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How to choose an animation studio

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Hiring the best team to bring your animation projects to life is not an easy task. Animation projects require extensive production, and the proper studio needs to deliver the desired visual output while also guaranteeing a smooth experience throughout the whole process.

But of all the animation studios out there, how do you choose the best one for your project? Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

What does an animation studio do?

These days, using animated video is a staple for video marketing - and there’s a lot of good reasons why. From its ability to generate strong emotions to the fact that it’s often cheaper than other forms of video marketing, for many it has become a vital part of their story. But you might be asking yourself, if animated video is that important, why do I need an animation company - why can’t I do it myself?

The simple answer is that animation is a highly skilled artform that you can’t simply jump right into. It requires deft skill, intensive knowledge of the latest software and a lot of patience. It’s something that take a lot of time and will take even more time if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

That’s why many brands look for the best animation studios to take care of their animations and bring their ideas to life. These studios exist specifically to animate everything from cartoons to CGI and are adept at transforming your static concepts into fluid projects.

Why hire an animation studio?

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One of the biggest advantages of partnering with an animation company is its laser focus on the animation world. A good animation team will be capable of handling all steps of the animation process, either internally or through dedicated collaborators.

A great example is when it comes to scriptwriting and storyboarding. Even experienced copywriters and directors of live-action videos can struggle when shifting to a different media like animation.

That’s because the way you tell a story, the flow of the scenes, transitions, even the concept of camera movements are different. A good animation studio can help you enhance those aspects, which are crucial for a successful animation.

Choosing the right animation studio

If you’re looking to have a custom animated video, there’s good news: there’s no shortage of animation studios with strong creative acumen waiting for your business.

It’s a blessing and a curse though, as there are so many to choose from that narrowing all your choices down to a single company can be a daunting task.

That’s why we’ve narrowed down the key factors to consider when choosing an animation studio.

What kind of animation do you want?

Do you want a simple explainer video for your landing page? Or do you want a complex cartoon animation? Or maybe you want to create a fully CGI TV spot for your next advertising campaign? Whatever the scale and style of your project there is likely a studio suitable for your needs.

A studio will undoubtedly have a distinct style of animation that the specialise in and you want something that will be compatible with your brand. Don’t try to force a studio that is unfamiliar with a certain style to work outside of their comfort zones when there are plenty of studios willing to work within your set parameters and give you the style you’re looking for.

What software do they use?

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There’s a seemingly endless amount of software out there to help fulfill any creative desire. The studio you choose is going to be using some sort of animation software, as well as audio software for recording sound and possibly storyboarding software. There might even be a different piece of software for every step of the process.

In every industry that uses software, there are always a few programs that are considered to be “industry standard.” If a studio uses some off-the-wall program that nobody has ever heard of, that could be a bad sign. That isn’t to say that a studio can’t make use of an obscure program, but if they use something from Adobe or Autodesk, that’s more of a sure bet.

Who have they worked with before?

Has the studio worked with top companies? Have they worked with companies on-the-rise? What about small businesses? It’s hard for studios to work with Entertainment Companies, because those companies know good work at a great price. So.. do they list entertainment companies? (Beware, studios will list top client names when they may have created something as simple as a company flier so check their portfolio for proof.) 

When you hire a company representative, you want to hire someone with a proven track record and decades worth of experience. The same is true for animation studios. Remember a good simple test of a studio’s worth is watching a video and if you are you motivated to find out more about the product or the company? NOT the production studio.

What’s their team like?

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Structurally speaking, every animation studio consists of a staff team and additional freelancers depending on the project’s specificities. It’s common in our industry to have a consistent flow of freelancers in the animation studios as the volume of demands and the need for specialized professionals can change overnight. However, it’s important to pay attention to the core team of the collaborator you’re talking to. A solid staff helps to set the quality standard a studio can offer without relying on the availability of freelancers. At the same time, having a core team helps to rapidly initiate projects and start to move the needle in the right direction.

It’s always good to do some research and ask questions to understand if certain pieces you saw in a portfolio are the result of a core team, or if it relied mostly on freelancers to happen. It’s not that working with freelancers is a bad thing, it’s just that if you are looking for consistency or a quick start on a project, the studio’s core team will be your best friend in making those happen.

What can you afford?

Budget is the most important factor when fixing a deal with an animation studio. Numerous animation companies are out there rendering services at affordable prices. Many times, they are only affordable because they are skipping steps or hiring poor talent.

Ask for and compare prices so that you can get value for your buck. You should be clear on how much amount you are ready to spend. Prices may vary depending not only on your needs but also your constraints, especially if you’re a startup.

It can be ideal for companies with a low budget to hire a freelance animator for the whole video production process, from script writing to post-production.

If you have a higher budget and you want to give your competitors something to be envious about, hiring a studio is a great option for creating your video. An animation company will have an organized structure:

  • Professionals specializing in different areas
  • Scriptwriters
  • Directors
  • Illustrators
  • Voiceover talents
  • Animators, and post-producers

Remember that pricing may vary significantly between companies and always bear in mind that high prices are not always indicators of better quality. There are many companies with higher costs than average, and their quality is not particularly good.

Therefore, don’t forget to verify the portfolio. Most of the studios publish their work on Behance. Check if their work has been featured on the website. Also, be cautious with tiny budgets. If you have a small budget, consider hiring freelancers.

Just Remember: You always get what you pay for!

Using Creativepool

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Looking to create a new piece of animation for your project? Creativepool has hundreds of animation studios ready and waiting to help bring your ideas to life.

Finding an animation studio that fits your needs on Creativepool is simple and effective.

You have 2 main options. Search and contact or post a studiobrief.

1. Search and Contact

The Creative Services Directory is the place for you to be able to search and select the company that best serves your needs. 

After using the search bar, you will be able to view the profiles, case studies and information about each company listed.

When you find a company then you can contact them directly. This is the most effective way for you to be in control of who you work with

2. Post a studiobrief

The second way that you can find a company that meets your creative needs is to advertise your brief.

Doing so is completely free and to help you along you will be assigned an account manager. Once you have posted your initial brief, they will be in contact with you about what you are looking for and help you amend your brief (if needed) and send it out to the most relevant companies on the platform.

Once posted you will receive applications from companies directly and you can then discuss your needs with the company in more detail.

Posting a studiobrief is by far the easiest approach, free and you are under no obligation to hire any of the companies that apply. It's a flexible and powerful approach to finding a new agency partner that does most of the hard work for you.

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