How to Choose an Animation Studio: Portfolio Assessment Tool
Reviewing animation portfolios is the best way to choose an animation studio that is the right fit for your project. By looking at the studio's previous work, you can get a sense of their style and quality. But how do you know what to look for?
Understanding Video Tech Specs and What They Mean for Your Animation
Talking to professionals steeped in their craft can be confusing. Our videos are always clear, but when we’re talking shop we can be guilty of technobabble. That’s why we’ve developed this handy guide to illuminate tech specifications.
The Best Animated Superbowl Commercials From Big Brands
Super Bowl commercials are a coveted part of the big game-day experience. It’s one of the few times a year companies shell out the big bucks (this year, a 30-second slot can cost brands up to $5 million) for a chance to have their message broadcast to millions of football fans across the United States.
How to Spot Professional Animation: A Guide to Articulation and Key Frames
While it might look like magic, the best professional animation is really just meticulous attention to detail. When animators care about every single frame and master Disney’s classic 12 Principles of Animation, the results are smooth, realistic animation that people live. The most convincing animated videos use techniques ranging from “squash and stretch” and “arcs” all the way to character appeal. However, this post will take a closer look at one of the most basic yet overlooked aspects of animation — articulation and key frames and how they affect the timing and smoothness of the animation. Don't panic. It's not that technical.
15 Video Transitions for Animated Video (and why they matter)
A truly great animated video is all about persuasion. You want to persuade people to click on your link with an enticing thumbnail. Then you want to convince them to watch the video long enough to click, subscribe, like, share, or whatever CTA you attach to the animated explainer about your company. The success of your video is all about getting viewers to believe what you say about your company in the short time you have their attention, and persuading them to take further action. And while a great script, compelling character design, and a professional look and feel are all essential to a great video, the way your video transitions from shot to shot during your 60-second explainer video might be the most persuasive element in your entire video.
Explain it Like I’m a Kid: Santa Monica Explainer Video
Everyone knows that whiteboard animation and explainer videos are great for explaining complicated topics. It’s in the name. Animated TED Talks, RSA-style animation, and tech startup videos showing off the newest features of flashy apps are the norm. But a great explainer video doesn’t have to look like it just stepped out of a corporate synergy business meeting. In fact, some of the best explainer videos look like they were made by a kid.
Whiteboard Animation: The 12 Best Whiteboard Videos from 2007-2017
When whiteboard animation burst onto the scene over ten years ago, most people thought it was a fad. Yet even in the digital age of 3D animation, CGI, VR, and even augmented reality, the unmistakeable clarity and simplicity of whiteboard videos continues to engage millions of viewers, year after year. We've been making explainer videos for over a decade, and whiteboard videos are still popular for one simple reason—they work. So to help you better understand the power of whiteboard animation, here are our favorite picks for the best whiteboard animation from the past 10 years.
Why Professional Explainer Video Matters
Most of our potential clients are fairly far along in the research process of the buyer’s journey before we ever speak with them. They have a good sense of the animation look and style they want, at least to some degree. It's not hard to Google “whiteboard video” or “CGI explainer videos” and look at some pretty impressive professional explainer video portfolios. Heck, here’s our animation reel to save you some time.
Online Video Trends: A New Kind of Animated Explainer Video
Mashable’s new social media optimized “Reels" videos are changing the game, Disney is launching their own streaming online video platform soon, and Hyundai may have made the best brand building video in a hundred years (you’ll get that joke later). This week’s online video marketing roundup is a big one with tips and takeaways on the current state and the future of online video for animation and beyond.
New Jobs, Animated Video Tools & Tutorials: The Friday Roundup
Wacom is releasing a bigger, better Cintiq tablet, Guillermo Del Toro has made a movie about a CGI mermaid in a secret facility, and you can learn how to make realistic whiteboard animation effects in After Effects with our simple video tutorial. Animated video is getting better all the time.
The 12 Principles of Animation… With Animated Examples!
In their 1981 book, The Illusion of Life, Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas introduced the twelve principles of animation. The pair were part of Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” the core group of animators who were instrumental in creating Disney’s animation style. The twelve principles have now become widely recognized as a theoretical bedrock for all artists working on animated video production.
