Animation and Motion Graphics

From a technical point of view, animation and motion graphics production is our heartland, at least where we cut our teeth in the fledgling industry.
We find we increasingly use a mix of 2d, 3d and live action in our work, though we always begin with an old fashioned pencil and paper.

Once upon a time you could make one single film and that could do for your product launch, TVC, corporate video – and then bung it on Facebook too and forget about it. But the rapidly fragmenting world of social and broadcast video has made things a lot more complicated.

What is Animation?

Animation is a pretty loose term. At its most basic it describes a technique of creating the illusion of movement through a series of drawings or models, at its most complex a CGI piece featuring 3D animation and compositing.

We tend to make a distinction between 2d animation – traditionally vector art much beloved of the explainer video – and 3d animation. Although, just to confuse you, increasingly the 2d animation will now feature some simple 3d too to keep it feeling fresh. Here’s an example of an animated film we created:

This TV commercial for Westin was done in a very traditional way in many respects, with much of the ‘3d’ frames actually being drawn by hand. This is very time consuming but can give great results, particularly in the smooth movement of this film.

Of course character animation is just one category of animation, and at Hocus Pocus we would also animate illustrations, infographics, typography for a variety of different outputs. One of our main areas of focus though is motion graphics video production.

What is Motion Graphics?

Motion graphics are a type of animation, focused on giving movement to graphic design elements, but tend to have less of a concrete storytelling aspect than other types of animation. Motion graphics takes graphic design that would be otherwise static and gives it animation and movement, often without telling a specific story.

As a motion design studio, Hocus Pocus uses motion graphics to illustrate complex ideas visually. Some ideas (especially complex or abstract ideas) are hard to explain with words or still images. Motion graphics production can really bring a tricky concept to life, as with this film we made for Zovirax about cold sores:

Animation or Motion Graphics?

It’s important to make the right choice as to what type of film you want to make. Motion graphics are best for detailing facts and illustrating a point you’re trying to make. Motion graphics are used when there’s no need for narrative or storytelling.

If you want to highlight the emotional aspects of a story, provide a narrative or if you need to connect with your audience on an emotional level, you probably want to think of a different type of animation. Of course there is a lot of overlap between all these different techniques, and sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish.

How Much Does an Animation / Motion Graphics Video Cost?

Every animation is different – or at least should be – so there’s no such thing as a standard price. As with most creative & film production, you’ll find a big range of prices and standards of animation videos.

You can probably find someone working above the dry-cleaners in Romford who’ll make you a video for less than the price of cinema ticket, but then the big post-production houses will charge big bucks to keep up with the soho rent & expensive lattes. At Hocus Pocus Studio, we’re somewhere in the middle.

We think our work is priced competitively, but we do have high standards and employ some really great talent. We look after everyone well, and that helps us make a great animation for you.

There are a few things that do influence the price of animations that you might want to think about:

  1. Content. Do you have a story crafted in your head, or do you need us to start from scratch?
  2. Talent. If you want someone famous to do your voiceover you’ll need to allow extra budget.
  3. Approach. Is it a character based animation or mostly icons and copy? Will there be elements of 3D? Will there be footage needed?
  4. Rights and usage. If you love your animation so much you want to play it during the Champions League final, you’ll need to agree the usage rights before.
  5. Duration. You might love your product so much you want to make a 15min film, but we’re going to persuade you to keep it short.
  6. Music. If you want Stormzy to do tunes for you then it’s going to hurt the wallet considerably more than if you go for a library track. Audio is super important, so don’t skimp on the sound design, either.
  7. Schedules. Keeping the production time down can really help to keep costs down. So if you need to get everything signed off by your boss’s sister’s cat every time you amend a graphic, it’s going to really slow things down.

How Long Does an Animation Take to Produce?

Of course it depends on how ambitious we’re being with the production, but for a 90sec animation video we’d expect that to take around 6 weeks, or maybe 4 weeks if we stay up late and cancel fun at the weekends. Here’s the drill:

  1. Fill in the brief. Yeah we all want to get stuck in right away, but this initial part really helps us establish your goals, mandatory CI stuff, and anything else grown up and important we need to focus on. Write the script and visual direction. This is the genesis of the whole film, where we get the story going. Normally we can crack it in a week, sometimes it’s two.
  2. Style frames & motion test. Here we hand over to the people with interesting hairstyles and alternative life-choices to do the cool stuff. We’ll give you a half-dozen or so frames at ‘final’ quality (sorta depends on the style, but normally always final) and a short motion test. Then you lavish us with praise and we get on with it.
  1. Full storyboard. This is our bible really, where you get to see the graphics & script all laid out together. Now’s the time to pick up any significant amends.
  2. Record the voiceover. If there is one, of course. Sometimes at a studio, sometimes the artists’ record at home, depending on the level of direction required. Either way, we get to tweak until we’re happy.
  3. Animation. This is the part where we go into our secret motion lab that’s in a hollowed out volcano in the Alps. It’s stacked with the most talented animators on the planet – we just don’t let them leave. They do their stuff and knock your socks off.
  4. Music, sound design, mix. Get your beats on and wrap it all up. This part really does bring everything together.
  5. Publish your animation video and wait for the awards to start rolling in. OK about this stage you’re already filling out the purchase order for your next video.

You can find plenty more examples of our animation and motion graphics production on our work portfolio page.
You might also be interested to view our latest showreel if you dare. After all that, if you still think we’re OK then please do get in contact to say hello.