I’ll have an animation “con todo”, please!
After spending a little more than 12 years of serving clients that looking to purchase animation services, I have faced that most of them don’t really have a basis of how to present their projects for us to make a budget or invoice for the realization of it.
This is no surprise; 3D animation is not a common service and much less, a massive one. You just don´t wake up one day and think “Today’s the day to make a 3D animated project”. Making an animated product has many variables and factors that make it difficult to conceptualize: complexity, cost, lack of knowledge, etc. However, in this era of YouTubers, apps and VOD, 3D animation becomes a very important medium to communicate the ideas of creators and companies. Unfortunately, ordering an animated product isn´t as simple as asking for a burger combo with extra fries and a coke.
That´s why now we present a brief guide on how to order in the front counter.
The right company with the right “chef”
Sometimes you´ll have a craving for Chinese food, another day for pizza and the next, for tacos. The same happens with animation, not every company does all the animation existing subgenres; it is crucial that you know which technique fits your project: 2D, 3D or stop motion. Each style requires different types of artists, level of experience, workspace and diverse workflows. How long does it take to deliver a burger on a Drive-Thru? And, how long does it take to serve ravioli, stuffed with lobster and ricotta cheese in a restaurant?
The same goes on for animation; there are some faster techniques than others. There are projects that take longer than others do. There are directors and artists who specialize in one technique or another.
How can I know which is the right company for my project? Go on the company´s website and watch their demo reel, take the time to analyze what kind of projects they have because even a 3D company, specialized in cartoonish looks could let your hyperrealistic 3D project pass since they don´t have the experience necessary.
Analyze your cravings.
“I want to make animated children’s songs for my YouTube channel”. Through the past 4 years, this or some similar version of the same, are the most common request in our contact form. Unfortunately, it is also the most indefinite one, only beaten by those who leave it blank.
For us to analyze and make a budget on a project we need information that tells us what “your craving” is, and you should always have in mind that in animation there are many people involved; every extra process or request or every thing we lay aside or spare, is immediately reflected on the cost of the final delivery.
The basics to keep in mind are:
• Project length.
• A clear idea, synopsis, brief or script.
• What elements and characters are essential in order to tell your story?
• Important dates that must be met, estimate delivery.
• If you have a defined budget beforehand, it is important to bring up.
• And last but not least, having style and quality references. They can be videos from YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
This information will allow us to understand the general aspects, assign the right artists on your project and estimate how long will they be working on it; resulting in a budget very specific on your needs.
As I previously mentioned, every company has a specialization in some area, Exodo Animation Studios has over more than 12 year of experiences producing 3D or CGI character animation. This places us as a company that knows the development procedure for an animated character or environment from beginning to end, from concept art to postproduction.
We have multiple “dishes” on our menu: character design, 3D modeling, texturing and shading, rigging, layout, animation, lighting, render, composite, VFX, color correction, color grading, mixing… There are many processes and a project that requires all of them can be complicated, so it´s divided among the different areas or artists and, although some processes may work in parallel, others may not because their workflow functions linearly.
This particularity brings up numerous challenges, mainly at the moment feedback or direct adjustments coming from the client. Let´s imagine you just ordered a steak medium cooked with Roquefort sauce and sautéed vegetables, the waiter takes the order down to the chef; he the puts the meat in the pan and starts preparing the sauce. After a few sips from your wine glass, you call up the waiter and say you rather have your steak with red wine reduction sauce instead of the Roquefort sauce you previously ordered. For your luck, the steak and sauce were still being prepared, so there´s not so much trouble changing the sauce. However, after another couple of sips from your glass of wine, you call the waiter again and ask him to change the steak’s term, now you want a rare steak. Now we have a big problem, we can´t un-cook the meat. To achieve that, we have to throw away the first steak and start over. Something very similar happens when we animate, there are processes in which we have to throw everything the team developed away when certain changes are made. Right here lies the importance of having a clear idea of the project and making a very careful pre-production: having the clear understanding of the script, create a solid storyboard and well-defined designs.
Animating in 3D requires numerous interlaced or parallel processes.
Visualizing what do you want? When do you want it? and what flavor are you looking for? is the ideal recipe to having a gourmet experience on your animation project.