Animation

What?

Whiteboard style animations, simple moving images, sequential images.

Who?

Universities, Research Institutes, Public engagement, Museums.

Why?

To engage new audiences.

Why you might need animation

Engaging with an audience and leaving a lasting impression can be difficult. Limited attention spans mean that publics might not want to engage with your work as a long written article, but they may want to watch an elevator pitch animation or listen to an interview or discussion about the work with animated elements. Moving graphics often have more engagement on social media, and shorter formats can get your points across in a more concise manner. Depending on the audiences that you’re attempting to reach, animation could be a good fit.

Why you might need animation

As a team of scientists and artists we are able to bring a combination of technical skill and artistry to create a scientific animation that is both concise, accurate and beautiful to watch, increasing the value of your science and helping you to stand out from the crowd. Animations can also be used on social media, where you can add closed captions that can be automatically translated to many different languages, giving your science an additional international reach.

How we can help with animation

Here at Vivid Biology, we understand the science underpinning technical figures. We’re also adept at creating great designs that intuitively guide readers through a process.


How we can help with animation

We can redraw data plots and figures to journal guidelines, either from original data or tracing vector files from images. We can also take previously published figures that you’ve got permission to reproduce, and redraw them as publication-ready vector files. If you need a graphical abstract or table of contents figure to go with a manuscript, we can take a pencil sketch or powerpoint mock-up and create a crisp, uniformly styled schematic that will help you stand out.

How it works

We ask for an overview of your goals and budget. This is so that we can suggest the best fit for you in terms of animation style, length and complexity. We can work with all kinds of budgets.

Sometimes it turns out that a sequence of images is a better fit for a project than an animation. We usually recommend this for presentations as images can easily be flicked between with a laser pointer. This makes it much easier to match narrative to visuals, and avoids issues trying to load, pause and rewind a video within Powerpoint.

01

Script

The script tells us how long the animation will be, and helps us put a ballpark figure on the animation costing. Generally every 125 words will take a minute to say. We recommend that you write the speech, although we have some templates that you can use to write one minute and two minute elevator pitches. The script is also useful to pin down if you want to add subtitles to the animation later (which are useful if you are expecting it to show up in news feeds).

02

Audio

We recommend that you narrate and record the audio in animations. Enthusiasm and expertise tend to come through more when it’s the scientists who did the research doing the narration. Voices are memorable, so it’s a nice reminder for when viewers meet you in person.

If you don’t have audio recording facilities, or you don’t want to record your own audio, we have text-to-speech programmes that we can use to generate the audio for you. We’ve created audio versions of most of our blog posts if you want to try out a sample of this. The advantage is that you can make minor edits to the script without having to re-record the entire thing.

03

Storyboard

Once the script is decided on, we’ll have a discussion about how many scenes you want, and how detailed these need to be. Often we’ll recommend one image every 10 seconds for shorter animations. For longer animations you might want to vary the pace, particularly if you think a large portion of your audience may only watch an executive summary in the first minute.

Once we’ve worked how to distribute scenes, we’ll get sketching to work out what sort of imagery should be showing for each point on the audio. We expect there to be a few rounds of back and forth with this so that we can get everything just right. It’s much better to iron out any issues at this stage as it’s harder to fix them later on.

04

Artwork

Once the storyboard is approved we’ll start on the artwork. Depending on your budget we can work to different levels of complexity here. We’ll create pencil sketches for each image, and then send these over to you to double-check. If you’re happy with them then we’ll ink them up. Sometimes we’ll draw multiple parts of an image as different pieces as it makes them easier to assemble in the final illustration.

Once the artwork is inked we’ll add any colour accents that you want. Please request them at this stage, or when we’re doing the storyboard, as it’s harder to add them in later. If you require a more complicated animation that involves images moving on the screen rather than being drawn, please contact us directly for more information.

05

Assembly

Once we’ve created all the image assets, we’ll start assembling them into a composition. We’ll do this based on the timestamps of different lines in the audio file, so please make sure that you’ve got your final version ready by now. We’ll create a draft version with static image transitions. Once you’ve approved this, we’ll start animating the images so that they look like they’re being drawn during the animation.

06

Final version

We’ll export the video in different file formats if you require it. Normally we export in MP4 format, which works for Vimeo and Youtube. We can also send you the images used in the animation if you need these for other uses.

Ballpark figures

These are our best estimates based on previous jobs. External contractor fees tend to vary.

Simple line illustration
Medium complexity with accent colour
High complexity or full colour
Spot line illustatrations
A5 single accent line illustrations
A4 single accent illustrations or A5 full colour
Storyboarding
Speech audio generation
Six images per minute
Backing music
Arrangement
£450 / minute
£650 / minute
£850 / minute
Other pricing
Storyboarding – from £20 per scene
Text-to-speech – from £20 per minute
Reuse of images or exclusive rights – please enquire
Creation of image assets for other animators – from £50