How long does it take to make an explainer?
The short answer is 4-6 weeks.
It's not an exact science, more an average timeline. It's always worth giving yourself as much time as possible when making an animation, as there is more to it than meets the eye. There are variables within this: What style of animation are we working in - 2D or 3D? How many characters are we making? Who is writing the script? How long is the film going to be...
Let's narrow it down, and imagine we are taking on a very common brief - the classic 2D explainer animation.
Weeks 1 & 2: Scripting and Planning
In this pre-production stage, we help our clients to form a brief and create a concept. Expect questions around key messages and audience.
Most animations require a voiceover, and a script usually takes a couple of weeks to go back and forth to be refined. Most of the explainer films we make are between 1 and 3 minutes.
We'll give options on the look in the form of style frames. These are single frames taken from the film, that are an accurate representation of what the final film will look like.
Week 3: Voiceover and Storyboarding
Once the script is signed off, it's time to choose a voiceover artist, and we provide a short-list. Animators like receiving the voiceover as soon as possible as it dictates the rhythm and length of the film.
We also storyboard out the film. With every scene and action clearly laid out, the film gains a structure. This is a collaborative time with the client as we are getting the film made on paper before committing to production.
Weeks 4 & 5: Production
Our talented designer and animators are unleashed and incorporate motion to bring the animation to life.
Sound design is just as important, and we mix the background music and sound effects.
Week 6: Amends
It's always sensible to allow time for amends before the deadline. On showing the wider team, everyone will have an opinion - animation is an art form after-all. We expect these changes and embrace them. (Grumbles from the animators are soon smoothed out with Jaffa Cakes.)
Here are my top 10 tips for anyone considering making an animation for their company:
1. Have fun and share ideas! Making an animation is fun and it's an excuse to be as creative as you want. If you have suggestions for music tracks or colours that you think will work, we'd like to know. However you prefer to communicate - we're just as happy on the phone and email.
2. Don't rush. Not allowing enough time will result in a film that is sub-standard and will only increase the pressure on both parties to get it right. We'll provide a production schedule so you'll know when you need to feedback on something. You just let us know how much time you can commit to the project.
3. Reducing the number of characters and the character's movement is a sure fire way of reducing the time in production, as they are the most complex part.
4. All the assets - the images, layers and effects that make up your film are going to be stored in the Studio Giggle archives on completion, so it's really easy to update the film should the content ever become dated. It means there isn't a massive pressure on future-proofing.
5. Don't worry about not having a concept or a script. We are are happy to come up with these these for you, or collaborate.
6. Consider animation within your wider campaign. Everything we make for you is custom built and can be as on brand, or off brand as you like, and complement the other mediums that make up your project.
7. Sign offs at each stage are vital for both parties. It enables the studio team to confidently progress to the next step, and removes uncertainly from the your side too.
8. Know your delivery specs at the start. We'll check these with you, but if we start making a video at 1920x1080 and suddenly it needs to be 4K, there are going to be issues!
9. If you have an event coming up that you require the animation for, it's worth mentioning this, because we can advise on ways of getting the animation made and out in time. It might be the case that post-event, final amends can be made before the film goes live on the website.
10. If time is of the essence, animations can be completed quicker, but to do so takes more hours in the studio, and will increase the overall cost of the project. We have a very adaptable team, than can grow instantly to meet demand, so there's not many timelines that we can't work to.