The animation process starts with a face-to-face meeting. The client explains to us what kind of video he or she wants. We think along with the client to generate ideas on how the client’s story can be conveyed.
The ideas created with the client during the briefing are written down in a script. The script describes in broad strokes how the subject matter will be visualized.
A storyboard is a sketch version of the animation, based on the script. It is meant to give a rough indication of which visual elements will be visible at which times. This sketch version will later be discarded and replaced by 3D Animation. It is only used as reference.
4. Asset Creation
Nearly everything that will be visible in the final animation, from buildings, equipment and even people, first needs to be created in a 3D software program. We build a 3D-model that looks like the real thing as much as possible. We then add colours and textures to increase realism. In some cases, constraints are added to have different parts of a model move together in a realistic way. For complicated animations with many detailed assets, the process of asset creation can be quite time-consuming. To speed it up, we always ask if the client has any existing CAD-models available. Once the assets are done, we put them together into sets.
5. Animation (adding movement)
A set in 3D Animation is like a set in a real-world film studio. It is an environment containing all the assets that will be visible in one shot. A virtual camera can be moved around to ‘see’ different parts of the set, just like a real camera. The 3D-assets in the scenes can also be moved at specific times. A robot-arm can be made to move so it picks up an object, for example. The storyboard created earlier is now used to determine what kind of movements are needed to tell the story of the animation.
Lights are positioned in such a way as to create a realistic, clear and visually interesting animation.
During rendering, a computer calculates how the lights interact with the scene. The result is a more realistic-looking animation. This process can be time-consuming, and it is therefore important to make sure all previous steps are finished before rendering the full animation. To make sure of this, we first do a series of ‘test renders’ resulting in short fragments (usually individual frames) of the animation. The client has the opportunity to give feedback on these test renders, so that any changes can be made before rendering the final version.
8. Music, sound effects & voice-over
We work with skilled composers, sound designers and voice-over actors to add sound to the animation. The importance of this step is often underestimated. Sound can have a great impact on the video’s clarity and ability to hold the attention of the viewer.
Editing involves putting all the rendered shots in the correct order and adding the voice-over, sound effects and music to the production.
The animation is now complete and will be sent to the client for a final round of feedback. Once the client is happy, the animation is ready to be publicized.