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  • October 8, 2020

    What Factors Affect The Cost of Animation?

    As a buyer looking to get a new animated video production for your company, when browsing online you can see such a variety of animation costs, from £150 (uh oh!) to £20,000+ (eek!)

    Here are a few reasons why the price of animated video can range so much, and how to make an informed choice when it comes to specifying the work.

    Length of video

    A longer animation means more work. For example, A two-minute video literally has twice as many scenes as one minute video, and they need creating, and then animating.

    There are not that many economies of scale, as the work is usually bespoke to each project. Sometimes if you have a video series, some savings can be made through the series, but within one video, and your first video perhaps, nope.

    Being concise with your words in the script is integral to making sure you don’t waste money here.

    A long storyboard for animated video production

    This storyboard is about 2.5 min video. Which is slightly on the long side for an Explainer type web video. You can see just how much work and frames that needs. A shorter video could be half these number of frames. 

    Inclusion of 3D Animation

    3D animation can pop up in 2D animated videos quite often, and to the inexperienced, it can be undetected. Not seeing the line between 2D and 3D is fine if you’ve not even noticed, it wants to blend in seamlessly.

    Including 3D elements adds background and literally another dimension to the movement and view, so it adds more interest- instead of the same front on view you see so often with animation.

    It will often be composited and be the same design style, but it gives a variety to the scene, it’s not just flat facing.

    But all this means, additional specialised skills in 3D software, modelling and lighting, and then compositing – to make it look like the rest of 2D video.

    See the buildings in their video have been created in 3D space, allowing a camera to pass around as it rises. This is much more interesting than a generic pan up, with a completely straight-on looking street.

    Characters

    Including characters can add a much needed human touch to animation, which if you’re selling or teaching people can help dramatically.

    Using animated characters is a great way to act out scenarios and show a real user experience and convey emotion.

    However, to get them to move in an organic and realistic fashion – to be likeable takes time to draw, rig and animate.

    Low-end videos that have characters will move in a jerky/ stiff way or just not much movement at all. Or worse still, they stop dead for seconds at a time…

    It kind of defeats the purpose, as you lose a lot of the human connection and relatability.

    Character Design for animation

    Illustration style

    A 2D flat colour video using vector simple shapes, most likely, will take a much less time to design and animate than a hand-drawn, and highly textured frame developed in Photoshop or Procreate, as two extreme examples.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about drawing and illustration, so here are a few styles, to show what I mean.

    You can see the difference between these few images, they show a clear difference in the work and time that went into them.

    The 2 on the top are much more detailed, one including natural textures and use of sading and light, the other using 3D to create a complex layout, compared to the bottom 2 that are more simple in nature and are line illustration or solid colour. 

    Textured Design for Animation
    Why pick animated explainer video over live action video
    Simple design in animation
    demo video

    And if a scene took longer to design, then you guessed it, it will more than likely need increased time to animate it. 

    The quality and style of the drawings will very much depend upon your story, who the audience is and what you want them to feel.

    Quality of Animation

    Again this is down to time, in general, the more time your animator spends, the better the quality of the final piece.

    A cheaper (quicker to produce) animation will generally be flat and move less, and there will be fewer scenes. And elements within scenes or whole scenes will be reused.

    A low budget animation will also have very basic transitions from scene to scene (one thing exits, and another enters). High-quality animations tend to have more thought out transitions so that the video flows more seamlessly.

    Reusing of assets, fewer scenes and fewer elements on screen at one time all saves time, and it may get the job done, but it won’t be exciting, it’s less relevant, and it’ll be less stimulating.

    So there is a balance to be struck. Most animation studios will be able to show or demonstrate a few levels of animation quality so that you can see the difference for yourself.

    Bespoke

    The cheaper sites offer template style make your own video, so you pick from some (often poorly) pre-designed and and pre-animated elements that you can pop together into a story.

    It’s cheap, but of course, it’s massively limited and who knows how many other people are using the same elements in their video?

    It’s also unlikely to fit with your brand very closely.

    And of course some lower-end studios will be using templates in their work without telling you.

    You can see a lot of the cost comes down to custom assets, length of video and time taken. So, in general, a higher cost animation is simply a higher quality product. Hopefully, this helps for next time you need an animated video for your business, and you can see what you’re paying for clearly.

     

    To see a range of animated explainer video styles head to our portfolio, or to read more about what we do and what goes into our work, see the animated video production page and if you have an idea you want to chat about, contact us!

  • August 22, 2020

    Why pick Animated Explainer Video over a Live-action Video

    Why pick Animated Explainer Video over a Live-action Video

    Both animation and live-action productions have their place as a marketing video for business, but live-action can be limited. 

    Let’s explore some of the reasons for choosing an animated explainer video over a standard filmed video for your next company video.

    Animated explainer video at its core is a catchy animated video generally under 2 mins long that explains something. It’s quite a vague term, but it covers most of the animated videos you see online in a broad way – and it’s much more diverse than you think. 

    Vidico

    Creativity

    Animation is creative and can be out if this world if you want. 

    Simply put, it can make you stand out and look unique.

    You can show an office one minute, then a street, then a person at home, then an international space station if you fancy! And it doesn’t cost more to do so. That is not even a particularly inspiring example of what can be done with animation. 

