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So you want to hire an animation studio?

By Jason Bartholomew, Head of new business

May 29, 2020 | 4 min read

While shooting live action is almost impossible, brands are turning to animators to produce original creative. But what do they need to know when considering animation for the first time? And where can advertisers trip up if they are not properly prepared?

The Bear & the Squirrel

Image via Aardman

Among the first things to consider is the script. How adaptable is it for animation? This is where real creativity is needed. For example, if your company sells beauty products, how would those be presented? How would the characters interact with the product? These are the sorts of challenges animators deal with all the time.

In the switch from live-action to animation, the key with any script is to focus on the core idea and its fundamental message. If you can retain your message in translation, then you’re on your way to creating something really impactful.

Moving to animation also means you’re no longer restricted by the practical limitations of live action. With the shackles thrown off, you’ll find a huge range of design options you wouldn’t otherwise have, from CGI to 2D to stop-motion. The studio will work with you during the treatment phase, producing options that best fit the brief to home in on the right look.

There are several considerations at this stage. For example, who is the audience? Leaning heavily on bright, primary colours might work for a younger audience, but risks looking childish among older demographics.

Remember also that animated assets can be easily reused and repurposed across a range of media, from TV, to online, to social, to print and any POS. Each element will be archived for later use, so if you find later that you need to produce reactive content at short notice, it can be turned around quickly. One of the great things about an animated film is the value it can bring both in terms of cost and time further down the line.

Undoubtedly, budgets and schedules will need to be looked at. Take confidence, however, knowing that the right studio will work with you to find the best fit for your needs. It is likely they will have worked with brands and organisations of all sizes, from well-heeled multinationals to much leaner start-ups and other small outfits.

With the range of tools available, animation scales extremely well. This means ultimately that the potential is huge.

Don’t be put off if you have little or no previous experience with animation. Studios will be used to collaborating with clients who might be going down the animated route for the first time and will be able to answer any questions you might have. At the end of the day, there is little to lose from making that phone call. You might be surprised at what’s possible.

Switching from live-action to animation will mean there are new challenges to overcome, but the results can be astonishing. There are few things tougher than adapting to new and difficult circumstances, but it is also true that the best creatives thrive in adverse conditions.

I fully expect that this period of uncertainty, lamentable as it is, will lead to an industry that continues to push the boundaries and takes its work to new creative heights.

Jason Bartholomew is head of new business at Aardman


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