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Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition

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Ivan Soria
Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition
on Jun 30, 2011 at 6:49:55 pm

Hi!

My name's Ivan and I'm a graphic designer from Mexico. The reason for this post is to ask for some advice. As I just mentioned, I have a "formal" training in graphic design, but I've always been interested in motion and the interactive side of design. I'm actually good at learning things just by myself, and as many, I'm working by pure instinct and gut. But, I feel it's time to really professionalize my work. I've been working on sites that rely heavily on video and motion graphics for pure concept and brand experience. An example of what I've been doing would be these:

http://www.liderazgoquantico.com/#/que-es/elementos/etapas - (If you click the "VER VIDEO" button you'll see a motion piece I designed)
http://www.redroomstudio.com.mx/

The point is, I've made some of this stuff without a storyboard. Or without a real post-production concept. I just sit in front of the computer and pull them off without a correct process. I mean, it's not magic, I still work and everything but it's not professional, it's not cool for my business, clients nor the young, almost nonexistent motion industry in Mexico. Now, If it's not a lot I am asking for, would anyone be so kind to share their complete workflow or process, just by stages or steps. I know it may look a little rude, or even unethical, but what I'm trying to achieve is to make my own process that I can really feel comfortable with, and in a mostly positive effort, share this same process with others. Also, please note that I've tried searching and all I came up with was an specific set of workflows for filming, editing and some related stuff.

Thanks!


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition
on Jun 30, 2011 at 9:59:44 pm

My workflow varies wildly from project to project.
Sometimes I'll sit down in front of my computer and muddle around in Cinema 4D or After Effects until I get inspired by an idea and start running with it.
Sometimes I'll spend a while carefully planning a piece: storyboarding, deciding what elements I'll need to shoot practically and what elements I can create digitally, researching cultural trends, etc.

Sometimes it's as simple as "the client wants a lens flare to go across their logo". :/

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Jaime Montaño
Re: Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition
on Jun 30, 2011 at 10:59:48 pm

If it's something very simple like a "lens flare over a logo" thing or a series of cross dissolves, I sit in front of the software and start to work.

But I do have a workflow:

1. Start with the objectives. It doesn't matter if the client has them or not, objectives are key to success. Try to find out what's the main goal of the animation or composition you're working on and everything should evolve from it.

Write them down and ask the client. ¿Is this what you want to comunicate?

2. Work on the concept. You sureley can start to mix & match graphics right on the PC until it looks nice and it probably will, but if you work on a concept, it gets easier. For example, in a corporate video por a Toy company, maybe the concept its playfulness, so you get in tune with that and work from that mindset.

Again, ask for client approval.

3. Work on a Storyboard. Seriously. I do a sketchy storyboard to get an idea of how the animation is going to flow, how I will compose the frames and get an idea of the timing in general. If you have awesome drawing skills (I don't) you can present the Storyboard to the client. If not, create a few comps in Photoshop to express your idea.

3b. If you're working also on the audio and theres a voice over, it's time to make the script.

3c. You can work on a rough cut in your NLE of choice using your storyboard as frames to set times. Think of it as the bones of your composition. This will help to convey the idea to the client better and it will let you work over something more solid later on.

4. Before presenting the Storyboard to the client, you are going to need to work on the treatment. This is just the look and feel of the piece. Color palette, type, layout style, etc. Create some sample frames with enough detail to show how the end product should look.

Present everything to the client and ask for approval. Make changes as needed and once the are done, ask for a signature because you are very close to start the animation or the composition and they should know that once the work in the compositor is half way done, changing their minds completely should be charged extra. Of course, set a threshold for easy changes. Don't try to charge more money for a font replacement mid project.

5. Get the necessary assets. Ask your client for pictures, reference material, logos, etc. Also, gather materials you think are going to need.

6. You have everything you need to create your composition (sans audio of course). Do your best. Stick to the treatment and to the storyboard but make slight changes if you think they will suit better the project. Nothing is carved on stone. Remember the concept all along the way.

6b. If you are working on the audio too, look for the best time effective / better quality solution. I'm on the low end of audio expertise, so I work with another guy that uses a rough animation for an initial mix and then the final piece for the final mix.

If it's my duty to create the sound too, either AE or Garage Band ( I know, it's sad ) do the trick.

7. Done. Render. Deliver.


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:07:13 pm

Wow. Jaime Montaño has delivered a well-written explanation of a great creative workflow.

I especially like the part getting reference material. I think this is very important. I use music, pieces of art, found objects, and lots of other things to convey the mood of a piece and have them around me while I work to help keep me in the right direction.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:41:44 pm

Ivan -

Also don't forget that it's not all about creativity. For 14 years I was Art Director at a television station. I was the "Graphics Police". I had to make sure that every piece we created (opens, bumps, promos, design elements, etc.) followed the style guide which I had developed for our station.

If the client you're working for doesn't have a style guide, go to their website, get as much of their print material as possible, get their logo, PMS colors, fonts, and whatever other materials as you can, and develope your concept, at least partially, based on the client's look, feel, and maybe even industry. Look at what the client's competition is doing.

All of these will help you develope your ideas, as well as keep you within the guidelines to make the final project "belong to the client". I fought with myself every time I departed from our "look", and sometimes I did, but for specific reasons. You don't have to stifle your creativity, you just have to channel it.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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David Johnson
Re: Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition
on Jul 2, 2011 at 5:32:33 pm

I too think all of the people who replied gave excellent advice and that Jaime Montaño did an excellent job of laying out a full explanation of the process.

I would just add that it may sometimes be helpful or even necessary to at least start a little earlier on what Jaime identifies as step 5 since both the assets and info available from the client can often drive or limit the design to a significant degree.

[Jaime Montaño] "5. Get the necessary assets. Ask your client for pictures, reference material, logos, etc. Also, gather materials you think are going to need."

That is often a critical step for me so I often do it either right after (or sometimes even before) what Jaime identifies as step 1.

I guess the main point I'm trying to make is that, similar to what Michael said in his first reply, it's definitely good to have a workflow, but it should be flexible enough to adapt to the needs of each project and/or client. So, it can sometimes be counterproductive to try to adhere to a preconceived process too rigidly.


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Jaime Montaño
Re: Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition
on Jul 4, 2011 at 3:55:16 pm

You are right about the assets. Sometimes they drive the whole process. Also, I should note that the workflow I described it's not rigid. As you already said, we should have enough flexibility in the way we work.

But there are some little details that can save you some headaches later on. One of the problems that I used to have was clients asking for changes in the voiceover script almost at the end of the project when all the recording was done and the final mix was completed. That means the voiceover artist should get back to the booth and the audio engineer needs to make changes to the mix and all that process has a cost involved.

Sometimes you need to do that, but if you specify that all changes made to the script after the completion of the recording have a cost, the client will double or triple check it.


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David Johnson
Re: Motion Graphics and Video Workflow petition
on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:40:23 am

Jaime, I hope I didn't seem to criticize your advice or imply that it was rigid ... that was not at all my intent as I think your process description was excellent. It just seemed the points I offered might be helpful for Ivan to consider as he begins to develop his process.

And, you make another great point about the need to ensure that things like script changes happen at the appropriate stages of a project. Unfortunately, many clients refuse to understand that far more goes into generating a piece than what they see and hear in the final.

Perhaps at the heart of that part of the topic is the idea that a good process is flexible enough to adapt for different projects or clients and, equally important, structured enough to keep budgets and deadlines on track (in the interest of both the client and the team).


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