    As long as it serves the narrative, and suits the tone of the video, relates with your audience, your options are limitless. 

    With a live-action video, sure you can film several locations, but time and costs add up if it’s very expansive in terms of content. Most corporate videos are quite straight forward, 1-2 locations and that’s it. 

    With the limitless nature of motion design, you can say and show a lot in a very short time.

    Buck

    Versatility

    Explainers videos are a lot more versatile in style than you would think. It’s just icon sequences any more. 

    Most companies pick their general corporate branding the first time they go into animation and probably choose a flat 2D design and icon for the illustration style.

    It’s a safe (albeit potentially boring) bet.

    But many more experienced brands will experiment with style and tone to fit each campaign.

    When you draw each frame from scratch, you have ultimate flexibility. 

    Animation and illustration design can achieve very fun, or serious tone as needed. This gives you the adaptability to target new audiences, or to bring out different emotions. 

    A hand-drawn animation style will usually give a friendly caring vibe, while sharp lines and angles can be more formal and business-like.

    An experienced design studio can use these kinds of devices to tailor the look and feel of the animation to achieve exactly the vibe you want.

    And it’s not just reserved for consumer-based brands like Cola. Even a B2B business is selling to people at the end of the day.

    Giant Ant

    Duration of use

    Your animation way is less likely to go out of date so quickly.

    Usually, in explainer videos, any numerical figures that are referenced are not exact; for example, any charts or data you see, and any UI screens are often redesigned to simplify to look and flow. Of course, people are all fictional, unless exactly specified to copy someone.

    So, because the video’s not showing such exact information, it’s likely to last longer. 

    With a filmed video you can run into issues much quicker. For example, if staff leave who had been interviewed, you may need to edit them out of the video, which costs for the work and can leave holes in the content.

    And so you need to organise a reshoot, or the video needs more context to explain, which kind of defeats the point. 

    Or if the premises or signage are updated, you’ll feel that the video is old fashioned. 

    This happens way more often than you think!

    ILLO

    Control

    You have complete control with the look and feel of animation.

    Sometimes on a filming day, things can just crop up… the weather is terrible, an area is closed, your piece to the camera could have been delivered better, a colleague was unwell.

    And even if you have a sketched storyboard for a filmed video (but plenty of studios don’t offer this), it’s hard to know what each shot will look like.

    There’s always a bit of figuring out on the shoot day… a small element of winging it. Obviously a professional will still do a good job though!

    With animation, you have exact control over every scene, in advance of animation.

    You’ve seen (hopefully) a written treatment, possibly sketches, style frames, an illustrated storyboard, boardomatic, animatic, then the final animation.

    That’s a lot of stages to get your feedback in!

    The Furrow

    Sensitive topics

    If you need to talk about a sensitive topic, an animated explainer is a very good route to pick.

    Animation gives anonymity to the subject (I mean a person here) and gives you the freedom to really explore a subject matter or tough topic without making anyone vulnerable or a target. There is no risk of exposure.

    Using animation for a good cause can really amplify your message, for campaigns about for children or those in need, it can be a vital tool.

    Emanuele Colombo

    Price?

    It’s not necessarily cheaper. Drawing every frame, animating takes time.

    But reiterating from the points above, the animation may last longer, and it can be more tailored to your goals.

    Unless you have a lot of VFX in your live-action production, maybe for a high-end TV advert, filmed video is often the same cost or cheaper than explainer animation, but we can see it’s more limited unless it’s very high concept.

    Saying that… there are generally a few varying price levels of animation (this will vary from studio to studio), so if budget is tight, it’s not impossible.

    But generally, the more you spend, its more time you’re paying for, and therefore a higher quality animation – it’s more immersive and mesmerising. And thus a better storytelling device.

    oddfellows

    Hopefully, these points will help show you that there’s never been a better time to get on board with explainer animation for your business.

    Or at least give you food for thought before you jump onto creating a new corporate video for your business.

    The options available are a lot wider than you would imagine. 

    To see a range of animated explainer video styles head to our video portfolio, or if you wanted to read more about animated video production in general, or if you have an idea you want to chat about contact us

  • December 16, 2019

    Design in Animated video – the key to success

    Design in Animated video – the key to success

    Motion graphics are becoming more popular – many businesses are starting to learn the term when it comes to animated video, but in practice, the ‘graphics’ part is often lacking.

    Often when a business is discussing creating a new video, they talk about the animation and the scenes, but often the conversation about the design style and illustration isn’t there. It’s overlooked and taken for granted as it’ll just appear and look good. 

    The first brief is often ‘explainer video, maybe with my site icons’, but that’s so vague and samey, will that be the best route to tell your business message? An explainer video can be so much more than that. 

    An original design concept with bespoke illustrations can lift the animation and be so much more impactful – which has a real effect on video engagement.

     

    Bespoke illustrations and design for video

    But talking about design is sometimes difficult for clients – they don’t know where to look for references, and they may not be able to articulate what they like. But this is where creative studios need to have the knowledge to guide them properly.

    There is a lot to consider with design – it’s all about the relation to your target audience. In essence, the design will help show them how to feel, and what information is most important.

    An animated video for 20s aged entrepreneurs needs to look and feel quite different from a video for internal communication purposes.

