How to spot poor quality animation (and why premium is always better) - Clarity Animations

How to spot poor quality animation (and why premium is always better)

Business owners that don’t have a background in marketing often have a hard time understanding the value of quality design.

When your central concern is just to get your message out there, it often feels like the extra time, money, and energy required in creating quality just can’t be justified. The assumption is that all those small details that add up to make a premium piece of animation just won’t be noticed by the average viewer.

Oh, how wrong you are.

As an example, master animator Hayao Miyazaki used to spend hours forcing his team to redraft animations of food. The crackle of the eggs, the bend in a sponge cake – everything had to be just right. Most animators would skip over these small details, thinking that they wouldn’t be noticed by viewers. Decades later, there are entire Buzzfeed articles (https://www.buzzfeed.com/christinalan/heres-how-to-eat-everything-youve-ever-wanted-fr?utm_term=.evLQmBDKe#.kbONPeYdw) dedicated to nothing but food in Miyazaki’s movies.

These tiny details all conspire to create a truly immersive, tactile experience for viewers, and it’s one they remember. If you want viewers to remember your animation, you need to provide a premium experience.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can tell the difference between quality and budget productions.

 

Watch for static frames

When it comes to quality, there’s a golden rule that you’d do well to remember:

More frames = more time

Think of animation like a flick book – in order to get objects to move, you need to add frames that change the figure piece by piece. Rather than go through the effort of drawing up additional frames, many animators just use static figures in active poses, giving the impression of movement. Combine this with fast cuts, voiceover, and some sound effects, and you can more or less make it look like a static image is fully animated.

Train your eye to notice the difference between scenes with fully animated movement and scenes that just give the impression of movement. This is a sure-fire indicator of quality, as more frames mean more time spent on the animation process.

 

Fluidity is key

Did you ever try making a flick book as a kid? They were never as good as the ones that you’d buy in a shop. They’d usually come out jumpy, broken, and rough. This is because we couldn’t be bothered to go through the painstaking task of drawing out hundreds of pages of images.

This is the same for animation – if you don’t add enough frames, movement loses the impression of fluidity and appears jarring and unnatural. A high-quality animation studio takes the time to add minute changes to each frame so that movements feel silky smooth.

Understand object bounce

When we look at animations from other studios, we often remark on how lifeless and dull they appear. One of the reasons for this is that lazy animators don’t go to the effort of making their objects appear dynamic. Look closely at a high-quality animation and you’ll see that moving objects often have a small bounce effect before becoming stationary. This tiny detail makes animation feel organic and full – watch out for it.

 

Look for signs of life

Characters are crucial in animation. The eyes of your viewers will always be drawn to faces and living creatures first, so it’s important to make them lifelike and engaging. This is a real skill, and one that is underestimated by second-rate animators.

A great animator will look for the minutiae in movements, gestures and facial expressions to bring characters to life. For example, when we walk, our heads bob slightly up and down when we move. A great animator will notice and capture tiny details like this in your video.

 

Bad writing

Quality script writing is often the first thing to go when you drop down into the realms of budget animation. Quality copywriters can be expensive, and poor animation companies will eagerly bet that you won’t notice the difference. You will.

Here at the studio, we do everything we can to make sure that you get a beautiful, highly-effective animation. That means taking the time to add all those extra frames, quality scripts, free subtitle tracks, and spot-on aftercare. We’ll even walk you through a strategy session that helps you utilise your video for maximum impact. We act as a long-term partner, integrating with your larger marketing strategy and helping you reach your goals.

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