Building A Team-Oriented Motion Graphics Workflow

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

Image courtesy of Motion Co

A motion graphics workflow differs in a lot of ways than your traditional live-action production. Here are the differences and variations when producing a motion graphics or animation piece.

Verbal Treatment
Similar to a typical live-action production, we start with a verbal treatment or script. In addition to action and VO, a motion-graphics verbal treatment might dive deeper into the visual and design aspect of what the client is trying to achieve.

Research & Development
Typically referred to as the “look development” or “R&D” phase, this stage can come before or after the boards / styleframes, depending on the type of project. For example, if the project requires photoreal elements, the designer would typically want to factor in some research and development time to test looks, textures, lighting, etc. to achieve that particular look.

Storyboards
Unlike a live-action production in which an Illustrator would sketch a series of frames to communicate framing and action, these boards should have a more finalized look, ideally created by a Digital Designer. These boards are sometimes referred to as “style frames” and are the nuts and bolts of the project. The digital designer would use a variety of elements including 3D, stock footage, type design, etc. to communicate the visual message and design as clearly as possible. A reputable digital designer would also create his/her own elements in a 3D application that could also be used by the animators further down the road.

Board-o-matic
Once the boards are created and approved, an editor will create a reference spot for timing. If the project calls for VO, a scratch track would be created and used temporarily. This board-o-matic would include timecode, rudimentary transitions and or simple movement to convey action.

Previz & Blocking
Now the project is in the hands of the animators, who use the storyboards to begin breaking down the scenes and doing preliminary blocking animations. Depending on the content of the design, both 3D and After Effects artists will be involved. Typically, a Lead Animator would begin to develop the project inside an After Effects composition, who would then distribute tasks to other 3D and or After Effects artists. This team will use the digital designer's assets from the storyboards to begin building their animations.

Work In Progress
The animator's workflow will consist of milestones along the way. Typically, the Lead Animator will collect works in progress from the team, then implement those elements into the main comp as placeholders for review. The goal here is to present animation progress to the client, while maintaining a happy balance between incompleteness and clarity. This allows the client to review the direction of the animation and provide feedback for further progress. This process repeats itself until the works are more or less completed. This also can be fickle as each client has their own threshold of interpreting animation in progress.

Polishing, Post Effects & Final Audio
Once the base animations are near completion, the animators will apply all final touches to the animations and a comper will apply final coloring and effects. Similar to a live-action production, a file will then be sent over to an audio engineer for sound effects and music then returned for final exporting.

ProductionHUB ProductionHUB Logo

About the Author

Adam Lawrence
Adam Lawrence
Adam Leroy Lawrence is co-founder of Motion Co, a content studio focused on animation, design & visual effects. With over 20 years of experience he has worked in every aspect of the medium, from music videos to episodic animation.

Related Blog Posts
Five Filmmaking Tips from Orson Welles
Five Filmmaking Tips from Orson Welles
Did you know that Orson Welles – who, with his 1941 iconoclastic masterpiece Citizen Kane changed how films are made and watched forever – was primarily interested in theatre? This Founding Father was a no-nonsense visionary and polyhistor talented in every aspect of his discipline, one in which he was fully self-taught. He inspired all your favourites from Spielberg to Scorsese, from Bergman to Paul Thomas Anderson – and through these tips you too can learn some of his tricks.
Published on Monday, August 13, 2018
You May Want to Consider Going to Film School
You May Want to Consider Going to Film School
If you’re interested in jumping into the film industry, you might be wondering how to go about getting the skills necessary to succeed. Lots of people in the industry are self-taught, or were lucky enough to be mentored by a professional. If you’re not sure you’d like to go the self-teaching route, then you might want to think about going to film school. Yes, it can be expensive, but a degree in film is more versatile than you might think. Here’s why going to film school can be a great investment.
Published on Friday, August 10, 2018
The Secret to Creating a High-Quality Film without the High Price Tag
The Secret to Creating a High-Quality Film without the High Price Tag
Whether you’re a filmmaker with a blockbuster budget or you’re more on the indie side, all production teams want to save money. One way to seriously cut down costs — and save time — is by using stock media for certain shots that might otherwise break the bank or be too time-consuming to shoot yourself.
Published on Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Comments

There are no comments on this blog post.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.