*This is a repost of the blog entry I did January 1st for ClassForKids
The cool thing about being part of a growing team is that all team members have the opportunity to take responsibility for different aspects of the company. The illustrative imagery you’ve probably seen all over our website, blog posts and videos are done by me, Sarah, ClassForKids’ Marketing Designer. Over the course of a few months, the marketing team and myself have created and evolved tone of voice and a personality of the company into something that’s colourful, playful, fun and educational.
In this blog post, I’d like to share with everyone the process behind how we from the marketing team collaborate with other departments of the company to create an incredible piece of animation that would be used commercially, educationally and entertainment!
The Brains behind the Concept
In ClassForKids, we’re encouraged to practice having cross-disciplinary ideating and concept sharing. It’s quite a common everyday thing for us to all discuss our challenges and goals with other departments so that we can share feedback and strategies with one another. With this in mind, Hayley from the Customer Success Team approached us one day with a brilliant idea on how we could create an animation piece that’s themed specifically for Children’s Theatre and Stage Schools.
Her question to us was, “How do we approach an audience that’s very unique and niche within the realm of theatre, drama and performance?” Well first thing’s first, what do we know about them? And what can we do to encapsulate theatre and performing arts into a compelling message? One thing’s for sure that we know is that coaches and students of these schools are very talented, artistic and filled with epic drama!
Hayley, who has a background in theatre, gave us the lowdown on the processes behind joining a Stage School, what children learn about like acting, singing and dancing, and what she envisioned the animation to roughly look like; she even gave me a wee preliminary storyboard that she sketched out, although it’s pretty cryptic and open to interpretation 😂Once we discussed the plan and were on the same page, it was off to the drawing board!
There are plenty of methods and processes that all designers go through to convey ideas visually from their minds into a final deliverable product. As for myself, before even thinking about anything digital, I traditionally rely on physical papers, pens and pencils to visualise the images in my mind.
For me, drawing ideas up and having it right in front of your eyes can help put things to perspective, making concepts clearer and more tangible for myself and for my other team members too. So, before opening up Adobe Photoshop or After Effects, you have to sketch it all out and come up with every possible composition that can convey your message successfully. When everyone gives you the thumbs up and agrees with your overall themes, you can then move on to the next stage!
This is the meticulous and slightly daunting part of the whole process behind creating animations because this is when I actually have to produce the prettiest version of the drawings I sketched up before, creating every line and component using Photoshop drawing tools. At this stage, you’d witness me glued onto the computer monitor with my headphones on, 100% focusing on completing the task!
For this specific animation, there are many different children characters that need to be illustrated. From dancers to ballerinas to actors and an orchestra! With these wee characters, I can use them to express key messages of how ClassForKids works and how coaches and business owners from Stage Schools can utilise our system for their benefit.
If you’re like me, and you find joy in very detail-oriented work, then perhaps look into learning how to animate. Minute motions and effects can take a while to identify and design, but the results are always very rewarding, especially when you witness your work come to life!
For ClassForKids, I use mostly Adobe Suite Programs, which include After Effects. Once you’re proficient at one of them, it becomes slightly easier to pick up other sister-programs. And then all you have to do is practice, practice, practice so that your soft skills don’t dissipate into thin air (and this can happen very easily, I assure you). It’s like learning to ride a bicycle though, you never really forget how to, you just need to practice and constantly remind yourself!
Along with the illustrations and animation itself, sound and music make a huge difference to the finished product. Without it, the impact of your content wouldn’t be carried across to your audience as successfully as you would hope.
The idea that Hayley and I shared in our minds and that we envisioned for the animation included an orchestra playing beautiful music with crescendo. The purpose for this is to symbolise the grandiose and excitement behind theatre! I mean, we have to sprinkle a bit of drama now and then right? 💃
So after some time researching for the best music to fit in with our concept, we discovered one by AudioLounge called “Time to Inspire”. We can safely say that it’s a perfect marriage!
The Final Product
Voila! The final product from an idea that stemmed from Hayley’s vivid imagination, onto paper, through computer softwares and now finally, onto the world of the internet, ready to be played for you on your screens and mobile devices.
So sit back, relax, watch the animation and let us know what you think of it. It’s a piece of work that we’re very proud of and are so happy to share with the world! We hope that this breakdown of the process behind an animation was interesting and helpful for you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us! We’re more than happy to answer your queries 😊