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The Perfect Animation Pipeline

Why Three Stages Work Better Than Four

The internet is abuzz with video marketing successes for corporate websites, social media groups etc., and, considering the astonishing results it provides, one may be eager to make their own branded animation video. When speaking about video content, Explainer Videos stand out as an effective alternative accompaniment and enhance your marketing strategy. But when it comes down to it, you might not know where to start. Choosing an animated video production studio is not an insignificant thing at all!

Through a preliminary web search, you can find plenty of web studios and companies providing different services and expertise. How can you find the best option out there? Darvideo is here to make your life easier! Through Darvideo, you will learn how to create high-quality animated videos in a clean, easy-to-follow process.

What Does The “Animation Pipeline Version 1.1” look like?

Creating the perfect animation video can sound like a challenging task. Whether you are going it alone or have access to an in-house team, every video starts with a clearly defined plan and pipeline.

This can be even more challenging if you are experiencing this process for the very first time. But don’t worry. Darvideo has put the production process into three simple stages, as discussed in the following paragraphs, from conceptualization to final delivery.

As we have accurately described in previous articles, the old studio pipeline was contracted into four stages and was an example of a perfectly working formula both for all parties involved. It is not a secret that before that a pipeline had ten or even fifteen stages. Through experience, and collaboration, we have come to understand that the shorter the process is, the more understandable it is.

Here are the old four stages of production:

  • Script: 7 days
  • Storyboard and Style: 6 days
  • Illustration and sound:  10 days
  • Animation: 10 days

As you can see in the table, all four stages have strict timing and are divided into a logical chain of production. It is important to outline; the client should be able to watch the progress as it goes through each stage. Corrections and additions can be managed at each stage.

Stage Description What we send
to the client
(for the average project)
1. Script Text for the voice over with the description of actions Word document

Watch the example

4 days
2. Storyboard and Styleframe A storyboard is a script, divided into scenes with a character’s action description and black&white sketches PDF document

Watch the example

2 days
Style frame is a key scene made in color vector format, representing the visual style of the whole animation Jpeg pictures

Watch the example

3 days
3. Drawing and Recording the Audio Illustrations of all the characters, backgrounds and still graphics Jpeg pictures

Watch the example

10 days
Audio is a recording of a voiceover talent and music Mp3 audio

Watch the example

3 days
4. Animation Video in the format of a draft animation accompanied with audio Mp4 video

Watch the example

10 days


To Improve is to Change.

The further we worked, the more we understood that even our perfect four stage formula needed amendments and it should be looked over again. When we did so, we found that it not only helped to optimize the production process, but helped with communication as well. As a result, we have come up with a brand new SSA (Storyboard, Stilomatic, Animation) Animation Pipeline in three steps:

  1. Storyboard
  2. Stillomatic
  3. Animation

Here’s how they work:

Stage 1. Storyboard

At this stage, we create the storyboard, not just the full text. We have found that a script in a format of plain text is not very inspiring. A storyboard, though, allows you to see the emotions involved and gives a much better idea of the future video.

Another reason we have done this is because the foundation for an Explainer Video is to understand the video requirements as well as its main goal. It is highly important to determine the user’s pain points, product features and benefits, demographics, etc. At this stage, the video production company and client should set the right expectations for the Explainer Video.

Then, it starts with an idea and script. Whether it is conceptual, character-driven, emotionally evoking or conversational—it is important to choose the right framework and topical script. This is where the message is developed. To make the script really strong, we follow the next guidelines:

  • Use a balance of concise, but still casual language
  • Stay on point of the topic
  • Demonstrate a solution while still showing the problem
  • Put a strong call to action in the end

To cut a long story short, we have decided to combine Script and Storyboard stages together, as it not only speeds up the production process, but makes it easier for a client to understand when they see the storyboard along with the script. Detailed texts or content plans don’t work that well for a client unless they have a clear visualization of the idea. Once the concept and script are approved by the client, a draft frame-by-frame look of the video is provided to them.

Combining Script and Storyboard into a single stage is crucial to help the client get an idea of the big picture of both the design and story progression.

Stage 2. Stillomatic

This is a phase where the client is provided with a basic animated video in a chosen visual style with voiceover and music. It is a draft still, without moving characters, but a complete video. It is a colored storyboard, as there are custom, full-color images that show how the final video will look. It also includes: character design, illustrations, text, background color, and icons. This part of the animation process is time-consuming, and is generally applied in the next stage. Then, it is presented, with voiceover and music, to the client.

As you can see, at Stage 2 our clients get the opportunity to look through all the illustrations, characters, graphics, details and decide what to keep or reject. After applying the revisions to the illustrations, and once the client approves them, we move forward.

Stage 3. Animation 

The stage that practically completed the production is Animation.It is a much-anticipated stage, where animated video takes shape! What does the client get at this point? Our animators provide stylized animations, with the video is perfectly timed with a voiceover, music and sound effects.

So, what has changed? Let’s break it down:

After we have reduced the number of stages to three, we discovered the following advantages of the new Pipeline:

  1. The less rigorous routine, the more creative process.
  2. The fewer stages, the less time you need for approval of revisions and receiving the final product.
  3. We have no need to bother our client after every tiny step is done. The more work we have presented,the more streamlined the client experience.
  4. The client sees the whole story from the very first draft. Forget about approving the script, then waiting for the storyboard, then voiceover, etc.; it all comes at a time in a full package.
  5. The client gets to the video stage (ready-made animated Explainer) x2 times faster.
  6. The client gets more wow-factor showcased through the finished product.

Here at Darvideo Animated Studio, we know how to make strong animated Explainer Videos and proficient at communicating and collaborating with our clients. Curious? Want to know more about the process and see if it’s right for you? Feel free to contact us for more information.

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