Friday, 27 March 2020

What is an Animatic?

Animatic image from "Giles and Rupert's Prehistoric Predicament"
What is an animatic? And why do animators need one? An Animatic is something that all of our first year students have to tackle as part of PR4001, a creative story-telling module in which our undergraduate students work in teams to create a teaser or trailer for an original TV series.

Later, working on their own short films and group projects in the second and third year at Escape Studios, our students will become very familar with the process of creating an animatic, which is an essential first step in the creation of any animated content.

Giles and Rupert's Prehistoric Predicament
The video below is an animatic created by a number of our first year undergraduate students, based on an idea by Toby Haslam. It's especially interesting because Toby and his team also produced a Previs version of their teaser, which you can also see below.

What is an Animatic?
An animatic is a filmed storyboard,  (sometimes called a story reel, and historically often called a Leica Reel), is essentially a series of drawn images cut together to tell the story of the film. Usually it will include music, sound effects, voice-over narration and voice actors - where appropriate.  Think of it as a filmed comic book or graphic novel of the final film, a blend of sound and pictures. Often, the overall sound design is as important as the visuals.

The Lighthouse at Whale's End
Below is another example of an animatic created by our first year animation students for PR4001, titled "The Lighthouse at Whale's End".  It was written and directed by Paloma Zhu, who also created the concept art. Morgan Mda did storyboards and concept art, Konrad Peczkowicz did editing and sound design. Callum Wylie produced, and did post-production.

The purpose of an animatic
The animatic is an important story-telling tool.  It helps the film-makers to visualise the scenes prior to tackling the long and complex process of animation, and helps to tease out potential problems with the story while these problems are still fairly easy to fix.  Storyboards will tell you how long your film is, how many characters are in it, and - overall - whether the film is working or not. Does it work as a story? Is it clear? Does it have a natural rhythm?

Animatic -v- Previsualisation
An animatic is similar to a previsualisation ("previs") of the film but there are differences. Previs performs essentially the same function as the animatic, but where the animatic is a filmed storyboard, previs includes 3D elements. The previs pass will usually include low resolution versions of all the characters and the sets, figuring out the cuts and the camera work in detail.  To see the difference between the two, watch the previs version of Giles and Rupert's Prehistoric Predicament below.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2020, follow this link.   To apply, visit the official page here

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