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Animation. How?

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Randy HansenAnimation. How?
by on Apr 22, 2013 at 8:06:39 pm

I'm a corporate video department newbie and I've been tasked with creating many, many new videos in the next few months. Problem is, they want the majority of them to be animated and I have no idea how to do this. I spent 20 years in TV news and they know all this, so it looks like I need to go outside the company.

How do I do this? Who do I call? What's the cost? My budget is unknown, but I know there is one and time is tight. Is there anyone out there I can call to talk this over in an honest, informational way that's not out to close the deal?

I'm in a bind and any help would be really appreciated.

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Nick GriffinRe: Animation. How?
by on Apr 22, 2013 at 8:54:19 pm

This really comes down to what do you mean by "animation?" Pixar movies are animation. So is South Park. Two extreme ends of a fairly broad spectrum. Thousands of man hours of 3D modeling with complex skins versus pieces of colored paper cut into shapes which are moved around 30, 20, 15, or maybe even fewer times a second.

Second question: WHY animation? Is the idea to show things that would be unrealistic or impossible to show photographically? Unrealistic: The view looking down from one of the antenna masts on the Sears Tower. Impossible: the step-by-step inner workings of a car's engine. So what are you trying to accomplish?

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Randy HansenRe: Animation. How?
by on Apr 22, 2013 at 10:13:21 pm

This is an example of the kind of animation I'm talking about:

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Nick GriffinRe: Animation. How?
by on Apr 23, 2013 at 12:49:33 pm

Okay, so closer to South Park than to Pixar.

If you're not budgeted for hiring a company who does this sort of thing then you should find a freelance illustrator who works cheap because he or she will have a LOT of drawing to do to provide the basis for this type of animation. Or you could go the South Park route and create characters based on shapes of paper which you manipulate.

If you do have the budget for outside help post the job here on the COW's Higher Pay Jobs board and browse the Jobs Wanted section also.

Good luck. If you have "many, many" to do I fear you'll need it.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Animation. How?
by on Apr 23, 2013 at 1:40:27 pm

South Park hasn't actually animated cut paper in many seasons. That's all digitized samples of paper, manipulated in AfterEffects as well as a dedicated 3-D animation program. Their workflow is very interesting, every scrap is archived for easy re-use and a consistent look.

There are some apps out there that make it easier to animate simple cartoons like the example, but they don't make you an animation artist, any more than buying AE "makes" you a compositor, buying a Go-Pro and FCPX makes you into Warren Miller, or buying a piano "makes" you a concert pianist.

If you want to take the time to learn the tools, you can do it all yourself, but it doesn't sound like you have the time and money to do that. So yes, you should farm this work out to a specialist for now, while you perhaps watch them work to pick up a few things. Probably two or more specialists, each working an episode or two ahead of the next guy or gal, to keep the pipeline full.

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Stephen SmithRe: Animation. How?
by on Apr 23, 2013 at 6:35:51 pm

Projects like this can be created or completed in After Effects or Motion. Take a look at this example that I did in After Effects for a Book Trailer. If you aren't an artist check out stock sites such as where you can buy illustrator files and then bring them into After Effects and animate them. If you don't want to do any of it be sure to check out the Services button at the top of the page right here on the COW. Hope this helps and best of luck.

Stephen Smith - Follow me on Behance

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page

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Tee KwanRe: Animation. How?
by on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:55:07 pm

Hey Randy,

Have you had any luck in finding anyone to create the animated videos? I work for Animate.Us, we're a video and animation production company. Please check out our portfolio at

I would be happy to discuss a corporate rate for your videos, and customize pricing to accommodate your budget. Please visit our website and email me at and we can further discuss this project.

Looking forward to hearing from you

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Mike SmithRe: Animation. How?
by on Apr 25, 2013 at 8:18:24 am

Good 2D animation software for the kind of results you indicated include Toon Boom Studio and Anime Studio Pro, which I've been working with here.

Results depend more on your animator than the software - it's not the use of Word or Final Draft that leads to a great story - though fit-for-purpose software makes the task much easier. John Lasseter had a pithy and cutting remark about this relating to wanting to know what brand of pencils the early Disney animators used ...

If you have budget, you might be searching for Epipheo-style animators to pitch to you, or if you have the time (months, if you can draw a little already and are good with software) you might be on a learning path with one of the above.

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