    The video is also representing the brand – so it needs to look right. You may choose for it to fit in with your other branding materials or may decide to create a new campaign, or it can be stand-alone. Either is fine, but it needs to be a considered choice.

    Making the video match your branding precisely as an automatic response without thought, can be restricting and potentially bland.

     

    Motion Design using photos

     

    Design in video needs to achieve a few things:

     

    • Clearly communicate the story
    • Have the right tone
    • Align with the brand
    • Be cohesive
    • Be unique

     

     

    Picking a design-forward studio

    A video studio with a dedicated designer is an excellent place to start. Often at less experienced production houses, the role is lumped in together with the animator. While very few can be great at both, in general, it means they’re mediocre at both tasks.

    If they can’t draw, they may be reliant on stock vector images. Meaning the look can change from scene to scene unintentionally, as the vectors are from all different sources (affecting the tone), and it will probably have the same 2D flat graphic look we see so often.

    Because they’re buying in assets, the video may also not be that unique.

    A scene designed to show a negative.
    It’s mixed, and overall has a gloomy, slightly confusing tone

    A dedicated studio motion designer or illustrator will have background artistic knowledge, for example of the significance of colours, tones, value, shapes and textures. The use of these seemingly simple things can change the mood or feeling of a video massively. 

    Unbalanced design layouts or colours with no visual hierarchy, especially where any text is involved, can leave the audience missing the point. 

    Your animation studio will know when and how to use characters – do you need a key person who tells the story, background people, are we personifying objects? 

    Custom animated characters can increase the video bill, sometimes by more than you think, but in the right video, it’ll add so much more in the long term. 

    A creative animation team with the background of business and a professional illustrator or designer can make reliable recommendations for these points.

    A few characters

    Motion design-led workflow

    It starts with research about the business at hand, the audience, a look at competitors and any visual references the client likes. 

    This study will help inform and is combined with Art Direction – usually from the design lead or creative director. Art direction is often not spoken about at all in business video, especially at the low to mid-end cost range. In simple terms, they create the entire concept of the video. 

    The research and art direction helps give the creative studio a full picture of the target. Then all design and motion can be aimed towards this target. 

    It continues through pre-production with style frames. These are a few fully illustrated images from the storyboard that show the intention of colour, typography and layouts styles. 

    A high-end creative studio or a more significant budget animation may even produce 2 – 3 different image concepts to review – giving the client full information and choice. 

    The client can make sure it aligns with their ideas and goals before the studio has gone too far – as changes later down the line are always more costly. 

    They may also show a full sketched out storyboard, so the business can see the broad story before full design even starts.

    Illustrated Storyboard Design

    Illustrated Storyboard

    Methodology

    After dialogue and approval of the initial concept, frames and ideas, a design-led creative studio will produce the fully illustrated storyboard, complete with extra notes about scene movement and feeling.

    Leaving the design to chance, is very risky and means the video may not be what you expected, or want, at all. So any savings made on cost at the start, are turned into a loss.

    This method, with rigorous pre-production and client involvement, means that the animator has a clear idea of the flow, and can focus solely on making it move seamlessly. 

    The result is reliable, as you’ve already seen various illustration stages and it’s exciting, as it’s a bespoke video with a well-thought concept. 

    If a studio doesn’t offer any interim approval stages for video design, put, you are risking your time and money. 

    And next time if you want ‘an explainer video’ talk to the studio about different creative options available to you – it’s a lot more versatile than you may think. 

    You don’t want to end up with the same kind of animation video you see everywhere and fade into the sea of boring corporate videos. 

    And if you don’t have a clear idea, it should be up to them to guide you correctly – and show you what can be done. 

    If you want any help with video design, check out our video portfolio for style and animation ideas, or our animated video production page and send us a message!

    Related Portfolio Case Studies

  • April 11, 2017

    Off to OFFF

    Phew! We’ve just come back from OFFF in Barcelona – a 3 day multidisciplinary festival, featuring all kinds of speakers and workshops in design, visual communication and art direction. 

    As primarily motion designers we were looking for video / motion design / animation related talks, so our review is based on them mostly, but I’m a huge fan of any design really, so I saw quite a few illustrators and graphic designers too.

    It was really well organised, I found something unique and interesting in every talk we saw. We left feeling very inspired, and I have a bunch of new projects to try out.   So, here are a few cool highlights from the fest with some of our favourite videos and designs – in the order that we saw them.

    Outro Studio

    Outro Studio, a video and design studio based in Barcelona, did the Opening titles and the book for OFFF this year. Their creative approach to projects was really interesting – like making a space themed video for 30 odd euros. For example, They used a bubble gum machine for the helmet, and did it all through reflection, which was a really clever way to reduce cost and give the impression of space – without some crazy huge set. They also had a great concept, which we follow ourselves pretty much, called – SFFPP Small Fast Fun Personal Projects. Now, I need to get hold of a camera, I felt really inspired to do more video work as it’s been very design based lately here! 

