Adding animated video to your website is a great way to reach your potential customers in a fun and memorable fashion. Fun is the key. Grabbing people’s attention and engaging them for extended periods of time is the goal.
If you don’t show them something cool and interesting, your videos will likely get lost in the YouTube void, collecting dust. Animation is a great way to simplify and explain a complicated product or process you are trying to promote in a way that doesn’t feel like a dry sales pitch. However, many business owners don’t know where to get started or they are afraid of a hefty price tag. Adobe After Effects is great cost effective solution to your animation needs.
After Effects Does the Work For You
Unlike conventional cell animation that requires animators to spend countless hours drawing each frame, After Effects manipulates your artwork, “drawing” the in between frames of movement for you. This dramatically speeds up the animation process and cuts costs. Choose either royalty-free clipart images to work with or have completely custom artwork created to suit the needs of your project.
Clipart is fast, easy, and inexpensive. It is a great option for a project that needs to be finished and deployed right away. The drawback is that it is generic and not tailored specifically to your project. This is where custom art comes in. Expect custom art to take more time and cost a bit more, but what’s created is limited only by your imagination.
Once a concept for the project is established and agreed upon, the artists begin work on rough concept drawings. This is an important step, because it gives you a chance to work with the artist, add your input, and make sure your vision is accurately displayed. This greatly reduces the amount of costly revisions and reworking later down the road. After the concept drawings are worked into an approved design, the artist will then create final full-color proofs. You will be given the option to make any final tweaks to the design, and then the approved art will be delivered to the animator.
As an animator, this is where the fun really begins for me. Using your approved script and artwork I start animating a rough draft. In this step, not much is done to make the piece visually appealing or captivating. Basically the character movements are roughly blocked out to show where they will be on the screen at any given time. Text and titles are also matched up to a temporary voice track. Once all the key elements are in their proper place, it’s time to make any needed revisions, select fonts, color palette, and move on to the actual animation.
With the final animation, the characters are brought to life. They make gestures, facial expressions, move about the screen, and speak. Final character voices are inserted and animated mouth and facial movements are synced up. Titles and graphics are incorporated into a balanced composition. Titles can also be animated in a number of ways to add emphasis at appropriate times. Dynamic titles are a subject all on its own and will be covered in next week’s blog. Once approved, the animation is handed off to the sound designer to add music and sound effects. With all of these elements complete you are ready to upload and showcase your video on your website.
A few things to keep in mind to help keep your costs down and smoothly move your project along:
Make your voice heard early. The earlier in the process that you provide feedback the less time is wasted developing the animation in the wrong direction.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there is anything that you don’t fully understand during any stage of development, ask. This is not only going to help you understand, but it will give the animation team a better grasp of exactly what you are trying to achieve.
Have fun! Remember the more fun and creativity you put into the project, the more it shows to the viewer and increases the likelihood they will forward it on to a friend.