CGI/3D Animation FAQ’s

At Spark-lab we believe in transparency and making the process of working with clients as smooth and easy as possible. Please see below some commonly asked questions to help new clients see what they might need to consider at the start of any exciting new Animated or CGI project as follows.

  1. What is CGI or 3D Animation?Tell me more

    3D Animation

    3D Animation is the creation of Computer generated modeling of a character,object or environment with motion applied to tell a story, describe a product or ‘flythrough’ a process. The latest software capabilities an CGI artists abilities are pretty limitless and hence the use of animation can tell any story. Let your imagination run wild by creating cinematic scenes set now, in the past or future on this world or the next and can be used in many ways to visualise your personal dream idea about an animated story product or service. This really is a fantastic way of expressing ideas in a 3D real-looking way and is only limited by your imagination. If you know what you want to show but are not sure what the best way to show it is - Sparks team are here to help guide you through the process and avoid costly mistakes. Our team are here to help visualise you ideas to the greatest effect and where possible on budget - get in touch here and one of the team will be happy to help

    Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)

    The term 'CGI animation' refers to dynamic CGI rendered as a movie. The term refers to Virtual Reality is when the individual wears a headset and experiences being placed inside an interactive environment. Computer graphics software is used to make computer-generated imagery for films, etc. Availability of CGI software and increased computer speeds have allowed individual artists and small companies to produce professional-grade films, games, and fine art using specialist high-end 3D software computers and render farms to create and output the high definition CGI.

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

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  2. How can I use animation to boost company sales of my product or service?Tell me more

    This is the BIG question. First and foremost have a plan as to what you want the animation to ‘do’. By this what we mean is decide what the animation is ‘for' - ask yourself critically ‘whats the point of this animation and what is its purpose?’ This will help determine how to tell the story of what it is you are trying to say about a character/product or service and how best to create the 3d content and build a story around it.

    Product

    If its a product then - what are the product USP’s (Unique selling points) or key features. Write them down 1-10 with the most important as number 1 working to 10 as least important. This will determine what the storyboard should look like and the order of priority. Think about lighting /day / night/ soft / hard and also the runtime of your animation or 'showreel’ as its know within 3D circles. Also think about the voiceover or spoken text over and above the features as this will determine the speed of shots and timing. What environment is the product set in or if more than one - choose environments that sell the most products and perhaps another environment that the company is looking to move into. Or if there are many environments keep it generic to save on costs. Then once the USP’s are decided and confirmed look at the running sequence /environment / the product itself and how best to use the limited run time to show off those features to there best advantage to woo your audience.

    Timings

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    An intro or an outro

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    Music

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    Service

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    Once you have created your animation it can be used almost anywhere ! A new product launch , on your website, exhibition or you-tube channel, vimeo or a multitude of social media / TV to reach your audience and achieve excellent return on investment.

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  3. How can I use animation to help get my idea of a story animated?Tell me more

    The same rules apply to creating the best and most exciting animated story - make lists, prioritise the salient points and plan the amazing journey that you want to lead the viewer through. Make a note of every detail and and emphasise the high and the low points. All the while keeping the audience engaged and expectant so that their viewing experience and your ideas are a happy dance of anticipation and satisfaction of glorious 3D content. Make some key decisions on the basics early on such as - Is the story an adventure, a mystery or a comedy etc - its your story so open your mind to the possibilities yet keep a tight leash on your core idea so that you avoid wasting valuable story telling time.

    Decide on the character - who are they - what are their character traits - what makes them tick - whats their back story - how have they arrived here? What do they look like ? How do other characters form part of the story? When does your key character meet or come into contact with those other characters. How does the story unfold? Whats the key message? What makes your story different? Do you want the audience to interact or make decisions during the playing of the 3D content - in affect Gamifying the experience? Or to simply sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

    Environments

    Where does the character live, where will his/her travels take them ? Be mindful that large cinematic vistas can cost more money so spend carefully and think about each setting carefully. Provide detail of objects in a scene - think about the depth of shot and how much you want the viewer to see. Keep each shot relevant - don’t get too sidetracked with sub-plots etc - be efficient.

    A large outdoor environment needs lots of content over distance, be it a townscape, jungle or Mars landscape. Think about setting and mix of naturalistic affects such as water/ wind / /foliage mountains/ desert etc and the movement of multiple characters at once within the scene and where they appear from. We’d suggest mixing the scenes for different angles to save on cost once the scene is built.

    Shot choice & style

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    Sound

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    Plan ahead

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    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  4. What are the benefits of animation over film?Tell me more

    Film can be very expressive in terms of capturing emotion yet with the power of smart MOCAp technology emotion can be vividly captured from our finest actors and replayed in full joyous expression on a rigged biped or animated character.

    CGI levels are now such that real life situations can be so detailed and extensive all but a very few CGI artists can actually tell whats real and whats superb CGI.

    The key benefit of CGI is flexibility over a real life situation - for an example weather conditions can be controlled by the rain droplet in CGI or sunshine 24/7 and the ability to look through objects or the inside of products to explain a USP or internal detail are all possible at a granular level - hence the ability to explain fine function or minute detail clearly is now fully possible.

    Also if it gets to the editing suite and part of a scene needs changing or swapping its all there in 3D software - infinitely changeable and simply waiting in freeze frame to update - hence saving setting up entire scenes once more or cutting in new shots that are at risk of not seamlessly fitting in to the set conditions of any shot.

    Either way the list of possibilities are limitless so put your energies into the story telling and style and detail to produce something really compelling that engages the most skeptical audience. Then let the CGI team do the rest.

