Guide to Choose Top Animation and Multimedia Studios
Fast-paced technology has made competition between businesses more intense. Those who can use it effectively, gain a competitive advantage over their rivals. One of the best tools to gain a competitive advantage is the use of video as content marketing. An aspect of Google’s algorithm for search rankings looks at the duration visitors stay on a website. That is one reason why online videos have substantial growth. The popularity of videos utilized in content goes up even more by time. It is also because they are valid and affordable. This article will explain how using the services of the top animation and multimedia studios can help you enhance your business. You can use this guide to choose your multimedia and animation company.
Different Types of Animation and Multimedia Studios
In most cases, animation studios are not classified into categories based on various aspects. Still, you should know that there are basically two types of animation and multimedia studios. They are sizable corporate animation companies and small studios.
Corporate Animation Companies
Large animation companies arise in two cases. First, they are entities that were once a small company and grew by time. Second, they are entertainment media conglomerates which open up their branch.
In general, such studios usually cooperate with large projects which bring in at least hundreds of thousands of dollars. They may not be the best option for you as they will require huge amounts of money to produce what you need. And speaking honestly, large animation studios are unlikely to take up small projects as it would not fit their target segments. They would usually collaborate with enormous projects, such as blockbuster films like Inception.
Small Animation Studios
I see small animation studios more friendly. It is also because they comprise much fewer staff, which is one of the main differences from huge studios. Also, one nuance that I find worthy of mentioning is people in smaller animation companies are not less talented than their counterparts in large corporate companies. So, as long as you hire one of the top animation and multimedia studios, the size of the studio does not matter.
Further, I would like to point out that large animation companies have a significant impact on the existence of small ones. To be more precise, if smaller studios operate for over ten years, it is because larger companies allow them to get projects into their entities regularly.
In short, as it is crystal clear, you should choose such companies for your small projects. To know what you should check to select the correct animation company, continue reading.
Some of the Popular Animation and Multimedia Creation Platforms and Software
I would like to start with Blender, which is one of the best animation software. The reason why I consider it among the best is it is free, but provides all the necessary features that you would need from a professional platform. Regardless of what you are trying to do, it will help you with anything related to animation. Thanks to Blender, you can model, render, simulate, animate, etc.
Speaking of its nuts and bolts, I should say that modeling, animation, and rendering characteristics of Blender are on the same level as those of expensive platforms. You can create simulations, games, as well as edit videos with this program. Bear in mind that this software is available on Mac.
ZBrush is the next Mac-based animation platform That I felt the need to share with you. If you want the reaction of your audience to be “wow” for your 3D objects, this is the very software for that. In case you need to generate 3D objects to market your brand or for a business video, ZBrush is an ideal choice. In fact, some of the best features in terms of digital modeling belong to ZBrush.
Different from other software, you are not limited to polygon distribution in ZBrush. Just go ahead and sculpt anything you want. There are also options for both single-user and multiple user licenses. In a nutshell, one of the software you would not regret using. Indeed, it is one of the systems that the top animation and multimedia studios prefer, too.
When talking about the best animation tools in Mac, Maya should get the credit. One of the top software for rendering, simulation, 3D animation, and modeling, Maya operates in all Mac computers.
Why I, in particular, like this tool is its ease to use the UV editor of it. The software also provides you with a lot of options through the UV toolkit. The clump modifier allows you to lick your animations into shape. Further, there is a link to Adobe After Effects to make any necessary adjustments if you need to. So, sit back and create animations, backgrounds, etc. with it.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire Animation Company and What Affects the Cost?
When you outsource an animation studio, you should know that it will not cost you cheap. On average, you will have to spend $8,000 on a 1-minute animation video. That said, the price of such videos may charge between $4,000 and $20,000. Sounds expensive? Well, keep in mind that video animation creation is an activity where numerous people are involved. Needless to say, they all possess various creative skills. And it is not easy to bring such people under one roof to serve one vision. Please do not forget that when you use the services of the top animation and multimedia studios, you cannot expect a low fee from them.
Talking about expenses, I cannot forget the factors affecting the cost of an animation video.
The animation style you select plays a significant role in the cost of the final product. Bear in mind that cartoon-style animation will cost you a lot. On the contrary, you can go for infographic and whiteboard-style videos to be more cost-efficient. The main motive behind the higher cost of cartoon-style videos is the companies should create characters for your video. Likewise, the price of animation goes up as you select more engaging video types. They include virtual reality, 3D animation, and more.