    Wix

    This was really fascinating, because even though Wix are quite famous, they spoke about the troubles finding their brand voice and tone. They started from the early days, showing us the progress and development of their design and videos. It took quite a few projects and experiments to get the tone right for them. Here was a cool little video they made with Shaq, where they finally felt like they had a good base and company voice, which is quite bold in colour but friendly and a bit cheeky. (I think we all know the voiceover too)

    Studio Furious

    A graphic design and photography studio in Paris, Studio Furious, that came out of a lunch time hobby while at their day jobs. They started making all sorts of weird burgers and photographing them for a personal blog called Fat Furious Burger.  This series is great, it was really fun and inventive! With their studio work now, they describe it as either sober or kitch aesthetic – and I love this contrast in approach.

    Atipus

    A Barcelona based graphic design company. Good on them for doing the talk in English, while I know some French and Portuguese, I’d be terrified to give a speech in them! What stood out most for me was their beautiful wine labels, and I think this is what they’re known for too. The simplicity and bold colours and shapes of all their work, but especially these really resonate with me. This series was based on the good soils from which the grapes grow, which I thought was a great perspective.

    Buck

    Buck was one of the ones we’d been looking forward to the most coming up to OFFF, and we weren’t disappointed! One of the main projects they focused on was (not surprisingly) Spectacle of The Real for the magician David Blaine.
    This is a video we have watched.. a million times! So it was really cool to see the whole back story, working with David Blaine and Christopher Walken. Seeing some of the animatic sketches was amazing too. Truly inspirational stuff.

    Imaginary Forces

    Imaginary Forces have been in the industry for over 20 years and the breadth of their work was just incredible – a massive variety of videos for some pretty famous films and tv shows! They do a lot of main title sequences, notably Seven, Boardwalk Empire, and Stranger Things –  all really fantastic works. But I loved this one in particular for Black Sails, the 3D work is so amazing, and I love their research behind the project looking at classical sculpture as inspiration.

    Cookie Studios

    Cookie Studios are a very talented 2D and 3D studio from London – enviable 3D capabilities! They had a great talk which was really client-based. They were very focused on understanding client need and rules – and it’s that, not just making, that makes them better designers. As they say, they can take a ‘shit’ subject and make it cool. I loved their alternative to the standard showreel too. 

    CLAUS

    CLAUS is a studio run by Justin Harder, an illustrator and animator in California. He started out working in a studio, but quit/got fired and moved to Santa Monica living for a few months in his RV… we all have to start somewhere! The variety in his title work was fantastic, we watched a few projects and the styles were so varied and well-executed. He’s been famous lately for doing the Deadpool, the Book of Life and Thor title credits (all awesome!) but Thor was my favourite. 

    GMUNK

    Bradley G Munkowitz – known as Gmunk, does stuff that’s really out of this world. Really, otherworldly was my main feeling. Such a funny guy though, he had the audience laughing so much! It was pretty explicit too, a few shocks!

    Over the past few years, he’s done a lot of interesting projects playing with light and lasers, which to look at I would say looks like 3d work or all VFX, but a lot is filmed using lights and shapes, which was fascinating. He’s reinvented his style a few times, which was good to see the progression. My favourite was this Adobe logo, with LED lights built the logo out of acrylic.

    Jamhot

    One of the few fellow Brits was Jamhot  – a cool graphic  / digital design studio from Glasgow. I loved the honesty in their talk, they spoke pretty truthfully about humble beginnings and wanting to be better all the time, with only their previous work to use a benchmark (like 20-year-old me!). They showed a few lovely projects, but I really liked the classical approach of their work for this school.

    Calvin Sprague

    I was really amazed at how young Calvin was – and how much he’d achieved by the time he was 25. Seriously props to him! He started doing design for music, punk and rock which over time grew to a much wider audience, doing work for Madonna, Beatles and Led Zep.

    But it was not what he wanted to do, it was too limited, so he moved to Amsterdam and started doing stuff for himself – I really liked his style, and it was nice to see the progression and how he got there. This design work for Target was really great large scale – the geometry is lovely.

    Ricardo Cavolo

    So, I’ve been a fan of this Artist, Ricardo (not designer!) for a few years now, I was excited about his talk. He’s definitely more offbeat, which some unusual inspirations. It was pretty fascinating. His work is mostly inspired by early medieval artwork and symbolism. Think about Gods, medieval magic and fairy tales, making a car into a chariot.. that kind of thing. Unlike most of the others I saw, he definitely has 1 particular style – and it’s very strong visually!

    Vallée Duhamel

    Montreal based duo, Vallée Duhamel, did the main titles for OFFF this year, which was a great finale for me. Their work is generally quite surrealist and they make videos described at High-Class Lo-Fi. Which basically means they usually real objects and household items to create their videos, which are filmed – but the end result looks in no way homemade.

    Watching the behind the scenes for some of their work was incredible to see weird small sets, and throwing things about, a massive contrast to the final polished product. For example in this video for Google, they struggled to get the grapefruit to roll straight!

    Wooh ok that was a long one! And really quite gushy sorry – but I think the work really speaks for how awesome and diverse it was. I think I’ll be back for more, so… until next time OFFF!

  • March 30, 2017

    9 Tips for Finding a Video Freelancer you can trust

    As an agency or studio, hiring a loyal video freelancer is a great way to expand business capacity and add skillsets to your team at a low cost.

