Where do we start?
Having a solid creative process gives us a foundation for clear communication during the project. This helps us avoid surprises, which can jeopardize time and budget. I like to say, “We want to surprise our audience, not our client.” A typical project may include some or all of the following steps:
Budget and Schedule
We’ll start by listening to your needs, and establishing what we’re creating.  How soon do you need it?  Do you have a predetermined budget?  How much do we expect it to cost?  Do we need to make scope changes to find the best solution within our available time and budget?
Scripts and Storyboards
Some clients are ready with script in hand, others provide us with completed storyboards or even finished art ready for animation. Whatever your starting point, we’ll help bring it to life by clearly defining every moment on screen.  When we’re helping develop concept, I like to storyboard with nothing more than black lines. This helps us block out the space and crystalize the imagery, without getting caught up in artistic style and color choices. If it works as a pencil sketch, it’s ready to move on.
From these storyboard panels, we can create an animatic—a basic sequence of stills or very rudimentary movement animation. This step is important because it’s our first view of the entire sequence as a movie. We’ll add in a temporary voiceover, and music that approximates our intended score. The animatic allows us to clearly see if we have too much or too little artwork for any given moment. It lets us know if our music is emotionally right for our piece. At this point, we tell the whole story in rough form, from start to finish.
Our animatic strives to block out our timing and message, but our illustration creates the unique personality. Should this be hand-drawn illustration? Photo-montage? Do we need to match to existing campaigns, branding or print material? We’ll gather client input and create some sample layouts that best represent our creative vision. These initial pieces of art become our style-guide for the rest of the piece.
With our approved artwork and our working animatic, we’re ready to dive into animation. The illustration and animation portions are typically a few days to multiple weeks, depending on the scope and duration of the sequence. We’ll usually start with an important moment in the script and animate 10-15 seconds for our first client review.  With that approval, we’ll continue through the rest of the sequence elements, checking in with clients as needed until we’re ready to present the entire animation for approval.