ANIMATION TECHNIQUES AND STYLES

 

I offer a variety of animation techniques, and am happy to chat with clients to find the approach that best suits their needs. Here are the main alternatives, in roughly descending order of cost:

DRAWN ANIMATION: Although drawn animation is now routinely done by drawing directly into the computer rather than via pencil and paper, it’s still a demanding process that requires either at least 12 drawings per second of screen time.
For this reason I like to work with the client to find a visual approach that is stylish, appropriate to the subject matter and efficient in its execution.

CUT-OUT ANIMATION: In the last 20 years, computer-based cut-out animation has become the standard production technique in the UK for 2D animated TV series. Peppa Pig, Mr Bean and many other programmes all use the home-grown CelAction software which has been designed in co-operation with animators for efficient and systematic production.
The key difference between cut-out animation and drawn animation is that the animated elements are not re-drawn for each successive image, so cut-out animation is usually more cost-effective than drawn animation for films of more than a few minutes in length, especially for character-based productions.
Note: Most of my cut-out animation work has been for TV series, which are not represented here for copyright reasons, but a showreel of this work is available on request.

TIME-LAPSE ILLUSTRATION: PHOTOGRAPHED LIVE: Telestration, whiteboard animation, RSA-style animation – this goes under a variety of names and there are a number of variations to the technique. You’ve probably seen a lot of these: a hand draws a series of images very rapidly on a white board or sheet of paper, usually to illustrate a narration.
Some artists prefer to create the whole film in the computer and add video of a drawing hand later. This has the advantage that changes can be made relatively easily at any stage, and it’s not necessary to hire a studio or a photographer.  My preferred method is to photograph it live, drawing on paper using marker pens. I feel this approach has greater charm and authenticity.
As only one – or a few – drawings are being created for the film rather than hundreds, the visuals can often be photographed in a single day or two rather than over several weeks.
To give an added dimension to these films, animation can be added to the film at the post-production stage.

TIME-LAPSE ILLUSTRATION: IN-COMPUTER: The simplest technique I offer, this is just want it sounds like. I draw the illustration into the computer where the software records each pen stroke. The result is a picture that appears to draw itself. Since – once again – we’re using one drawing instead of many, the production process is much quicker. This is turn means that the drawings themselves can be more sophisticated and detailed than would be often be viable for full animation. Again, this can be combined with drawn or cut-out animation.

QUOTES: I like to give a fixed quote for each project and stick to it unless your requirements change during the course of the work. Also, the cost of production can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the artwork and the animation, and how much development time is needed for design work. For these reasons, rather than giving ‘ballpark’ figures for the various approaches represented here, I like to discuss options before quoting. Please feel free to contact me with any queries or just to discuss ideas.

Notes on some of clips:

Irn Bru: Animation directed by Dennis Sisterson for Sherbet and the Leith Agency. Produced by Jonathan Bairstow for Sherbet. This clip animated by Dennis Sisterson.
Solar system: Created for a video presentation at the Roman Army Museum, Vindolanda. Produced by Studio MB for the Vindolanda Charitable Trust.  Athlete: Produced by Joseph Atkinson for Sport Scotland.
Audi: Produced by Unit 9 for Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Design based on designs used in a parallel TV campaign.
Dogs: Clip from “Paws on the Moors”, produced by World Wide Pictures for the Moors for the Future partnership.
“Three Bears” timelapse clip: Produced by TwoFour Digital for AQA. Photography by Jonathan Palmer. 
Juggler: Demo presentation produced in association with Shoot You Video Production.  Photography by Jonathan Palmer. 
Lecture room: Produced by Shoot you Video Production for Malaria World.
Snowman: Produced by Neon Tetra Films for the Trussell Trust.
Field WIFI  networks: Produced by Shoot You Video Production for the World Food Programme.