The Production Process of an Animated Video

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

Want to learn how animated videos are made? What you will probably find is an endless list of animated video software tutorials online. In this article, we’ll be talking about the proper, professional way of producing worthwhile animations.

When it comes to hiring a company to make you an animated video, or to offer guidance in the making of your own, you’ll find that lots of so-called “Animation Studios” mostly use premade assets or templates. That means you can get your video fast and cheap. Problem is, it is not going to be a good video. You can’t get a good animated video fast and cheap. Quality takes time and is a little bit more expensive. But it’s worth it.

Good Animation Studios will always offer you original work, and if you ask them for advice, most of them will always be available to help and give you the necessary information or knowledge. Great Animation Studios will go one step further and create a top-quality handcrafted video.

Every client has a different story to tell. Every story requires different storytelling techniques. It comes down to writing a one-of-a-kind script, art direction, animation, etc. In this article, we will tell you about the important steps you must take before and after the video animation process, to create a unique and original work.

Concept & Screenwriting

To make a great animated video is to tell a great story. This is the first step. To build the story, you have to start with an original idea and find the best way to turn it into a script. The script is a detailed description of the story that you want to tell. It is important to remember that “Show, don’t tell” is the number one rule in video production.

Once you've finished the script, you must set up the initial plane of what the movie will be like. In this plane you can find:

  • The characters of the movie.
  • The settings where the story will be developed.
  • The order of the events.

Once the script is finished, you will be able to design the characters, build the scenario and draw the storyboard and illustration.


The storyboard is a sequence of drawings that will help you imagine how the story will be developed. At this stage, the storyboard artist creates the composition or a blueprint if you like, for the illustrator and animator to follow.

The images at this stage don’t need to be too elaborate or professional. Many storyboards use quick sketches, even though there are others that look like real art. However, the goal of your storyboard is not to be a piece of art, but to help you and everyone involved in the process of developing the video to visualize the story.



The next step after the storyboard is the illustration. At this stage, we come up with the visual style of the video and prepare a so-called "styleframe" which is a suggestion of what the characters/settings/backgrounds are going to look like. Most of the time is one of the scenes of the video drawn in artists vision and present to the client for approval. Once the client says he likes it then it's time to illustrate the remaining frames of the storyboard in the style which has been agreed upon.

This step gives you the chance to make the necessary changes before starting the actual animation.


Voiceover & Music

In this stage, you have to choose the voiceover artist who will record the narration, and decide on the music track to go along with the video.

It is important to record the narration before starting the animation because the length and the pace of the voiceover has to match the timing of the video. Also, if your video has character dialogues, they need to be synchronized with the movement of the lips of the characters. Something that is called lip-sync.


Getting to the animation stage means we’re almost done. At this stage, we combine the backgrounds with the characters generated in the illustration part of the production, and add motion to illustration, bringing it to life.

To gauge the quality of an animated video always look for how smooth the motion is and how many elements are moving. This indicates how much effort has been put into the video. When done right - the video flows and makes the person watching it almost immersed!  

Final Edits & Delivery

During the animation stage, we had already used the voiceover to get the right tempo and pacing of the video. Now, we have to add sound effects and music and show it to the client for feedback. It is time for final adjustments. However, if we carefully follow all the steps of production, everything should be just fine. We may need to add subtitles, edit out some parts, or split the video into a couple of 10- or 15-second bites - ideal for Youtube or social media content. That’s how you handcraft animated videos. 


Click on the image to view the Infographic full-screen.


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About the Author

Pat Animation Studio
Full-service animation studio specializing in 2D animation and production of explainer videos, product demos, mobile app demos, corporate animated videos as well as character design. We work for both Fortune 500 companies and emerging new brands. Some of our clients include: Miami Air International, CanTrack Global, Universal ID and Photobox Group.

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