     

    When you do find a good freelancer, or freelance team, it can seriously boost your game. Having someone you can really trust to deliver high quality video or design work, without the hassle of paying for their downtime is invaluable.

     

    There are so many highly competent, talented video contractors, who know the business inside out – so how do you find the right one for you?

     

    Here are 9 tips for finding a freelancer you can really trust to help grow your business

    1. Get recommendations from other agencies or studios you know

    Word of mouth is still a great way of finding good people. Ask people you trust, to see who they trust. This is the best place to start if you’re unsure.

    2. Put your job on a specialist video / design job site

    This is a good start, as it weeds out more of the non-professionals straight away. Often when adding a job to a generic site, especially one with no login for freelancers, you will receive so many replies of such varying quality, it can be daunting to go through them all to get rid of those who are not suitable. Picking a website like motionographer, filmandtvpro, or ifyoucouldjobs will give you a better calibre of applicants. 

    3. Look at a number of previous jobs

    Go much further than just the 2-3 videos they send upon applications, you’re looking for consistent quality. If you have a quick look at up to 10 (maybe more!) videos, you can see if the quality drops and they don’t always have the standard you need. And you know with that many videos, they are working regularly. This will also help you gauge properly if their style suits your needs.

    4. Find out what role they played in each video

    Often a contractor will only have been involved in 1 part of a video, for example – they did the motion design or just the animation. If it’s not obvious from any accompanying text (which it really should be), ask them what they did. You don’t want to hire someone you think does animation and design, but you find out they’ve exaggerated their animation capabilities.

    5. Speak to their previous clients

    If you have found someone who is potentially good fit, they wont mind if you request to speak to a previous client. Ask them about the full process end to end. Were they easily contactable? Did they deliver on time? Were there any unexpected costs? Did anything go really well / or badly? Did they work on more than 1 production?

    6. Locality doesn’t matter

    Initially you may be looking for someone to come into your studio, or at least be quite close. But this isn’t always necessary. Local can be often be very expensive , or not high enough quality. For example, freelancers in London can be more expensive, purely because of where they are.

    As long as the timezone isn’t too different – say less than 7 hours – you can have clear remote working relationships. You really don’t need to stay within your country, though you may feel more comfortable. Some of our best clients are based in the USA, we have a great communication, simply with skype and email.

    7. Have an introductory meeting

    You may be in a rush to get work done – so there’s no time for an intro. But a short meeting just to introduce both yourselves is vital to start gaining trust in the relationship, it only takes 20-30 mins to have a good chat and judge if they’d be a good fit for you, and vice versa.
    This can be in person or using a video chat online does fine these days too. It will allow you fully gauge what they’re like – are they approachable, do they seem honest? These qualities are just as important as their work.

    8. Collect a list

    When a big video production comes in and you have to pull out all the stops. You need a handy list of good animators or designers you can turn to for quick reliable turnaround – so you don’t waste essential time.

    So, if someone writes to you – they have a great portfolio, the price is reasonable and they seem capable, but it’s not the right moment, find some way of saving their email or contact details. you’ll thank yourself later when you’re in a rush!

    9. Plan your jobs / specifications well

    Once you’ve decided to hire a freelancer for job – they need a solid brief. Freelancers are usually smart, and intuitive – it comes with the turf. But they need a good clear plan to work to, if you leave it too vague and they get the wrong idea – you’ve all wasted your time when the client isn’t happy.

     

    Give them as much guidance as you can to begin with, the initial briefing with any job is very important. They will use all that going forward. It’s often a good idea to go through the script or storyboard, and make sure each section makes sense. 

    These days it is so easy to find a video freelancer online, so go ahead! These tips should help you sort through and find the perfect match for your company. To see examples of our work head to our video portfolio or animated video production page.

    And if you need a hand in your studio – contact us! We work for some great video and marketing agencies worldwide and offer a robust white label video and animation service.

  • February 28, 2017

    8 ways to get more Visual Content in your blog

    Visual content for blogs is a must have in 2017, and there are so many benefits – it improves site SEO, more blog views, increased time spent on page, improving your brand image and more.

     

    But, you don’t always have to create it yourself – In this post, I’ve laid out a few different types of great visual blog content, and the different methods for producing it yourself, or finding a good piece that already exists.

    Creating Visual Content vs Finding and Curating It

    Content you’ve made for your blog will always be more relevant to your audience and perform better, because it’s made by you, and for specific purpose.

    However, we know there’s not always the time and/or budget for original visual content, and you have to look elsewhere for visuals.

    The key is to find a good balance, and figure when it is really necessary to create your own, and when you can use something that’s already been made to illustrate your point.

    Photos

    I guess the first thing people think of in terms of visual content and a blog is photos.
    If it’s relevant, just take some photos, phone camera usually have a fairly decent lens these days – certainly good enough quality for a blog post, providing you have good natural light.

    Types of photos that can work well for blogs, are specific product shots, or photos of your staff, events you’ve been to, your space, any gadgets you use. Showing your company culture can make you much more personable and add a real voice to your blog posts.

    If you’re not up for photography, a few places to find specific imagery are Wikimedia Commons & Flickr CC – just make sure you get the attribution right (sometimes you need to add the author for example).
    Or for more generic stock photos you can head to Death to the Stock Photo. They pride themselves in being non cheesy, which is great! However, any photos you choose still need to reflect your company, so pick carefully – it really needs to be applicable to the blog content and reflect your brand accurately.

