The Ultimate Guide to Nailing Your Animation Pre Production

A successful animated video campaign requires solid pre production planning to ensure a smooth and effective development process. However, pre-production for animation is often misunderstood, as it has unique demands compared to other mediums, such as live-action video content.

To prepare your organisation for any animation project, it's essential to understand the various stages of pre-production. In this article, we'll guide you through each stage, equipping you with the knowledge to lay a strong foundation for your animation project.

What is pre production in animation?

Pre production in animation refers to the critical stages that precede the actual animation phase. You may not realise it, but when making an animated video, the time spent animating is actually smaller than you may think. In a typical 8-week timeline, only 2-4 weeks of that may be animation, the remainder is getting prepared to make sure that time spent animating is well spent.

Before animating, time is dedicated to essential pre production components such as strategy development, scriptwriting, style creation, and storyboarding. These components establish the foundation for the entire project, shaping the overall vision for the animation and guiding decisions on creative direction and technical requirements. In these early stages, the team can identify potential challenges, make adjustments, and prepare for any contingencies that may arise during production.

Animation Pre Production stages

Strategy: Crafting a Path to Success

In pre production, strategy takes centre stage. It's essential to align your campaign's ultimate goal with the creative direction. We work closely with you to define the narrative style, technical requirements, and movement of your animation. By understanding your target audience and objectives, we can choose the most suitable animation style, duration, and format, such as motion graphics, character-based animation, typography, or cel animation. This strategy ensures that your brand's message resonates powerfully with your audience, paving the way for a successful animation campaign.

Script & Story: Crafting Captivating Narratives in Animation

With a strategy in place, it's time to shape your story and script. During pre production, the narrative style and flow of the story are shaped, creating a dynamic and engaging script that conveys the message clearly and respects the animation's duration constraints.

Avoiding unnecessary words and complicated sentences is crucial for script success. Investing time in reducing and shaping the script is essential.

Remember, cramming too many words into a short video is ineffective. Allowing breathing space between sentences and sections facilitates smooth transitions.

Concept Art: Visualising Your Brand's Essence

Defining the animation style is crucial in pre production. It connects the brand with the narrative and then shapes the storyboard. This stage establishes character style, colour palette, typography, composition, and much more.

The visual style directly impacts complexity and expectations, thus what is achievable to a high standard within the budget.

With the style and script defined, the next stage of pre production becomes clearer, aligning the story with the intended visual impact.

Storyboard: Unleashing the Power of Visual Narrative

A final component in pre production takes us on a visual journey with the creation of a storyboard. This essential guide allows our talented illustrators to visualise your story during the production phase. The storyboard artist works closely with the Director to break down the script into sections, capturing the scenes and actions that will shape the narrative. 

With the style already determined as a guiding force, the storyboard becomes the blueprint of your video, showcasing each moment of action and composition. When combined together, we can shape the animation to ensure every frame captivates and engages your audience.

Why is Pre Production for animated video content so important?

The Significance of a Well-Executed Pre Production Phase

Pre production holds a vital role in the success of any animation project, and its importance cannot be overstated. It serves as a necessary foundation for a successful campaign, offering numerous advantages that contribute to the overall quality and effectiveness of the final product.

Opportunity for Iterations: Refining Your Vision

One of the primary reasons pre production is so crucial lies in the opportunities it provides for iterations and creative developments. During this stage, clients provide feedback and may even change their minds as the project progresses. 

Thankfully, pre production allows for easier and more cost-effective modifications compared to later stages of the project. This ensures smoother collaboration and minimises the impact on budgets and timelines. 

Streamlined Development Process: Investing Time for Success

While pre production may involve some back-and-forth discussions, it still takes less time compared to the subsequent design and animation stages. By investing adequate time in pre production, the creative team gains a clear understanding of the project's goals and expectations, streamlining the development process. Additionally, clients gain a solid understanding of what to expect from the final product, eliminating any unpleasant surprises.

Shaping the Animation: Anticipating Challenges and Enhancing Results

Allowing adequate time for pre production offers the opportunity to anticipate challenges and work out the finer details before diving into the animation stage. For instance, during the script and storyboard stages, effective planning can identify opportunities to enhance the viewer's understanding of the message by showing rather than telling. 

A detailed storyboard helps the creative team plan and structure the content effectively while allowing clients to visualise the animation's potential. By identifying and resolving issues early on, a smoother production process and a successful animation project can be achieved.

Avoiding Costly Changes: Planning for Success

Allowing structured and clear pre production gives the client time to digest the creative information and offer constructive feedback, without incurring extra costs. Changes during pre production are natural and expected, whereas late-stage modifications can be costly. Each production involves numerous resources, and late alterations can impact various aspects of the process and risk compromising the deadline. Thus, accounting for potential changes and allocating the budget wisely is crucial. Investing in pre production saves time and money in the long run. 


To ensure optimal results for your animated video campaign, allocating sufficient time for pre production is imperative to ensure optimal results for animated video campaigns. It allows everyone involved in the project to have a clear vision and anticipate any challenges that may arise, reducing the chance of costly changes during production.

Over the past decade, our team has developed a battle-tested process that structures pre production in a way for you to most constructively offer feedback, whilst keeping the project moving forward and creatively growing each step of the way. The process has been designed to keep things as simple as possible to follow, so you can focus on what you do best.

Interested in getting animated video content made for your brand or organisation? Get in touch with us by clicking here and let’s set your animation journey in motion!

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