As Creative Services lead working with Denver, Colorado based marketing firm, Above the Fold Branding, I have the opportunity to be involved on a variety of projects to meet client needs. One of our recent projects was an info-graphic animation to assist equity crowdfunding start-up, PetroFunders, with pitching their new energy investing platform. While I have animated small videos in the past, including a basic flash game; this project certainly challenged my creative limits!
The client was looking to create a one minute commercial to introduce their new energy investment platform and to help drive sales. My responsibility was to take the lead as producer and oversee all aspects of the production. I started this process by outlining timelines and goals we needed to meet before moving on to further stages in the project. These included script writing, story-boarding, character development, scene illustration, and finally the animation. Over the course of four weeks, we met frequently to review and adjust each step of the production process. By gaining unanimous approval of each step prior to moving forward, this helped to mitigate any unnecessary revisions that could have otherwise caused setbacks across multiple stages in the production process.
The script was written by the CEO of the company, and consisted of six main paragraphs that were mostly stand alone concepts. So finding a broader narrative on which to anchor the visual storytelling was initially challenging. One of the first steps I took to begin understanding the narrative, was organizing the script into groupings of; actions, related ideas, opposing ideas, and problem solutions. Abstracting in this way, allowed me to begin conceptualizing how movement should occur over time and how graphical elements should interact with each other.
Moving on to story-boarding included rough scene development, actions between objects, rough illustration, and transition timing. Much of this stage was spent laying in bed with my fan on (to create white noise) and daydreaming about each sequence. Visually imagining the animated process gave insight to how the world should look and behave. Seeing illustration style in motion!
The illustration portion took a majority of my time. I found myself struggling to visually explain a few of the scenes in a way that made sense for an audience that has a deep understanding of such concepts. To meet their abstract expectations of what energy means visually, how it behaves, and how analytics in markets behave. A few times, I moved past points of struggle and began the animating process hoping to gain insight through practice that would help me illustrate other scenes. With help from our project team, and further research on the subject, eventually I made breakthroughs. Illustrating also meant paying close attention to how I constructed the files digitally. I need to organize the layers and graphical elements based on how they would move through key-frames. This would help save time reconstructing the scenes at the animation stage in Adobe After Effects.
You can currently view the video below!