    Graphics

    Often, a photo isn’t enough – you need a few words to fully explain your point, and help people remember your content better.
    If you have some design knowledge, then Photoshop or Illustrator are great for creating fully bespoke graphics, that will be the most relevant to your content  and really represent your company in terms of style.

    However, If you’re inexperienced in design, then I would head to Canva. Canva is a free service, and if you have no clue about design / layout / colours/  fonts/ whatever, don’t worry! It’s extremely user friendly for creating visual content that works well.

     

    Remember that while you may want to use lots of font and colours, often less is more. And as always it needs to be in keeping with your brand and easy to digest.  It’s worth picking 1 style and keeping within that, or only varying slightly while you’re finding your feet. This will create more unity.

    Infographics & Charts

    If your blog post is numbers based at all – an infographic is perfect for Condensing lots of information into an easy to understand format.  Rather than just a list of numbers, you can represent them visually, and give much more impact.

    There’s many ways a professional would make these – if it were me, a mix of Illustrator and Indesign probably (but I’m very nerdy) – and keeping a nice grid layout for good comprehension.

    Creating infographics may seem daunting if you’re less nerdy, but again, there are foolproof ways if you have solid data! Canva also has great functionality for this and so does infogr.am. You’ll have lots of options for the best way to visually show your data.

     

    To find premade infographics, you can look on infographicsshowcase, SlideShare and coolinfographics but one of the best ways to find infographics most relevant to your industry / niche is searching in google using your specific keywords + infographic.

    Graphs & charts

    If you don’t need a whole infographic, but you just want to illustrate one point at a time with a impactful chart, you can create these easily by using Google Sheets or Google Slides.

    They may not be the most ‘beautiful’, but they will be extremely relevant to your web audience and a useful asset to display data, and make it more easily understood.

    Videos

    Videos are known to be impactful on blog posts, and it can be fairly easy to create them. You can go the DIY route and have a go (but do invest in a tripod!), you can make a video with your smartphone – and the end quality will matter less if the content is good.

     

    Videos that are good for blogs are; animated infographics, tutorials, client case studies (whether animated or filmed) short videos with staff about specific topics, showing new products / premises, yuor if you’re more regular with production, then you can start a Vlog. A vlog is a great way to add a human face to your business, and give real, personal feeling, insights to customers.

    Tips for Using Video on Your Blog - Tubular Insights

    If you want to step up your game, you can hire a professional. If you’re using a video production company, I would recommend filming / producing a few videos at a time to create some economies of scale – especially if it will form a series, this means you’ll have a consistent output and a consistent look.

    Again, finding the time and resources to create blog videos may not always be possible, but there’s so many videos already online now, we’d hope that at least 1 shows your point!

    Finding relevant videos can be a bit of a minefield but Youtube, Ted Talks and Vimeo and are good places to start – have a keyword in mind, and keep trying variations of that until you find it. If you find someone or a channel who creates good videos quite frequently – it’s worth bookmarking!

    Summary

    It’s been shown that visual content on your blog will earn you higher engagement, and there are so many options – with different levels of difficulty and cost – so just find what’s right for your company right now. You can invest as little or as much time as you want, and still have more impact with your blogs.

    In an ideal world, we’d always create our own content, but not everyone is at this stage. So, the key with finding the right content for your blogs online is very careful consideration – question each item – does this speak to my audience, does it suit my brand, does it say what I want to say, does it have the right tone for my site?

     

    If you’re ready to start producing bespoke content for your blog, and you want a hand with graphic design or video for your company, have a look at our portfolio and get in touch!

  • January 25, 2017

    Highlights from 2016

    We’ve had quite the year in 2016 – so here’s a quick highlight reel to show what we’ve been up to. And just a snippet what lies ahead.

    New Clients

    2016 was certainly a busy one. We worked with 34 new clients (as well as loads of our existing customers) last year across USA, UAE, UK, and throughout Europe. Though sadly as studio nerds we don’t get to visit all this great places, we can only imagine!

    Motion Design

    We’re constantly upskilling here, and although Victoria is trained in fine arts and graphic design – classes specifically for design for motion didn’t really exist until very recently. So we jumped at the chance, and we completed the highly regarded School of Motion Design Bootcamp Course. 

    Character Animation

    Not one to be left out of the fun, our animation expert, Harry, has been delving further into the work of 2d character animation and rigging.

    It’s pretty tricky work rigging a character correctly, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to movement – and getting it realistic (not just kerky and sporadic). He completed training at the end of last year to further improve – and  we’ve had some great results!

    New Sectors

    For us, 2016 saw a low of new video and design work across the medical, education and technology sectors in particular. We love learning about new businesses and organisations  – and their markets. There’s nothing like a video production to help you learn in depth about a new field relatively quickly. It’s so interesting!

    Working Internationally

    We now have a second base at LX Factory in Lisbon. From Summer 2016 and continuing into this year we’ve been working between both locations. It’s great, Lisbon has really grown as a creative and technological hub in Europe.  

