What Are the Phases of 2D Animation Production?

Image: Source

Among all the various brand video types, 2D animation remains on top due to its affordability and popularity.

When around 81% of companies are believed to be using animated videos as their marketing tools, it becomes essential to understand the process of 2D animation production.

Thanks to so many 2D animation software options being available on the market, the process has become much easier than it was even just a few years ago.

Small businesses now rely on multiple animation tools to create social media videos for their promotion and even get outstanding outcomes.

However, the best way to get business animation done is through professional animators who understand what works best for a business.

If you are considering 2D animation production for your business, we have laid out the key steps of 2D animation production for you so you can get to planning.

Let’s get started!

Different phases of 2D animated video production

Pre-Production Phase

  1. Research & Brainstorming

To create high-quality content, it is essential to get some inspiration from the best available examples. If you are trying to come up with a story, watch as many 2D animated video examples as you can from brands and production agencies—observe how they have conveyed the message and the main elements of their animated videos.

Watch this example from MotionGility below.

Once done, you can develop different ideas with the production team. Brainstorming is among the essential pre-production phases. 

Write down all the fantastic ideas you and your team have come up with and find the best that suits your purpose. The process can combine shortlisting the best video ideas and voting to find the one story you want to tell.

  1. Scripting and Screenplay

Once the idea has been shortlisted, another essential part of the pre-production phase is scripting/storyboarding. Whether you write the script or ask a professional to do the job, the idea and vision should always be yours. 

Image: Source

While scripting is focused on the story direction, a storyboard is done for visual guidance. Get a storyboard created with hand-drawn visuals, animation, narration points, and a script. 

It helps with a strong visualization of the characters and enables the creators to follow the sequence of how the story goes visually. Once the script and storyboard are edited and approved, the production phase begins with setting deadlines and delivery dates.

Production Phase

  1. Character Designing

When a storyboard is designed, the characters are usually not visualized adequately on paper. This is why the first step of a 2D animated video production is to develop the characters to make the story engaging. This is based on various aspects, such as

  • The target audience
  • Brand’s offerings (What products or services does a brand offer)
  • The intention of the video
  • Budget and storyline

All these factors help with creating personalities that perfectly fit the story. Next, animators create illustrations of how the character should look in a full body image.

Many brands have taken inspiration from popular animated characters like Hulk and Popeye. With several efforts and drawings, the final character appearance is completed for multiple-character animation or single-character animation purposes

  1. Concept Art

This involves roughly creating the thumbnails, drawings, characters, paintings, and elements that the video should have as the illustration elements around the main characters. Concept art is one of the critical initial stages of animation production to set the mood of a video and define its style. It gives a final polish before the animation begins on screen. 

  1. Animatic

The storyboard is done, and when the first draft of the designs is almost created, the video development starts –animatic.

This is a process of merging the designs into a video, setting timing and pace, character angles, and camera movements, and combining them with voice recordings. The process from creating storyboard designs to video sometimes takes a lot of time due to quality and footage issues.

However, with different tools like Animatic and Boords, animators combine the slide and move on to the final animation process.

  1. Visual Development and Animation

Once the elements and character design have been done, the central part of the production begins. Thanks to the tools and software available, the modern 2D animation process has become a lot easier and requires less time than it used to take initially. 

Your skilled animation artist starts visually developing the characters and brings them to life with different angles and costumes. Here are some of the significant steps in the process.

  • Designing frames
  • Creating character backgrounds
  • Tweening (filling the frames) using 2D software
  • Separately creating background and animated characters
  • Creating expressions to make the characters perform
  • Layouts and inking

With a step-by-step animation, the production team comes up with a rough animation draft on various slides to be edited.

Now, let’s understand the last stage of animation production.

Post Production

  1. Inking & Coloring

Once the essential character development and tweening are done, the animators start putting the characters to life with coloring and inkling. This stage takes the longest as the colors should look clean and adequately finished.

  1. Sound Design

Once the visual development is done, another crucial stage – sound and narration are executed. The audio you use is critical for production.

Sound designers create or record sound effects, like footsteps, doors opening, and narration if required. Initially, the sound recording was done with creators making the sounds and recording themselves. For example, if you have seen Snow White, the designers recorded all the sounds of broken dishes, birds chirping, and animals as there were no tools then.

But now that so many tools are available with pre-recorded sound effects, the job has gotten a lot easier to create sound effects that make the video more compelling.

If a video has a storyline, the voiceover is recorded and edited based on the scenes and animation.

  1. Visual Effects

Some sequences are hard to design by hand and need after-effects to make the visual impactful. This is when visual effects or prebuilt after-effects are used.

For instance, a character coming out of a building that suddenly catches fire would need some visual effects to show sudden fire. Animators use the effects to create fire and then fire in the background. This requires a lot of patience as visual effects must fit the scene. The initial credits and editing are also a part of the effects.

  1. Final Editing

Once the first draft of the animation is done, these final edits are the most crucial part of any 2D animation process. The editing involves mixing and adding effects and thoroughly checking graphics, sound, and background. If any errors occur, the corrections need to be made without affecting the quality of the video.

Post-production is a process where the entire production team reviews their work to make whatever edits and changes are necessary to send the final video to be published.

Before moving on to production, you must understand the audience and the goal you want to achieve with the video. 2D animation could be a great addition to your marketing strategy if the process is well understood by both the brand and the production team. 

Even if you are unaware of the technical aspect of animation, storytelling, direction, and audiences are some factors you must learn before planning a 2d animation production.

Over to You!

You should know these crucial phases of a 2D animation production. Whether you are working on animated explainer videos or animated ads, it is essential to understand each step and its significance to create classic animated videos that remain evergreen.

Find the right team to handle complex production with systematic production pipelines and strict management. Once you find the right skills for your business, the process becomes easily manageable.

Komal Kokate
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