How to create an animation

A designer’s guide on how to create an animation

Ever wondered how you go about making an animation? As Graphic Designer and Animator, let me take you through the process.

how to create an animation
Some of my sketches for the storyboard.

I love designing animations for clients. It gives me the opportunity to flex my artistic muscles, boot my imagination into hyperdrive and create something that is truly bespoke. As the designer behind one of our most loved animations, let me guide you through the process; from script to storyboard to video.

Our client, The Fit for Work Team, found themselves in a bit of a pickle. They were let down by a supplier at short notice and needed an animation made fast. As developers of pioneering health and wellbeing services across the East Midlands, their goal was to give advice to SME’s in the region about how to identify and manage dementia in the workplace.

You may also like: Animated videos for brands and businesses

As with any project, the first step was figuring out the script. A clear and concise script with a strong message is the foundation to any animation; it’s the starting point for me to start sketching out the storyboard.

how to create an animation
Characters moving along a conveyor belt for their ‘Mid-life MOT’ health check.

In the early stages, I will  develop a colour palette based on the client’s brand guidelines. I expand each colour with its tints and shades, for highlights and shadows and to give me a broader palette to work with. Colour played an important role within this animation, because the colour block backgrounds ensured seamless transitions between each scene.

For this project, the client already had an idea of the kind of animation style that they wanted – a 2D flat design. Animation offers such a huge range of options that it’s crucial to get the style right before you begin. Designing characters is the most challenging part. Time was a crucial factor for this project, so we drew inspiration from Android characters, whose arms and heads aren’t connected to the body, to save time in the animation phase.

When designing an animation, it’s important to set the right tone. Although the topic of the animation is serious, the client didn’t want the animation to feel too sombre. With a sensitive topic such as dementia, it’s all about getting the right balance of seriousness and lightheartedness. Visual metaphors can work well. For the scene about going for a ‘Mid-life MOT’ health check, the characters move along a conveyor belt through a machine.

It is with sensitive topics such as dementia that animation really shines. Had it been a live action video, it could have come across as harsh and would have been far less effective. By using animation, we were able to combine characters and graphics with music and a voice-over to convey the message quickly, clearly, and without causing offence.

Once I had the animation storyboarded and style approved, I teamed up with Creative Director Paul, to put it all together.

Other Links:

Siemens: Smart PAYG Meter Animated Explainer video

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