    This year ahead

    OFFF Festival

    So we’re heading to  #OFFF17 . It’s a multi disciplinary design and art festival in Barcelona. In their own words “It is more than just a Festival hosting innovative and international speakers, it is more than a meeting point for all talents around the world to collaborate, it is more than feeding the future.”

    We’re looking forward to hearing from some amazing speakers and meeting some like minded people!

    3D

    We’re also making some great advances with 3D design and animation. This is still under wraps at the moment, but we’ll be unveiling some great new 3D projects soon and are looking forward to fully expanding our offering.

    Gif Page

    We’re working on a web page just for our gif animations. It’s going to a be fun and very silly, there may or may not be a dancing taco…

    Lastly – if you want to see some of of our latest projects, whether design or animation head to our lovely Portfolio Page. We update it all the time 🙂

  • January 23, 2017

    Captions in Web Video – A Quick Guide to maximise your message

    Browsing online we’re seeing more and more videos showing with captions – what’s this all about?

     

    This is due to the rise of mobile video which is growing massively, recent research shows mobile video views grew 6x faster than desktop views in 2015. (Invodo, 2016)

     

    One of the main problems for marketers is that mobile users may not always have the sound turned on – or want to turn it on. So although the visual message may come across – crucially half of the video could be missing.

     

    So how do you get your message across if your video is voiceover or interview-based? This is the same issue, whether filmed or animated video production.

     

    Captions are a great way of letting people preview the video content, and letting them decide to watch with the volume turned on. Or letting them take on board the full message when the volume isn’t an option.

    Making the assumption people will always listen from the start is a mistake.

     

    However, sometimes you may not want or need captions, and it’s not always straightforward.

     

    3 Main Types of Captions

     

    Animated Captions – inbuilt into the video that just show highlights and keywords

    Open Captions – like subtitles but can’t be turned on and off – they’re embedded within the video

    Closed Captions – abilities to turn the subtitles on and off, set by the video player.

     

    Social Video

     

    If your marketing is very social media-based, for example, Facebook adverts, (and who would blame you!) 100 million hours of video per day are watched on Facebook. (Tech Crunch, 2016) There can be a lot of silent video playback, so you’ll want to incorporate full sub captions, or make your visuals very self-explanatory. The latter is only really possible with animation or motion graphics based videos. 

     

    And so now more often on Facebook and youtube, we do see full sub captions are being used. Which means people can still get the content, but without having to turn the sound up –  it’s a great user-focused approach.

     

    For those heavily invested in social video, Open captions are a great option, as it gives you more flexibility with the design than video player generated closed captions.

     

    This means your video will never show without captions by mistake, the full message will always get across.  

    Example of Open Captions from AJ+

    Obviously they still need to be clear, so you can’t be crazy with font choice or colour, but you can be sure they don’t overlap with any visuals, the font is suitable, and you have full control of the process.

     

    If you’re still dabbling with social video production – then Closed Caption system is a great way to start and increase engagement.

     

    Website video

    For your website, you may not need full subcaptions. If your service or product is heavily B2B – you may still have a good majority of desktop users, who have access to speakers or headphones more easily.

     

    So for a website video or a video just for presentations, you may find that a few key highlight messages, animated nicely do the trick along with the voiceover.

    The best to way to find out if your visitors are coming by mobile, tablet or desktop, is to check your wenbsite analytics for the screen size and device used most frequently. You can also check the time on page – to see if you’re putting off mobile users with your site.

    There are a few downfalls

     

    It can take a bit of effort and knowledge required to produce the right files for Closed Captions – it requires generating an SRT (or similar)  file, which is basically a text file of the script that is formatted so that each line is associated with a time code – so if you’re not familiar it can be a little daunting and time consuming.

     

    Facebook and Youtube now offer automatically generated captions – woohoo! But sometimes what it hears is incorrect, so this is not a foolproof method. Especially when you’ve spent time and money producing a video to generate sales (imagine loads of a typos in a proposal!).  

    Here’s a quick example where I have put Youtube Closed Captions on a preexisting video. You can see the client didn’t plan to have this, as the captions over overlap the animated text somewhat. And Youtube initially did quite a bad job of guessing the captions! So, it’s not always straightforward.

    If you’re not up for a DIY approach, You can hire companies to easily make a perfect transcript if you’re getting errors, then upload that SRT file to youtube or facebook.

     

    If you choose to have animated captions that are ever present and part of the video design – then it’s crucial they are timed well for those who are listening and match the voiceover – as hearing and seeing them as different messages will create a little confusion.

     

    This seems obvious, but marketers are still doing this! It’s so difficult to take one message fully on board if you’re hearing another.

    Getting started

     

    So to get started, first look at your analytics and your marketing efforts.  Is your audience website and desktop based or do you drive large amounts of traffic through social media and mobile?

     

    After you have a clear idea of your own users you can decide what level of captions to use.

     

    It’s good to know this info at the beginning of a video project, so that nothing is overlapping that area of the screen, or that the video producer can add animated highlight captions which capture the message in an elegant way.

     

    If you already have videos online on youtube or facebook – see if the automatically generated captions work for you – and there you go, you’ve already increased watching potential!

     

    In the meantime – check out our newly updated portofolio, and see a wide range of web videos with animated captions!

