How to Start an Animation Studio: Important Notes from the Industry Practice
As animators learn how to develop their skills, they often have to make a choice regarding their career path. One of the choices you could make is starting your own animation studio. It’s the most challenging option for animators, but starting your own business and studio is rewarding just for the experience alone. We put together these tips on how to start an animation studio with important notes from the industry practice. Let’s dive in!
Think About What You Do Best
Are you best at 3D animation? Or is it 2D? Maybe you have a deep background with short films. There are many different approaches and services in the world of animation. If you want to start your own animation studio, start by figuring out what you’re best at. As a small start-up animation studio, you can focus on one service at a time. Once you grow, you could take on more animation services and your business will appeal to a broader range of clients.
Target Audience of an Animation Studio
Why are animation studios working so much today? It’s because they are in demand! Almost any business today is a target audience and consumer of an animation studio. Think about it. Businesses and organizations are using visuals today to deliver their message. People today learn faster by looking at visuals which is why animation is so crucial in today’s business world.
Corporate companies are using animated videos to give an overview of the business to potential clients. They are also using animated visuals for training employees and providing an introductory orientation video so they can learn faster.
The largest brands today such as Coca Cola, Ford, and Starbucks are using animation to educate viewers about their culture, products, and vision. It’s easy to build an emotional connection to a visual representation of the company.
Even smaller brands are using animation to build a stronger presence on social media. One of the biggest advantages of animated videos is that it captures attention. It goes hand and hand with the short attention span of social media users, but gives them a reason to follow!
Building a Team
If you want to start an animation studio, you have to understand the crucial roles that make up your team. You can opt for hiring specialists or generalists on your team. A specialist is somebody who focuses their skills on a single element of animation. Maybe it’s an excellent 3D modeler or somebody who focuses on illustrations.
On the other hand, a generalist might be a jack of all trades type of animator. You can hand them a task and count on them to at least be familiar with a concept. Maybe it’s lighting, modeling, or hand-drawn tasks. A true generalist has the ability to figure out how to get a variety of tasks done.
If you’re starting your own animation studio, you should at least start by hiring some specialists. A pair of illustrators, a pair of animators, and a scriptwriter could bring almost any idea to life.
Animators create animation and visual effects for films, gaming, ads, and just about anything.
Illustrators take an idea and turn it into a visual representation. They use original art and design to convey the message.
Scriptwriters plan and map out a plan for scene creation. They can run with an animation concept and coordinate production so the animators and illustrators could properly execute.
Additionally, you should consider hiring at least one generalist who can take on miscellaneous tasks as you go.
Tasks of an Animation Studio
Starting an animated video company means that you’ll have to be crystal clear on your objectives and anticipate your tasks.
Here is a list of common tasks that you have to know how to handle:
- Script development
- Creating a storyboard
- Creating a style frame
- Drawing illustrations
- Voice-over recording
- Selection and purchase of licensed music
- Sound design
Each task requires members of a team that works collectively together to get the job done. For example, this is what the team at the Darvideo Animation Studio looks like. The team is made up of dedicated professionals including:
- Motion Designers
- CG Artists
- Sound Specialists
- Music Composers
- Art Directors
When you first start, you likely won’t have the resources for an entire team like this. However, continue to develop your general skills and hire a few people that can cover the above list of tasks.
What Software we Use at Darvideo
Top animation video companies are true masters of the software that they use. We provided a list of software that we use so you have an understanding of what to look for.
Monday.com: We use this for our project managers. It’s a cloud-based software that maps out an action plan and keeps people accountable. You can set your budget, project requirements, work status (completed/working on it) and assign tasks to different people.
Slack.com: Slack is fantastic for communication between members of the studio. Slack provides chat rooms and organized team communication to share company goals.
Photoshop: Photoshop is essential for sketching out concepts. However, we still use the classic pencil and notebook for sketching too!
Illustrator: Illustrator is a vector-based design and drawing program. Single design elements to whole compositions are made. Anything such as logos, patterns, shapes, and icons are made with Illustrator.
Animation Programs: After Effects, Animate, Moho, and Toon Boom Harmony are some of the animation programs that we use. This is how we create visual effects and bring ideas to life!
Adobe Audition: We use Audition to handle sounds and tracks. Adding, mixing, and editing sounds are produced for animation videos.
There’s so much more, but every video explainer company uses tools and software that suits them best. Hopefully, this list at least gives you an idea of what to expect.
Learning the Industry
Starting an animation studio is an ambitious path with lots of planning involved. One of the best places you could start is by seeking advice and learning from teams that already established themselves. We’re a professional team with our own animation studio. You can contact us at any time if you want to learn more about the industry or what it takes to start! If we made it this far, you could too.
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