How to Create an Animated Video

As long as you can draw, (or find stock illustrations online), you can make an animated video—we’ll show you how

With 65% of people being visual learners, it’s no surprise that image-based media has been gaining rapid traction in the form of GIFs, memes and explainer videos. With that, animated videos are emerging as a great medium for just about anyone looking to tell a unique visual story.

In the wise words of our video producer, Sean: “Sometimes a brand’s story or product can’t be visualized by our physical world, especially for tech and software companies. Animation allows for businesses to give an audience the opportunity to better understand a service.”

Animation can certainly seem intimidating, but once you get the basics down, your skills and speed will improve rapidly. Putting in an hour or so to watch a tutorial video or two and get some practice will go a long way. However, even something simple can be fun and effective. Check out this short animation we did for Rose Paving, which required just one illustration and a few loops of different text drawings. Then, read on for how to create an animated video for your brand.

1. Write the Script

What’s the narrative? Your script should answer a question, or tell a story. In either case, it must be of interest to your target audience. Keep in mind that you want to take advantage of the visual medium, and avoid saying anything that can be shown.

2. Design the Characters

If you plan to use characters in your video, be sure that you design them for animation, unless you’re planning to go frame-by-frame. Draw them in a neutral position, from a few different angles, and create each body part in a separate layer, so that it can be moved independently.

3. Draw the Storyboard

The storyboard is what gives your project true visual structure. It will help you identify all the needed elements of your story, such as backgrounds, props, or text overlays. The storyboard also serves as proof of concept for your client, editor or any collaborators, who can then gain a clearer understanding of your vision.

4. Record Voice-Overs

Don’t have a soundstage or studio? A small, isolated room will do the trick! Be sure to record some “room tone” as well, to fill in the gaps between dialogue or create pauses to even out pacing.

5. Assemble the Animatic

The animatic is the movie version of your storyboard; it will help you get a sense of the pacing, and provides a more helpful animating reference than a storyboard. Convert your storyboard into a slideshow, and overlay the audio.

6. Draft the Shot List

While the storyboard serves as the “dummy” version of your video, the shot list is your actual skeleton. For more complex animations, it will help you break up your project into bite-sized tasks, then track progress and stay organized throughout production.

7. Lip-Sync

If you have speaking characters, you’ll need to make sure you have individual mouth shapes for different consonants and vowels. Don’t worry, you don’t need 26! Here’s a great example of a basic set of mouth shapes to get your characters looking like they’re really talking.

8. Animate!

You’re almost to the finish line. Here’s the moment where you really get to flex your creative muscles. If you’re not sure how to best get started, here’s a list of some great animation tutorials to try. Sean notes that good animation takes patience and care: “Animation can be arduous, but with the right team of professionals, you can build something that looks seamless and natural for the audience. And it ultimately comes down to how the images make the audience FEEL. Shapes, colors and movement all add to the core feeling a video is imbued with.”

And now you’re all set! The best thing about animation is that whether you’re working with stick figures or fully fleshed out 3D models, you’ll be able to connect with your target audience in a fun way that takes them back to their cartoon-watching days.

At Yakkety Yak, we love video. That’s why we have an in-house team dedicated to creating content for ourselves and our clients. If you need help rolling out your video marketing strategy, contact us today.

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