  • July 28, 2016

    New Showreel Release

    We’ve been so extremely busy this year so far, that it really called for a new Showreel to reflect our latest work. It’s amazing how quickly our most recent portfolio has built up in just a few months.

    We’ve been lucky to work with a range of fantastic creative agencies around the world, to produce soo many different kinds of video. Thank you everyone!

    Without further ado – here it is!

     

  • November 26, 2015

    What Makes a Good Poster Design?

    A great poster can make a real difference to your company or event’s credibility. Bad or just low-quality design, while often cheaper – reflects poorly on your business – which reflects in your ROI.


    The primary purpose of a poster is communication.


    So above all, make sure it sends out the right message, and in the right tone.
    Here’s a quick breakdown of the main components for a well-designed poster that visually communicates and is impactful.

    Composition

    It’s important to have a good visual balance – so that the image is not overcrowded (resulting in none of the information being taken in)

    As with traditional art, you need a strong sense of composition – and visual hierarchy – you want the viewer to look at the heading, look at any images, and read the smaller text.

    So you need to guide them through this process – and make sure the text and images lead towards each other and aren’t fighting.

    But importantly – you want just 1 focal point. Pick 1 central point – image or text that you want to be the focal point – you can’t have all corners of the poster fighting for attention!

    Otherwise, it’ll be a mess and no one will look in the right order, or remember the info.

    If you need to – then use a grid in the design process – this will help you to keep everything aligned.

    This example has great composition – everything is focused towards the mic and below – so it’s easy to follow and read all the info.

    What Makes Good Poster Design - Telegramme

    Image from Telegramme

    Typography and Text

    Limit text – think about how much someone can remember – so limit the details
    provide a link for people who want to find out more.

    If you’re not great with words – get someone who is to help make it more concise – there’s nothing worse than rambly text on a poster, with numerous messages.

    You can mix type fonts – which if done well can make it very interesting to look at (don’t go overboard!). But they need to have the same tone and go well together.

    Keep fonts legible and fairly bold – ( this’ll help the poster to be read from a distance – 5 feet +)

    and Please don’t use Curlz MT for the main body text.

    Here’s a nice example – where they’ve created the whole design from the typography. Because it’s a lot of text, it’s very simple in its approach, which has worked really well.

    What Makes a Good Poster Design - Tank Jazz Poster

    Image from Tank Design

    White space

    White space is just negative space – ie not filled up with text or imagery.

    White space is a key component of great design. Just because you have a whole piece of paper it doesn’t mean it needs to be all filled up.

    Not only does it make it more aesthetically pleasing, but it can aid readability and comprehension.

    It’s not just adding space around the text or imagery, but even small areas of white space, ie between sentences can make a big difference to legibility.

    Non-designers have the urge sometimes to make use of all ALL the space on a poster, but it will only detract from the message!

    This example is very simple – but space and emptiness really bring attention to the main focus of the posters.

    What makes a good poster design? Studio Hands Flow

    Image from Studio Hands

    Images

    Photos do work well on posters – and can have a great impact.

    But they need to go perfectly in sync with the message at hand. Generic stock style photos generally will not do for something this large scale.

    So it’s best to have a photoshoot / get photos for this specific purpose (and mobile phone pics will not do sorry!).

    Designing a poster is a great excuse to be really creative with imagery – as you can be more unconventional than with a brochure, for example.

    This example uses just one image – but it fits perfectly and brings a real dynamism to the design.

    What Makes a Good Poster Design? Diana Dubina

    Image from Diana Dubin

    Colour

    Use strong colours if it’s going to be printed – especially by a poor printer – everything washes away.

    Although I would recommend getting anything printed properly of course and on good quality paper.

    Imagine that your poster is on a wall surrounded by others of posters – you want it to stand out, and the colour is a great way to do this,

    This doesn’t mean you should use every colour – usually, you would stick to a theme of 4 colours at the most to start with.

    They can be complementary – ie all shades of blue, or contrasting – so an orange and blue together. It’s best to come up with a palette for limited colours before you start so everything co-ordinates.

    Here are 2 websites withs lots of set palettes to give you ideas on colour schemes that go well together – http://www.colourlovers.com and https://color.adobe.com

    Even though this example seems to be random and multicoloured, they’ve still limited the palette. So it’s colourful, and a mixed, but they’ve kept to just 3 colours – which works fantastically.

    What Makes a Good Poster Design - Sprectrum

    Image from Spectrum

    Audience

     

    Remember that while your design may look good, it might not be the best possible communication for your audience – it needs to relate.

    The design and tone of the poster will look very different if you’re communicating to business people or communicating with teen gig-goers, or to children.

    Keep the tone of the poster (which includes text language, font, colour and image style ) relevant for the audience. If you keep the audience in mind from the beginning, and think, ‘does this appeal to them?’ that’s a great start.

    This is a poster aimed children, and the tone is perfect, it’s playful, clear and the info text is short enough and simple enough for a child to comprehend quickly.

    Image from Ninette Saraswati

    Summary

    Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of the basic principles for good poster design, and the basics of visual communication.

    So, next time you’re designing a poster, keep these factors in mind.

    Composition and visual hierarchy 
    Typography & Text
    Whitespace
    Images
    Colour
    Audience

    If you want any help with design, just send us a message.  

    Related Posts

     

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