Animation Is Only 25% of a Successful Video

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One thing that we usually notice is that many clients – and people in general – don’t understand the complexity of the work behind an animated movie.

An amazing animator can’t make an equally amazing animation with just a sequence of drawings that move. He needs a story and ambiance.

Since we were talking about keyframes on our last article, we decided to continue explaining some concepts from the animation field.

An animated movie can be divided into four main pillars:

  • Script
  • Design
  • Animation
  • Sound.

Respectively, they represent the text, image, movement, and audio of the final video. Focusing on only one aspect and forgetting the others is a recipe for failure.

What are those and why do they matter?

The first step for a successful commercial or non-commercial animation is to grant equal importance for those four pillars, making sure great professionals are leading them.
Let’s talk a little more about them and tell you how important they are:


A commonplace for every story, the script is where the writer defines the actions, the characters, the environment, and the dialogues – dialogues are optional so even without spoken words we can write a well-defined script.

Screenwriters are the professionals who have studied narrative and other storytelling techniques in order to create interesting stories that captivate people.

If you are creating an animation to help announce or sell a product or service, this will be your most important step. Communicating with the right language in clear and entertaining way is essential to have a successful campaign.


This pillar can be a little confusing. As always, “Design” classification can seem kind of vague but I’ll try to sum it up.

The Design pillar is closer to the work of a Graphic Designer than to animator itself. They are responsible for choosing and defining the details of visual elements like Typefaces, Colors, and Illustration.

Even though it’s common, a Designer doesn’t need to be Illustrator of a project. We have worked on past projects that had a Designer responsible for directing the illustrator. From our experience, we believe that a professional that leads both Design and Illustration can usually make things easier, faster and better :)

A good design is vital to attract the viewer. It’s also their first contact with the video, even before hitting that play button, since the thumbnail of the video acts like a still illustration.


It’s where the story comes to life. Animation is something magical, we are able to give movements and emotions to anything, improving the possibilities of storytelling to its maximum.

A great animation – together with the design – is essential to present the quality standards of a brand or studio. The quality of the animation can determine if someone will continue watching the video after a few seconds, or not

An animation is a tailor-made kind of job. Everything is done meticulously, every second is thought so it can improve the message and the experience of the viewer.


There are two main aspects that help us to identify if something has life or not. One of them is movement – that we talked above – and the other one is sound. We associate movements and sound with living things, it’s our natural instinct.

Sound is the cherry on the top of an Animation. You can try to watch an animation without any sound and then rewatch it with a good sound design – I guarantee you’ll have a completely different experience.

In life, every action we make has a sound associated with it. It can be a breathing pattern, footsteps, an environmental noise and much more. The sky is the limit here.
The audio of an animation isn’t only sounds and effects, it’s also composed of a soundtrack. Soundtracks use music to create atmosphere, highlighting emotions on the movie and on us.

The complex triad

I believe that the triad Designer-Illustrator-Animator is almost like the tech triad of UI-UX-Developer. It’s important that you know what are your skills and how to use them. Focus makes you better, but knowing a bit of everything can help a lot.

An Illustrator isn’t a Designer because he knows how to use color. Design requires a knowledge of Project Theory that comes from the Design theory.

Designers who can sketch ideas aren’t illustrators because illustration requires a lot of knowledge in composition, posing, gestalt, color-dynamic, and much more.

Illustrators aren’t animators because animation is whole new world and if you are doing Traditional animation, it’s basically drawing in extremely hard mode.

Being an indie studio or animation maker

Not everyone has the budget to hire or the group of friends that would make your animation possible and perfect. That’s why – even more at the beginning – we end up working on a lot of things from fields where we aren’t experts in.

We have done this a lot – we still do this sometimes – and raise your hand who have never done this.

The important thing we want to highlight today is that professionals in all those areas are really important. If you can’t hire, take your time to go beyond the beginner mode and understand a little bit more how to do stuff. Don’t ever say: Oh! This isn’t so important.

Having the support and trust of working with a professional is a whole new experience. We encourage people to unite and collaborate, showcasing their best with the help of others who also want to show their best.