Insight

Let’s animate!

Plexus Animation

Animation is a broad church: from the fingerprint-covered clay of Wallace and Gromit to the 2D world of Disney’s hand drawn classics to the photo realistic CGI in an Avengers film, it’s all animation. These 2D and 3D animation techniques are notoriously time consuming and can be fabulously expensive. And yet animation CAN be affordable!

Okay, so maybe you can’t afford to make a Hollywood epic, but there are plenty of ways to include animation as part of your marketing comms mix, without breaking the bank. It’s a simple matter of style.

A simple matter of style

There are as many animation styles available as there are artists(there are some examples on this page). Somewhere out there is a style that will allow you to convey everything you want to say, that can be made to look ‘on brand’, and which matches your budget.

Photoreal 3D human characters are the ultimate in terms of animation complexity. If not done well, they can look ‘uncanny’ and even big budget movies can struggle to get this right.

Animate
©Twentieth Century Fox
Animate

Inanimate objects such as machinery or structures can be relatively easily created and animated, especially if you are able provide engineering or architectural CAD files used to design the items to be recreated.

‘Two dimensional’ is a term often used to imply a dull or shallow outlook. 2D animation is anything but that; think of it as flat layers of two-dimensional elements, each layer creating more depth. Each layer is made as a separate piece of artwork, which can be manipulated in any direction.

Animate
Fishing Pressure

There are also styles that allow for two-and three-dimensional animation to be combined. Usually this involves 2D Motion Graphics being overlaid onto a 3D scene in a process called Compositing.

Animate
Goal Zero

In short, if you can think of it, it can be visualised!

Asset Creation

Of course,animation cannot start until there are items to animate. Every individual character, ‘prop’ or environment is an ‘Asset’. Most assets need to be created from scratch.

First the assets are designed on paper, then a ‘Model’ is digitally‘sculpted’, then given an underlying ‘Rig’ which includes points of articulation that allow the model to move.

Asset Creation
©SPA studios/Netflix

Design stages: Sketch

Asset Creation
©SPA studios/Netflix

Colour

Asset Creation
©SPA studios/Netflix

Lighting

Rigging a character
©

Rigging a character

Modelling
©Unit66

Modelling: Sculpting

Texturing
©Sony Playstation

Texturing

Lighting
©Sony Playstation

Lighting

The asset is then Textured. Inanimate assets might be given wooden, plastic or metallic textures, while characters are given skin tones, hair and fabric.

The more realistic an asset needs to look the more work is put into each stage. It is this process that has the biggest impact on budget. A lower budget may necessitate a simpler design style, or less assets. The simplest possible animation would be a single ‘rigid’ asset moving against a blank background.

Are you sure animation is the right choice?
We do have to ask this question sometimes: if you feel that you need to see realistic characters and situations in your film maybe animation is not the best approach.

Animation allows us to show things that a camera cannot capture or create worlds that do not exist.It is not a convincing replacement for real life and, without significant investment, will always look ‘uncanny’. A compromise would be filming real actors in a studio and Compositing them into an animated environment.

Let’s Talk

A chat won’t cost anything. We take the time to absorb your requirements and aspirations.
We will find the right way to bring your story to life.

What’s your story?

Animation showreel

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