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  5. How much should I pay?Tell me more

    Each animation/CGI or otherwise depends on many factors are required to construct your scene (as listed in the other answers in this Q&A section of the Spark Website)

    As one of the UK’s leading emerging technologies providers Sparks animations can really be quite affordable and start from as little as £6500 + VAT at the low end to £100,000’s + for a fully detailed complex animated scene with numerous characters and complex detail running for 30+ minutes to give an indication of one extreme to another. The best thing to do is ask and no-matter how small the project is we will always suggest the best options available to give our customers the best quality for the budget.

    Subject to runtime and LOD (Level of detail) required. Payment plans are available on an individual basis to spread costs over a period of time, talk to us about the funding options/timescales available.

    Its always good to be realistic about what you can afford so we would ask that you have internal agreement with the relevant parties as to budget sign-off so that timings and deliverables are clear from the outset.

    With these simple aspects in place we are free to get creative and help make your animated dream a stunning and engaging reality.

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  6. How long does it take?Tell me more

    Projects take time to build to gain excellent results and are crafted typically over 4 weeks to 12 months - The spark team can give you a realistic expectation of timing during the proposal stage. If you have a rush job speak to us as we can turn projects around quickly if required.

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  7. What should I avoid?Tell me more

    Don’t rush into starting the 3D animation without a plan. Think about planning - spend time getting this right with us and it will pay dividends later. Spark helps plan the project by building a GANTT chart for each project for each client to check and refer to for complete piece of mind.

    There are many things to avoid when embarking on a 3D Animated or CGI creation. Be original and be aware of trends and whats coming in and whats on its way out in terms of style. Spark are excellently equipped to guide you on this as we have the knowledge as to whats up and coming compared to whats more widespread and accessible / reachable in terms of web and mobile content deployment.

    Avoid being over gimmicky or venture down an obscure alley unless its something exceptionally well known. You want longevity in terms of relevance of the 3D content and hence avoid anything too ‘now’.

    Also at the opposite end - be aware of your own personal tastes and that what you like personally may not always be on trend. Know your target audience and ask those of the same age as that audience what is most relevant in terms of relate-ability.

    Communicate effectively and don’t hold ideas back until later worth exploiting at the start - think about the whole story. This really helps avoid problems later so sharing ideas with the team you are working with at the start maximises the efficiency of time/budget available and helps your spend both wisely. Spark always plans to over deliver so don’t be shy about discussing budgets - its essential to be realistic and really helps with overall planning and expectations.

    Give yourself time & be realistic about timings and budgets.

    We can certainly help advise on any of this seemingly small yet easy to overlook aspects which serve to benefit the client and help maintain transparency throughout. Feel free to speak to us about setting up and planning ideas.

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  8. How do I go about starting the process?Tell me more

    A lot of clients worry about being charged of the first call or meeting. In simple terms some agencies do - WE DON’T charge a penny until the proposal is signed off so if you need a call or no obligation initial meeting simply fill in your details on our online form and one of our representatives normally call back within the hour meeting to arrange a preliminary discussion.

    During the initial call we aim to discuss the following:

    Uncharged

    1. General project requirement and ideas discussed
    2. Best method to deploy the project to (VR/CGI/AR/WEB)
    3. Timings
    4. Providing an outline proposal with bullet points via email
    5. Arrange a meeting to present relevant case studies and related projects
    6. Discuss which Outline or wireframe skeletal 3D models, product CAD or architects plans are available to use within the animation
    7. Voiceover / Music required
    8. Runtimes discussed
    9. Outline Budgets submitted and agreed for project viability
    10. The one stipulation we have is that if an exploratory idea / meeting is set that a senior director has apportioned / agreed in principle funds to carry out the project prior to meeting. Please discuss this during the preliminary call to assess the viability of any new project. If budgets are not yet available please make this clear in the preliminary call.

    After the initial call/face to face meeting a full proposal is then drafted and submitted and discussed by the client before agreeing to move ahead.

    At this stage no charges have been made to the client before contracts are signed.

    Then once signed, a deposit is taken on placement of order to secure the project and lock-in studio time for the duration of the project.

    This is typically 50% followed by x2 stage related payments of 25% (hence 50% + 25% + 25%)

    Followed by:

    Charged

    1. Project manager appointed (On commencement of a project you may be assigned a project manager )
    2. Schedule of works agreed and signed off before
    3. Storyboard delivered (Only If required/paid for in scope of works)
    4. GANTT project plan & management produced on google docs.
    5. 2nd meeting (Only If required)
    6. Concept phase submitted and client feedback invited (Subject to specified content in the schedule of works)
    7. development phase built and submitted for client approval (Subject to specified content in the schedule of works)
    8. Any additional works required discussed under separate negotiation and agreed (Subject to unspecified content in the schedule of works being added to the project)
    9. Project delivered
    10. Glass of champagne poured :)

    Who do I contact to ask about the project?

    Either
    Dan Harris or Dan Betts direct:

    Dan Harris
    email: dh@spark-lab.co.uk
    Mobile: 00 44 (0) 7966 108396

    Dan Betts
    email: db@spark-lab.co.uk

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  9. Can animated scenes work on YouTube and augmented reality?Tell me more

    Awaiting content

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  10. What about animation used for virtual reality?Tell me more

    Awaiting content

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  11. Can animations be interactive?Tell me more

    Awaiting content

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  12. Where can I use my animation?Tell me more

    Awaiting content

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451

  13. Who owns the license to the animation?Tell me more

    Awaiting content

    If you’d like to chat through anything just get in touch there is no charge for the 1st call so what have you got to lose?

    GET IN TOUCH NOW       Call us: +44 (0)2392 596 451