Making 3D animations: how does that work?

An important aspect of marketing is telling a story so that your customer feels emotionally involved with the project or product. There is no better way to create this bond with them through a realistic 3D animation film. As the title already indicates, we will take a closer look at the realization process of 3D animations, and which steps are taken to achieve a beautiful result.

In contrast to static images, animation videos allow you to pull the viewer into a story. This way you can show certain shots in succession, and you determine what the viewer looks at and how they orient themselves through the video.

The effectiveness of videos for marketing purposes has been proven several times. According to research conducted by Hubspot, 54% of consumers prefer seeing video content over static footage.

3D visualization by P1 studio

By means of 3D animation we can realistically visualize your product or project and thus provide the viewer a unique and surprising experience. Everyone knows 3D animation videos from the big studios such as Pixar and Disney, but nowadays it is also accessible for companies to use for their marketing purposes! Below we try to create clarity about how you can use animation video in a targeted manner with your company: 

When you choose to make a 3D animation video as a marketing campaign, there are a few things you need to know in advance. 

To achieve such a beautiful result, many steps are of course preceded.Let’s take a look at how all of this is accomplished and what benefits it can bring to your business. 

1. It all starts with a scenario 

The first step is to come up with a good idea, and a good scenario as a result. As a company you have to decide which message you want to convey and how you want to approach the customer emotionally. A clear story is therefore a must for the further process and your result will be conveyed stronger and clearer as a result.

2. All’pictures’ are brought together into a storyboard

A storyboard is a collection of all drawn scenes that appear in a 3D animation video. These are intended to give a clearer idea of what a scene should look like.

These storyboards are sketched drawings, in which not all details are visible yet, but which give you a clearer view of the storyline. Because animation is a labor-intensive production process, it is important to know in advance what exactly will be shown, so that no unnecessary work is done. Because everything is thought out in advance, adjustments are still very easy at this stage and we only move on to the next step until the storyboard is ready.

In this phase it is also agreed how the camera will move per shot. The way scenes are portrayed determines what the viewer sees and what atmosphere that scene gets. It is important to consider how the camera will move, at what height and from which angle your scene will be shown.

3. Modeling, a process where your idea comes to life

Now that the scenario and storyboard are ready, the real work, the modeling, can start. 3D modeling means that you represent an object in width, height and depth. This creates a clear and realistic image and everything can be personalized down to the last detail.

This is a very labor-intensive process as each part has to be modeled separately. The big advantage is that it provides a very clear and detailed picture of reality. In this process, however, no textures, movements or camera angles are applied yet, this only happens a few steps later once the 3D model has been approved.

With 3D modeling, the complete basis is built and you convert the storyboard into 3D visualizations. For example, if a building is shown in your animation, the necessary modeling will be done for this. Just think of floors, walls, ceilings, doors, windows, installations, etc. until you arrive at a ‘skeleton’ that is completely in line with the desired end result.

If your scenario and storyboard also include characters, they will also be created in this phase. Textures, details and emotions are not added here yet, this will be done at a later stage.

4. Make characters move through a skeleton

If your scenario also features characters that move, or other objects that need to move, this step takes a closer look at their movement capacity.

In the previous step, these characters or items have been modeled and the base model already exists, but cannot make moves yet. This is achieved by adding a ‘skeleton’ that gives the character or object certain freedom of movement. Of course you have to think about a natural way of moving and therefore use is made of certain movement points. Think, for example, of folding your arm or your hand. Different movement points will be placed around your elbow, wrist, fingers and knuckles to create a natural movement.

5. The layout, from storyboard to a rough draft

As soon as everything has been modeled and any movements have been added, it is time for the layout. All agreed scenes are created here and we already get a ‘rough’ idea of the end result. I mention ‘rough’ because the 3D visualizations do not yet have the correct textures, not everything has been mounted yet and no effects or music have yet been added.

In this way you already have a very good idea of the end result and you can add the final details to any movements and camera angles.

6. Texturing the setting

Once the layout is final we can move on to texturing. With the latter we give all 3D models the appropriate texture, and we look for a representation that is as realistic as possible.

For example, if a terrace with a sun lounger is shown in your video, we will look for the right materials and textures for this. For example, the terrace can be made of concrete or wood, the sun lounger has a wooden or black lacquered metal frame and the cushion is made of linen in the color chocolate brown. These are of course just examples and anything is possible. It is important to keep in mind that the realistic aspect comes first in order to offer the clearest possible representation.

7. Create the desired feeling with the right light setting.

As soon as everything has got the right texture, we can move on to choosing the desired light setting. This can have a huge impact on the atmosphere you want to create and what feeling you convey to the viewer.

Animated still by sister company Rendoo for real estate projects

For example, think of the setting of a large forest in which you are standing. When you choose a very dark and gray evening setting, this will evoke completely different feelings to the viewer than when you place the same forest in a summer daylight setting.

8. Everything becomes one with the assembly

As soon as all the previous steps have been completed and all separate scenes have been approved, everything can be assembled into one whole. The end result is then very near and we are only a few steps away from considering it as ‘final’.

9. Rendering, a slow but interesting process

Rendering is a term mainly found in the graphics industry and refers to the processing of images, video or animations. When such a 3D video animation is made, this is actually a lot of still images placed in very short succession: these images are also called frames (from which the term comes: Frames per second to express the sharpness of resolution). All these frames consist of a lot of pixels that each contain only 1 color and thus together form the image.

Because you process different images and elements on the computer into a film, this must be built up frame by frame. The process of ‘making’ frames from the 3D model with all the correct structures of the materials, taking into account the light etc from a certain point of view is what we call rendering. Then we put those high-quality images one after the other in animating and after the only editing work, we obtain a finished animation.

The computer will make a calculation for each frame, giving you a certain ‘render time’. In the case of 3D images, rendering one frame can take up to 30 seconds. So you can already imagine how much time and computers are needed to make a longer animation film, for example.

To save time, it can also happen that the 3D animation video is edited in outline, but that certain scenes can be rendered separately. This makes it possible to render multiple montages on different computers in the same period.

10. Final touch

As soon as everything has been rendered and edited, we end with the final touch of the 3D animation video. Appropriate music can be edited, certain sounds can be added or voices can be recorded, which are then processed one more time during the post-production editing.

3D animation by sister company Rendoo for real estate projects

Do you want to discover what 3d animation videos can do for your company? Then contact us! At P1 Studio we are specialized in 3D visualization and 3D animation videos and are happy to bring your ideas to life.

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