The Production Process Every project is different. Something simple may take just a few days from your first contact to deliverables. And I’ve seen big commercial projects go for a few months, or more.
Discovery I interview the stakeholders about the potential audiences, message, objective and strategy. I need to fully understand your needs and the scope of the project, before I can turn around and visually explain it to your audience.
Client Login There is usually a password protected client area created where can I post scripts, and test renders with descriptions and explanations. Client feedback is very much invited at every step of the way. Communication is very important in the communication industry.
Script I work with you to boil your message down to a story that will engage the imagination and comprehension of your audience.
Design I work with your existing artwork and design to maintain consistency with your brand. Animation design isn’t just about creating pretty moving stuff. It must also fulfill the stated objectives. Be they entertainment, fan interaction and engagement, education, selling, visualizing a new design, or communicating a complex concept.
Storyboard / Animatic A complex or multi-scened project will typically have a set of storyboards. Sometimes it is also good to produce an animatic, which is a test reading of the script, edited together with images from the storyboards, or stand-in graphics. This will help stakeholders to visualize the end result, and potentially discover logic flaws with the script, or timing issues they might not have noticed until much later.
Modeling I build the characters, environments, and other objects needed for the animation.
Surface Texturing When models are approved, the surface and texture attributes are added.
Animation I bring the approved characters and other visual elements to life with animation.
Test Edit Review When the animation shots are test rendered and the script is recorded, they are edited together for the test edit review. This step is important. The people with the power of approval on the final project need to view this test. This could include the engineers, the architects, Legal, the art directors, the Mayor’s office, even Stan from down the hall, if he’s That guy. And, sometimes, the test edit review step happens a few times. And that is ok.
Final audio recording Usually, there are a few final tweaks and reworks with the script, and audio recording, and final timing. When all that is resolved, final audio is recorded.
Final Renders When all of the textures have been reworked, and the timing issues have been resolved, and lighting and shadows are fixed, and Stan is fully on board, I turn the render settings up, turn on the motion blur, and add the other stuff that takes a crazy amount of time. Then the computers go to work for the final render output.
Final Editing and Post Production When all of the changes are made to the audio and visual assets, they are combined into the final edit. This is also where the special effects and lens flares and sound effects and gleams and fancy-doodle things are added.
Evaluate This is where we discuss the process, and everyone gets pats on the backs, where needed, and we discuss work-flow issues to think about for the next project.
My iterative creative process has no limits on versions, although everyone’s goal is to reach completion on time and on budget. It is designed to keep you involved from start to finish.
Change-of-scope and Change Orders Think of building a house. Ok, if you are discussing the blueprints in the architect’s office, and someone suggests moving all of the outlets to 18 inches from the floor, it’s not a very big deal. But, if the house is already built, and you are at the final inspection, well, now everyone wishes that this was suggested earlier.