2D animation opens up high-level paths in the industry, visual understanding, harmony and the composition it offers makes the possibilities infinite, being part of the world of animation is one of the most rewarding trades in the world. Here are 7 essential steps to achieve a movie animated.
UNO – Writing the script
Without a story there is no animation. As short as the animated film is, the initial step is the creation of the story. To build the story is part of an idea. This initial idea develops until you have a coherent story that is written using the script format. In other words, the script is the detailed description of that story we want to tell. After finishing the script we have an initial plan of what the movie will be. In this plane we can find:
1. The characters of the story, the scenarios where the story takes place and the order of events organized in scenes and events.
2. Therefore, the script will be used to design the characters, create the scenarios and draw the storyboard and animatic.
DOS – Design of the characters and scenarios
Once we have the story, we must think how it will look. What is the general design of the animation? How are the characters physically? How are the scenarios? These and other questions are answered at this stage. In this step our story begins to develop visually.
Not all the characters are human
To design the characters we start from the script. We make a list of the characters with their characteristics and we create sketches in different poses until we find the indicated physicist. The same is also done to design the scenarios.
The main objective of the design of the characters and scenarios is to have a continuity in how the film is going to be seen. The character sheets that we create in this stage will be useful so that the drawings that are made of the character in the different scenes look the same. Also, the scenarios must have a direct relationship with the design of the characters. The style of the scenarios must have the same style as the design of the characters. This will help make the animated film credible. If, on the other hand, the design of the characters and scenarios is different, the characters will be out of place and the story will be less credible.
THREE – The creation of the Storyboard
The storyboard is a sequence of images that tells us how the story is going to be told. Here we define the different cinematographic resources: position of the camera, shots, scenes, etc. Many describe the storyboard as a comic of what the movie is going to be.
The images we create at this stage do not have to be too elaborate. Many storyboards use very quick sketches; however there are others, which look like works of art by themselves. But the purpose of the storyboard is not to create a work, but to help visually see the story that we are going to tell. The storyboard will show us the story for the first time in a visual way.
The storyboard is a sequence of images
Like the script, storyboard is a plane; but unlike the script, the storyboard is a visual plane.
FOUR – Recording of dialogues and sound resources
As the animation, and if all film, is a combination of images and sounds, the sound material must be ready before continuing with the next step. In this stage we recorded the dialogues, the soundtrack and the environmental sounds.
It is important to record the dialogues before continuing with the creation of the animatic because the dialogues often determine the duration of a scene. We also need the dialogues to plan the synchronization of the voices and the lips of the characters to animate.
The rest of the sound resources may not be ready at this stage, but if the animatic includes all the necessary sounds, it will give us an idea of how the final film will be viewed.
FIVE – Creation of animatic
The animatic is a video that shows the sequence of images and sounds to help us plan the animation. In the animatic we can use the images that were created in the storyboard and the dialogues that were recorded in the previous step. The animatic will help us to decide the time of each animation, the order of the scenes and the sound function in the final film. We could say that it is a draft of the final animated film. As a draft we can and must make the necessary changes before starting the animation itself.
The animatic is our draft
This is the last stage where we can make radical changes to the film without incurring great costs of time and money.
SIX – Animation
Finally we come to the animation. In this stage we combine the scenarios with the characters generated in the design stage and we create the sequences of images that will allow us to simulate movement. Each of these images is called a frame and the sequence of these frames is what allows us to simulate the animation.
The duration in frames is counted in the animation. There are usually 24 frames in a second, but to make the animation cheaper some frames are repeated two or three times. Now there are many programs that help us generate many of the intermediate frames, but we still have to create the main images that define the movement. These images are known as key frames or key frames.
It is important that the time of each movement has already been defined in the storyboard. Animation is the most complicated part of the process and a movement with wrong time can cause a great waste of time.
SEVEN – Final video edition
Once we have all the frames ready, we must put them with the sounds and the rest of the material together. We can replace the images used in the animatic with the frames generated in the animation. Also the sounds that were not added during the creation of the animatic must be added at this stage. The sound material must be ready before starting the animation. Once all the material is ready, the final video is created in a process called rendering.