Exploring tools to create animations

We couldn’t create engaging animations without the use of specialist software, so we thought we’d give a brief insight into some of the tools we use.

Designing and creating

Adobe Animate – formerly known as Flash – is Adobe’s longest-running program for composing traditional and digital animation.

We often illustrate scenes and characters in Animate as well as create the animation although we do sometimes use Adobe Illustrator too. Animate allows us to create bespoke, professional animations – back in 2007 we created a 30-episode TV series for CBeebies called Tommy Zoom using Flash/Animate and we continue to use it for our explainer animations.

Design Buckle provides some interesting reviews of Animate and After Effects. We often illustrate and animate characters in Adobe Animate and then export them as PNGs or PNG sequences before compositing the scenes in After Effects.

Read Design Buckle’s review on Adobe Animate and Adobe Animate v’s After Effects

After Effects allows us to add 2D and 3D camera movement to scenes, as well as transitions and spot effects to add flair to the animation.

We have also been able to emulate different animation styles using a combination of textures, effects and compositing techniques in After Effects. Recently we have been experimenting with combining 2D animation and 3D scenes using After Effects integration with Cinema 4D and were happy with the results in this project for PV International and TICAH.

Bringing animations to life

We’ve built up a huge sound effects library over the years and use it along with music purchased from music libraries. We edit the clips and refine voiceovers with Adobe Audition.

One of the great features of Adobe Animate is the Lip-Sync feature which allows us to match mouth poses to sound inflections. We used this feature on an animation project we delivered for Purposeful, a feminist movement-building hub for adolescent girls. As you can see, by syncing lip movements with the voiceover the characters really come to life.

Working with our clients

While we spend time at the beginning of each project to understand the brief and the aims of the animation, we work closely with our clients throughout the development process. Vimeo’s review page is a handy collaborative tool that enables our clients to view the progress of their animation and make comments on specific frames by simply clicking on the animation at the relevant time. This is particularly useful when there are multiple members of a team who each need to share their feedback.

So there you have it, some of the essential tools to create animations that we use.

If this has whet your appetite to explore animation options for your business or organisation, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.