The type of animation you choose impacts the production time and resources, as well. As you can understand, the styles that cost more overall, will always result in a higher quality appeal.
The Complexity of Topic
Another factor that affects the price of an animated video is the complexity of the topic. You should know that the more complex the topic is, the longer time it will take to do research on it, consequently, more time to understand the nitty-gritty of the topic. That is why, the pre-production time is heavily influenced by the research time, which, in turn, affects the final overall cost of the product. So, I recommend you to choose as simple a topic as possible to save costs substantially.
Duration of Content
Content duration is usually divided into two parts. The first one is for one-off videos. In such videos, the longer the videos last, the longer it will take for the production time. An interesting nuance that I want you to be aware of is the cost of an animation video does not rise proportionately with time. In other words, the price of a 3-minute video will never exactly triple of a 1-minute video. The reason behind this is it is possible to reuse some assets. They can, for instance, be utilized in the background, character design, etc.
It is very similar to the case of a video series. Teams in animation studios usually finish with the relevant creative assets. Then, they use those assets for the whole series of videos.
Use of Video Content
Video animation companies have to pay for the rights of professional creative rights in order to use them commercially. Only in case, public domain assets are used, then no payment is required.
When these studios purchase commercial licenses, the cost differs depending on the use of the asset. By the way, the main types of assets, in this case, are professional music and voiceover.
The majority of the standard licenses will let you use assets for the web only. If you want to use them for TV, movies, etc. the price will go up considerably, too.
For you to have a better understanding, let’s describe it in an example. Imagine that a few decades ago, you were using a TV commercial that could reach 500,000 people through a period of 12 weeks, and you would have to pay X amount of USD. Bear in mind that as today you can reach, let’s say, 100 million viewers, you would have to pay 1000X amount of USD for using such an asset.
In general, today, for licensing of a creative asset, full buyout is becoming more common. Once the customer purchases the right to use, they can then use the asset forever. Also, there is no restriction on its use when you make a full buyout of the license. So, they can start using it on Twitter, Facebook, or on any other platform. It is actually the main reason why full buyout commercial costs so much. Businesses become capable of reaching millions, even billions of people, by making just one payment.
Summary of Costs
As you can see, the cost of an animated video is dependent on quite a few factors. You, as a client, play a significant role in some of these factors. And not all of them are difficult to control. For instance, by getting back with the feedback as soon as possible, you can substantially save costs.
What Should You Require From Your Company?
There are some essential nuances that you should be aware of in your outsourced animation company. Actually, you will have to require specific information to ensure they will be a well-fitting company for your project. With this purpose in mind, I will go through those points you should require.
Require The Track Record
Knowing what type of projects they have handled before is crucial. That is why the first thing you should do is to require the track record. Check out if they have managed similar animation projects previously. Also, it requires information regarding the animators, illustrators, and other team members. Make sure they have a genuine adequate experience to handle your animated video project in a decent way. Learning about the qualifications of project managers will be helpful, too. Through this, you understand whether the project manager can deliver you the final product within previously-agreed time and condition.
References will tell you a lot. The desire for animation studios to provide you with references will give you an idea, too. You can avoid those that are reluctant to provide you with references from their previous clients. They are either cowards or do not have any confidence in their work. In any case, make sure you do not collaborate with such companies.
Bear in mind that the top animation and multimedia studios will be willing to share their references with you. When talking to them, go ahead and contact their previous clients. Get detailed feedback from them through phone, or any other means of communication. In a nutshell, getting references can give you a sufficient idea of whether the company suits you or not.
Verify Financial Stability
If you are going to outsource a massive project to an animation company, it is necessary to check how well they are doing. You can ask for financial statements of previous years to have an idea of their stability. In a financially unstable company, any unexpected issues may pop up. That is something you do not wish at all. Because it would put your project at considerable risk. And if you are particularly tight with the deadline, it would even be a bigger problem. So, keep this nuance in mind.
Check IT Infrastructure and Security
When outsourcing a project to an animation production company, it is critical for them to have a proper IT infrastructure. You will be sending a lot of data forth and back. It means the company you outsource your project should be able to handle all this data appropriately. Further, the security level of their IT system should be in place, too. That will ensure you do not receive any files with infection to your system. In short, do not forget to require information regarding their IT system.
