What To Look For When Reviewing Animation
Animation is a bit of a niche medium. If you've never had to navigate the workflow it can seem a little intimidating. It is a layered, iterative process with each draft of animation adding more and more complexity, so approvals along the way are a pretty big deal and late-to-the-game comments can really throw a wrench into schedules and budgets. It can be strange and a bit confusing looking at early drafts. Sometimes simplified assets, even placeholders are being used and animation is rough. On top of all that, each workflow can vary significantly depending on style!
So where do you even begin? How do you know what to look for? Here's a quick run-down of things to think about at each stage of production.
Stage 01 – Animatic
At this stage, the animation is extremely simple; an animatic takes the storyboard frames from early in the process and matches them to a scratch-track. The purpose of this stage is to help determine the general timing, composition and pacing of your piece.
- Do the visuals make sense when paired with voice-over?
- Does it feel too fast or too slow?
- Does the animatic hit your desired length?
- Are there any awkward pauses that need to be filled?
- Does the order of the animation make sense?
- For more technically-oriented animations, is the procedure or process documented in the correct order with all steps accounted for?
Stage 02 – Primary Motion
Once stage 01 is approved we move on to stage 02. What animators will present to you is the first rough cut. At this stage, assets are being created, characters are created and rigged, and any motion graphics elements will be in place. Animation may not be completely smooth, but things are definitely on their way. Animators will often send a few notes along with this rough cut – of things that they'll be working on, or specific sections they want approvals on. Like any creative partnership, clear communication is key.
- Is the timing of the individual motion correct? Should anything be moving faster? Slower?
- Is the camera framing and composition correct? Do any objects need to move in the scene? Are we following title safe guidelines?
- If there are characters involved, are they believable? Do their actions and poses convey the right emotions?
- Are all the assets correct? Are there any logos or files I need to deliver to my animation team?
Stage 03 – Polish
After about two rounds of revisions it's finally time to polish everything up. All the feedback from previous rounds have been incorporated. If this is a 3D animation it's finally time to hit that render button. Movement has been smoothed and final color and compositing have been done. At the end of the polish stage, your animation should look complete.
- Has the feedback from previous drafts been incorporated?
- Are my colors correct and on brand?
- Are all logos and provided artwork correct?
- Is there anyone else on my team whose feedback or approvals I need?
Stage 04 – Final Review
At this point your project is 100% finished! Changes at this stage will likely incur overages.
- What formats do I need this file delivered in?
We hope this list helps take a bit of the mystery out of the animation process. The more we all know the better work we'll all make. Let's make good work together!
For a printable revision checklist and more resources like this, click on the picture below to download our ebook – The Ultimate Guide To Your Next Motion Graphics Project!
CRASH+SUES provides strategic storytelling and video services to ad agencies, businesses and film companies seeking to create meaningful connections with their customers and employees. We're masters of ideation, design, live action video production, animation and color, delivering compelling content that engages, entertains and educates. Call us what you want – a hybrid agency, a creative boutique, a production studio, digital daredevils, or… just call us. We'll help you cut through the noise. visit CRASH+SUES