How To Make an Animated Video (even if you're not doing the work)

A lot of people have been thinking about how to create animated videos for business. Are you one of them?

Well we’ve been doing it for a while and have a few pointers to help with the process. In this post we’ll break down the stages involved to make an animated explainer video, and try to provide some helpful hints for managing things along the way.

Step 1: Scripting

Scripting an Animated Video

First things first, you’ll need to write a script. We wrote about how to write a killer explainer video script a while back, and those same rules apply to any sort of marketing video where you’re presenting information. I won’t go into too many details, but here are the highlights:

  • Keep it short - 225 words (90 seconds) or less is best.

  • Put your most important messaging in the first 30-seconds.

  • Speak directly to your audience using “you” and “your”.

  • Find the right tone for your viewer. Be conversational.

  • Tell a story by presenting a problem and solution.

Download our script template to start out the right way!

Step 2: Storyboarding

Storyboard for an Animated Video

Once you have all your messaging in place, it’s time to put together the storyboard. What you’re looking to create here is a plan for how to visualize the content in each line of the script. You’re looking for about 1-2 visual actions per line of narration to keep the pacing appropriate. I’ve put together a simple template that should help.

Feel free to download a copy and edit it as needed. Then when you’re done, just “print” it out, and you’ve got a storyboard for your corporate video. I say “print” because it’s usually helpful to output it as a PDF for easier review with your team.

Step 3: Voiceover

Voiceover for Animated Video

With the storyboard complete, it’s a good time to record a voiceover. We’ve used Voices.com in the past and found some great talent to work with. You can also search for freelancers in your area to potentially have more involvement in the recording process.

Step 4: Animate

Finally, once you have all of these pieces together, the last step is to create and gather all of the visual assets and animate the project. You’ll need to figure out what software you’ll use to create the video file.

  • After Effects - Professional-grade animation software. This is a bit more expensive and complicated than any DIY attempt should need. Though it’s a standard for many professionals and is a likely tool if you’re contracting this portion of the project.

  • Toon Boom - Another high-grade program, but with a bit more accessibility. It still may be overkill for anyone looking to make just one video, but if you need more functionality and you’re working on multiple videos, or a series, this could be a good match.

  • PowToon - PowToon is DIY and uses pre-built assets and animations to help you put together your video. They have a free plan and premium plans too, so there are definitely options.

  • PowerPoint or Keynote - Believe it or not, basic business tools like PowerPoint or Keynote can do almost as much as the software most animation professionals use. Don’t believe me? Check out the comparison video below. Grumo has a great article and course on how to make an animated video using Keynote or PowerPoint.

  • Video Brewery - Okay, so this isn’t software, but more of a shameless plug. But let’s face it, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to do it yourself. If you didn’t figure it out yet, we make animated videos. In fact, our awesome creatives take all the hard work out of the process by creating the pieces described above, so you can focus on whatever it is you do best.

Step 5: Sound Design

Sound Design for Animated Video

Once you’ve got your animated video built, you’re just about done. The last stage is sound design. This is usually left for the end since the sound effects need to be timed to the action which can change a bit as the animation is revised.

A couple weeks back we posted a great article to help you find music for your project, so be sure check that out. For sound effects, I recommend checking out Freesound. Just make sure that you use the correct license for your project. When you find music and effects you like, you can usually work it into the video using the same tool you used to create the animation.

Once you’ve finished with sound, you’re all set. Now you know how to create animated video for your business, or at least the steps involved. So, post that video for the world to see and let everyone enjoy your masterpiece.

About to start your animated video? Check out our 5 predictions for the future of animated marketing videos, first!

Looking for some inspiration? Here's a collection of great animated product videos to get you started.



Explainer Video Production

Stephan Vandenbroucke

Stephan is the Brewmaster at Video Brewery. He resides in downtown Chicago. Along with a nearly constant flow of puns,he also provides the team with its daily riddle. Fortunately for you, he does not post these to his Google+

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