Apart from all the points above, you should require an adequate level of communication from your outsourced entity. If communication between you and them turns out to be poor, do not expect the product you want to see. Talking about communication, I cannot forget to mention flexibility. You should require your animation studio to be flexible when working with you. Sometimes, you may need to have a call with them in the middle of the night. For instance, to make essential changes before it is late, you may need to have such calls. To make sure that such situations will be handled in a nice way, animation studios need to have flexibility.
How Long Does It Take to Get Your Animation Ready?
The duration of an animation production should be one of the questions that pique your interest. Just like the cost of an animation video, there are several factors that impact the duration of its production. The key elements here are the complexity of the design and the level of detail required. When I say detail, just think of 2D or 3D animation.
Simple animation with superficial elements that does not feature a character can be produced in less than a week. Nevertheless, a video with more movements, such as a fight scene can take weeks, even months. In general, it will take approximately six weeks to create an animation video of 60-80 seconds. These six weeks consist of numerous stages.
Designing a creative brief is the initial phase of producing an animated video. A clear-cut brief will help designers to perceive better what you want to see. A vivid brief will take the target audience into account and allow them to concentrate the remainder of the project on the desired audience. Bear in mind that a comprehensive brief will take approximately 3-6 days to finish.
Brainstorming and Script Writing
Once the completion of the brief is over, the studio will start brainstorming to give life to the vision of the customers. The entire process of brainstorming starts with copywriters. They collaborate with art directors to select the styles, after which the team begins on the concepts.
Afterward, the team of illustrators, art directors, and animators will classify the possible stylistic characteristics and artistic options that can be prepared to realize the vision.
The production of the script will be finalized next. Keep in mind that it is basically the soul of your creative story. You may need to create a marketing animation or an emotional story. Regardless of what it is, the script will plan a significant role in how your animation is accepted.
Note that your script will convey your message and narrate the entire animation. It will take another three to six days to complete brainstorming and scriptwriting.
Voice over artists will take over the project once the script is ready. It is advisable to complete the voice over as soon as possible. That will decide on the look of the final effect, impacting the length and tempo of the animation.
Voice over is one of the shortest activities in terms of duration. Typically, 1-3 days will suffice to record it. But the project team can implement it simultaneously with the concept art phase.
Once the base of your artistic message is ready, it is the turn of concept art to start visualizing your message. The goal of concept art is to generate an approximate visual representation of your thoughts. After that, you will notice in the final animated product.
The role of art directors and illustrators here is to generate a concept art that supplies a quick glance at the visual notion of the animation company.
Concept art will ensure your project possesses an undivided artistic vision. It will also make sure the designers agree with each other in all aspects. This stage will take another one to three days to come to an end.
It is the turn of the storyboard now that your script and concept art is done. The designers will draw detailed visual elements of every scene of the video. That will allow you to notice the overall structure of the animation. Seeing the features like scene design and progression of the story will help you understand better if it meets your criteria.
In this phase, you will also view the fundamental skeleton of the final product before all the nuts and bolts are completed. It will usually take the animation studio to finish the storyboard stage in 2-5 days.
The illustration stage will replace the storyboard once you approve it is suitable for your brief. In this phase, the illustrators will build the preliminary concept art sketches into complicated illustrations. And it is also the stage where the elements of your character design will take a simple form.
At the same time, in the illustration phase, designers will start bringing to life your artistic vision. As you may understand, the completion of this stage will take a bit longer. You will usually see it end in 6-12 days.
We are already in the primary stage of the project. In the animation stage, the animation studio will utilize previous storyboards and illustrations to create lively animated scenes.
The animation company will be using animation tools to create character designs with a unique movement. It is highly significant for all the scenes to be checked actively to make sure that they run smoothly. Due to its criticality, the animation stage can take a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 days.
We have finally reached the last step in animation creation. In order to complete the animation, professional music and sound effects should find their place. And to add audio to your animation, the design team will use production software and music sound effects.
The high-quality design of your animation’s sound will create an ambiance for your target demographics. The sound design will usually take one to three days to complete.
Summary of The Duration of Animation Production
As mentioned above, six weeks will usually suffice for your animation order to be complete. But as you can see, there are many nuts and bolts of this process. And if you want to get it ready as soon as possible, I recommend you to do your part decently. More precisely, you can communicate your needs more clearly in order to ease the work of designers. That will, in turn, help them to understand your vision better. Consequently, you can get the ready product in less time.
How to Choose a Multimedia and Animation Company?
