How to create your animated video?

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Alexandre Soubrier
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A practical, step-by-step guide to making your own animated video from A to Z. From idea to final file.
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Here's a guide to making your own animated video from A to Z. From the idea to the final file.

1. Define your goals

An animated video (or motion design) responds to a need. This must be clearly defined, as it will determine how you build your video.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Bring your company to a wider audience: By proposing a corporate manifesto, you can share your values, your goals, and the way you see collaboration with your teams. This approach can help you attract the attention of thousands of new people and reinforce understanding of your corporate identity.
  • Increase sales of your product:If you have a product or service to promote, an animated video can be an effective way of presenting it in its best light. You can show off its features and benefits in an engaging way, creating desire among your potential customers.
  • Raising safety and health awareness: Animated videos can also be used to educate your audience about good safety and health practices. By making this information more accessible and visually appealing, you can help reduce the number of safety or health-related problems within your organization or community.
  • Increase participation in an event, exhibition or concert : a creative and original animated video can be an excellent way of informing and attracting a wider audience.
  • Convincing hesitant potential buyers: To explain your products or services in detail, an animated video can be the ideal tool. The flexibility of a video means you can broadcast it to thousands of people without leaving your seat, making it a valuable marketing tool.
  • Train your staff or audience: Animated videos are an exceptional training tool. They can make the learning process more attractive and effective.
  • Tell an inspiring or informative story: You can use this format to share captivating stories about real-life experiences, success stories, humanitarian projects, scientific discoveries, biographies, or even fictional stories. Animations can emotionally engage your audience and convey powerful messages.
  • Supporting an awareness campaign: Animated videos are a popular choice for supporting awareness campaigns on social, environmental or public health issues. They can help enlighten the public on important issues, encourage behavioral change, mobilize support, and spur action.
  • Explain complex concepts and make them accessible. Whether in science, technology, finance or any other subject requiring in-depth understanding, visual animations can break down difficult information into more digestible elements.

When you clearly define your objectives, you maximize the effectiveness of your animated video in reaching your targets in a creative and impactful way. It's much easier to evaluate the impact of your video and accurately measure its reach. Internet advertising makes it possible to analyze in great detail the number of people reached, their profiles and their actions.

→ Implementation

To define these objectives, you can :

  • simply use paper or pencil.
  • use mindmapping tools: by throwing out all your ideas and putting them in order, it's much easier to see unexpected ideas emerge. There are many online, such as Mindmeister.
  • investigate collaborative tools that will enable you to collaborate online with your teams. I'm thinking of Figma or Miro.

2. Write script and storyboard

The script

Once you've identified your objectives, you need to write the script. It depends on how long you want it to be: is it a short 30-second video, or a 2-minute film? Beware, there's always a tendency to write more than the target length. Mime or narrate your script while timing yourself! The final length will be much more accurate.

The script also depends on how the video will be received. Will they watch my video in a room or on their mobile phone? What message do I want to get across? Should I start by talking about the problem, or give the solution right away? If you have the opportunity and the budget to test several animations, try them out and choose the best one!

Between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, a single message can be retained, so don't make an exhaustive list of the solutions you offer. Focus on a single message! This message must be simple and understood by a child. So use a limited vocabulary!

Personally, I identify the starting point and the end point precisely, and write a script that leads from one to the other. The order of the different stages varies according to the needs of the video and the strategic moment when the information needs to be announced.

At the end, your script must include :

  • What the voice-over will say
  • Visual ideas to show
  • Describe the different stages of the narrative. These stages should be short and clear.

The storyboard

The storyboard is simply the visualization of the script. If the script is sufficiently detailed, the storyboard is a formality. Some people skip this step, but I don't recommend it. A storyboard helps to speed up the creation of the final images.

First of all, you need to know the image format: is the video square, vertical or horizontal?

Next, you'll need to arrange the storyboard as you would a comic strip.

The storyboard will include :

  • the thumbnail corresponding to the stage of the script. In some cases, indications of camera movement may be included.
  • a description of what's happening in this vignette
  • the text recited by the voice-over on this vignette

The storyboard can then be turned into a video to get the rhythm right. This is called animatics.

