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The secret to making animated videos

There’s much confusion when it comes to what I do for a living. Some don’t understand what I do at all. Some aren’t sure where the videos are shown if not on TV. Others seem to just stare and then change the subject when I tell them that I create motion graphics videos. Every now and again, someone seems to really ‘get it’…but then they’ll ask something like: you, ummm, make them with stuff? Like with something real or in a computer?

- A friend

Seriously, computers? The truth is, we actually do make them with ‘Stuff’ (most people don’t know that Stuff comes in cartons). The process is very similar to filming a live action commercial with actors, except we have to create the actors first.

First we model everything out of Stuff that we need for a scene. Then we water the Stuff to bring it to life and set up the background in the studio while the character learns it’s lines. Sometimes we make the backgrounds out of Stuff and sometimes we draw it by hand, depending on the style of the video. We add lighting and set up the cameras and then it’s time to shoot. Due to the limited ability of actors made out of Stuff, it rarely goes to plan, so persistence is key.

It takes years of practise to be able to model with ‘Stuff’ on a professional level and even then we still end up with our fair share of misshapen mishaps. Here’s a look at some rather unfortunate examples.

In the scene below, you can see one of our Marble characters that we had asked to simply walk past the street sign and out of the frame. It took hundreds of takes to get it right.

Here’s a couple of shots showing the modelling process from forming the basic shape to the finished character.

So, remember the next time you’re watching an animated explainer video and you’re thinking ‘I could do this on my iPad’ that a lot of hard – manual work goes in to modelling and then training each individual character. Weeks can go by without nailing a scene as simple as a marble crossing a road because they can’t stop walking into a metal pole.

And Stuff isn’t cheap…a carton of Stuff – enough to make the marble character seen in the video above – costs around £900.

If you’d like us to create a Stuff-based video to promote your business, service or idea, just fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.