Many companies outsource their multimedia and animation related needs. Unfortunately, some of them regret it when they see the result. To ensure you do not have such experience, we will tell you the points you should check when hiring a company.
Check Their Portfolio
The first thing to check on an animation company is their portfolio. A portfolio will tell you a lot regarding the quality of their products. To ensure you get useful insights, try to answer the questions below:
Is their previous work suitable for the needs of your brand?
Does an appealing story accompany the video?
Is the video smooth and dynamic?
Are the visuals engaging?
Can you clearly hear the voice? Is it understandable?
How do you feel when you hear the music?
Answering these questions will tell you if the company is one of the top animation and multimedia studios. Also, it will give you an idea if the company can satisfy your business needs. Shortly, as the first step, ensure you check the portfolio of companies you shortlist to outsource your work.
Watch the Presentation of a Video
It is vital to check out all the details before relying on a company. A video must generate a connection between your brand and the viewers. All features, including the characters, humor, etc. are crucial to producing an engaging video. If you wonder how you can know whether you can assess the quality, it is not that challenging. Keep in mind that a video prepared by the top animation and multimedia studios will transmit you the message. Just ask yourself if you received that message in the video. If it is so, then it means the video is successful. Briefly, paying attention to all the details will be time-consuming and tiresome. But it will pay off later.
Check out the Animation Style
Do not forget to check out the graphics of the products prepared by the company. Pay attention to the drawings. They should be original, pleasing to the eyes, and modern. So, you should look for consistency that will be compliant with your business. It will have to fit your business in terms of the logo, brand, colors, and webpage. Therefore, while choosing the top animation and multimedia studios, ensure the video they prepare to reflect the branding designs and character model precisely. Depending on your needs, you will decide whether the animation should be in standard or custom style.
Consider a Demo Reel
A demo reel is the collection of short clips from the past projects that a company has implemented. In other words, a demo reel demonstrates the strength of a firm. Here, you should watch out for several components:
Look for complicated scenes, smart transitions between shots, choosing colors, and scene composition. Also, keep in mind that many animation companies include cooperative work into their reels. You need to learn what their exact role was on such projects. You can request the animator clarify their role in every scene. In case it is uncertain what they did, you should not trust them as one of the top animation and multimedia studios. So, you can continue by searching for the right company to help you.
Explore the Quality of Voiceover
Until now, you already have an idea of what you should look for when choosing an animation company. Yet checking out aspects like completed projects, experience, animation styles, etc. are not all you have to do. The voiceover factor is a crucial element, too, to take into account while selecting an animation agency. That is why voiceovers must be done by a professional speaker who possesses a good command of genre and tone. The top animation and multimedia studios will provide such a person. But for others, you will have to check.
Among a few things you should consider, the first one is the capability of the voiceover artist to express the emotions clearly. It is imperative for him/her to have full command of the language. By this, people will be able to connect with the content of the video. For instance, the pronunciation of the British accent is totally different from the American accent. So, if the video will target the British audience, the speaker must have full command of the British accent. In general, you can check the features such as the gender, tone of voice, speed of speech, and more. They all will give you a better idea about the speaker. Precisely, if he can deliver the message you want to see in the video content for your business.
Guarantee Adequate Communication and Customer Service
Many animation companies promise they will provide you with the productions you need at a reasonable price. But not many of them spare enough time to communicate with you. For this reason, you should ensure you choose the top animation and multimedia studios. Initially granted, an animation company should perceive your vision and generate a good animated video. Prior to signing a contract, you will anyway notice whether the animation agency can answer your queries without any procrastination. Also, check if they allow you to take part in all phases of production. These are essential aspects. Do not forget that nobody knows your company better than you.
Check out the Feedback from Previous Clients
That is the last step you should do while hiring an animation firm. Getting this feedback will surely give you an idea from a client perspective. So, you will be able to decide if this animation company is suitable for you or not. Certainly, the top animation and multimedia studios will provide you with such details. But in case they hide it from you, be sure that there is something wrong. Besides, you can check the reviews on the website of the company, on their social media account, etc.
The rise of video content has increased the number of video animation companies. It occurs because the effect of video marketing is absolutely undeniable. But if you do not know what you should look for in the multimedia agencies, you may fail miserably. That is why we made you familiar with that aspect of video production, too. You are also now aware of the benefits coming with the outsourcing of this work. All you have to do know is to choose a firm among the top animation and multimedia studios and do your work. Note that there are other related articles on our page that you may find useful. If you liked this one, make sure you check them out, too.