How to commission animation, a step-by-step guide

Whether you’re splashing out on an animated TV campaign or just a simple GIF for a website, here’s some homework you can do before dropping us a line. The finer details can be worked out directly with the animation studio but there are a few fundamentals we need covered at the outset, so here’s how you can help.

Step 1
Deliverables / Scope

How many animations do you need? How long will they be?

Will you need cut-downs/variations of the master animation/s for different formats or length?

Do you need music or voice over?

What resolution? What format (for Instagram, TV, Cinema)?

Step 2

Deadlines on motion projects are often tight, but with a clear schedule from the start we can advise on the best way to achieve maximum quality, bang on time. Different studios, working with different techniques, will produce work at a different pace, so if you already know who you’d like to commission, tell us, if not we can discuss options.

Step 3
Usage & Budget

Do you have a set budget allocated for your project? If so, it can save a lot of time if you simply let us know, we can then advise on what’s realistic within that amount. Otherwise we can offer quotes based on the info we’re requesting here.

Some animation studios work on a day rate, others quote on the required usage. Here’s what we need to know:

  • How long you’ll use the animation/s for (e.g. 6 months, 1 year, perpetual...)
  • What territories the animation will be used in (e.g. UK, US, Global...)
  • Where will the animation be displayed? (e.g. social media, TV, Cinema...)

As well as affecting cost, your media schedule will help ensure we create the work in the correct file formats for their application.

Step 4
Script & Brief

Most of our animation studios offer a full range of services from script writing to storyboarding and art direction. Your brief could be anything from an early work in progress to a detailed storyboard but the more you can tell us the better. Share your vision, talk to us about tone of voice, look and feel, and if you’ve pulled together any visual references, send them over, then we can play matchmaker! Bear in mind that many of our Motion teams can animate any of our illustrators, so if you want to start off with the illustration style, that’s fine too.

Step 5

Animation is a beautiful yet painstaking process. Projects are built in key blocks which you will be asked to approve and sign off. It is hard to change things after these points. First stage is illustration and/or graphic style and key frames. Essentially, do you like the art. The second is script and storyboard. Do you like how the art works with the script. The third stage is voiceover and animatic. This is where key frames are put on a timeline with the voiceover. This shows you timings and how the animation will flow. This is the key stage because, after this, we make the art move. The final stage is the animation itself. The reason for the previous stages is to ensure that everyone knows what they’re getting. And everyone likes it.

It can save so much time if we nail these details from the start, so consider the above, jot down some answers and we’ll help get your project moving - literally!