How to Create Whiteboard Animation in After Effects [Video Tutorial]
Whiteboard animation comes in all shapes and sizes, but there really is a difference between budget whiteboard animation effects and quality animation. The devil is in the details, and to demonstrate just a hint of the meticulous care that goes into smooth seamless whiteboard animation, we asked one of our top animators, Scott Strong to break down two fundamental whiteboard animation effects in Adobe After Effects.
Animated Video that Inspires: The Friday Animation Roundup
Animated video is powerful. From a 2-minute short story that makes you want to run outside and live your best life, to the “ah-ha” moments of professional animators still learning something new everyday. Animation is a never-ending wheel of innovation, history, and reinvention that keeps churning out online video that people just want to watch.
Animation and Comics: Interview w/ Mike Cavallaro
Animation and comics have a lot of crossover. Animated video and graphic novels are both driven by compelling characters, meticulous narrative pacing, and grueling serialized production schedules while still maintaining room for artists, designers, create incredible, creative work. The rise of digital production, new media, and changing roles for artists and animators is still transforming the way that we create and consume animation and comic illustration. To get a handle on the current state of both fields—and the crossover between the two—we talked with comic book artist, illustrator, writer, and animator, Mike Cavallaro.
4 Great Animated Explainer Videos About America
In honor of Independence Day, we’re featuring some of the best animated explainer videos about government, politics, and ‘Murica. There’s a lot going on in the US right now, so hopefully you can learn a thing or two about how it all works and why it matters from these four great animated explainer videos about America. Enjoy and Happy Independence Day, America!
Animation is in the Details: The Friday Animation Roundup
Success is all about the details. This week’s animated video roundup focuses on the nitty gritty—the nuts and bolts— in animation. Learn how to develop a compelling story for your video. Master the ins and outs of trademark law. Understand why you need to upload your video in 16:9 aspect ratio so people don’t see those dang black bars on the side of your YouTube video.
Mixed Reality & Digital Billboards: The Friday Animation Roundup
The Annecy animation festival wraps this week, heralding the beginning of summer. Dive into the hotbed of new animation trends in mixed reality environments, futuristic digital billboards, and YouTube pre-roll ads (it’s more exciting than it sounds). Animated video is coming to the real world faster than you think.
VR, Censorship, and the Future of Animation: The Friday Animation Roundup
The animation industry is constantly changing. New innovations to VR and Augmented reality are bringing new applications for animation into the real world at a pretty surprising pace. Heck, even Apple announced their intentions to integrate AR into their latest OS. To keep track of all the latest changes to animation, we’re looking at animation— & innovation—at premiere festivals like Annecy and groundbreaking conferences like SIGGRAPH.
Summer Animation Festivals: The Friday Animation Roundup
Summer fun and animation just seem to go hand in hand. New animated movies storm the box office, summer animation festivals take over lawns across the world, and lazy days are perfect for celebrating the best new animators in the world of online video.
Animated Storytelling is Amazing: The Friday Animation Roundup
Animated storytelling is typically reserved for children’s tales, fantasy, and lighthearted narratives, but that’s not how it has to be. Animation appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds because animation is a compelling way to tell a story. And the more advanced animation tools become, the more likely that animation will become just another part of the way we tell stories—and not just on the big screen.
Gorillaz: The Future of Animated Video
Animated video is just flat out engaging in ways that live action simply can’t match. And animation is coming to media in ways that you can’t imagine. Case in point, the new album, Humanz, from animated super band Gorillaz.
Animated Video Around the World: The Friday Roundup
Here at IdeaRocket, we talk about the next big thing in animated video a lot. AI, CGI, new rendering tools—animation is changing all the time and we’re excited for what’s next. It’s easy to assume that the next big thing in animation will come from big name studios like Disney, Pixar, or Studio Ghibli—or even top animation schools like CalArts and Gobelins, but animated video is a lot more than the next blockbuster Disney film.
The Best Animation Schools: Student Showcases from CalArts, SCAD, and Gobelins
As advanced computer animation software, powerful new processors, and even advanced AI enter the animation industry, the way that tomorrow's animators create explainer videos and feature films will continue to adapt. To see the future of animation, you only have to look at the student showcases from some of the world’s best animation schools.