→ Implementation

For scripting and storyboarding, paper and pencil are all you need, but there are also digital tools:

  • Microsoft Word or Google Docs are great for writing scripts
  • Boords is a great storyboarding tool. Prices start at $25 per month. You can create a movie from images
  • Storyboarder is simple and free. It's the one I use most often. It can also be turned into a video
  • Miro and Figma can also be used to produce these storyboards collaboratively.
  • Adobe Fresco or Procreate are tablet drawing programs that can be used to draw thumbnails.

3. Create images

Once the storyboard has been finalized, each image is transformed into an illustration or graphic layout. This is done in the brand's colors and in a style defined at the outset. If typography is used, be sure to choose a clear, legible font.

Images can be complete illustrations or an assembly of photos, icons and colored shapes. To ensure that the image is well composed and balanced, call on the services of a graphic designer or art director. The latter will be able to maintain coherence between the storyboard's various images.

Important: determine your image size now. Here are some standard sizes:

  • Full HD = 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Vertical (Instagram Reels or TikTok): 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Square (Instagram): 1080 x 1080 pixels

It is sometimes useful to produce images in 1920 x 1920 pixels and then crop them into the various formats.

→ Implementation

There are many ways to create these images:

You can select images from royalty-free image banks such as :

Alternatively :

  • use software that simplifies image creation, such as Adobe Express, which uses artificial intelligence, or Canva, which enables collaborative creation for marketing teams
  • Use professional design software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, Fresco or Procreate. But they do require a certain amount of skills.
  • Call on a professional visual designer. He'll save you a lot of time and energy, for a very high quality result.

You can also try artificial intelligences like Midjourney, but the results will be hard to match, and you may spend a long time before finding the image you need.

4. Produce the animation

Once all the images are ready, it's time to animate them.

With video, you can make move anything, but the important thing is to keep the viewer's attention on selected areas.

During transitions, it's also important to lead the viewer's eye and know exactly what they're going to be looking at. You don't want them to miss out on the benefits of your magnificent product.

You also need to be careful to keep the rhythm throughout the video: alternating between fast and slower moments.

If you go too fast, your target won't remember a thing. If you go too slowly, you'll lose them. It's important to let your video breathe.

→ Implementation

To create your animation, you can :

  • Use Adobe Express or Canva to create quick and easy animations. Perfect for social networking, or if you're reusing templates.
  • To take things a step further, you can use Adobe After Effects, today's flagship software for motion designers. It makes it easy to animate images produced with Illustrator or Photoshop. It does, however, require a certain level of mastery
  • To create in 3D, you can use Cinema 4D (from €80 per month) or Blender (free). These are very complex programs, but they allow you to go much further in animation.
  • Call in a motion designer who will animate your film exactly as you imagined it, and even better. And that's what I personnaly do for a living!

5. Add music

Don't forget to add good background music: it can add emotion and impact to your animated video.

Choose music that matches the mood and message you want to convey: is it a motivational video, calm, energetic, epic, ...?

Here are a few places to find your royalty-free music, starting at €60 per song:

You can also hire a musician to compose music especially for you. This is the best choice if you have the necessary budget (from 500€).

Make sure you obtain the necessary licenses if you use copyrighted music.

6. Create the video file and broadcast it

Once you've completed the animation and added the music, export your video in a good-definition, lightweight format.

For video, choose the mp4 or H.264 format, the most widely used today. For best quality, choose a bit rate of 20 Mbits per second.

For audio, choose AAC encoding at 320 Kbits per second.

Data rates correspond to the amount of information read per second. The higher the bitrate, the better the quality. Most platforms will modify your encoding to suit their needs. Vimeo is a platform that preserves the original quality of your video. If you want to control the quality of your video, this is where you should place it.

Now all you have to do is press the button "render" or "export" on your favorite software to obtain your video file.

You can now broadcast your animation on all your platforms and, above all, measure its impact (see point 1)!

Photo de profil d'Alexandre Sobrier, motion designer freelance
Alexandre Soubrier

Alexandre Soubrier is a freelance motion designer with a passion for illustration and animation. He created the podcast Exquises Exquisses in which he interviews author-illustrators, and produces this blog.
Contact him here or on Linked In.

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