build that takes the longest as this is when lots of decisions need to be taken. From that point we can generally just get on with it.
Illustrated assets and clips for social
We believe in maximising the value of the material we create.
We always make the illustrated assets that we create for each animation available to our clients to use elsewhere in their communications i.e. print and web. They can work well as social cards as part of a wider campaign.
We can also produce short clips from the animation to use on social or specific sections of a website. It is helpful if we know in advance that this is the intention so we can plan it properly.