For more than a century, animation has been an integral part of popular culture, on television screens, in cinemas and in advertising.
From animation in the 20th century, pioneers like French cartoonist Emile Cohl to the popularity of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse and the digital innovations of studios Pixar and Dreamworks, there seems to be no end in sight to the medium’s appeal.
But with inexpensive options now widely available, this art form is no longer the exclusive domain of film studios. Charities and others can now easily create their own beautiful animation to promote their work and attract new supporters.
This can be done through 2D animation, 3D, or stop motion animation using puppets and sets such as: B. in the films Wallace and Gromit by Aardman Studios.
Here we look at the benefits for charities, how to create animations, the tools available and the outsourcing options available.
The advantages of animation
According to recent research, more than half of a brand’s supporters will be more willing to engage after watching videos on social media.
The speed of the moving image helps capture the mission of charities in people’s minds. Animations are also perfect for short, engaging clips from a social media charity. Benefits include:
Eye-catching animations can leave a lasting impression on viewers and encourage long-term donations.
The animation is highly visual and easy to understand, with complex messages easily conveyed through short, crisp text and animated characters to explain a charity’s mission and impact. This, in turn, can increase the likelihood that backers will donate.
The cost-effectiveness of animation can be crucial for small charities looking to do engaging video marketing on a budget.
Instructions for creating animations
Regardless of the platform or online tool used, there are some common themes across animation production. These are as follows.
A good idea
The first process in creating an animated film is to create a story. No matter how good the animation looks, if the dialogue, characters, and storyline are poor, they won’t captivate viewers.
The visual style of animation is important to convey different messages. Make sure you choose a style that fits the message. For example, a film about serious issues related to abuse or homelessness may require a darker, grittier style.
This is an important part of the animation process that allows a charity to look at the story, the pacing of the scenes, and the dialogue. It can be viewed as the comic book version of the final film.
The next step is to create a moving version of the storyboard to show what the final film might look like. This is a rough sketch before additional “assets” are added.
Add and create assets
This is where the final film takes shape, adding elements such as characters, backgrounds, and props. For 3D animations, charities are advised to create a pre-visualization of the scenes so that cameras and props are in the right places before filming.
Once the important prep work is complete, charities can begin filming. Here the characters move about the sets and music and dialogue are added.
Here digital tools are used to enhance aspects of the film such as lighting and texturing. Scenes can also be edited and colors corrected.
An important part of post-production is making sure the entire film looks the same throughout. Another is to ensure that the music and sound effects used are mixed at the correct levels.
There is a range of software available for charities to create their own animations.
A subscription to an Adobe Create Cloud All Apps plan (£54.29 per month) includes use of three useful animation creation tools.
Adobe’s Character Animator tool allows charities to use a webcam and microphone with motion capture technology to animate characters, including lip syncing.
The Animate tool, formerly Flash Professional, enables users to create high-quality graphics that are scalable and reusable for cartoons, games, and interactive content.
Meanwhile, After Affects tool allows users to create effects, add text and import characters.
Another similarly priced animation tool is Cinema 4D (£49.24 per month). This 3D animation software integrates with Adobe and includes a range of animation tools such as simulating realistic fabrics and converting images into a 3D model.
There is also a range of free animation software available, including the open source Blender program with features such as effects, editing and motion tracking.
Alternatively, charities can hire outside expertise to create eye-catching animations. This is ideal for charities looking to create professional animations when internal teams aren’t yet comfortable creating their own content.
It can get expensive, but there are cost savings by outsourcing to companies based in Eastern Europe.
In addition, a freelance animation specialist can be brought in. These can be found through platforms like Fiverr or Bark.
The average cost of hiring an animation studio in the US is around £123 per hour, while the average in Western Europe and Asia is £82 per hour. Studios in Eastern Europe, including Poland, can cost as little as £41 an hour.
Depending on the complexity of the project, hiring outside expertise can cost anywhere from £1,500 to £21,000.