Animation Case Study

City Deal

Background

City Deal was presented as an Infrastructure Delivery and Investment Programme with a value of more than £430 million.

With the intention to expand transport infrastructure in Preston and South Ribble at an unprecedented rate, driving the creation of some 20,000 new jobs and generating the development of more than 17,000 new homes.

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Brief

The brief was to develop a two to three minute 2D animation to provide a complete overview of the City Deal project.

Aimed at the genral public, this was to include actual details of new road systems and a sense of improvement to the area.

Morph Plan

Our challenge was to find a way to combine these details about road building and new road systems with a fun and engaging visual style.

The bottom line is that road works and disruption are never very popular so we needed to find a way to put a positive spin on it and help people to see the bigger picture.

The animation will present the information in a fun informative style, it will be engaging but reassuringly authoritative and accurate. To guide and accompany the visuals the message will be delivered by a voiceover in a nice reassuring (northern) voice describing what the viewer is seeing. We imagine good fun, cool sounding music ticking along in the background with key visuals reinforced with sound effects.

We suggest that key points could be backed up by text based graphics so that the presentation will work in a simplified way without audio.

The Script

The script was developed through a collaborative process working with the Council Communications team. There were lots of stakeholders and sensitivities so we were careful to try and pitch it right. There were also a lot of documents to dig through to make sure we got the details right but also to use a similar language so the animation would tie in with the other marketing materials.

Design

At the same time as working on the script we started to develop the design style. Drawing on the positive feedback to our original ideas we created designs of the key scenes so we had an overview of how the animation would look at each stage. We were also working from the brand guidelines and trying to find a style that could follow the guidelines but also incorporate them in a creative new way.

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Storyboard

We have a stage in the process, which we call the text storyboard where we create a simple table with the lines of the script or scenes on one side and a description of what the viewer will see on the right hand side. So in this case we try to describe how we think the animation will look and work.

Once this and the designs have been agreed we will move onto the actual storyboard. The scenes are often the same and the lines of the script will be included as well simple descriptions of how we imagine the animation will work, for example how we will transition from one scene to another.

storyboard

Voiceover

For this animation we wanted a down to earth Northern voice to appeal to the locals. There are loads of voiceover artists out there so there is lots of choice but this one was a guy we had worked with before and we thought would be great. We presented examples of his work and everyone agreed he was a good fit.

Animation

This is it, everything has been agreed and the plan is clear so now it’s down to us to start illustrating, designing and animating. Oddly this often feels like the bit that goes fastest as there is just a chunk of work to do before we have a version to show to the client but we can just get on with it.

In this case we were creating a Pseudo-3D effect to give a sensation of depth, or to put it another way, a kind of fake 3D! So even if we say it ourselves it was quite involved animation.

Feedback

There was feedback and changes to be made which is something to negotiate in a friendly way. It is a kind of balance between what has been agreed in the storyboard and what is reasonable. In this case Manchester was in the wrong place so that seemed pretty reasonable!

At the end of the day we want our clients to be happy so we will make a big effort to find solutions and deliver the best end product we can. We are actually really pleased with what we produced and very proud to see it out in the world.

The feedback to the finished animation was very positive and LCC went on to commission further design work in the same style.

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Outcomes

Morph produced a short video animation on behalf of the Preston, South Ribble & Lancashire City Deal, which proved an excellent way of telling a simple story about the project. Lancashire County Council and other partners were extremely happy with the result.

Ginette Unsworth, Communications Programme Director, Lancashire County Council