7 Great Explainer Videos that Don’t Say a Word
We love explainer video voiceover. The right accent, inflection, and tone add trust, brand awareness, and persuasive power to any animated explainer video. However, sometimes the best explanations don't require a single word. Shifting viewership habits and the rise of mobile video has created a new breed of explainer videos without words. Here's how to make a great silent explainer video and 7 examples of great explainer videos that don't say a word.
The Ultimate GIF Guide: How to Make Animated GIFs and Why You Need Them
Animated GIFs are absolutely everywhere these days. Why? Because GIFs are freaking awesome and everyone loves them. Here's your guide to making GIFs and why they should be part of your video marketing strategy.
Indie Animation is Everywhere. And That’s Awesome
Here at IdeaRocket were kind of obsessed with the current state of animation. Heck, we talk about animation tools, great indie animators, and the best explainer videos, and business animation practically every week. We’re so interested in the tools animators like ourselves use to create fresh animations that we even like to speculate about the future of animation.
Animation is Everywhere: TED Talks, Music Videos, and Einstein
Animation is showing up in some surprising places, and getting even more surprising responses! From animated TED talks, to branded tv commercials, major motion pictures, and even surprisingly vulnerable and honest stop motion videos, animated video is blazing new trails, reaching new audiences, and engaging millions of viewers.
A Quick Guide to Animated Character Design
You've finally decided to make an animated explainer video. Congrats! Now that you're thinking about production, one of the first steps is creating an interesting, targeted, engaging lead character for your video. Sound overwhelming, and maybe even a little scary? Don't panic. Animated character design is tough, but there are a few great options to choose from to narrow your search for the perfect video star.
Animation Festival Guide: Spring 2017
To help you prepare for the animation festival season, here's your guide to some of the biggest and best international animation festivals of Spring 2017! Find your favorite animated short, feature film, commercial animation, and even a great student film. Whatever your fancy, you'll find it in this 2017 Spring Animation Festival Guide.
Embracing Minimalism & Limitations in Animation
Animation often tries to accurately depict the “real world," and it's getting better all the time. VR animation is on the rise, CGI animation is getting downright scary, and even traditional 2D cell animation looks more “realistic” every year. However, there’s a subtle power in simplicity. When animators embrace the limitations of animation—particularly with simple animatics or stop-motion—they're often able to convey emotions and rich stories with dream-like characters and unrealistic heroes.
The Friday Animation Roundup: Why Do Cartoons Wear Gloves?
The gloves are coming off (literally) in this week's Friday Animation Roundup as we look at new trends in VR animation, examine the impact of animated shorts at the Oscars, and finally explore why so many of your favorite cartoons wear the same pair of white gloves. Animation is full of subtle influences, tropes, and trade secrets that are all part of why we love animation so much.
4 Explainer Videos Hidden in Major Hollywood Movies
Explainer videos—particularly animated explainers—are such an effective way to communicate a lot of information in a short time that they're practically a staple of big budget Hollywood's films. Don’t believe me? Here are just four examples of animated explainer videos that are essential to the success of some of the biggest movies of the past three decades.
Animated Explainer Video: Not Just Cartoons
A lot of companies are afraid an animated explainer video won't strike the right tone for their product, service, or business. It’s a common concern, especially with new video marketing clients and startups, and it’s an understandable fear. Cartoons can seem like they're not “serious” enough for your company.
8 Surprising Ways to Use Whiteboard Animation
When you think of whiteboard animation, you probably think of a hand illustrating a complicated series of ideas as a soothing voiceover explains particle physics or the psychology of social media. Odds are, you’ve seen a whiteboard video in the past few years because online education content has exploded in the past decade, and whiteboard animation is kind of perfect for explaining things.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Invisible (CGI 3D Animated Short)
Finding love is hard enough. But when you're a shy chameleon—who vanishes from visibility whenever you get nervous—it can be downright brutal. Is there any hope? Animators Michael Trikosko and Andrew Wilson aim to answer this question in their charming animated short Invisible, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
The Framework of Multicultural Animation
As digital distribution changes the way that we can reach (and target) consumers, thinking about a multicultural audience has never been more important. This is one reason why animation—with its potential for global accessibility—has become an increasingly effective means of corporate communication.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Spellbound (3D Animated Short)
"Be careful what you wish for."
