Idea generation is the first step in the 3D animation pipeline and a creative process that involves a large number of people with different skills. On the other hand, animation studios produce hundreds of videos for a variety of purposes. Therefore, a solid procedure needs to be in place in order to come up with great ideas each time.
3D animations are typically reduced to a single idea in people’s minds: an animation about love, friendship, toys, wildlife, etc. That’s why, at Dream Farm Animation Studios, a mediocre idea will either be fixed or thrown away and replaced with an idea that works.
Are you curious to find out more about ideas “that work”? The good news is that there are characteristics of all good 3D animation ideas. These are consistent qualities that can be applied to just about any animation and be developed into a great story and final concept. Defining these traits before the idea generation procedure helps guide the process towards the best possible outcome.
What are the characteristics of a good idea for a 3D animation?
1. Your idea has a legitimate answer to the question “Why 3D animation?”
There needs to be something in your idea that requires the unique characteristics of 3D animation, such as exaggeration, caricature, etc. If your idea can be produced easier, cheaper, faster and better in the form of a film, play, book or comic, why are you doing it with 3D animation? Take advantage of it and free your imagination.
2. Your idea is likable
This one might sound trivial but it’s not. A likable idea is a whole lot easier to carry forward than an unlikable idea.
3. Your idea is original and avoids cliché
A worn-out concept, character, symbol or plot that has lost its originality can degrade your idea. Generally speaking, you should avoid clichés but if you really have to use a cliché, at least find a way to make it look fresh. How? Move on to the next point.
4. Your idea is either “different” or “better”
Your idea must be different from what has come before. At least, it must offer a degree of improvement. Otherwise, it’s just going to be perceived as generic and boring.
5. Your idea is shareable
An idea that people are willing to share is inherently valuable. By considering this early, you can build in added features to make your idea more shareable.
6. Your idea is cost-effective
The idea of a 3D animated video should not cost more than it can deliver. If all the energy put into creating your animation is not going to pay off in terms of costs, resources and effort then it’s not a good idea.
7. Your idea has memorable characters
Every successful 3D animation has at least one memorable character. Memorable characters are unique and accessible; something about their design and personality makes them special and irreplaceable. If you can swap your characters without affecting the story, your characters are not good enough.
8. Your idea has a central conflict
The challenge your main characters need to solve in order to achieve their goals shapes the narrative arc of the story and plays a huge role in retaining the audience. There are three basic types of conflict, make sure you have at least one:
- Man against man
- Man against nature
- Man against himself
9. Your idea has a thoughtful ending
The ending is a crucial part of your 3D animation idea. A considered ending must transform the character, the audience, or both. Sometimes the idea you are working on can be the ending itself.
10. Your idea takes advantage of emotions
Action is the result of thought and emotion. Creating events regardless of the emotional changes in the character catalysed by the central conflict will never chime with an audience. It is how the character feels and reacts based on feeling, that's what retains the audience.
11. Your idea is entertaining
Engaging the audiences visually, intellectually and emotionally will probably translate to entertainment. An idea for a 3D animated video must be entertaining so that the audience can experience your story. To do that, you have to keep the idea truthful and the characters believable.
People typically tend to reduce 3D animation to a single idea. Although a lot of other factors are involved in making it successful, the role of a great idea should not be overlooked. An idea can have numerous characteristics but certain traits can be interpreted as “powerful.”
Professional studios need to have a solid procedure in place for coming up with great ideas. Defining the characteristics of a great idea before the idea generation phase will help guide the process towards a truly exceptional outcome.