1. Carefully look at what they send, paying special attention to what they call “units”. 1 unit = 1 day of effort… so this project needed to be completed in 10 days or less. Understanding the scope of the project, in the end, determines how much I can (or should) design and animate within that period. This is also the time to ask a bunch of questions… to make sure that everyone is on the same page. At this point, I learn that they would like this project to lean toward a “cute” look…
2. Doodle some ideas, while thinking about potential style and technique… This is also a fun time, because I get to work back and forth with the art director - exchanging ideas to make sure everything stays within scope and fits brand guidelines… In this case, knowing that the balloon needed to turn into a sun, I suggested a “paper-craft” look… so it would be easier for me to transform it (vs. drawn animation).
3. Storyboard/Animatic… in the first pass, we had a bunch of big ideas for the beginning… but quickly realized (in making an animatic) that it would have turned into a much bigger production than what it was supposed to be… The animatic is my favorite part of the process! …because it’s a time to try out different music and play with the timings… setting the overall feel of the piece. Anyway, this is the board we ended up with:
4. Once the boards, animatic, and style frames are approved (at this point, it’s already about 4 or 5 days into things) - it’s time to start prepping artwork and animate! We also send everything we’ve got to the audio dept. so they can work their magic.
5. As the animation wraps up (and final revisions are made after various meetings and notes) - it’s time to render and build the piece for web (on the Am. Greetings site). Here’s an example of the kind of revisions that usually need to be made to finesse a project in the end… They asked for a little more color in the text, and to make sure that the balloon looked more like a “sun” in the end.
6. It’s usually about a day of work to get things ready to go… with generating various thumbnails, running things through Flash, making all the different versions (iPhone, web, reply cards, etc…)…
7. That’s it! Happy Birthday!… now on to the next project…
Here are a couple of links to this one:
Click here to view or send the card on the Am. Greetings site:
Click here for a higher res. version!