We've all heard that expression and undoubtedly experienced variations of this adage-in-action at various points throughout our lives. But, as adults, most of us have probably forgotten how silly those words sounded to us when we were kids. Careful? About what we wish for? What could possibly go wrong?! Well, our PICK OF THE WEEK—a 3D animated short called Spellbound—attempts to answer those questions and brings this old adage to life in a thoughtful and endearing manner.
The Animation-Lover’s Guide to San Diego Comic-Con (2016)
Next week, the country’s longest running comics convention kicks off in San Diego. As in years past, the 47th annual Comic-Con is about more than comics; it's a celebration of pop-culture in dozens of different arenas. Including, of course, panels devoted to highlights, previews and reflections in the world of animation. So, with the show's full program now released, let's take a look at some of the most interesting and exciting animation-related events.
PICK OF THE WEEK: The Berlin Candy Bomber (Explanation Video)
War, as any soldier will tell you, is hell. That's why it's rare to come across a war story that is upbeat and uplifting for all parties involved. But such tales do exist, and it's a joy to seem them brought to light. Which is exactly what our PICK OF THE WEEK has done with The Berlin Candy Bomber, a two-minute explanation video that blends animation with interview footage to tell the tale of, Gail Halvorsen, a retired officer in the United States Air Force who, during World War II, was best known to children all over Germany as "The Chocolate Flier."
PICK OF THE WEEK: Accidents, Blunders and Calamities (CGI Animation)
If possums read bedtime stories to their children, what kind of stories would they read? Filmmaker James Cunningham and his students at New Zealand's Media Design School posited that perhaps they read cautionary tales about the most deadly predator out there: humans! To bring this notion to life, they produced a beautiful and hilarious animated short entitled Accidents, Blunders and Calamities, which we've selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.
What Makes Something “Kafkaesque”? (Explainer Video)
Who among us hasn't heard the descriptor "Kafkaesque" before? And who among us, at one time or another, hasn't wondered exactly what that word means? Well, we needn't wonder any more as the term is analyzed and beautifully explained in our PICK OF THE WEEK: a clever new explainer video entitled "What Makes Something "Kafkaesque"?
News and Highlights from Annecy 2016 (Animation Film Festival)
Last week, the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival was held in Annecy, France. As one of the most prestigious festivals in the world—considered by many to be "The Cannes of Animation"—this annual event provides an insight into the latest and greatest in the world of animation. So let's review some of the most interesting news and highlights—the who, what and wow—that dazzled at Annecy this year.
The Design Behind 5 Great Animated Title Sequences
Last week, in 5 More Tips for Incorporating Color Into Your Whiteboard Video we talked a little bit about the work we did to create the title sequence for the eight season of Weeds. Reviewing that opener was a good reminder about how much title sequences and explainer videos share in common. Although their final objectives may different greatly (one ends with a call to action, the other with the beginning of a long-form narrative) they both must find a way to draw viewers in, set a tone and deliver information.
Who is Stan Freberg?
Yesterday, our art director (and talented author!) Robert Kopecky asked if I'd ever heard of a "Stan Freberg." When I shook my head, a curious smile curled across his face as he waved me over for an introduction to his work. So who, exactly, is Stan Freberg? A man of many talents...
The Pros of Con: Animation Providers and Beyond!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been re-watching some cheesy-but-fun older TV shows like Entourage, The O.C. and Veronica Mars. In addition to reinforcing that teenage angst is grossly overrated, these shows also reminded me that it wasn’t all that long ago that Comic-Con was perceived very differently than it is today. Even though all three of those shows were on the air less than ten years ago, they all portrayed Comic-Con as some kind of hardcore nerd-only man-child extravaganza. And, amazingly, I believe that was pretty accurate for the time. But over the past decade that perception has changed, as the event has evolved into something of a taste-making, geek chic event.