How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck From Your Medical Animation Studio [By an Animator]
Written by: Tziporah Thompson, CMI, MA
Say you’ve got an idea for a scientific animation to market your new product. You’ve booked the studio, given the creative brief, and done all the paperwork. Now you can just sit back and wait for the pretty pictures, right? While it may be tempting to tune out until you see some glamor shots, it could actually save you time and money to stay engaged through the initial steps of production (even if they’re not as exciting to look at). When looking at 3D medical or scientific animation services, the 3 major pre-production steps that are crucial to focus on before your team of medical animators can really get going are Script, Style, and Storyboard.
If an animation were an athlete, the script would be her bones. Everything that comes later is built off of the script’s structure, making its careful construction extremely crucial. You don’t want the team to get 75% of the way through animating before realizing a piece of information is missing. It could disrupt the structure of the rest of the story, resulting in pushed deadlines and a lower quality product. Scripting is the time to think critically about questions such as: Who is the target audience? What is their baseline level of knowledge? What should be their key takeaways? By working closely with the medical animators throughout the scripting process, you can help develop a strong foundation for an excellent final product.
Developing the initial style for a scientific animation is really where you can ensure your vision comes to life. The animation team will make recommendations and show you what is possible, but ultimately it’s your involvement that makes sure the look of the animation feels right to you.. Keep in mind that the final format and context of an animation are huge influences on how it should look. Think about: Where and how will it be viewed? How should people feel while watching it? Should it stand out on its own or match another product series? If you have examples of styles that you like or want your medical animation to be influenced by, share them because they can be great jumping off points that save time on back-and-forths.
Remember that changes that seem small at this stage can become exponentially more difficult to implement once the core production begins.
Storyboarding is where the visual storytelling gets planned out and thought through. Oftentimes, this gives you a whole new perspective on how well the script flows and the efficacy of your primary message. Try thinking through: Who is the “hero” of your story? Does each sequence flow easily into the next? Would someone with no prior knowledge be able to follow the message? Remember that changes that seem small at this stage can become exponentially more difficult to implement once the core production begins. While the medical animators will map out the narrative in the storyboard, they’ll need your feedback to make sure the plan is perfect before getting started on the animation.
At this point, the animation team will be off to the races. They’ll be doing what they do best, and you’ll have set them up for success by providing attentive support in those early stages.
While you’ll always have more opportunities for edits after seeing the actual animation, working closely with the animation team throughout Script, Style, and Storyboard will go a long way in ensuring that budgets are kept and deadlines are met.
To learn more about the core animation process, check out our unique Production Process, developed specifically for producing 3D medical animations. We hit all the key points of feedback together with no extra steps and no time wasted.