If you’ve never worked with an animation studio before you would be forgiven for being a little unsure about what the animation process is, and how it all works. Here at Sliced Bread we like to make the journey as straightforward as possible from start to finish, so we thought we’d shed some light on what happens when you work on a project with us.
So what exactly is the process from your first meeting with us through to delivery?
Brief and budget
The first thing that will happen after we have spoken to you about your project needs and objectives will be us producing a tailored quote and brief. We work with the information you provide us with to work out realistically what resources are required and the hours needed for each task. When we know how many resource days are required to complete the project we then give you a quote based on our day rate. The brief we will provide will include our ideas of how we could produce the animation, examples of relevant work we have created, and examples of other pieces of animation that will give you an idea of style or movement.
The key to delivering a project on time is creating a good schedule. This allows both us and the client to know what is going to be delivered and when, and also who is responsible. Having a schedule in place also means that both parties can track the progress of the animation. As well as the deliverables, the schedule we create will include days for client approval and work-in-progress submissions – these are important as they ensure we are on the right track with the work we are creating.
Script and storyboard
The next stage of the animation process is writing the script. You can supply this to us, or we can write one for you and send it over to you for you to comment on. Once we have this in place we are able to create a storyboard which is essentially is a visual timeline of the animation, showing what will happen, and how this will fit with the timing in the script.
Voice-over and animatic
If the animation you want to produce requires dialogue or a voice-over, this will need to be recorded. We can take care of this with your guidance, or we can recommend professional voice-over artists and directors for you to work with. You will need to know what sort of voice you are looking for, and the sort of style you want the voice actor to do.
If you choose to let us handle this for you, we will need to be discuss this at the beginning of the project, so we can include this in our quote. We will give you samples of different voices for you to select from, and then we will arrange a studio recording. You can normally sit in on the recording session to provide immediate feedback, this will ensure you get what you are looking for straight away, without the need for further sessions. Once the voice-over has been edited we will then ask you for your final approval.
After we have an approved storyboard and voice-over, we will use these to create an animatic. Think of this as a ‘moving storyboard’ – it shows the key movement in the animation and matches the timing with the voice-over. Animatics are useful because they allow you as the client to easily visualise what the final animation will look like, and how long it will be. Once this is approved, we move on to the fun bit – animating!
Asset preparation and animation
The first part of the animation schedule is the preparing of the assets. This basically means that we create all the necessary drawings, or 3D models required for the animation. When we have all of these in place, we are ready to animate.
We won’t disappear during the animation part of the schedule – we submit work-in-progress files (or milestone previews) at various scheduled stages, allowing you to see what we are doing, and to comment on anything that you would like to be adjusted or changed. These are normally given to you in the form of playblasts (short clips rendered out of our 3D animation software), as below:
You are also more than welcome to visit us in the studio at any point to see how the animation is developing.
Final compositing and delivery
The last part of the process is the compositing of your animation. This is when we combine the various filmed or rendered elements to create the final piece of video. During this stage, any colour grading or sound required will be added, and all of our work will be prepared for the final render.
All of this is completed in time for the scheduled delivery day, and we then send you the animation for your final approval. If you have any final amends we will complete these for you within an agreed amount of days, and then re-submit. Once you have confirmed that you are happy, and give us your final approval we will supply you with the HD renders of the animation, for use on TV, your website, intranet, social media, YouTube etc.
So there you have it – you now know exactly what to expect if you work on an animation project with us.